I often think of how unfair this situation is. Never mind that some universal "fairness" doesn't exist. It's not as if shouting into the night "THIS ISN'T FAIR!!" is ever going to result in situations improving.

What I mean when I say "not fair" is that my parents had their time and chance to be my age already. They did what they wanted, no elders or children to take care of anymore so it was THEIR life to do as they pleased. They didn't have to wipe their parent's rear end, plead with them to bathe, deal with the rashes they got from NOT bathing, deal with their complaining, inability to do anything independently or even make their own meals. They, comparatively speaking, were carefree. They never knew this prison. They never knew the feeling of pouring your entire life into the care of someone else who is never, ever, ever going to gain abilities. Yes, they had children but children develop abilities. As long as I take care of these two it will be downhill all the way.

I resent this. I resent the hell out of it. They had their chance. They had their lives to live freely and without guilt...the same guilt heaped on me by them and my siblings. It's hard most days to not feel like some pathetic patsy who is stuck in a hell of her own making. I could easily cart them off to an assisted living place but then there's the guilt. And instilling guilt is the one talent they were masters of. Boy, could they dish it out.

Here it is, Christmas Eve, regular caregiver has the day off (all the holidays off, in fact) and I'm here begging my mother to go to the bathroom instead of having an accident in bed. And the fill in caregiver will do her best but she doesn't know this situation and doesn't know my mother has to be reminded that she needs help cleaning herself. And she refuses to let anyone help her. So what do I do? Sit and wait for her to develop sores from rashes due to uncleanliness? Does ANYBODY want their epitaph to read "Died because she refused to wipe her ass"? Well, that's where she's headed.

I don't even know if I have a question here. I'm just tired. Tired of being underappreciated, tired of having a compassionless life. All expectations and no thanks for what I do. My sibs are judgmental, full of opinions and criticism and selfish as hell. They are NO help whatsoever on any meaningful level. And they can't understand how, when asked what I want for Christmas, my answer is COVID. And I'm almost positive I'm only 50% kidding about that.

My holiday wish for everyone here is going to sound ghastly and horrible but I'm making it anyway. I hope that next year at this time, we're all free of our current miseries. If our LOs have passed, let it be painless and fast and in their sleep. If they haven't passed...well, I've got nothing here. If they haven't passed on I hope we're at least a little less miserable than this year.

We'll get through these holidays, warriors. Best to all of you :)

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It's time to "cart them off to assisted living". You are finished with this. You'll still visit and be their advocate, but it's not working. Do it.
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Reply to ArtistDaughter
NYDaughterInLaw Dec 24, 2020
Great response, Artist!
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Would appreciation really help in all this? Really? Because I can't see how.
You are correct. Fairness doesn't figure. Were we living in Ethiopia or Syria today that would be quite clear to us.
I do want to make one thing clear. Much of this is choice for you. You are choosing to have your elders live with you. I spent my career as a nurse and I loved it; most patients who spent any time in hospitals were elderly. I loved them. Easy to love three days a week for 8 hour shifts with 12 holidays a year and four weeks vacation plus excellent salary (Bay area nurses have it REALLY good). However, it has been clear my entire life that I have limitations that would preclude my being in care of my own or any other elders 24/7.
We often hear "They make too much money" or "They make too little money" or any number of other reasons why our elders cannot be in care. The other things we hear are "guilt" (as tho we are felons for wanting our own lives) and "obligation". The third thing we hear is "I promised Dad" or "I promised Mom". What we almost never hear is "It is my CHOICE to give care in my own home". Sadly, that is the truth.
Is it not always easy to accept that we are not Saints, but human beings with both limitations and rights to our own lives. It is not always easy to take the responsibility to act in our own behalf and to take the "judgements" others will put upon us for doing so. But really it is the only "answer" in a world short on answers.
I wish you the best. I encourage you to seek professional help of a good counselor (licensed social workers are the best when trained in the whole life passages adaptation). Your feelings, your exhaustion, your anger are trying to tell you that you have neared the end in what you are able to tolerate. Please act to protect yourself; you deserve your own advocacy for your own life.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
BurntCaregiver Dec 27, 2020
You are right. I think it's wrong for parents to make their kids promise to keep them at home. Many times that is simply not possible. Very often an elder will be nice as pie and very pro-active in their own care when it's a doctor, or nurse, or health care professional. They will not behave as they would with their adult kids or spouses. There should be no guilt on a person who cannot give up their life and their own families to become a slave to a promise none should have even asked of them in the first place. As for aging in third-world countries, elderly people don't live as long as ones in a western country do. They die before dementia can progress to the point where they are completely invalid in every way.
Dear ExhaustedOne - I understand just how you feel. I felt the same way when I was in your shoes, except I had only one parent to care for, and no paid help. The other difference was that my Mom was living on a very limited income, barely enough to pay bills and nothing left for paid help, let alone assisted living. If my mother had had the money for assisted living, I would have stepped back and left her no other choice. Particularly if she were incontinent and refusing help.

