The Elder Parent Scenario

Eric

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Two years ago my 91 (at the time) Dad living in Winterhaven Florida wanted to move into a senior living facility. Me and my brother went down to help,with decision making. Ultimately he decided that he was going to stay home until he dropped. Fine and dandy if you actually drop, but what happens if you move into the realm of needed assisted living?

Two years later, once again he is thinking about moving to senior living. He wants to but gets overwhelmed at the prospect and then regresses just wanting to stay home... more to come.
We have the same issue with my mother, she has heart troubles, keeps falling and has been hospitalized nearly a dozen times in the last year. She then spends time in a rehab facility and when she feels better comes back home, rinse and repeat.

They said medically she should not be living alone and the fact that she won't let any of us help her has soured some of our relationships, my sister has flat out cut her off from all communications and they were always tight. The fact that my mom needs so much help from the family that lives near her is simply too much as she leans so heavily them, in some ways it's selfish because it demands a lot of their time.

On a personal note, if she wants to live at home and pass away on her own terms I think that's her right. I will always maintain my relationship with her either way. On the other hand some of these senior living centers have great options and FT care if/when you need it and I would love to see her go that route but in the end it's really her call. She's sacrificing a lot to live on her own, it's all pretty sad.
 

Scepticalscribe

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Just to clarify, senior living/assisted living is not a nursing home, which are generally dreadful. The place I scoped out for my Dad feels like a resort. Tall ceilings, wide corridors, movie theater, craft room, exercise facility, pool, and lots of activities.

If you are old and alone, this is the perfect way to find company. My wife’s Mom stays with my wife’s sister and her Mom is not that happy, feeling like a third wheel. She was more much happy living in a senior facility with apartments before her husband passed away.

I'm with @Apple fanboy; this is my my idea of hell.

There is a considerable difference (which some fail to appreciate) between being alone and being lonely. (Yes, they overlap occasionally - a sort of Venn diagram thingy) but they are not the same thing.

However, some of us like solitude.
 

Scepticalscribe

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We have the same issue with my mother, she has heart troubles, keeps falling and has been hospitalized nearly a dozen times in the last year. She then spends time in a rehab facility and when she feels better comes back home, rinse and repeat.

They said medically she should not be living alone and the fact that she won't let any of us help her has soured some of our relationships, my sister has flat out cut her off from all communications and they were always tight. The fact that my mom needs so much help from the family that lives near her is simply too much as she leans so heavily them, in some ways it's selfish because it demands a lot of their time.

On a personal note, if she wants to live at home and pass away on her own terms I think that's her right. I will always maintain my relationship with her either way. On the other hand some of these senior living centers have great options and FT care if/when you need it and I would love to see her go that route but in the end it's really her call. She's sacrificing a lot to live on her own, it's all pretty sad.

Yes, it is - or, can be seen as - "selfish", but I think my brother had the right of it, when he said - we were discussing this sort of stuff, the falls, the fierce desire for autonomy and independence (and women are socialised into putting everyone else's comfort and desires before their own throughout much of their lives, so it can come as a considerable shock to relatives to see them insist - with ferocity - on retaining their independence, something that can be reduced to - or dismissed as - "selfishness") - when he described this as not so much "selfishness" as "a fierce survival instinct," and one, much as with a drowning person, or with the single minded determination of a smal child, will place a priority on meeting their own primal needs, over the needs of others.
 

Eric

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Yes, it is - or, can be seen as - "selfish", but I think my brother had the right of it, when he said - we were discussing this sort of stuff, the falls, the fierce desire for autonomy and independence (and women are socialised into putting everyone else's comfort and desires before their own throughout much of their lives, so it can come as a considerable shock to relatives to see them insist - with ferocity - on retaining their independence, something that can be reduced to - or dismissed as - "selfishness") - when he described this as not so much "selfishness" as "a fierce survival instinct," and one, much as with a drowning person, or with the single minded determination of a smal child, will place a priority on meeting their own primal needs, over the needs of others.
Nobody is trying to deny her independence, they're simply saying they can no longer provide the extensive care she needs to manage everything as it's basically a full time job for my sister and her daughter. Unfortunately, the only way they can manage that is by fully detaching because my mom will never leave them alone when she needs something, which is constantly.

