So, I’m the one you hate. What can I do to change how you feel about people like me?

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I’m the daughter in law some of you are going to hate. The one who has the freedom to travel and go as she pleases within limits. Meanwhile, my PIL are living in another state battling cancer. I’m the one you despise since your up day and night caring for your elderly parent while I’m at home resting and taking care of my children. I’m the one who lives states away and only visit once or twice a year. I’m the one who wouldn’t dare agree with hubby quitting his job (not at his age), and spending all his retirement 💵 on his parents elderly care just so we can later demand and burden our children by starting the cycle all over again.


I’m so sorry this is happening to soo many families and it angers me that many parents didn’t plan for their senior care and living arrangements. It’s not fair despite the unconditional love.


That being said, for those of you that are caregivers to your parents, what type of assistance would be helpful?


Basically, What can “I” do to alleviate some of the stresses and resentment towards distant family members and siblings?


~Sincerely someone on the opposite side 💐

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Hi Bodoki

In my opinion, you are not 'on the opposite side'. Just a different side. So dont beat yourself up.

I dont despise you. In truth, I think I envy your freedom of choice. I have never been able to go on 2 holidays a year. In fact it one one every 10 years (if we managed to save up a little)

Being low paid workers (and boy did we work hard) it was all we could do to keep our heads above water.
BUT we are not complaining, in fact I think we did well.
This was just to show that we could not, ever, have saved enough for our old age.

I am a carer, who is being cared for by the one I am caring for. I think of this as normal. Each of us cares for the other.
I/we would hate for our children to have to look after us. I will go into a government run 'home' before I do that.

Now you have a little of my back ground, I can offer how I see would help.

Phone regularly, let the carer rant on (even if you have heard it all so many times before.

Send flowers. Not a big bunch, just one you have selected yourselves. A special food parcel (after you have checked it they can eat what you send.
Try and arrange some respite for the carer. Some time away. You dont have to pay for a holiday for them (although that would be nice). Just find a place where the cared only can go for a week or two, and pay for that. Ask if they would like a top to bottom clean for the home. Send little vouchers for a Spa day for the carer and some one to care for the loved one while they enjoy it.

Basically, ANYTHING that you do out of love would help. :)

I am happy you have the choice to stay away and I send you smiles.
Take care of your self and yours.

Buzzy
Sorry I rambled on a bit there. lol
Just my thoughts came spilling out. :)
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Isthisrealyreal Aug 14, 2018
Wize as always BB.

You are loved.
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Why not come out and ask the caregiver? My step mom took care of my ornery dad 24/7 - he refused to let anyone come in for a break until she snapped - and then it was 2 hours 2 days a week only.

I asked - she wanted help applying for any and all county services they could qualify for. She wanted help applying for Medicaid in preparation for eventual nursing home placement. She needed regular breaks. I went there one weekend a month and she left town each weekend to visit friends, go to the casino, etc. she always came back refreshed.

Each caregiver needs something different. For people who lived locally - she through it helpful if they would bring over groceries etc.

but ask and LISTEN
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faeriefiles Aug 14, 2018
This is a great answer, exactly what I would suggest. Ask how you can help within the range of what you are willing and able to do.
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Bodoki,

I'm also a DIL who lives far away. I think just the fact that you are trying to get information on how to help is excellent. It sounds like you acknowledge that someone is sacrificing to care for your husband's parents so he doesn't have to. Because they are doing it, your family has less demands on how you spend time and money. You can stay on track with your plans for the future. I think a lot of people would just like the out of town siblings to recognize the sacrifice.
The only quibble I have with your post is the breezy supposition that it was poor planning that leads to people needing help from their families. It is not. It amazes me how many people take their own financial security as something they earned and deserve on merit. It's smug. Many, many people planned properly, saved what they could and still got devastated by an illness or infirmity. If not their own, a child, spouse or parent's needs can derail the best laid plans. We don't deserve our health and wealth. It's a gift.
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Tothill Aug 16, 2018
I think OP would have a better understanding of her in laws financial situation and whether or not they saved than you or I.

In my case my father is a spender and a hoarder. Any garden tool, gadget or gizmo he is going to buy. He is over $100,000 in debt at 89 years old, yet still spending. That number does not include his back income tax which is another $100k+.

He thinks that as he has mortgage and cc ‘insurance’ that will pay out on death. It is ok. He has no concept of how care maybe needed in the future and that money will be needed. His ‘insurance’ will not pay out unless he dies. It will not cover his income tax debt either.

