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Father is 87 and mobile with a cane. He is a bladder cancer survivor and has a urostomy bag. Mother has never wanted to help him with this. She is 72 and just suffered a stroke a few weeks ago. We are blessed that it was not severe, but she is/was his caretaker. I live about 1hour+ away from them. So hard for me to care for them with full time work. I have taken many days off, recently to help them. I don't get paid for time off. I have researched and outreached to many organizations. I have found lots to help them. But, I am still feeling overwhelmed with having to go there to do simple things that they can't do. ex. taking out the trash/recycling, shopping, laundry. Any ideas on how I can help them better? I think I need to encourage them to use the resources in their community? I want to be there for them, but know if they can get local help, it's a load off me! Can anyone relate? Thank you!

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Hi Scooby,
Most of us can relate. Safety is one of the deciding factors for many people. Since your mom was your dad's caregiver, and now she has had a stroke, it does seem to me that they need help from an in-home care agency or else assisted living. You can't keep taking unpaid time off from work, especially since this situation is likely to get worse, not better.
While they aren't likely to agree to the idea right away, if you make the suggestion about change in a light, non-bossy manner, you may even get them to tour a facility or two. It may be good to pick up some brochures from some local facilities that you can leave with them. If they know anyone living at a local facility, that could help enormously.

The socialization of assisted living and the fact that there's someone around to help in case of a fall or another emergency can both make a big difference in their quality of life. Meals with new friends generally becomes a draw, as well.
Of course, in-home care is good, but it's very expensive to get 24-hour care.

You have done an amazing job of getting them services in their home, even though you live at a distance. It's not unusual that the time comes where that isn't enough. I think you may be there with your parents.
Take care,
Carol
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Meals on wheels is great. My mama is in a NH as of 2 months ago. Before I had to make that decision she had meals on wheels and an in home aide that came to twice a week for 3 hours. The in home aide was requested by her doctor to Social Services and paid for by a grant. She finally just started falling all the time she had life alert never would use it. I only lived 15 minutes away. I will say even with all that it was still hard to keep everything up...groceries, meds buying and putting together ,garbage and just worrying about her all the time. She too swore she would never leave the apartment, but she did...and whether she would admit it or not she is happier and so am I. There are still difficult days but nothing like before.
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Dear Carol,
Thank you soo much for your advice! I am in a delicate situation and hopefully, right now they may be ok to stay where they are. I think I need, to again, gently, let them know of the resources available in their community. Continue to follow up on them via phone, email and visits. Change for them is very prone to anxiety attacks. So I do know whatever I am suggesting needs to be put in a gentle manner. One step at a time, one day at a time!

We "just" moved them from the family home of 35yrs to a 2 bedroom apartment in town 2 yrs ago. That was HUGE for them! I know my Dad has said, no more moves, this is "where I will die". But things are changing for them, and if he or Mom can't drive...they need help. I will continue to work with the community and others while they adjust to Mom being home and as I call it "their new normal". I do agree that unfortunately, things are only going to get worse. But I am optomistic that I can do what I can to provide as much quality of life for them at each turn of their lives. It's such a balance!
Mom is being seen by visiting nurse service and OT about 2/week. I got them a home BP monitor and she will learn to use it next time the nurse is in.
Of course I want to be there for them, but I also want them to find people in their community to help them. Got info on Meals on Wheels, transportation services, etc. I know other people are in more desperate situations. We are blessed that her stroke was not that severe. But I still want to do all I can without burning out.
Thank you again for all your suggestions!
"Scooby" aka Jeannie
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