In the end they've both made a decision that basically excludes them from each others life. No matter how much independence my mother wants, she is incapable of living on her own with any real sense of security. She has to call her own ambulances now, can't organize her meds, cannot fully make her own meals or walk without a struggle (hospitalized for a fall again just last week) and her home is in total disarray. Again, it's her call to go that way but it's hard to blame the family from detaching when there is help available and she refuses any of it.
 

Apple fanboy

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Nobody is trying to deny her independence, they're simply saying they can no longer provide the extensive care she needs to manage everything as it's basically a full time job for my sister and her daughter. Unfortunately, the only way they can manage that is by fully detaching because my mom will never leave them alone when she needs something, which is constantly.

In the end they've both made a decision that basically excludes them from each others life. No matter how much independence my mother wants, she is incapable of living on her own with any real sense of security. She has to call her own ambulances now, can't organize her meds, cannot fully make her own meals or walk without a struggle (hospitalized for a fall again just last week) and her home is in total disarray. Again, it's her call to go that way but it's hard to blame the family from detaching when there is help available and she refuses any of it.
My sister and Mother haven’t spoken in years. She lives about an hour away from her. I live about 4. At the moment she’s fine but I worry what would happen in the future if my Mum deteriorated. Her husband is about 10 years younger than her so should be able to look after her if/when she deteriorates.
My family is bloody complicated! Not really a family at all. I’m the only one that ever phones my parents. Speak to my Dad 2-3 times a week. My Mum about once a week. Haven’t seen either of them in a good few years, although I’m hoping to see my Dad in a few weeks.
 

Eric

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My sister and Mother haven’t spoken in years. She lives about an hour away from her. I live about 4. At the moment she’s fine but I worry what would happen in the future if my Mum deteriorated. Her husband is about 10 years younger than her so should be able to look after her if/when she deteriorates.
My family is bloody complicated! Not really a family at all. I’m the only one that ever phones my parents. Speak to my Dad 2-3 times a week. My Mum about once a week. Haven’t seen either of them in a good few years, although I’m hoping to see my Dad in a few weeks.
I am the same way about keeping in touch with my mom every week no matter what, I didn't talk to my dad as much as I should have before he passed and have always felt guilty about it so I vowed not to make the same mistake with my mom.
 

Huntn

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Sounds like my idea of hell. We both like our own company. The appeal of the place we just bought is the distance from our neighbours. If money was no object, it would have been a lot further!
You may not have a choice unless the choice is the pillow over the face method. ;) Here is the key, it is a time of your life, when assisted living may no longer be optional.

If you are lucky you have relatives you like, who will take you in. My Mother lived with my brother In her final years. I can’t say she was happy, she might have described it as a nightmare, losing your independence, but she had significant dementia. My wife’s Mom was happier living in a Senior Community than with my wife’s sister, where she feels like a third wheel.

Although we have a decent/good relationship with my father, my wife loathes him for reasons dealing with his tell it like it is personality, my other brothers are not game either, and fortunately he is financially independent. He is 93, has been tuffing it out, but admitted to me that just walking across the house with O2 can wear him out.

So he recognizes his independence is on borrowed time. He said, I realize I am at a crossroads, deals with it logically until it looms too large, ie stepping out of his house permanently. He’s willing to stay and take his chances will falling or dieing alone. Btw I’ve suggested a medical alert pendant but he’s not said yes to that either.
 

Apple fanboy

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You may not have a choice unless the choice is the pillow over the face method. ;) Here is the key, it is a time of your life, when assisted living may no longer be optional.

If you are lucky you have relatives you like, who will take you in. My Mother lived with my brother In her final years. I can’t say she was happy, she might have described it as a nightmare, losing your independence, but she had significant dementia. My wife’s Mom was happier living in a Senior Community than with my wife’s sister, where she feels like a third wheel.

Although we have a decent/good relationship with my father, my wife loathes him for reasons dealing with his tell it like it is personality, my other brothers are not game either, and fortunately he is financially independent. He is 93, has been tuffing it out, but admitted to me that just walking across the house with O2 can wear him out.