Me, Dad does not believe I have anything to contribute. So when I visit I clean the bathroom, the kitchen, toss rotting food from the fridge and counters, and leave it at that.

when I visited last month he mentioned dribbling pee and I think he wet the bed. When I went this month I brought him pull ups and pee guards. He had forgotten the conversation and denied needing them. I told him they were for if He needs them in the future.

Dad’s short term memory and reasoning skills are not great anymore. His long term memory is great.
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I don't hate you. You are the daughter-in-law, and I wouldn't expect you to be doing the hands-on care.

I'm curious -- so just who IS doing the hands-on care for your in-laws? Did that person have to give up their job to do so? Their financial future? A solid retirement? Are they being compensated? Does that person resent your husband for not helping out more?

I am in the in-town sibling, and I have three brothers. Two visit during the year (but never stay more than one or two days). One hardly ever visits. He doesn't do a thing for our elderly mother. I resent him more than the others for that.

BUT...I don't live with my mother, she doesn't live with me, and we will never live together. She needs more help, has the money to hire it, and refuses to do so. I limit my exposure to her as much as possible -- my job is to drive her places, and I do it as little as possible. (She gave me her car and still thinks *I* owe her.) I resent her expectations of me. She was am emotionally abusive and controlling mother (as she still is now). I have set strict limits on my chauffering, and she isn't happy.

If I were the one living with and taking care of my mother, I would really resent my brothers. And, quite frankly, I wouldn't do it.

How to help out? Money (especially if the in-law who is doing the caregiving isn't being compensated). If there will be an estate, insist that the caregiver(s) get more of the estate than anyone else.
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anonymous832426 Aug 14, 2018
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I needed to hear this.
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When I text you and tell you Dad has had his fourth “blow out” in an hour, he’s restless and anxious and angrily refuses to let me call 911, please don’t text me a photo of you sitting with your feet up on your fire pit/bowl with a can of beer in your hand.
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Jenaynay Aug 16, 2018
Same.
Thanks, siblings for taking 2 hours every six months to visit your father. I haven't had a real vacation in the 8 years I've supported your dad. But sure, I hope you are enjoying your time at the beach.
Jerks
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Well you are here and you've been reading and educating yourself about some of the problems your inlaws and their caregivers might be facing, I think that is a great start because one of the common rants is about clueless relatives who offer unwanted and impractical advice. Don't do that. Ever.
And I second the advice to insist that those who are caregivers get financial compensation, preferable as it is given and not as part of a division of the estate because that can keep someone in the trenches far too long - if mom or pop eventually spend 5 years in a facility will anyone remember and place the same value on those previous years of sacrifice?
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Isthisrealyreal Aug 14, 2018
Great point cwillie, people have short memories. As the song said, What have you done for me lately?
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Bodoki, I have thought about your question and comments, I don't think most people hate the family that's not the 24/7 boots on the ground caregiver, I'm sure some do or at least say they do. I can say that I hated being the chosen one, like my life mattered less so I could easily sacrifice everything while the others were viewed as more important. So, I'm sure they felt my pissiness about the situation, never towards them but maybe they thought it was about them. Anyways, I think that if you do small things on a regular basis, ask them what they want you to do and stay in touch, if they need daily contact include the whole family, today you, tomorrow one of the kids, then husband, then another kid, back to you, etc. Having anyone call and say they just called to say hi and I love you is HUGE, the calls need not be long, talk to mom, dad and caregiver, let them all know how much they are valued even from another state.

Get creative, send a care package that has something fun for everyone and individually, home baked bread, cookies, cards (something to post on the fridge) cute magnets to hold the stuff or create a board that can be hung up and then the little love notes can be attached. Caregiving is isolating, so knowing that someone is thinking about you and how you are doing makes it a little less lonely.

Depending on the age of your children you could include their friends and send 30 homemade cards, pictures or hand turkeys, you get the idea.

If you know the caregiver send a thank you note with some flowers and a gift card for something that means a great deal to them.

Last but not least, be emotionally available to the caregiver, let them lean on you, be understanding and compassionate, DO NOT JUDGE, even if you cringe because of what they say, remember they are only venting so they don't blow.

Thank you for wanting to help in the best way you can.
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I didn't mind doing the Lion's Share of the work but I never got a break. Ever. Even when I began to fall apart no one had time to step in so I could get away. No one wanted to give up any of their free time for their own mother and one week was too much to ask for but it was okay that I gave up all my time. 365 days a year for five years getting 4 to 5 hours of sleep a night..

It would It would have been an absolute godsend if someone had said "hey I got this. Get out of here." I would have been so grateful and would have returned somewhat renewed to carry on with the job.

