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I've been following the questions hoping to learn ways to make things easier for my two sons when the time comes I need help with things - and things seem one-sided - one hears from the "kids" how weary they are of the care and how difficult and awful their parents are - but there is nothing saying what the parents are going thru and I'm really scared if it comes to needing care for me. I know in my own interactions with my 60 YO sons that they haven't a clue as to what it is like being over 80 - and their judgments are often harsh and nonfeeling. Also to them I'm "mom" and never Jennett or who I really am.

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Absolutely there is Love, it's all from love for me and I get it back from mom in spades still. Part of what you are seeing here is just like a marriage, there are things the people we live with and love that we complain about, this is just the place many of us come to to do that as well as to learn from other's experience. It's a support group of sorts like getting together with your peers on any topic you love but that also has trials and tribulations. It does get a little harsh sometimes for my liking too but we all need a safe place to vent and this is it. I don't think I would ever put in the time, care and effort if I didn't love my mom very much and my brothers are just as devoted, in fact it's a brother who lives closest to her and does most of the hands on stuff. The things he's less comfortable with I try to take care of but it's Mom and he is always there because he loves her.

What can you do to help your sons? Set things up a head of time in preparation for possible major medical event's, needs, decline. It may not happen but navigating it for them now, providing them the road map is one of the most loving gifts you can give them and yourself for the future. It all depends on your situation of course but I've mentioned here in the past what my GM on Dad's side did, making things easy for everyone.

First she sent all of her close relatives, son's, grands, niece's & nephews a letter very clearly outlining her wishes in the event she should become incapacitated, directives. She also had legal medical directives drawn up but in this letter she spoke about why she wanted what she did and made sure no one felt guilty about following her wishes or resisted my dad who was actually her POA & Executor carrying out her wishes. She got all the legal paperwork in order including will, set up a trust etc with an estate attorney and was again clear with us about her estate plans, though not in writing and it seems like it changed a little over the years but those things often do.

She owned and lived in a tiny house on the family compound if you will (a private shore front community) for all of my life, the house had been left to her by her aunt who also lived there until she passed. But as much as GM wanted to live there she recognized winters would become harder and both her sons had moved to FL so she found an IL facility that also had AL and skilled nursing (NH) on the property and purchased an apartment there that gave her guaranteed assistance at whatever level she might need. So if she needed long term NH care she had it and if she just needed rehab care she had it, if she needed more assistance at home, she had it. She lived in FL in the winter and CT in the summer, more CT at first and she began spending more time in FL as she got older. She had a modest car in each place and her son's, in particular my dad right near by in FL, he was around a lot and she had an active social life at the senior campus where she lived. She had just as active a social life in CT including family who still lived on the point and friends she had had for many years. While she did choose to have her heart surgery in CT where more of her established medical team was she did consider FL since she had the rehab there but also found a great rehab near her CT home and Medicare paid or the stay so... My dad and his wife went up to stay through it all and I spent time there as well so she had her family around which was her primary reason for setting herself up in FL.

My point is she really thought about what she wanted and set things up so that could happen easily, taking the load of decisions and finding facilities, providing primary care off of us so we could just care for and worry about her fully confident we were doing the right thing, what she wanted. She never suffered debilitating cognitive problems or even physical ones actually but if she had it would have been much easier for us than it's been with my mom for instance. A real gift!
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Jennett, I know for myself I had no idea how it was being my parents age [in their 90's]. Now that I am approaching 73, I am starting to get it. I now understand the "I've fallen and can't get up" commercial, as we lose our ability to do things that were easy 5 or 10 years prior.

The secret my Dad had was having a great sense of humor. His caregivers loved him. My Mom, well, she was the total opposite. Refused caregivers, Refused to downsize. Refused to use a walker. Denied she or Dad was aging... [sigh]... yada, yada, yada [it ran in her family].

As others have mentioned, get all your ducks in a row. I had to get my parents to rewrite their Will as it was older then dirt and had too many landminds in place. I had them go to my Elder Law Attorney. Also got the Power of Attorneys updated. Also a Medical Directive and Revocable Trust.

