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Last week I was so excited about this wonderful retirement community that I had visited, that is like living in a high rated resort. My Dad looked at the brochure and said that would be great place to move to in a couple of years for him and Mom.... HELLO.... you are 92 and 96.

My Mom doesn't like her geriatric Doctor because this doctor will tell Mom that her medical problems, such as her eyes and ears, walking, etc. are age related and that there isn't anything to reverse that. What a face my Mom will make.

Same Doctor suggested to Dad to get one of those Life-Alerts because he will fall occasionally, especially if he is working in the yard. Dad said "that's for old people". Oh well, guess we will leave Dad face down in the dirt and leaves until Mom finds him an hour later. Mom is almost deaf so Dad calling out won't help. Hopefully a neighbor will hear his calls.

I'm ready to help my parents pack to go to a safer environment as their 3-story single family home scares me to death as it is NOT elder proof. All those stairs that they are struggling to go up and down. All that yard work they can barely do anymore [finally they hired someone to mow]... and when it snows, don't get me started on that.

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You know what accept gracously whether you need it or not.
My cat was chasing a mouse round my chair last night and I didn't jump up and say "OK kitty don't bother I can catch it myself"
I am fiercely independent and usually find a way round things i can't manage but as most caregivers know it's nice to give up the responsibility from time to time.
So CM help those younge people across the road they need you to look out for traffic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Olma, imagine how we'll feel when they start taking our arms and helping us cross the road! Gosh I'll be livid...
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My daughter offered to carry my groceries yesterday.I'm 63 and care for 94 mother who I channeled when I said to my daughter "I'm not that old that I need help with my bags!"
Hmmm......The mind never reflects how others see us.
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Linda22, I hope you didn't interpret my comments as criticism for those who've placed elders outside of the home. We've had to use SNFs for my mother, sister and father. And I know that may be an option for my father someday.

You've had a much longer caregiving experience than I have and probably much more experienced and knew and know what's best for your situation. I wouldn't presume to question your decisions.

And there does come a time when it's impossible for the family to care for the elder. I hope that doesn't happen to us, but it might and I know it will be an emotional trial for both of us.

FreqFlyer, I've never lived abroad although decades ago I dreamed of living in France. Still do. And I totally agree with you about being a career woman. I'd much rather be working now and enjoying the intellectual challenges of the legal field than chauffeuring, running interference between doctors and attempts to involve ACOs, trying to just minimally manage 2 houses as well as all the other things that go along with caregiving. But that doesn't mean that I don't take pleasure in caring for my father and knowing that he's still enjoying life as uch as he can, which he wouldn't in an institutional facility.

And I'd also be battling guilt the rest of my life if I didn't help my father now.

It takes a long time to learn to accept and be a good caregiver. I made mistakes with my mother's and sister's care and don't intend to make those again with my father. But after that, I've still got a life of my own to live.

It's good to read the opinions of others who see these issues in long term as well as the broader perspectives of the difficult choices that have to be made.
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^^^^ oops, the second part of my post above was to Tryingmybest.
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sandwich42, BINGO !! I've totally forgotten about within the professional retirement home care there is the kitchen staff, cleaners, skilled nurses, physical therapy techs, activities director, transportation drivers, people who know how to handle emergencies, generators should the power go out, etc.

I've been a career woman my whole adult life, loved it because a business project always ended and a new more exciting project was next on the list.... if I stayed home I just couldn't get excited about doing laundry, vacuuming, or grocery shopping because those *projects* never had an ending, and rarely were there any high-fives of congratulations for a job well done.

My significant other and myself are seeing what my parents are putting me through by not going into a really great retirement community where they can make new friends, and have all the conveniences they need without having to call me all the time. Then I could spend QUALITY time with them without being so resentful and so very tried.

GardenArtist, how right you are about our American society so caught up in youth. If I see one more ad for that neck lift I am going to scream !!!! When I was living a short time in France, I noticed that elderly men were flirting with women of their own age group, and it was so sweet to see.... none of these older folks had any type of plastic surgery, they were aging gracefully :)
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GA, I agree that this generation may be feeling like they're being squeezed out. But in so many families, the children are doing/have done everything they can to keep the folks at home, In my family, Mom lived with my sister and I, 6 months at a time, for nearly 18 years. We took care of absolutely everything for her, including taking her on trips. But we'd have been neglectful if we didn't address the increasing health problems and assess our ability to provide adequate care. I know she feels cast aside but we've done all we can.
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It is the same argument about quitting your job to be a stay at hom mom or put baby into some sort of daycare. Loud fights are had, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Some of us have to work, but would have LOVED to stay home and have groceries, or stayed home part time. Some of the SAHMs I knew would have LOVED to get a job because they realized they really didn't enjoy child rearing. They loved their children and being a mom but didn't derive personal fulfillment out of playdoh and poop. They craved adult interaction and mental stimulation. Neither one is wrong. Neither one is the right thing for every body.