I also would have felt that somebody cared about me and loved me instead of feeling alone, unloved, and invisible.
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Texasgal Aug 16, 2018
Mojorox - I FEEL YOU!  I'm in almost the same situation but it hasn't been for as long as you have been doing it.  Can you afford or can your aging parent afford respite care?  You need a break before you have a break down and I'm sure your health is suffering already.  But yes I'm the one who is the main caregiver and my mom has moved back in with me (3rd time).  The rest of my family never tells me that they will come and stay with her so that I can get a break.  I finally got one this year - I had not been out of town for a year so I left for one night to the coast.  Amazing what just one night away did.  But yes they sit back and criticize, judge and just act so uncaring towards me!  I don't get it.  I feel like I should be placed on a pedestal since I'm the one doing the "heavy" lifting so to speak.  My SIL always wants to know how much longer I'm going to work.  Well I'm only 58, and am a single homeowner. I have 2 brothers that are much better off financially then me...do you think they ever step up to the plate and do much for their mother....NOPE!  So yes God willing I'll probably work until I'm 6 feet under.  I have my senior years quickly approaching and it's so expensive to grow old in this country.  I hope you get some relief soon!
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Okay- you asked.
Props and kudos to your relatives who sound like decent caring people.
Have you told them that?
I think in the 8 years of taking complete care of my elderly mother I have never heard that from my "distant" brother who lives under 3 miles away. You would think he lived across the continent. I have sacrificed quite a lot, as I am sure your relatives have. A little appreciation or validation from him would mean a lot.
I understand some people are busy or have families or jobs or whatever the excuse is- but really., who doesn't???
You can show a little concern towards their own welfare for starters. Realize that maybe they don't WANT to be in the situation they are now in but that it sometimes is the only choice they have because someone else in family thinks it shouldn't be their problem.

Some tangible things:
*Call and actually listen to what they have to say.
*Offer to help pay for an ongoing sitter to come maybe once or twice a week so they can have an actual break/date night etc.-
*Maybe a meal delivery or grocery delivery service a couple of days a week? What about while you are doing all of that traveling you maybe take a weekend to come and stay to relieve them. Too much? well how about ask them to make a list of things you could do from where you are. Some kind of paper work research or planning etc. and let them know that you would honestly like to help in some way from where you are and that you would like them to think about it for a couple of days and to tell you what.

This is life. Its not a matter of "Oh I'm just not good at that, or I'm just too busy. Its a worldwide concern. Most don't plan on getting sick or having Alzheimer, Cancer and diseases. No one really expects or knows when or what is going to happen or for that matter what age. You can get mad at poor planning all you want but Karma has a funny way of changing everything.
Step in, honestly listen to them, and I think you will be surprised that the resentment will probably start to disappear
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joanne27 Aug 16, 2018
Well said!! Thank you!!
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A lot of people here criticize other caregivers and I very much disapprove of that. Although what I write may seem harsh, please excuse me because I wish to answer your question respectfully and honestly. 

If I were asking this question, I would think that my answer seems overly dramatic, especially since it's in addition to many others. If you would, I ask that you please kindly understand that I don't mean to be rude in any way, but the opportunity to explain this is rare or non-existent. 

To better help a caregiver would likely require sacrificing things you have been unwilling to as of yet. Please also understand that it isn't an all or nothing thing. Perhaps you can adjust some of your time, some of your money and some of your social endeavors. 

I've actually been thinking about this over the last several days, so I'm surprised to see your question. I have so much more to say but I'd prefer to take a bit of time to better formulate the remainder of my input, but I wish to start now.

In a small nutshell, give them time and money, an apology and lots of kindness. 

No matter what it looks like from the outside, and regardless of the level of caregiving needed, know that for the caregiver this is many levels of absolute destruction emotionally, physically and financially. 

Imagine you've lost your business, your savings, your mental health and almost lost your significant other, while the others who have far more resources, have basically abandoned you except for when they criticize you and tell you about their travels, etc., while you can't leave, or do much else.

My well-being and likely my future are in complete ruins. Believe it or not--and I would NOT have believed it from someone else--I am in no way exaggerating. I would never have understood this before I did it. 

Thank you for asking this question. I hope to add to this. Additionally, if you have questions, please ask them to me. I'm a former tutor and am practiced in ways of patiently--and believe it or not, kindly--explaining things in various levels of detail.

Best wishes as you go forth with your learning and possible changes!!
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Kalliekaykat Aug 16, 2018
Well said! Thank you for your response!
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