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I've been pondering why our elderly parents and loved ones do not speak up when they require care and it comes time that they have declined in health and/or can no longer live alone. It has been said that the generation before most of us "Baby Boomers" was known as "The Silent Generation," a group born between 1925 to 1942. That may be part of why they do not speak up when they require help. Opinions?

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I am of that generation and have 2 LTC policies. I do not expect my 2 children to give up their lives and families to care for me. I have moved back to the city where they live (5 years ago when my husband died) into an apartment in a senior community and like it very much. When the time comes I feel prepared for assisted living or nursing home. Most likely I will need memory care and at least the kids know that in my right mind I am OK with that and am financially prepared.
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Alzh101 Sep 3, 2018
Thank you for being realistic and proactive. What a blessing that you prepared yourself and saved your children from having to make those decisions for you.
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Interesting question. I've considered it quite a bit, as it's so prevalent. I have some theories, but, no proof. What I do know is that there seem to be few seniors who actually plan and actually made the decision when it's time. I say let's use them as a model. Let's see how they did it.

I've seen so much of the situation where the seniors are ailing, struggling, in need of assistance and resist care, with various people that I know, that I think that I have gone overboard. I'm no where near ready, but, I'm already thinking of setting myself up so that I won't have to do it later. I HOPE that I'll be one of the few who doesn't resist or go kicking and screaming. But, will I change and become one who becomes a worry to others and a person who refuses help? I found that it's not so much helping our seniors who are in need, but CONVINCING them to accept the help. It really boggles the mind the hoops we have to jump through.

What I've noticed, even with seniors who do NOT have dementia, is that they have a distorted view of their situation. Their reality seems skewed. Things that seem reasonable, now they don't see. At times, I get frustrated. I wonder if being so positive, caring, platonic, etc., might be unhelpful. It might be more productive if we are blunt with our ailing seniors who need help. What if we told them they were driving us crazy and that their refusal to acknowledge and accept help and change was burdensome and annoying? Would they care? Are they able to fully appreciate what we are saying? Would it inspire them to be more proactive in voicing their need and accepting help?

What do you say to a senior with mobility issues who refuses to pay a professional house cleaner, because she just doesn't want to spend the money? Or who insists on walking up and down stairs to do laundry, when there are funds to pay for it to be done? When you explain how a fractured hip, if one should fall would be a terrible price to pay.......they shrug it off. So, yes. It is indeed a mystery.

Perhaps there needs to be a Public Service Campaign to address it, with actual seniors who have made some sound decisions as the spokes people.
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dlpandjep Aug 27, 2018
Thoughtful/insightful answer. My Mother has advanced dementia and although she's a sweetheart, she can also be a handful. There HAVE been times when I told her she was driving me crazy. She always pauses, thinks about it and tells me she's sorry. Talk about being humbled. Sometimes she makes perfect sense. Night before last, she told me she didn't think she would be here much longer. (Kind-of under her breath). I asked her why. She said, "I just feel it." I hope and pray she's wrong.
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Llama, I believe it's as simple as not wanting to be a burden combined with not wanting to give up their independence. They were brought up to think you had
to be strong. Going through the great depression etc. instilled a tough hide maybe?
Not to mention the fact that nursing homes have a horrible reputation. Who would want to end up in one of "those places".