So he recognizes his independence is on borrowed time. He said, I realize I am at a crossroads, deals with it logically until it looms too large, ie stepping out of his house permanently. He’s willing to stay and take his chances will falling or dieing alone. Btw I’ve suggested a medical alert pendant but he’s not said yes to that either.
There are no relatives to take us in when we get old. I only have two relatives. My Mum and my Dad. Pretty sure they won’t be around when I get to an age when I might require assistance. Mrs AFB has no one.
But neither of us will end up in an assisted living situation. We are both independent. It’s just not an option. I’d rather die peacefully before I get there. If not I always keep a few hundred pain killers handy!
 

lizkat

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Sounds like my idea of hell. We both like our own company. The appeal of the place we just bought is the distance from our neighbours. If money was no object, it would have been a lot further!

While I can definitely understand those sentiments (and the only reason I bought my sister's parents-in-law's place after they had passed was to have the elbow room rather than new neighbors nearly as close by as if down in the village proper), things can change over time. With luck as one ages, some physical infirmities are more the problem than dementia, and then one more readily understands the need for some help or care. The arrival of those times can shift attitudes and outweigh desire to maintain relative isolation from a larger community while in better health.

Probably best to try to keep an open mind about it all as time goes on. The desire to live is a strong one in most of us, and a modicum of happiness can be leveraged through a focus on making the best of a declining situation. The people I've known who ended up even in nursing homes who had been positive thinkers in their prime managed to adapt pretty well to surroundings later on that were not the same as either their earlier ideals or realities. The very meaning of "ideal" can and usually does change according to time and circumstance.

So far I've been able to make gradual accommodations to my advancing age and hope to remain in my home for as long as possible. But I'd rather explore alternatives than continue to live in a place I couldn't maintain as a safe and pleasant home if and when it came to that. My nightmare would be some place with a social director popping in all the while to ask if I wouldn't rather play bingo than hang out with an audiobook in my room. "No, and so fuck off already" might be the boil-down of that after a few repetitions... or so I think at the moment. I can hope I'd not be that rude but no one should count on it!

I still like that line from Out of Africa: "the world was made round so we would not have to see too far down the road." I've never taken that as a bleak sort of outlook, really... more just an acknowledgment that we are not omniscient and things will be how they'll be regardless of our ability to manage everything the way we may only imagine we do while we're younger.
 

Huntn

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I'm with @Apple fanboy; this is my my idea of hell.

There is a considerable difference (which some fail to appreciate) between being alone and being lonely. (Yes, they overlap occasionally - a sort of Venn diagram thingy) but they are not the same thing.

However, some of us like solitude.
I agree, it could be hell. However for my part of the discussion it’s no longer about being a choice, what is preferred, in all cases if it’s not about keeling over dead (preferred) it’s about the inevitable situation that arises when feeble elders are no longer able to manage themselves or senile adults deciding they are going to walk 600 miles to where they used to live.

My Dad is deciding to stay in Florida because although he acknowledges he is at the jumping off point, he can’t stomach the idea of voluntarily relocating to a facility to deal with this transistion, to be closer to family making it a thousandfold easier for family members in the position of overseeing this situation. So be it for now. The advantage of being proactive is that you get choice, the possible disadvantage is having the choice being made for you later, or maybe lying on the floor for a few days before you expire. He would probably say that his independence is worth a possibly ugly ending. :unsure:
 

Apple fanboy

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I agree, it could be hell. However for my part of the discussion it’s no longer about being a choice, what is preferred, in all cases if it’s not about keeling over dead (preferred) it’s about the inevitable situation that arises when feeble elders are no longer able to manage themselves or senile adults deciding they are going to walk 600 miles to where they used to live.

My Dad is deciding to stay in Florida because although he acknowledges he is at the jumping off point, he can’t stomach the idea of voluntarily relocating to a facility to deal with this transistion, to be closer to family making it a thousandfold easier for family members in the position of overseeing this situation. So be it for now. The advantage of being proactive is that you get choice, the possible disadvantage is having the choice being made for you later, or maybe lying on the floor for a few days before you expire. He would probably say that his independence is worth a possibly ugly ending. :unsure:
As I said earlier no one will be making the choice for us. Not everyone has people in their lives to make decisions. Certainly not my daughter! So we will grow old in our bungalow and will end our days here.
 

