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My Dad has 100% VA disability due to severe asbestosis, my Mom though not disabled, won't do much. Both of them sit around in pajamas all day long and are depressed, and yes, they are both on depression and/or anxiety meds - not helping much. I helped (did all of the paperwork, phone calls and related emails) and my Dad get his VA disability, a ramp and a walk in shower. (He hates the ramp and now hates the shower but at first wanted both. I am at my wits end.) I pick up their commodity boxes and take them to his medical appointments. I manage his meds, ordering and checking on refills for him. I, as well as my daughter, fill water jugs from my well for them. My daughter cooks, cleans and runs shopping errands for them. Neither one of them will keep an appointment with a lawyer to do their wills or POA. Every time an appointment is made , they cancel it. I just went through a run of 24/7 caregiving with my MIL who had severe dementia and passed last March. We had POA for her and it was hard enough to negotiate all of her caregiving needs with that; I cannot even imagine what I have in store for me if my parents are unwilling to do the necessary paperwork to help them when they are unable to help themselves. My sister lives here but is very self involved, she won't even fill water jugs for them and my brother lives in the southern states and cannot help. It seems to be falling on me and my daughter, at least the caregiving parts. The sad thing is that my Mom won't even make a meal, so if my daughter doesn't, it doesn't get done. Myself and my daughter are afraid that if no one gets meals for them they will both get malnutrition. My Mom gravitates to cupcakes, bread & molasses and other sweet things but not food with nutrition and my Dad does the same with cookies, candy & ice cream. It's like having toddlers again only grown up versions that are your parents and get mad at you for pointing out that they need to prepare and eat meals, not sweets bought at the store.... My Dad is obsessed with money - how much he has, what it is spent on, etc., and gets very ugly tempered about it. He also has panic attacks about attending any appointment or just leaving the house. My mother sits around all day and watches tv and reads. Did I mention that they both live in their pajamas 24/7? Their behavior both frustrates and angers me at times. He will be 80 and she will be 77 in July. They supposedly do not have dementia. What can I do?

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Stilltired, regarding the food issue, it is quite normal for when we age that we tend to lose our sense of taste, except for sweets. I feel once an elder reaches into their 80's and 90's, and if they want ice cream for breakfast you just ask "one scoop or two". Let them enjoy what they like even if all the food groups turn into the cookie aisle at the grocery store.

As for getting one's parents to update or create Wills and Power of Attorney, we need to use "theraputic fibs" for their best interest. My parents had dragged their feet on their legal paperwork that was older then dirt. I told Dad his Will was so out of date that the government would take half of his estate. I know that was a fib, but it did get my parents over to the Elder Law Attorney to update all the legal documents :)
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Do your parents eat decent food when it is prepared for them? Is Meals on Wheels available in their area? My mother loved that, and was very pleased they always included dessert. If I'd ask how lunch was, she'd always start with dessert. "There was apple pie. The crust was good! Oh, and I think the meat was chicken today." If they were eating at least one meal a day with vegetables, meat, fruit, and bread, perhaps you could relax that concern a bit. Maybe then you and your daughter could quit trying, or at least reduce the number of meals she makes each week.

Do they like fruit? A basket of oranges and bananas sitting on the table might tempt them. Nothing to prepare!

Since Dad is very focused on finances, whatever creative incentive you make up should probably be about money.

A lawyer came to our house for my husband to sign all the paperwork. Maybe you could gift your parents new pajamas for the occasion!

You are absolutely right that getting the paperwork done and affairs in order will make your life easier and also make sure that their wishes are respected.

I'm one of seven children and none of us could convince Mother to do POAs or a healthcare directive. (We didn't care much about a will because we knew there was nothing to bequeath in any case.) One of Mother's nephews died. His children said he would not wish for his life to be extended artificially, but he hadn't put that in writing and there was no healthcare directive. So the hospital rules applied and he remained hooked up to machines for a certain number of days, according to the guidelines. Mom felt very bad about that and understood the value of making one's wishes known, but she still would not make out her own.

Not having that paperwork was never an obstacle for us taking care of her. It is pretty amazing, but the 4 girls never had conflicts, and discussed each issue as it came up. The 3 boys were OK with us making decisions. (We kept them informed.) The doctors and nursing home staff we dealt with were willing to let us make decisions. They did ask Mother if that was all right, but they didn't get that in writing.

So don't despair. This will all work out with or without the paperwork. But having it will be very worthwhile. I hope you can come up with something that persuades them to do it.
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I've heard of some elder care lawyers who make house calls. You can try to find one in your area that will come to your parent's home. But that only solves part of your problem. If you could get a lawyer to come to your parent's home will your parent's be receptive to it? You can't force them to sign anything they don't want to sign. Is it that they won't leave the house or that they don't want to deal with the wills, paperwork, and POA? Or both?
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Freqflyer, I have nothing against desserts or treats at all. I don't care if they eat it with their breakfast, lunch and supper. I don't think that you really are grasping what I was saying - on their own they will not eat real food, ever. I'm not kidding! Someone has to make meals, (which they will eat), for them as they just will not make any meals for themselves. My Dad has pain, oxygen and mobility issues and my Mom has some arthritis in one hip but if left to themselves they won't eat any real food. A person just cannot exist on cake and ice cream without developing health problems. I am about to quit even trying.
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It is bad, and I certainly understand your frustration!