My mother desperately did not want to go into assisted living. But I desperately did not want to spend 7+ years hanging around her state and city to be available on a moment's notice in case she fell or needed something at the store or couldn't figure out her computer or remote.

Yes, I was resentful. My mother had 20+ years of carefree retirement traveling, partying, and enjoying herself while her parents took care of themselves and each other many states away. And no, siblings barely helped at all. They wanted Mom to have her wish to stay in her comfortable home and be cared for there, but they didn't want to help very much. I got a few shreds of appreciation, but mainly people feel justified in letting the whole burden fall on one sibling. They view it as somehow ordained. They're grateful that you are available and free to take this on because they're certainly not.

I can only suggest that you start respecting you own need to step back and draw boundaries around your willingness to help. If your parents can afford assisted living, they should be there. Maybe nobody else can see the unfairness of the situation, but you can. So you have to act. You can't tell anybody else what to do, but you have every right to decide what you will and won't do. Keep reminding yourself of that. Your family will make other arrangements only when forced to. It's up to you to make that happen.
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Reply to CarlaCB
ExhaustedPiper Dec 24, 2020
Ordained is the perfect word. Oh and I was available too because DH and I early retired and downsized so we could “enjoy life”. Then there was the added benefit of me being a nurse. I was everyone’s solution to my mother.

Oh how I could kick myself. I am thankful about one thing though, that I got her her OWN place (200 feet away) and my guest room is not an option. Selfish Piper now rules the day, because the FIRST incident that proves my mother can not live alone she goes into a care facility. My siblings can watch while their inheritance dwindles away when I write that big check every month to the facility.
I read your previous posts. Your Mom is more than you can care for. I think the New Year should be you realizing you cannot do this any longer. We r not made to care for someone alone 24/7. It takes a Village to raise a takes a Village to care for someone. In this century, we no longer have that Village. We have become a "me" society. People talk a good talk but rarely do anything to help.

Get Mom evaluated. Maybe Office of Aging can help here. Make it plain, you cannot care for her any longer. Outside help is not working. Get her into a nice LTC facility. And don't allow yourself to feel guilty. And this is from someone who could be made to feel guilty. At 71, no more. When I get that "twing", I push it to the back of my mind. Out of 3 surviving children, I was the only one who did for my Mom. I knew when i brought her to my home, it was not going to be permanent. I lack patience and get overwhelmed easily. I am not a caregiver. When the house didn't sell, I placed Mom in an AL with the money she had. When it ran out, she was pretty much in the final stages of Dementia so placed her in a nice LTC. She lived 5 more months, declining more and more. She was 89.

Think about it, it took 3 shifts of aides to care for my Mom. These aides do a 8/12 hour shift and they get to go home. Same with the staff. They walk out that door and leave the job behind. Believe me, when you place Mom into an LTC a burden will be taken off your shoulders. They provide everything but her clothing. You can have them do her laundry. I did Moms in the beginning but noted the residents were clean and no smells. So, I switched to them doing Moms clothes. Then you can just visit. And you can set that schedule. I only went about a half hour a day when Mom was up the Street at the AL. Every other day when in the NH. She had Dementia and had no idea when and if I had been there. The visiting was more for me. To make sure everything was OK. Hospice was done at the NH. When Hospice was not there, the staff cared for Mom.