Apple fanboy

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While I can definitely understand those sentiments (and the only reason I bought my sister's parents-in-law's place after they had passed was to have the elbow room rather than new neighbors nearly as close by as if down in the village proper), things can change over time. With luck as one ages, some physical infirmities are more the problem than dementia, and then one more readily understands the need for some help or care. The arrival of those times can shift attitudes and outweigh desire to maintain relative isolation from a larger community while in better health.

Probably best to try to keep an open mind about it all as time goes on. The desire to live is a strong one in most of us, and a modicum of happiness can be leveraged through a focus on making the best of a declining situation. The people I've known who ended up even in nursing homes who had been positive thinkers in their prime managed to adapt pretty well to surroundings later on that were not the same as either their earlier ideals or realities. The very meaning of "ideal" can and usually does change according to time and circumstance.

So far I've been able to make gradual accommodations to my advancing age and hope to remain in my home for as long as possible. But I'd rather explore alternatives than continue to live in a place I couldn't maintain as a safe and pleasant home if and when it came to that. My nightmare would be some place with a social director popping in all the while to ask if I wouldn't rather play bingo than hang out with an audiobook in my room. "No, and so fuck off already" might be the boil-down of that after a few repetitions... or so I think at the moment. I can hope I'd not be that rude but no one should count on it!

I still like that line from Out of Africa: "the world was made round so we would not have to see too far down the road." I've never taken that as a bleak sort of outlook, really... more just an acknowledgment that we are not omniscient and things will be how they'll be regardless of our ability to manage everything the way we may only imagine we do while we're younger.
But I can see my past. 3 months in hospital nearly killed my wife. She doesn’t even cope with someone visiting so outside of workman no one has crossed the threshold of our house in years. She hardly copes with me here some days!
 

Scepticalscribe

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But I can see my past. 3 months in hospital nearly killed my wife. She doesn’t even cope with someone visiting so outside of workman no one has crossed the threshold of our house in years. She hardly copes with me here some days!
And I suspect that the domestic conditions Covid has compelled us to abide by, or endure, this past year will have further strengthened personal preferences for privacy, and solitude, for those who are already by temperament and disposition very much inclined that way.
 

Huntn

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It has been eluded to in this thread, but how do you feel about suicide as an option? I assume some do and some don’t. I have no moral issues with this, as when it’s time to go it’s time to go. My father has said nothing about offing himself, but it is upsetting to contemplate, and I have not mentioned it or am concerned about it. Better to go with drugs instead of violently with a bullet. I am surprised that 9 States have made physician assisted suicide legal. Is it legal in the UK or EU?


For myself, I think I’d have to be in a state of constant physical pain or a very low quality of life to consider it. I’m thinking for most people that an advanced state of dementia puts the individual into more or less a dream state where suicide is less likely, but not impossible.
 

Eric

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It has been eluded to in this thread, but how do you feel about suicide as an option? I assume some do and some don’t. I have no moral issues with this, as when it’s time to go it’s time to go. My father has said nothing about offing himself, but it is upsetting to contemplate, and I have not mentioned it or am concerned about it. Better to go with drugs instead of violently with a bullet. I am surprised that 9 States have made physician assisted suicide legal. Is it legal in the UK or EU?


For myself, I think I’d have to be in a state of constant physical pain or a very low quality of life to consider it. I’m thinking for most people that an advanced state of dementia puts the individual into more or less a dream state where suicide is less likely, but not impossible.
I think it should be a right to choose, I know personally when things get bad enough with either physical pain or stress (or both) I do think about it, not to the point where I think I would actually do it but it crosses my mind. Of course I also try to look at other options and to be realistic about it, there's always a brighter day.