There is one piece of this that doesn't require a lawyer or even a notary. The healthcare directive can be a do-it-yourself project. There are many good forms available online, at no cost. And it has nothing to do with finances, which should be reassuring to Dad. After they've filled it out their signature (each on their own document) needs to be witnessed. This can be by a notary but it can also be by two witnesses. The witnesses don't have to see the content -- they just need to witness that the person who signed it in front of them is known to them and is the person the signature says it is.
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Sounds like you and your daughter do need to be not as available and see what happens, hard as that might be.
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stilltired: One tip I suggest in order to take some of the load off you and your daughter is to sign up for Meals on Wheels. It is a noon-time delivered meal, Monday through Friday on a donation basis. (My mother wanted to pay for her's, but I understood it to be a donation based product). That at least would help you out and to ensure that they are getting proper nutrition five days a week.
As they sit around in their pj's 24/7, I'm wondering if they're bathing?
Please see if their town has a Council on Aging, which should have on staff a social worker. That dedicated person could get the necessary documents done. Your parents will be more inclined to listen to someone other than yourself. I had to use my mother's town's social worker, because, after all, "I wasn't telling the truth." Of course I was telling the truth; she just didn't like it.
As for dad not liking the ramp and the shower, he probably thought of them as "old age," instead of needed assists. I hope when I reach the age of needing a ramp/assist that I will say "Oh, yes, please!" I don't want to become belligerent.
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I am dealing with a hospice in home situation. He will not eat what my mom prepares but will eat what I prepare. His taste has changed even on dishes he prepares himself. It can be medications or the changes in their body. There is a book "Gone from my Sight" by Barbara Karnes, RN that discusses this. I used "Before I Go, You Should Know" to work with my mom and her husband. It included many legal documents. I bought it from Funeral Consumers Alliance. FCA has also helped me as I'm the one discussing his funeral desires with him. We recently learned he did not do his will. Hospice was able to give us a legal aid contact. I did my mom's will and other documents as I have a membership at LawDepot.com. Since he is getting VA benefits try getting them involved, caregiver.va.gov/ He may also respond better to dealing w/ another veteran or VSO. I am also dealing with the money issue on a daily basis, or at least having to hear the arguments on it. A social worker was present today to mediate the discussion as we need to hire a caregiver or send him to adult day care when my mom returns to work. The VA would give you access to a social worker. Hope you find options that work.....take care of you.
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When people have reached the end of their interest in living, their body shuts down on food. Yes they become malnourished and yes that leads to an earlier death, one way or another. Dehydration makes the end even quicker.

This site has very regular posts from carers of people in their eighties and nineties, whose bodies have outlived both their minds and their interest in living, with bitter comments about the medical profession who have engineered all this. Other carers are spoon-feeding elders for hours at a time, when the recipient keeps trying to spit the food out. Neither the time commitment nor the medical support was an option in Biblical times, when every family member had to work hard. Perhaps ‘fading away’ is the way God planned us to go.

None of this helps with your paperwork problems, but it might give you some consolation about other issues you are facing. There is a song that says ‘the sooner it’s over, the sooner we sleep’.
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stilltired, I have so much empathy for you! My in-laws didn't have anything in place and we saw (from a distance, as they didn't live by us) that their lives were slowly crumbling. None of their kids, including my husband, really saw the urgency but I thank God that they finally listened to me about how important it was that this paperwork was taken care of. We convinced them to move to our city (in another state) and into Assisted Living. But before that move, I used LegalZoom and did all the paperwork with them for DPOA, MPOA, wills, and Advanced Directives. All they had to do was bring the paperwork I did with them (over the phone, in my case) to their bank to have them notarized. In your case, I'm sure a notary would even come to the house. It was quite easy! They were becoming quite suspicious (dementia behaviors) and I was so glad that they cooperated long enough to get it all done. When they moved here, we were able to take over everything (after about 50 hours of me being a paperwork detective because they threw away things they shouldn't have or there were just hints of things in their files). They didn't like Assisted Living but that was just the way it had to be. They eventually had to move to the nursing home side because of their dementia and also because they ran out of money (it took me literally over a hundred hours to do the paperwork to get them qualified).
If nothing else, you may have to get their doctor involved, or social services. OR...is there someone they would trust that you could have talk to them, and even help them with the paperwork instead of you. I would try to make this a priority and then you can back off on all the caregiving (as much as you dare) and, perhaps, let their poor choices take them where they may. You can't let this drive you nuts to the point of endangering your own mental and physical health. I'll be praying you can come to the perfect solutions. Message me if you wish, and I will support you!
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