I am super SUPER grateful we have more and better senior residential care options than ever before. A long time ago people didn't live so long with such serious conditions. People fell down in the field with "dropsy". Lots of people died from cancer, diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and other totally treatable conditions. There was not the heroic ER rescue like there is today.

Today we are looking at a full time caregiving obligation that can last 8-20 years. TWENTY YEARS of care giving?! I can't sign up for that. I just can't. I'm a bad person. Not unless it was one of my children. I'd do it for them. Long ago, the caregiving obligation was drastically shorter. It was a temporary thing. Ten or fifteen years of caregiving is not a temporary thing at all. When my grandmother fell ill in her later years, she was nursed in the living room of one of my aunts. And then she died. It didn't go on a year.

The blame is not women working. I hear that a lot as the core problem at hand (e.g. why babies have to be in daycare...) and it isn't the problem. We don't live in the large family groups we used to, where there were lots of family around in close proximity to come provide respite and relief - men and women. We don't live in the agriculture based groups we used to, where there is some flexibility in the day (or more than if you work shift work by the hour!) If it's you, your husband, kids, and now a full time care grandma or dad, there isn't anyone to fill in for the rest of the family who are missing. If it's just you and your kids & grandma, you have an impossible row to hoe. Help has to come from somewhere.

I do not want to be a burden on my children's families. I don't want to be in their home, preventing them from having hobbies and interests or fun. I don't want to need them to wipe my butt. If I get that debilitated PLEASE put me somewhere clean & safe. If I'm raving out of my mind, PLEASE sedate me. It would break my heart to think I had caused my kids & their kids resentment and heartbreak from me being needy and difficult for any amount of time.

I always say there's a reason nursing home employees work in shifts. Nobody, not even paid professionals, can perform as a full time caregiver around the clock, every day like home caregivers do. Even the professionals get a break. And if you look at how many people are involved in a resident's care, it's more than one or two people like there is at home. Make sure to count the kitchen staff, cleaners, health aids, nurses...
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Why can't parents accept they are elderly? let me turn that around. will you accept that when you are elderly? A new employee came along boasting she was 65 and therefor the most senior person there and had to be nurtured.. burst her bubble pretty quick "I am 68" that was when i was 68!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Linda, I fully agree with you. The generation that endured so much is now finding itself squeezed out.
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GA, you've touched on some key points. It's a generational collision - my mom's generation saw parents being cared for at home by unmarried children. Or stay at home daughters. The families were large (at least in my family) and there was always someone for company, to make sure Gma wasn't alone for safety. Respite care came from relatives. But our generation has women working fulltime, little families and no one at home to make sure Gma is safe. So we turn to facilities to help care for her and keep her safe. I'm sure they feel like someone pulled a bait and switch on them. Sad deal all the way around.
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Tryingmybest, I think you've hit on an important point.

In Native American and some Asian cultures, older people are respected if not revered. And all over the world, they've seen and lived through crises, local and international, that most of their children and grandchildren hopefully will never experience.

In the US, they've gone through the Great Depression and didn't have debit or credit cards to rely on when they had no bread. They grew up in houses with no indoor plumbing or central heating.

Yet American society does gravitate and I think sometimes does emphasize the younger people, many of whom today have no idea what life is all about beyond their wireless devices.

It's no wonder that older folk don't feel valued and resent being shuffled off to institutional placements; they probably cared for their own parents and expect that of their children.

And medicine has enabled them to live longer, but that hasn't always been accompanied by an improved quality of living.

Coupled with that is the increased mobility of their adult children and frequently dual incomes and dual careers (not that there's anything wrong with that).

I wonder sometimes how the whole assisted living movement began; it certainly has benefited many caregivers but also the institutional movement itself. As with other aspects of life, it's provided an alternative for as aspect of life that probably would otherwise be taken care of by the family.