I would also say that when a pet is chronically suffering we see it as an act of compassion, I don't see how that should be any different for humans.
 

lizkat

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It has been eluded to in this thread, but how do you feel about suicide as an option? I assume some do and some don’t. I have no moral issues with this, as when it’s time to go it’s time to go. My father has said nothing about offing himself, but it is upsetting to contemplate, and I have not mentioned it or am concerned about it. Better to go with drugs instead of violently with a bullet. I am surprised that 9 States have made physician assisted suicide legal. Is it legal in the UK or EU?


For myself, I think I’d have to be in a state of constant physical pain or a very low quality of life to consider it. I’m thinking for most people that an advanced state of dementia puts the individual into more or less a dream state where suicide is less likely, but not impossible.

Although I can understand physician-assisted suicide, I have to make a tremendous effort to reach that understanding, mostly because I am a survivor of two suicides in my immediate family, where the traditional impetus for PAS was not present. Rather they were acts under relapse into active alcoholism and so fraught with questions about the quality of "decision"-making versus tunnel vision down to where it had apparently seemed like the next logical step and a gun was handy. My dad killed himself a few years before I was helped to realize that alcohol dependence was the biggest of my own problems, and I distinctly remember that when one of my brothers phoned to inform me of my father's demise, my first reaction was to get behind some beer, and I was never so drunk in my life as I was at his wake. When one of my brothers, a Vietnam era vet of the USAF, killed himself decades later, I had already been in recovery from alcoholism for a long time but have to say I'll never get over the shock of his death. To some extent I was living in a fairytale world of expectation that any in our famliy who like myself had set down the glass would leave it there. For whatever reasons, he could not manage that.

Anyway those two experiences of familial suicide are acts the memories of which I have to set aside when considering physician-assisted departure from this mortal coil. It's not easy, even if logically I know they are completely different. But a formal physician-assisted death is in fact a whole other form of departure, and when that decision is taken openly with family, it can be peaceful not only for the person having made that decision, but for family and friends as well.

As a argument in favor of considering the option to deprive the grim reaper of maximum unpleasantness, I certainly do remember my mother's passing from incurable cancer at age 48, and I would have given anything for her physicians at the time to have felt able to help her across the line instead of her having essentially drowned when she refused to allow fluid to be drawn off her lungs even one more time. It seemed and was cruel for them to adhere to a fixed schedule for morphine administration when there was no hope of her recovery and she was begging them to help end her suffering. That was back in the 60s though, when hospice care and proper pain management were still largely a thing of the future and physician-assisted suicide was a shocking idea to most in the USA. Even, as Eric noted, while many of us didn't have a moral issue with euthanasia of beloved pets or other livestock.

So I try to keep an open mind and again remind myself we can't any of us see "too far down the road"... even if I once declined to sign up for "Do Not Resuscitate" prior to some surgery. I remember then saying that I had a rich interior life and didn't want the plug pulled "too soon". Today I'm decades older and hopefully a little wiser. I'd not leave that decision up to anyone else while I still have power of making such decisions, so I do now have DNR in my paperwork. It doesn't mean I favor physician-assisted suicide but it does mean I wouldn't burden family with deciding the end of the road was in full view. We don't know. But it's not right to ask either family or doctors to guess, either. Not when I can say in advance that "when in doubt, let me go."
 

DT

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I've kind of avoided this thread/topic, but OK, I think I will contribute.


Nobody is trying to deny her independence, they're simply saying they can no longer provide the extensive care she needs to manage everything as it's basically a full time job for my sister and her daughter. Unfortunately, the only way they can manage that is by fully detaching because my mom will never leave them alone when she needs something, which is constantly.

In the end they've both made a decision that basically excludes them from each others life. No matter how much independence my mother wants, she is incapable of living on her own with any real sense of security. She has to call her own ambulances now, can't organize her meds, cannot fully make her own meals or walk without a struggle (hospitalized for a fall again just last week) and her home is in total disarray. Again, it's her call to go that way but it's hard to blame the family from detaching when there is help available and she refuses any of it.


This was very close, if not exactly, my situation.

I don't think children "owe" their parents anything, if it's done out of mutual love and understanding - and it's not unreasonable, and all support systems, medical advice, etc., are being followed - sure, help as much as you can within that framework.

