What is wrong with dying? I am not so sure that extending life to the point of wringing every last drop of breath out of life is the right thing to do.

That is, Unless one has unlimited financial resources to buy professional care 24/7. We should not have to put a price on elder care but for most people, the child or children end up bearing the work.

Are we sure we want to continue extending life when life is a body and no memory? Or a good mind but nothing but pain for the body?

I read these stories about all the caregivers doing their best to care for their parents at the cost of their own lives & it is so sad. Been there, done that.

I guess this will not be an issue in the future with Obamacare. Apparently an ambulance will take elderly / frail people directly to the funeral home. Lol! Trying to joke there!!!

I am NOT talking about assisted suicide. I am saying if an older person has no realistic future of living life on their own, what is wrong with stopping life-extending medications?

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Good question Sunflowerpower. You can speak with your children about your view. You can select a health care proxy that will follow your wishes. You can be specific about what you do and don't want done. You can give your family 'permission' to place you in a facility when the time is right. That will allow them to be loving family members rather than care givers.
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We should work hard and save our money while we are young, and be financially accountable, so we can afford to take care of ourselves when we are old.

We should clean our homes, so we don't leave piles and piles of things for our children/relatives to sort through.

We should stay physically active and mentally healthy. We should eat whole, clean, organic foods... not food prepared by restaurants or big corporations. We should keep our weight down within normal/slender ranges.

And all the things everyone else said here.

Boy I'm far from perfect at all of this and have a lot of good work to do...

Most importantly, set a good example, enjoy the ride, laugh, be kind, bring joy and be thankful for this beautiful life every day!
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I agree with you 100% Sunflower. I think I commented on here one time, a person's brain can be mush, they don't remember their family, they can't speak or eat on their own but make sure they take their blood pressure pill! That's a cynical way of looking at things, I know this, but it comes from experience.

My great-grandfather lived with my grandma and my grandma told my mom that she would never put my mom in that position. Of course then my mom ended up caring for my grandmother (I helped some but I was young) and my mother vowed that I would never be put in that position. We all know what happened. I cared for my mom briefly before she died but moved my dad in with me for over 5 years until he went to a NH.

I've told my 20 year old daughter that if I ever get diagnosed with Alzheimer's I will commit suicide 1 year after the diagnosis. That will give me time to get my affairs (such as they are) in order and to say goodbye to people before I am unable to make any decisions on my own. However, what if I were felled by a stroke? Heart attack? Congestive heart failure? I am all alone. I have a brother who has his own family to care for. I have no contingency plan if I were to have a stroke or become physical disabled for any other reason. But I've told and told and told my daughter that she should never ever feel guilty for putting me in a nursing home, that I will not have her give up her life to care for me. She saw what I went through with my mom and dad but she doesn't take me seriously (after all, she's only 20). And I keep thinking I need to put all of this on paper but I put it off......But it's always in the back of my mind.
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Make a Living Will. It isn't everything, but nothing is guaranteed. When you get to a certain age, or stage, decide if you want to keep getting screenings, based on what you think you would want to do if there were bad news. Power of Attorney, if there is anyone you trust that much. That made things so much easier for me with my mom.
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I think one of the most important things we can do for our children is get a high quality, well-paying long-term care insurance policy for ourselves.
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Save prudently for retiirement, money equals options. Have a will and a living directive.
if you are diagnosed with a terminal or chronic disease you have right to direct what care you accept. I always thought if i was diagnosed with AL I would cut off all other meds once I got to a certain stage, just to give the body a chance to catch up to the brain's decline.
i also joked that is the market declined and my funds started to run low after I retire, I would take up smoking.
Old is tough, old and poor is even tougher, it makes you dependent on loved ones or the government.
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The truth of the matter is, we caregivers mostly do not want our loved ones to be burdened like we are. Yet, we are a living example of 'doing the right thing.' So as an Elder Lawyer, I can only say take all the advice above about Living Wills, POA's, put as much in writing as you can, and talk , talk , talk to your kids, your spouse your loved ones about your plans for the future, especially if you have a diagnosis of some kind that leads you to believe you may end up in care. Because the second truth of the matter is every one of the 7 people I have been a caregiver for, would have liked to make a different decision, but they were not able to for physical or financial reasons, and therein lies the rub. You loose much control and even rejecting certain health measures does not guarantee an end to life or that you will not need care. And finally, every one of you as a caregiver is a dedicated advocate for your loved one, and this by far and away may be your greatest job. So at the very least, I hope you instill in your loved ones the need to advocate for what you may want when you no longer can.
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I can't agree more. I don't want my daughter saying the things about me that I read caregivers on here saying. I think the most important thing a person can do is to start preparing for your old age by age 50. Right now, you need $3000 a month to get into Assisted Living and it goes up every year. If you can't afford that, you have to burden your children. I have all the POA's and living wills, but what I need is $$ to stay independant. Life is not fair.
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I am 56 and my husband is 62 & just retired. My mom had been ill for YEARS, in and out of hospitals, and passed while hospitalized for the final time. Her mind was excellent to the very end. Her body had been in bad shape for years. Her death was long and painful and heartbreaking for all. Daddy had a fairly good body but no memory. He dropped dead - instantly. I've seen death both ways - they are both bad. They didn't have money. I don't have money for a nursing home or assisted living, etc......

That is why I say unless you are financially independent, a nursing home in any way, shape or form is out. I don't want to use whatever $$$ may be left for a nursing home. I would rather my family go to Disneyland or something. :)

I am even rethinking this whole funeral thing. Why not throw a big party instead? I don't visit my parents at the cemetery. I just get upset and cry and feel sad for a few days - all over again. What about cremation & throw me in the ocean? Or similar. NOT & NEVER have been independently wealthy. I have heard of a couple who think the whole funeral thing is a financial scam and refuse to have funerals when they pass.
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Please see my blog for a fuller discussion of your question. bgmatthewsblog.wordpress

Two brief related excerpts from "What to Do about Mama?"

"In the light of my caregiving experience, and with the hope that my children will not have to face avoidable stress, I pledge that: 1) I will not leave my children the burden of my messes; 2) If my children become my caregivers I will not to be stubborn and dead set in my ways; 3) I will relinquish control (at least some of it) to them; and 4) When, in my old age, if I do the things I’ve said I won’t—they may, as I’ve told them, “Just show me the book!” What to Do about Mama? p. 222

I would respectfully suggest, however, that it would behoove us all to have this difficult discussion well before the time of need arises so that decisions for treatment are based on our loved one’s expressed wishes. 160
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