What we "owe" our parents is to be clean, fed and cared for. If it means someone else does the caring thats OK.
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Reply to JoAnn29
jcubed821 Dec 29, 2020
God Bless You, JoAnn29. Thank you for taking the time to write your answer. I am a caregiver who is dealing with this situation, and you have clearly laid out a guide to help me move forward in the future. Again, thank you so very much!
Reading this and all the responses has also really helped me to see I need to make a change in my mother's care also. It will be 4yrs in April. My father passed and my family and I moved in to their house over night. Sold our house. Mom is declining, but still very physical, angry and violent at times. She also argues and fights me to not shower, change clothes, and wash fecal matter off her hands. She insists on trying to do all herself. But she doesn't. She says, she's not dirty. That I am. And she pulled my hair and punched me in the face on Christmas eve, because I was trying to take off a soiled depends. I went to bed crying. Yes this is not the person she was when my parents were younger and we would talk about never putting her/them in a nursing home. But this is hurting me and my family. I'm 56 my youngest daughter is 13. And I've missed a few things in her life this past yr. And she gets very upset when my mom gets angry with me. So I hope we have helped you. Because you helped me. I promise next week I am taking with my brother to find a place for my mom. He and his wife have not helped at all either. And they promised they would when we moved here. Prayers and good luck to you.
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Reply to gandts1
worriedinCali Dec 30, 2020
Good luck to you gandts1! You can do this. And I want to point out something you said—about the incident with your mother on Christmas Eve. That kind of behavior is ongoing and it’s only getting worse right? Aside from the effect witnessing this is having on your daughter, think about yourself. And everyone reading—think about this—do you want to spend your final years with your parent in this situation? Do you want to spend those years beings abused while feeling anger and resentment toward the mother (or father) you love? Moving your mother, IMHO is the compassionate choice for both of you. It will allow you to preserve your relationship with her. It will improve your home life and teach your daughter a valuable lesson (just like taking your mom in also taught valuable lessons). It is not callous at all to place your mom in a facility where she has her own village of professionals to tend to her needs!
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Your saying "this isn't fair" reminds me of when my daughter was a teenager, and that seemed to be her favorite saying, to which my reply was always, "honey life isn't fair, and the sooner you learn that, the better off you're going to be," to which I always got the inevitable eye roll.

My point in telling you that, is that life sometimes really isn't fair, but it is what we choose to make of it, and from what I'm reading, this position that you're in, is of your choosing. Only you can make the changes to get your life back to where you want it to be. You say that you will have guilt if you place them in a facility, but honestly you're going to have guilt if you continue to give up your life and live in misery for years to come, probably more so than if you put them where they belong. No where is it written that children have to take care of their parents in their home when they age. You must do what's best for you and your family first, and then your parents second. I pray that in the new year to come that you will have the courage to make the necessary changes to get your life back, along with your joy. God bless you.
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Reply to funkygrandma59
ExhaustedOne Dec 24, 2020
Thank you, you're absolutely right. My parents have to come second.
This is why I WANT my kids to put me in a nursing home. I do not want to do this to them!

Forget about what your siblings say or think. You need to start taking care of yourself both physically and emotionally. There is NO shame in you placing your mom in a facility.
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Reply to mollymoose
Graykayaging Dec 28, 2020
Thanks for your input. This site is filled with caretakers but to hear the thoughts of a person who will be cared for is enlightening. I wish there was more insight from this group. I don’t have kids and I too figure it is inevitable that I end up in a facility.
A thought just came to me reading through all the replies here - and elsewhere. Maybe we are all trying too hard? All this insisting on bathing, cleaning, nutritious food. And trying to be accommodating. I seem to remember that no-one was this fussy some time back. No-one bathed but once a week. Food was what was put in front of you or you went without and so what if you only eat ice-cream at that age? When elders back then got demanding, people put their foot down: said No, or Later, or Not now, or Sorry, I'm tired you'll have to wait. Just as parents used to do with children. Maybe we are "spoiling" the elderly and making a rod for our own backs when we should quite reasonably be creating a fair balance between their lives and ours and telling them so. Maybe we do all these things for our own sakes, not theirs (like young women wanting to be the perfect mothers, probably to the detriment of their children). Just a thought. Just saying ... comments expected.
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Reply to HilaryHilary
lealonnie1 Dec 30, 2020
I think you make a good point! Kind of reminds me of us brushing our dog's teeth. We'd have been laughed out of the house when I was a kid for even mentioning such a thing!!! These days, we tend to go TOO FAR to keep things healthy for the elderly loved ones. My motto with my almost 94 y/o mother is..........let her eat whatever she WANTS. At her age, who cares?
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So your choices are living with either resentment or guilt? Resentment in having to care for them yourself, or guilt in placing them in a CARE facility. I emphasize care because that's not what they're getting now. You cannot provide proper care when you resent what you're doing. And Guilt? Your guilt would be misplaced. Finding them an acceptable facility IS caring for them!

