My parents are 88 & 89 and currently living in their own home. My Dad (89) had a heart attack and was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. I live 2 hours away, so I hired Home Instead care 2 days a week and meal delivery. I go once a week for Dr appts, grocery, etc and stay 24-48 hours. I have toured 4 assisted living facilities and narrowed it down to 2. Both are 5 min from me. I drove them here to tour them this weekend. Their chat today is how 1. They don’t need to pay for care at all since they feel they are independent. (Which they definitely are not!) 2. Want to stop home instead care and meal delivery since I come once a week.

Now a bit about me… have rheumatoid arthritis and have to have back surgery in Sept for a synovial cyst on my spine. I’ve been told my recovery time will be about one month. Therefore, my true caregiving is limited.

They refuse to see what’s best for them, and all of us. I might also add, they have a lot of money and continue to bring every discussion about their care back to dollars. Makes me so mad! I’m feeling a bit defeated, and don’t know where to turn for sound advice/help.

They made me stop the home health care and meal delivery. I’m taking them back home today and am worried sick about leaving them. How do I do what needs to be done and let them still have a voice? This is so difficult!

Thanks for any advice 🥰

Yep, been there! My dad was 97 and living in a 3 story, 4 bedroom house AND he was blind. According to him, he was doing just fine. I, however, was arranging meals (even to the point of arranging Uber Eats deliveries while I was in Europe) because he refused the Meals on Wheels delivery and fired (actually was so hateful she quit) home assistant that I had arranged to provide him extra housekeeping and dinner preparation. He'd been on the list for a lovely assisted living apartment but each time one was available he would tell them to give it to the next person (I didn't know this for a long time.) I only lived 5 minutes away so when I was home it was constant requests for small things which then led to big things which then led to more work than I could possibly keep doing. The final straw was when I had to fly home one day after going on vacation for a small, but annoying problem he had and no one else was going to be able to solve it. Finally, I just told him that he had to move; I wasn't helping any more except for one grocery trip a week and doctor's appointments, and if I was out of town then he'd have to solve it himself. He told me he'd move to the assisted living apartment but there wasn't one available. I'd already checked and it seems he had removed himself from the wait list and that they actually did have a smaller unit currently available. I told him to move to the smaller unit because I was DONE. He begrudgingly moved and finally admitted he should have done it a long time ago. Moral of the story: You know what needs to be done but you'll never be able to get them to move until you stop making it possible for them to keep up the pretense of being "independent." Just stop helping maintain this charade. No more weekly trips, no more emergency calls, and stick to it. It's called "waiting for the catastrophe" which will happen eventually but it seems to be a necessary part of making the assisted living decision for many of our parents.
Helpful Answer (18)
Reply to jkm999
blisss2022 Aug 26, 2022
Bingo. You see the picture clear as day. I’m so sorry for what you went through with your Dad 😞
I appreciate you taking the time to help me through this. I am going to lay out the new reality, and tell them I can’t come for 2 months.
time for tough love.
Bliss, first off, you don't have a dilemma you can't fix. Your parents have a dilemma that they WANT you to be the fix for. Stop owning their problems.

Many of us have or are facing the propped up independence of our parent(s). It just sucks! So big warm hug for you.

I would not do anything the help they had you fire did or would do. Nope, not cooking to have 14-21 meals x2 in the fridge or freeze while I am here, that was what food delivery was for. Nope, not scrubbing your toilet, doing your cleaning or anything else the home care help did. Doesn't make them happy? Well, you are the ones that say you are independent and don't need those services, so I am not doing what you say you can do.

As long as you prop up the delusion of independence by giving them one or two days a week, they don't have to change anything. Stop participating in the charade and see how things evolve.

I, firmly believe, we are ALL responsible to have plans for our old age and that doesn't include dumping ourselves on our loved ones. Time for them to face the reality and live with their choices.
Helpful Answer (16)
Reply to Isthisrealyreal

I hear your dilemma. I think it's time to use the NO word which sounds like it will be very hard for you to do. (I get this btw, but in saying NO to my elderly parents about this and that has been super freeing for me and when I see them now it's not resentfully)

2. Want to stop home instead care and meal delivery since I come once a week.

What would they do if you didn't/couldnt come one a wk?