I took Dad to his bank so that I could be listed on his checks, as Dad didn't want to mess with writing checks for bills. My folks had a lot of different banks, remember when banks use to give out free toasters and glassware for opening an account? Now everything was under one bank.

Now I am ready to do the above for myself, and have already done half already. I have a large red notebook that is easy to find that has different sections with questions that a relative might ask later down the road. Like, where is the car title? Well, it is in that red notebook. Same with my birth certificate, and other important papers. I even have a section on what to do for my funeral so there won't be any guessing. And who to give the coin collection, and who gets all the Ancestry notebooks.

What to do when I get older and need help, it's in that red notebook. I want to downsize to Independent Living, etc. And I have saved for that rainy day [actually those funds are being held hostage so they aren't used for anything else]. I have no siblings nor children, so it is all up to me to plan out the next 5 to 10 years.
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There is honestly love, yes, but it is more the memory of love. We are in the land of still having a living entity there that looks like our Mom or our Dad, Aunt or Uncle, Brother or Sister, but who had changed into some alien creature bearing only a physical resemblance to who they were to us. It takes a lifetime for Moms particularly to recognize that their kids are people full grown in charge of their own choices and lives (I am only beginning to get it with a 57 year old daughter). It takes a lifetime for kids to realize their parents are only flawed and real human beings, not the Saints they always needed them to be. And THEN you are at the place of seeing the long slow slide into Hades unless you are lucky enough to have a Dad like I did who one moment is happy and able in 90s, and the next sits down into his easy chair to giggle over Monica Lewinsky on Larry King Live, takes one long breath and goes with a smile on his face. We all are scared, especially those of us who are the "care givers" or the one still standing. We see before us what is in store for us, and it is frightening, and in our own society there is little support for us physically, mentally, financially. Still and all, you will find here, amidst the hopeless, helpless moments of shared compassion, information, and even the moments of rare humor. I want to say "This is life". Because it is. When you get scared just accept that moment of fear. Feelings are like weather fronts passing through. More or less stormy, lasting more or less time. Jennett is lots of people. You are real in all of those people. You are a real Mom and you are a real person in your other lives as well, whether as an aunt, a daughter, a gardener. You are a combination of many Jeanetts. Some capable, some feeling scared.
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Jennett - It sounds like your question involves some fear that as you need help as you age that your sons will not be there. Are you of the mindset that your sons need to provide care for you? That might be the rub - different expectations you have vs what your sons have.

The stories on this board are full of weariness from kids - we are working full time, we mostly have kids and grandkids and community responsibilities. Now our parents are needing us. What makes us angry is so often our parents can do for themselves, or pay for someone to do the work but refuse to because they expect their kids to do it. And they refuse to downsize their lifestyle and burden their kids with making it work. Then brag about being independent.

Then if care becomes hands on - you expect your child to be 24x7 dealing with illness, senility, incontinence, etc.

 You seem already to know that your 60 year old sons are not going to step up and be your hands on caregivers. So make your plans - downsize. Get into senior or assisted living. Draw up POA docs etc. Work with a planner on aging and what needs to be in place so  you are making the decisions yourself for the care you want. Not burdening a child to make these decisions under emergency circumstances because you didn't want to get around to facing them.

Use the fear in your question to start exploring what you need to have in place for you to age gracefully. Good luck!!
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I’m not sure what exactly you want to make “easier” for them? What are your expectations of them? You’ve read lots of complaints from caregivers here, so what is the “best case” in your mind of what your future would be and how it relates to your sons? Just a sounding board? A situation where you are as independent as possible and they occasionally visit or call, but get along with their own lives. Help with finances? Moving in with one of them? Hands on care? Help to make it possible to stay in your home?

But to make any of these scenarios easier, it’s important to get your financial house in order, get paperwork organized and accessible, organize paperwork of your income stream and bills in a way they can figure out what’s going on if you were suddenly incapacitated, and review it with them. Copy any life insurance or LTC policies. Keep a written list of your medications and doctors numbers. Get your will and health care proxy written and assign a POA and a back up that would be triggered by a medical or mental need. Let them know what your wishes are for funeral arrangements.