Your wish for others is to be free of the misery of caring, right? This isn't the life you planned and it isn't the life they planned. In fact, no caregiver or parent planned for this in their later years. Did they have an opportunity to have a good life and plan for a worry free retirement? If they did, shame on them. If not, their future falls in your lap. But all of this “fairness” rests in your hands. In a single move you can provide them with the care they need and provide yourself with relief from your burden.

Do you think your parents want you to feel miserable, resentful, guilty about caring for them? I don't know maybe they do... I'm just asking. Those of us who have over extended our care giving ability (of whom I was one) have at some time or another wished either we or our LO would just die. That's really not a good solution is it? So start looking for an ALF and give yourself and your parents a better life.
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Reply to sjplegacy
CarlaCB Dec 26, 2020
sjplegacy - Overall, I agree with what you've said, but I want to respond to a couple of points. One is the idea that you can't provide proper care while being resentful. I don't know why people assume that, because I don't believe it's true. My mother was quite happy with the care I provided for her, and I was damned resentful, and she knew it too. Which leads me to my second point. Do our parents want us to be unhappy, resentful, miserable? No, of course not. But it's a trade-off they may be willing to make. My mother told me: "I know you feel trapped, and I wish you didn't feel that way." Notice she didn't say "I wish I didn't have to do this to you." Because she didn't have to, but she chose to. Reducing her expectations for the lifestyle she wanted was not an option she would consider. Trapping her daughter in a life of misery and bitterness was unfortunate, but acceptable. To her.

If I sound angry, I'm really not. It was long ago and far away in my life. Still, when I hear stories like ExhaustedOne's, it all comes back to me, and I can totally relate. That's about all I have to offer on this forum now, but at least I can do that.
The resentment & anger you're feeling now is a whole lot worse than any self imposed 'guilt' you'd feel by placing your loved ones in Assisted Living. In AL, they'll get a beautiful hotel-like environment, 3 hot meals a day, 3 snacks, entertainment, other elders to canoodle with, and activities to keep them amused (once everyone is vaccinated). For some reason, many people think their parents are better off in their children's home where everyone's in a bad mood 24/7 than they are in Assisted Living where the opposite is primarily true. And when they're in the mood to complain, they have plenty of others to keep them company in doing so.

I placed my parents in a wonderful AL back in 2014, without one ounce of guilt, and it was the best decision I've ever made for ALL of us. Would do it again in a heartbeat, rather than sacrifice MY life for no good reason.

Think about it.

My grandmother lived with us; my mother will tell you my father forced the situation, that she herself didn't want her mother living with us. Mom and grandma fought like cats & dogs, ruined MY childhood, and all for what? Mom thought she was doing grandma a 'favor' by having her live with us, but in reality, we ALL suffered a huge price for it, including grandma! Mom wound up shipping grandma off after 2 decades, to another state where her sisters could care for her, and the sisters shipped grandma off to a nursing home in short order.

In the end, you need to do what's right for YOU, my friend. Consider that you've already done enough and that it's okay to take your life back now. When you would prefer to get COVID over living the life you've chosen to live, you KNOW it's time to change SOMETHING.

Wishing you all the best of luck moving forward.
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Reply to lealonnie1

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