These are my thoughts about this.
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poetry21 Aug 31, 2018
Gershun, you are saying that nursing homes have a horrible reputation...First of all, not all of them, and I saw already one, that is good(unfortunately my mom could be there only on rehab, and another one where we are waiting list. But yes, nobody want to end up in one of those places, but what if physical health of a person overcoming mental health and the mental health convert the life of the whole family in a hell? So , what should I do, let my kids to live in a hell who knows how long or put mom in NH where I am visiting every day and she kind of feeling OK there, not much better or worse if she will be with us at home. Only AT HOME she will stop the life of 4 people completely. Even now, because of course when i am visiting her, I am crying (she is less and less the person I knew), they affected by that, but if she ll be with us, it will be much worse. So yes, I did tell my kids, if I am not dead before my brain start dying, please put me in such places, do not hesitate.
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“Use it up,
Wear it out,
Make it do,
OR DO WITHOUT” (emphasis mine).
The family members for whom I have cared were taught to do all they could for themselves WITHOUT COMPLAINT.
These dear folks weren’t “silent” without having a reason to be so.
Many of them went straight from being “seen but not heard” to being wage earners, because at least for the amazing Middle Class in our country during the Great Depression, there wasn’t the luxury of a whiney, protracted, decade long period to ”find yourself” before getting a job and adding to the resources of the family.
SEVEN of the eight surviving children of my grandfather and immigrant grandmother graduated from HS and went into a full time job the following Monday, and brought home the pay check to Mama as soon as it had been cashed, and DID THAT until the day they married.
Three of the seven never married, living at home until my grandmother died of Vascular Dementia at 81.
For the last several years of her life, my grandmother lived with sundowning, and her daughters took turns in her sad nightly vigils AND went to work EVERY MORNING, one commuting 35 miles one way, 70 round trip.
I am now the lovingly responsible caregiver for “the Baby”, who at 90 is the last survivor. By the time she found the voice she needed to speak for herself, the decisions she MIGHT have made had been largely lost to her, tendrils of dementia symptoms were already clouding her mind, and most of the decision making she might have chosen for herself had been lost to her.
I have the painful and difficult responsibility of attempting to manage her circumstances in the ways that most benefit HER.
I thank God that we are able to have conversations on her GOOD DAYS that help me discern what she might want for the rest of her life.
Sadly, I see many in her AL who have lost even more independence than she.
By the way “nursing homes” during the ‘30’s and on up until fairly recently were synonymous, and described as “Going up the hill to the poorhouse”. Yes, no one wanted to go there, and fewer made it to that age anyway.
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sadTexasSister Sep 3, 2018
Well put, AnnReid. I've heard "I don't want to be a burden" for years ... and... "you might as well kill me if you're going to put me in one of those homes."
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My wife and I are part of the Silent Generation. I was a long-distance caretaker for my mother. We both have LTC policies and have been married 52 years. We were brought up to believe that you stood on your own two feet, without asking for help from anyone. We helped each other. It is very difficult, after a lifetime of taking care of ourselves, to ask for help and we don't. Our children have their own lives and families. They don't need our problems. They do keep track of us and constantly offer help. Unfortunately, there are now things we cannot physically do, and we reluctantly have to enlist the aid of one of our sons-in-law. Our kids get upset when they find out we did something they don't think we should have done. As long as we are able, we will continue to do what we can. Hope this gives a little insight into the Silent Generation.
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Madtoe Sep 4, 2018
My late parents would have agreed with you.
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I took care of both of my parents, who were born in the 1920’s. Since they are no longer here, I have been reflecting on the differences of their difficulties and on ours. Of course, there are so many differences in generation, but they sincerely worked hard and did not whine and complain. With the exception of a few times, I don’t ever remember my mom saying she was too tired to cook dinner for our family. She worked 8+ hours a day! When I come home from work, it’s a different story! My parents worked hard raising me and my sister- so we would have better opportunities than they did when they were growing up. They did not sit around and talk about their financial woes, they worked through them. They were taught to keep things private because there were a lot of things you just didn’t talk about. In this age, we are groomed to “talk about it”... we talk about everything and I’ve even seen things on tv advertisements that I’d personally not talk about!! To some extent, I wish my generation would be more like theirs. I also think when we get to that point, we will not voice our needs either. After experiencing all the difficulties with them in the caregiving journey, I have a greater understanding and admiration about their plight. They are truly the greatest generation, of which we could stand to learn a few things.
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I think, to them, its a sign of weakness to ask for help. My Dad was one of 8 during the depression. The older ones took care of the younger ones. They were taught they had to help support the family. My Dad had a paper route at 12. Worked our local Amusement park, when he was old enough, the Ferrys and then to DuPont where he retired after years working there. So, think its kind of hard for them to admit they need help.
And then you have some that think you should be at their beck and call.
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I've thought about this a lot over the last few years. Assuming no serious dementia, I think it can be a combination of things that others have mentioned.

First, I think it's our nature to rely on the past as a predictor of the future - I always used to be able to ride a bike, I certainly can now. I've driven a car for 50 years! I'm not stopping now!

Second, I think most of us feel younger inside than our age. Inside, I still feel pretty much like I did when I was in my 30s. But now I'm in my 50s. For example, when I mentioned moving to senior living to my aunt and uncle, who are in their early 80s. They laughed and said, oh, for when we get old, ha ha? (Um...isn't being in one's 80s at least close to being old? Are you expecting to wake up one day and realize you are "old?")

Third, my unscientific observation is that the brain does change somehow as we age. We will find out when we get there ourselves. Much like how things that baffled us when we are children, "suddenly" make sense once we're grown up, maybe our brains process information differently. Maybe this is what society interprets as "wisdom" that comes with age? I don't know exactly - but this effort that adult children take to "convince" their parents of something is rarely effective. I wish there were magic words we could use.