Decide what you can and will do, not what they want you to do. You dont need to justify/explain what you can and will do. If you sense that an explanation/justification for what you can and will do is required by them...thats a red flag in my book.
In my opinion what you can and will do for them is met with a thank you. Full stop. Ironically if it is met this way with a genuine full stop after a thank you...we do more for that person...authentically. It just happens. Put you and your needs first....unapologetically.
I have had to assert firm boundaries with my parents, particularly my mum...she is very narcissistic/abusive/critical/demanding. She would have me 'helping' her every day and it wouldn't be enough! I go every 2 wks for about an hour. I dont think she's grateful for this and I am pretty sure she slags me off to other family members saying I dont do 'enough' for her. So be it. I'm doing me.

"Makes me so mad! I’m feeling a bit defeated, " Take back your power, own your feelings. Its empowering and work out why you feel so responsible.
Good luck!
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to Seekingtruth123

Make your help contingent on them accepting other help. Make it clear you cannot do it all. If they refuse all help other than yours leave them to it and let them prove to themselves that they can’t handle it all on their own. It sounds harsh but unfortunately it’s the only way to get through
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to Daughterof1930
blisss2022 Aug 20, 2022
I know tough love is what I need to do.
I need to let them sit in their decision mot to decide. Thank you!
Unfortunately I have learned by experience, TWICE, that when you KNOW that a move to residential care is all but a done deal, it’s better for all concerned to get the deed DONE, without intermediate attempts to delay the event.

Your needs are very important, and being stress impacted, make them even more so.

“I hate to do this Mom and Dad, but my rheumatologist has told me that I can ONLY assume responsibility for myself, and YOUR doctors have told me that YOU need more are than you can receive while living where you are right now”.

“If I have to involve a lawyer to convince you that you must live closer to me for a while it will COST YOU A FORTUNE”.

“LUCKILY, there’s an ADORABLE place, a lot like a hotel, for you to come to RIGHT NEAR ME, so we can all figure out what to do after I’ve healed and started to feel better.”

You will notice that there are some “truth bends” in this script, and you can most certainly adapt AS YOU GO, but bear in mind that their SAFETY and WELFARE and in this case YOURS, are more important than useless facts.

You are confronting a painful but ESSENTIAL TRUTH- the THREE of you need a major change, and you need to be the motivation.

Good Luck!
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to AnnReid

While you continue to be the solution to their problems, they will not look for alternatives. First, sit them down and tell them that the 24-48 hours weekly visits are getting to be too much and you will not be able to continue. They cannot rely on you for long-term care. It is not practical and certainly not fair to you. Plus use your impending surgery as an excuse. If they still refuse to see reason, you may just have to leave them to themselves until a crisis arises (ER Trip). Not the most pleasant way of doing things but sometimes an emergency is the only way they will see the light. At least you have ALs already researched. Immediately move that once a week visit to once every other visit. And after surgery you will be done for at least 2 months until you can heal. Then again, that weekend visit goes to once a month. They think they are independent because you are propping them up. Let them see what life will be like when you cannot be on speed dial.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to lkdrymom

your parents sound so selfish I feel bad for you
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to Tonia722020

No mom and dad, I can not be the answer to your needs. You seem to forget that I'm not a kid anymore and I have my own health problems, I will not build my life around you and your needs. Repeat, repeat repeat.
And it won't hurt them to do without a little bit if you can't make it for a week or two, sometimes a lesson needs to be learned first hand.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to cwillie
Natasana Aug 20, 2022
Great answer! Say no, then repeat! Your "no" doesn't change no matter how they rephrase the demands.
Have you tried saying "mom, dad, I can't do this anymore. I can't come once a week and stay for 2-3 days. You'll need to make other arrangements if you don't want the services I've set up"?

Don't be tactful or dance around the issue. Just "no, not doing this any longer. Your choice what to do next".
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn

The elderly become very self absorbed and almost blind to the work and time that family members are giving to sustain their so called independent lifestyle. You don't need to be hateful, but you do need to be firm when telling them that you are running around like a chicken with its head cut off and you cannot sustain what you are doing. Point out the things that they can no longer do and then tell them how much you love them and you want to resume being their daughter and resign from being their work horse. Remind them that you have a life and a family of your own and you have health issues that need dealt with. Tell them their choices are to hire everything out or move closer to you in assisted living.
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Reply to Jamesj

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