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We reside 200 miles from them and we are the closest children. We went to the extent of finding in-home help, we set up with their doctor for nursing home referral with orders for the items that they wanted. We set up meetings with home health assistance. While we were there, the parents seemed to be in favor of our efforts. As soon as the situation stabilized and we left for our home, they stopped all assistance that we set up for them. Cost was not a factor for them. The only option they seem to wish to consider is for us to sell our home and move to their location. due to health issue for us, this cannot happen.

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Dear Jan,

Thank you for sharing more with us. I feel for you and your wife. I know you are trying to do the right thing. Its not easy. My father was also very stubborn and independent. I guess the last resort would be to call on social services to check on their welfare. Maybe with state interventions or a third party telling them, maybe they will be more receptive to assistance.
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I guess I've left out a few details. Mom is 88 and is and invalid, She spend 18 hours a day in bed because of Arthritis. She's on morphine. Dad is 91. still drives and cares for Mom. He is on Oxycodone. They are paying their own bills but refuse to have any additional help in the home. They can afford to have more help but act like it's costing a fortune. We appreciate your feedback. It makes us feel like we're not totally selfish. By the way. My wife is 69 and has had a hip replacement, I am 70 and have had Quadruple bypass and back fusion. H*ll, I think I'm looking for help. Thanks for letting us know that we are not alone.
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It's frustrating, infuriating, tragic and sad - that many elderly parents get to a point where they are willing to throw their adult children under the bus so they can attempt to continue living their lives in the manner they want - which is often at a completely unreasonable level given their mental and physical decline.

My mother was demanding that I bring her to live in my home. For a dozen different reasons this was impossible. Not the least of which was the fact I only have a two bedroom house - my husband and I occupy one and my adult son - who is disabled and functions at a 2-3yr old level - has the other. When I pointed that out, mom said she could live in our basement! Mom couldn't do stairs and neither can my son so I guess she expected me to spend my days and nights running up and down - feeding one, then the other - bathing one then the other, changing moms diaper and then my sons. I would have either died of a heart attack or blown my head off in about two weeks.

But I kept attempting to reason with my mother - pointing out all the very real and logical reasons why she couldn't move in. Nothing sunk in - I hadn't learned yet that there's no reasoning with dementia.

Finally, one day I lost it and said to her "don't I deserve to have a life of my own?" To which my mother replied "Don't I ?" I swear to God I thought my head was going to explode!

The thing is - and finally getting to my point - while yes, mom deserved to have her own life but the problem was - she couldn't any longer. Not unless I gave up mine to make it happen. And that's not having a life of her own. Also of note was the fact that mom was 88 and I was 54 at the time. Mom had retired early and spent nearly thirty years traveling the world, taking art classes, becoming a Grand Master bridge player, lunching and seeing movies with her friends, etc.  I know this sounds selfish- but when was it going to be my turn to have my own life? Mom had hers. And I was not willing to give up anymore of mine than I already had to look after her care, and dealing with all the details and administrative functions of her life. Plus, taking care of my son - which I do because he is my child and he is my responsibility- she was not. Not really.

I don't know why some parents get to this point. That they expect their adult child to give up their homes, their relationships, their time and often their health and mental wellbeing- so they can pretend they are living independently in their homes when there is nothing "independent" about it.

Okay - sorry for the self indulgent rant. But I think you get my point. Do as jeannegibbs advises and just say "no". And then - just keep on saying it.
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Alternatively would they consider a move to your area. (NOT into your home but closer to family)
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Strangely, this is a fairly typical behavior. Who knows why?

You cannot force them to accept help. (Unless they were declared incompetent by a court and you became their guardian.)

Be very clear and very firm that you are not selling your home and moving near them. You are not becoming their caregivers. Repeat this gently but firmly whenever it comes up. Even without health concerns, it is not reasonable for parents who can afford the help they need to insist on disrupting the adult child's life.

Tell your parents that you will help set up the in-home care again, if/when they decide they need it.
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