I think that's also a trend in other areas of life - I can't imagine that after WWII families would consider hiring lifestyle consultants, professional organizers, and others who make decisions that our parents easily and proudly made for themselves.

I don't know how I'll feel when I reach the age that my mobility and health are so compromised that I can't life a full life but I know that I don't intend to spend it in an institution. If I can't be gardening in one way or another, I don't want to be here!
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Sometimes I wonder if it is cultural and generational. Both of my grandmothers accepted the aging process. They never denied it and my parents never tried to shield them from it. My Dads mother lived to be 99 and she referred to herself as an old woman from the age of 60 yet she maintained a spark for life until the day she died. Both my grandmothers talked about the sadness of losing loved ones and the loss of their youth but they did not dwell.

My parents generation on the other hand... oh brother! Both sets of my inlaws who are gone now (I've been married twice) AND my own parents resist/resisted any kind an elder identity and refuse/refused to adapt.

Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that our society seems to worship youth more and more and the worth of our elders has been diminished. I have a friend from India and one day she asked me why our old people try to pretend they are not old. She said that in her culture old people accept the position of elder with pride. Yes this is just one person and she does not in anyway speak for all of Indian culture but I did find her question interesting.
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Funny (or sad, depending on my mood and the day):

When mom had been in her senior apartment for about a week, she was complaining about "all these old people" in the dining room. She didn't want to be around all these people (her same age group) who are old. "Why did you put me here with these nasty old people!?" Now that she's in the nursing home, she is super mad about having to live amongst "old biddies who don't have a d_mn bit of sense!!!" It's a dementia unit...It's not the Howard Johnson's at Disney.
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Very few people truly plan well for old age. It is something most people don't want to face. In fact, in the USA, most don't even have a will!
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My mom and her sisters are all like that - total denial. One of them was angry with me for suggesting that mom's house needed ramps and the throw rugs had to go because they are a fall hazard. My mom fell often and hard when she lived in her home. I expected her to use a Hoverround type thing soon. It's great but it doesn't go up & down stairs! That same aunt would rather see her mobility disappear than use assistive equipment. "What will people think when they see me in a chair in town?!?" Well, they aren't going to think "why is that young young woman in a chair?". They ARE going to think "Good for you granny!"

My mom has shot herself and her finances in the foot. If she had been willing to work with me and the bank years ago, she would have a lot more funds to use now that she is in nursing home care. But nope. She might have a year of money available now. There will be no inheritance. Every penny there is will be used to private pay until Medicaid can kick in. There are no trusts, no annuities, no gifted money. The real property will have to be sold. We are past the point of no return now, and it's sad. I know my dad worked his tail off for decades so there would be some kind of legacy to pass on, and there won't be in terms of money or stuff. All because mom got her heels dug in and refused to act like a grown up and do the appropriate things for her assets. Or let anyone else on her behalf. I can't even gripe to her about it because of the dementia.
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I'm discovering that accepting that nothing stays the same, everything comes and goes -- to everything there is a season, lol -- is a fact of life that we all need to learn to really wrap our heads around. It doesn't mean apathetically resigning one's self, being hopeless, or fatalistic. But we're all realizing how important it is to see our situations, our abilities and limitations, clearly. Having a healthy sense of pride in ourself, instead of silly vanity. Those are things I really am striving for, and it's because I don't want to be an emotional/financial/everyday burden -- now, or ever.
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Because age involves a lot of losses ... loss of people you love, loss of good friends to death, loss of physical attributes/youth which this culture prizes, loss of health (one thing after another ... not easy) and the final loss, death. Easy to say accept until it happens to you and if you live long enough, it will. It can be merciless.
"Aging Ain't For Sissies", Betty Davis.
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I can relate. My mother has dementia and is very frail, and still lives alone, "independently" as she calls it -- but she relies on her neighbors and me to handle her household maintenance, finances, etc. I tried to have the conversation with her about moving to AL, and the only result is that she trusts me even less than she did before.
She and my father did make some good arrangements re-their final wishes, and they were truly awesome about saving and investing, so that is a huge relief. But when I took over her finances, I discovered a lot of mess and disorganization, and a lot of questions which can now not be answered by her.
And the STUFF -- don't get me started on their STUFF!!! They weren't hoarders, but have accumulated a lifetime of stuff, and my mother never got rid of anything. So that will be a huge undertaking. When I can't sleep (which is often), instead of counting sheep, I plan out exactly how I will get rid of their stuff, step by step....
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Not everybody is so careless. My own parents and brother were wonderful about getting their affairs in order and all was painless.
BUT my husbands parents were absolutely awful. It hurts to think they thought so little of us as to leave a big giant mess!!