Additionally, some older adults seem to get overwhelmed when they realize their living situation must change, but they don't know how or where to start. The overwhelm could be part of the change in the brain. As younger adults they might have researched what to do, asked questions, formed a plan, and moved forward, but sometimes, for some people, that process doesn't happen when they are older. They let things stay as they are, and put a decision off for later because they don't know what to do.

Similarly, maybe our perceptions of risk change with an aging brain... "oh, I won't fall!"

Fourth, family dynamics. We all know how the older look at the younger and say, "my, you're getting so big!" or "I remember when you were in diapers!" That seems to negate all the learning and growth since you were a toddler. Similarly, there can be suspicion for ulterior motives regarding inheritance.

Fifth, we Americans love our independence. Others have made this point.

Sixth, and of course, fear of death. By bringing in help, we are admitting publicly that we are mortal. If family is helping, we can deny it a bit longer because, oh, they're just being a good daughter/son.

The thing that bothers me is that the adult children get stuck, in a way. Parents say they don't want help, and when they do get in trouble, they don't call us. Then we find out later and feel guilty. Next time they're in trouble, they do call us. Then we have to drop everything and go help. (If we don't drop everything...well, you're a terrible daughter/son.) Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

My conclusion is that I have a great empathy for older adults faced with change and I suspect the situation is so much more difficult than we know. Thanks for listening to my long-winded reply.
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Children do not always have the best interest in their parents care. It is all for them I am a senior and caring for my husband who has Al and MDS. He could no longer care for the yard with mowing and snow etc. our oldest son was supposedly having a bad time financially so he asked if he could remodel our barn into a house for he and his wife and he would pay x dollars rent and he would take care of yard and trash and snow removal. It then comes back to me that all the work he was doing he should not have to pay rent. So I quit charging him and his brother started doing the yard etc. I also had to hire a man to plow. Son also telling us we create to much trash. In the winter he did nothing to help us. I had to call and ask him to shovel the snow so I could get out the door. He then wanted us to carry a loan for 20 years and he would buy the place. We probably would not live that long in the first place and we have 3 other children of whom after we die were to receive a portion of this place after it was sold. He also told his brother he did not know why he was thinking of buying it as he was going to inherit it after we are gone. Where do they come up with these ideas. Now he claims he has $20000 in The barn and still has no running water or a place to shower or do laundry and it is our fault. He got so mad that we would not carry the loan that he no longer speaks to us. Living on same property and they would drive in with noses in the air and has not spoke to us for 2 + years. Has not been paying rent, only a minut amount on electricity. We moved off property to Az from Wa. because I could not stand being snubbed by him and wife. His father is dying from the MDS and he does not even care. Also wants reimbursed for what he has in the barn or he will tear it all out when he leaves. He has had a pretty selfish attitude. I could have used some help getting his dad to Doctors appts. in the winter as we were 80 miles from them but he was too busy. Our youngest son now rents our house and has been doing all maintenance and up keep and paying rent.
Was a big mistake to let oldest come on property and should have known it was only to benefit him not help us.
Always telling us you should not take this med or that one, and we should do this or that, you should eat this way or that. Even got his sister to start telling us we should be able to save X dollars after hubby was awarded disability comp. from VA. Why so they could have it after we are gone?
I do not blame parents for not wanting to ask for help from their kids. Some might be great and others not.
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Coffae Sep 3, 2018
Mamram - I am sad to hear about your oldest son. It looks like your youngest is a pip though. May I give you some advice? Please make a living will that will hold through probate. When it comes down to family business, if anything is in your name, what is in the will will be done. However, if it is not your eldest son will fight and win everything, because even though he will not work for his living now, he will fight in court for everything and your other child(ren) will not fight because they are too heartbroken at losing you to fight. Do your will today.
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So, would you like to admit you need help? Most of us regardless of the generation the media has assigned us prefer to be independent and autonomous and not "bother" others whether it be family or friends. No one wants to be seen as needy. We don't want to admit to failing health, diminishing hearing, vision or physical abilities; or to our fears of falling, slipping on ice. We don't want to be a burden to our children or family/friends. Sometimes people think they are managing just find...and the need is in the eye of the beholder. I think resistance is the norm...and if you are asking because someone in your family needs help, tread slowly and gently; ease into offering the help whether with cleaning, transportation, shopping...maybe a local office on aging can provide independent services so your loved one can still hang on to their dignity and independence. Sometimes it may take a crisis for someone to wake up and smell the coffee...
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