To frame this: my Mother was living alone several years ago (Dad died in Oct 2015, can't even tell you the exact date), we offered to help her move closer (~1h and 10-20m away, bad drive, terrible traffic and accident area ...), into a nice condo complex 10 minutes away, or a house in our area, or even, doing something with this house, add-on, whatever, would not. We volunteered several times to take her to Dr appointments, she always cancelled, twice on my wife after she was almost there. I made dozens of suggestions about improving her life experience, getting her a wheelchair (vs. her walker), buying a nice van with a side lift. No. In my professional capacity, I work closely with physicians, and have a good friend who heads up internal medicine at a local health care group who made dozens of recommendations, would not follow any of that.

She did listen to one of her ignorant sisters, because of instead of offering good sound medical advice, she said all doctors are terrible, and I should do more.

Then, well, I'll cut this short as it's a whole narrative in itself - full of complete, life (mine) wrecking chaos, psychological impact on my whole family, loss of thousands of dollars of work - she wound up at home, bed ridden. Now, she didn't have to be in that state, she refused med changes, and refused PT/OT, and refused to use a wheelchair, or a transfer board.

Now she needs near full time assistance, and there's no option here (the US) for compensating a non-medical professional, either you get some at home medical care (which has nothing to do with things like meal prep), or you move to a care facility. At home care, is out of pocket, because it's basically "sitters", meal/maid service, and personal hygiene.

At this point, wy wife and I were supposed to do this, 24/7, without regard to our daughter (her only grandchild), either selling our house and moving or making that 1+ H drive 7 days a week, or whenever, as needed, because she continued to not listening to medical professionals and only to the couple of sisters (and a niece) who basically condemned me for not losing my clients, my health, and helping to raise my daughter - this is ol' school southern thing too, everything should be about Mother, kids should live down the street, Mother should take precedence over your own life/job/health, wife, child, etc.

Thank god I had one cousin, who helped a ton (especially when I was travelling a bit more), I mean, it was also because of "southern guilt" because she lived with my folks for a whole - oh, and that was always brought up, how much my cousin "owed".

So she tapped into her savings, went through $220K+ for at home care over about 3 years (that still involved me 7 days a week, because she raged at all the sitters, at least 20 of them quite over the 3 or so years - she was EXTREMELY DIFFICULT). I hope it made her happy, I didn't need or want any of that money. She died in a nice hospice facility, after a downturn, and basically I told the doc, I think this needs to end, he couldn't believe her condition, he vehemently agreed, got her pain under control, deep sedation.

When she passed away, it was the most relief my family had in 5 years.

BTW, when I say family, I mean my wife and my daughter, and my "extended family" is my DIL, BIL and cousins/aunts on my wife's side. Her family can mostly just fuck right off, I never speak to them expect for the one cousin, who occasionally pings me (to ask about me and my family) and one aunt who's still sends me random "thinking about her" messages (for the record, I've had almost no contact with my Dad's family, ever, and none in the last several years, which is fine by me ...)

I'll be honest, we talk about her now and then, over some -ism of hers, same with my Dad (his story is different, but the same, and somewhat a sad tale because of my Mother's inability to follow medical advice ...), but I don't stop on the day either of them died, I don't use it as some demarcation point in my life, I think of some of the positives (especially in the case of my Dad), and look forward to the future with my amazing wife and daughter.

@Eric Yeah, once you get to the "This is a much as I can do, and I don't have any regrets about not doing more than I did" in your head, it's a good place. :)
 
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Eric

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I've kind of avoided this thread/topic, but OK, I think I will contribute.





This was very close, if not exactly, my situation.

I don't think children "owe" their parents anything, if it's done out of mutual love and understanding - and it's not unreasonable, and all support systems, medical advice, etc., are being followed - sure, help as much as you can within that framework.

To frame this: my Mother was living alone several years ago (Dad died in Oct 2015, can't even tell you the exact date), we offered to help her move closer (~1h and 10-20m away, bad drive, terrible traffic and accident area ...), into a nice condo complex 10 minutes away, or a house in our area, or even, doing something with this house, add-on, whatever, would not. We volunteered several times to take her to Dr appointments, she always cancelled, twice on my wife after she was almost there. I made dozens of suggestions about improving her life experience, getting her a wheelchair (vs. her walker), buying a nice van with a side lift. No. In my professional capacity, I work closely with physicians, and have a good friend who heads up internal medicine at a local health care group who made dozens of recommendations, would not follow any of that.