My MIL with alzheimers lives with me now and that only complicates the mess.

My own mom (age 89) is needy but sooooooooooooo much easier.
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A wise colleague once told me my efforts in a particular situation were "like trying to teach a pig to sing. Now it's mad and it still can't sing"
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I agree with Ziggie, I am in age denial myself.
My dad was in his 90s and referred to other elders as "old" as if excluding himself from the classification.
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Oh brother. I can so relate to this. My Mom and Dad are 85 and 81 respectively. They are both in total denial about their age, physical limitations and trouble with finances. The money thing is affecting Dads ability to get proper care. Too much in property assets to qualify for aide but nothing liquid. Neither one will talk about it. Dad is in rehab from sepsis and barely able to walk...When we try to bring the subject up he tells us to butt-out, he has a five year plan. Sigh

As a smart little six year old once said "you can lead a horse to water, but how?"
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Reality is that you can offer options (hiring someone to clear the snow for the winter), present the info and it's up to them to agree. When they don't, all you can do is go into reactive mode, dealing with the problems as they arise. It's not easy and against our natures to accept that they will fall or can't hear or see well because they won't agree to measures to help these issues. But you make yourself sick and nuts trying to get them to acknowledge the issues from aging and taking needed measures. None of us are happy with the limitations caused by our aging bodies, but it's imprudent to not take appropriate measures. I think with our parents it can be a refusal to accept that options are getting fewer and sometimes the choice is between two options that are both lousy.
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Chicago1954, many a time I've thought about getting an one-way ticket to another country. My parents were able to enjoy their retirement years, I want to do the same thing.

Well, looks like you and I are learning what NOT to do when we get older. It will feel good to have everything in order for each new step in our lives.

I came across a really good book "Because You Can't Take it With You" written by Marguerite Smolen... what an eye opener regarding what all needs to be in place. It's an easy read. In fact, I gave my Dad this book yesterday and asked him to look it over and to follower her advice ASAP. Told Dad that I was doing the same thing, and so is my significant other.
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What they are really doing, is just leaving a big mess that you are going to have to clean up.

My mother has been in the NH over a year and her house and vehicles are still like the day she left.

Neither me or my sister live within 1500 miles of her. I don't know what Mother thinks will happen to her house. By the way, my sister is 75.

I am determined not to leave my kids a mess to clean up. It would takes months.

Good luck to you. I would think that you would be tempted to wash your hands of the whole mess.
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64 years of age here.. kids you still see the world with the same eyes .. and listen with the same heart.. but tried every so often more often.. and when you have had that first stroke you just don't think of things the same.. and things bother you more.. me Love my Adult kids.. they are so great smart well carried for...and they are so much like me.. there is a song that makes me cry.. when are we getting together Dad you and me ... soon soon.. my child has grown up to be just like me.. ok I need a tissue.. miss my little children Ivan Bary and Melanie.. very much but so proud of my Big guys that have made sure I have a roof over my head untill I go to sleep with the cows once more.. do not weep for me for my Grandmother is making cookies my GrandDad needs help feeding cows and my Pop has a baseball to toss around.. I look forward last step.. yep.. not in a rush just looking forward to that last step... go to a Parade and hug a Clown laugh with some children and remember all the good days that we had. in the sun and in the snow .. and days gone by.. love a Mom a Blue Star Mom a Lady Clown
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ba8alou, good idea. I did try something like that the other day, I found an old cane that I had from decades ago when I had a back injury, and used that when I was around my parents. It did get their attention, but not the impact I was hoping for... [sigh]. I wanted my parents to realize I am aging also with health issues, too. But I will keep using the cane from now on, eventually it will sink in.

My greatest fear is that my parents will want me to be their caregivers.... but I am too old to do that, I can barely take care of myself at times :(
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Unfortunately you may need to wait for something bad to happen to one of them so that you can get the discharge/social work folks involved. For whatever reason, some elderly parents will trust total strangers before they trust their kids.
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The only thing that worked with my mom was pointing out to her that my brother (her favorite ) was going to have a heart attack taking care of all of her "emergencies" like snow floods and broken appliances.
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