Thats all stuff you you can do to make “it easier” and can be done pretty quickly. Then you can think about downsizing your possessions/ lifestyle in a way that your dependence on what you have implied are clueless, harsh, nonfeeling, middle aged sons, is minimized. Again, it all depends on what Jennett wants, and your expectations of them.
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Right now I am surrounded by people who want their adult children to do everything for them and just feel entitled .Most of them are perfectly capable ( for the moment anyway ) of taking care of themselves Not one of them cared for THEIR aging parents in any way shape or form. My whole goal in life is to make sure my kids never have to take care of me in this way.My mom likes to tell me everyday how shes like my kid now. Its so not funny. Shes not my kid and just refuses to do things for herself. My inlaws have more money than most but refuse to pay anyone to do anything for them they just expect my husband who still works 5 to 6 days a week to do EVERYTHING for them. meanwhile they are out running around like teenagers spending their money on STUPID stuff. Im starting to feel that their generation is just flat out selfish and feel entitled for some reason. I hate feeling resentment towards my elders but my god its not just my in laws or my own mother its an epidemic of elderly who didn't plan for their future or just spent their whole life expecting their kids to do what they didn't do for their parents. All I know is my whole goal in life is to be as independent as I can be for as long as I can be then I am just fine going someplace to be taken care of so my kids can continue to live their lives.
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gkcgkc Jul 2019
"I hate feeling resentment towards my elders but my god its not just my in laws or my own mother its an epidemic of elderly who didn't plan for their future or just spent their whole life expecting their kids to do what they didn't do for their parents."

Yes! Did they not think they were going to grow old? I keep asking myself, what on earth were my parents thinking? What are they STILL thinking that they insist they can care for themselves?!
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One thing I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older (I’m 65) is that no one is responsible for me but me. I learned this from my mother, who lived to 95 and could be a challenge but was very intelligent. As my mother got older, there were things I had to help with. When she stopped driving, I was her mode of transportation. I had to help her figure out things in the “modern world” when she asked for advice. But she was fiercely independent and never asked me to do anything she could do herself.

My mother started pre-planning her burial when she was in her sixties and made monthly payments on it. She kept faultless financial records. Bills were always paid on time by her. She had a credit card and the balance, always paid on time, was never over $200. Important papers were kept in files and labeled. She made sure I knew exactly where these papers were.

I try to model her record keeping. I don’t ask my children to do anything for me. If I need anything, like home repairs, I find a handyman and pay for it. I don’t expect my children to understand what it’s like to be “old” because they aren’t. I am trying to make plans for myself when I get to the point I’m no longer able to take care of myself or my disabled husband. I inform my children of these plans, like my mom did me, but I don’t ask for help from them. This is my responsibility, not theirs. Am I concerned about the future? Of course. But I am proactive about making sure everything is in place. They know I am a human being with my own life and all that involves. But, in the end, I am Mom and not Joy. It’s a title I earned and love, and those darn kids are my absolute best accomplishment in my life.
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Exactly! - never ask them to do anything you can do yourself (or arrange to get done).
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Hugs, Jennett. I sympathise.

There is love, yes :)

But some expressions of love, some actions based on it, are more obvious and more useful than others.

"... sharper than a serpent's tooth, to have a thankless child." I'm some years younger than you but all the same, I have had a few nibbles from that particular tooth and can completely understand the sadness of it.

The other apt quotation is "it's a wise child who knows his own father." Our roles as mother are bound to overshadow everything else our children think of us. They didn't know us before, for one thing; they needed us for very specific things and it isn't surprising that they didn't attend to everything else we were up to; and now they have their own lives. They love us, but we're not top of their To Do list - and we don't want to be, either.

I think it might be helpful to divide your practical needs, for support and care, from your emotional ties to your boys (and their families?). If they, truly, are not the sort of people who are going to go to work on caregiving issues cheerfully and with goodwill, then try to keep the responsibilities out of their hands by making a structured but flexible plan for your older age.

What sort of support and help have you noticed you are beginning to need?
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