She did listen to one of her ignorant sisters, because of instead of offering good sound medical advice, she said all doctors are terrible, and I should do more.

Then, well, I'll cut this short as it's a whole narrative in itself - full of complete, life (mine) wrecking chaos, psychological impact on my whole family, loss of thousands of dollars of work - she wound up at home, bed ridden. Now, she didn't have to be in that state, she refused med changes, and refused PT/OT, and refused to use a wheelchair, or a transfer board.

Now she needs near full time assistance, and there's no option here (the US) for compensating a non-medical professional, either you get some at home medical care (which has nothing to do with things like meal prep), or you move to a care facility. At home care, is out of pocket, because it's basically "sitters", meal/maid service, and personal hygiene.

At this point, wy wife and I were supposed to do this, 24/7, without regard to our daughter (her only grandchild), either selling our house and moving or making that 1+ H drive 7 days a week, or whenever, as needed, because she continued to not listening to medical professionals and only to the couple of sisters (and a niece) who basically condemned me for not losing my clients, my health, and helping to raise my daughter - this is ol' school southern thing too, everything should be about Mother, kids should live down the street, Mother should take precedence over your own life/job/health, wife, child, etc.

Thank god I had one cousin, who helped a ton (especially when I was travelling a bit more), I mean, it was also because of "southern guilt" because she lived with my folks for a whole - oh, and that was always brought up, how much my cousin "owed".

So she tapped into her savings, went through $220K+ for at home care over about 3 years (that still involved me 7 days a week, because she raged at all the sitters, at least 20 of them quite over the 3 or so years - she was EXTREMELY DIFFICULT). I hope it made her happy, I didn't need or want any of that money. She died in a nice hospice facility, after a downturn, and basically I told the doc, I think this needs to end, he couldn't believe her condition, he vehemently agreed, got her pain under control, deep sedation.

When she passed away, it was the most relief my family had in 5 years.

BTW, when I say family, I mean my wife and my daughter, and my "extended family" is my DIL, BIL and cousins/aunts on my wife's side. Her family can mostly just fuck right off, I never speak to them expect for the one cousin, who occasionally pings me (to ask about me and my family) and one aunt who's still sends me random "thinking about her" messages (for the record, I've had almost no contact with my Dad's family, ever, and none in the last several years, which is fine by me ...)

I'll be honest, we talk about her now and then, over some -ism of hers, same with my Dad (his story is different, but the same, and somewhat a sad tale because of my Mother's inability to follow medical advice ...), but I don't stop on the day either of them died, I don't use it as some demarcation point in my life, I think of some of the positives (especially in the case of my Dad), and look forward to the future with my amazing wife and daughter.

@Eric Yeah, once you get to the "This is a much as I can do, and I don't have any regrets about not doing more than I did" in your head, it's a good place. :)
Wow, very similar to my situation and I can really relate with what your family had to go through. I agree about owing them, it's really an individual decision we all have to make. Personally, I would love it if we all had the means to take care of my mom but we just do not and in her condition what choices are we left with?

Like you, the burden on the family is just too overwhelming and the alternative is to simply distance yourself as they refuse any sort of other care. We have also done the math and come up with solutions to supplement for assisted living, everyone is willing to chip in and in return can all see each other again without all the resentment. In the end it's just not a decision she's willing to make.

After looking at some of the assisted living options I would ask how bad it can be? They clean your room/apartment, prepare your meals, etc. and when you compare that to living in your own filth with no real means to take care of yourself it's a no-brainer to me. Shit, I'm in my 50s and ready to sign up now.

I think everyone in my family is now to that point, we feel like we've tried everything. In the end I'll just keep talking to her weekly and not shame her over this choice, I've conceded to leave her be to die the way she chooses.
 

lizkat

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In the end it's just not a decision she's willing to make.


Similarly with one of my brothers and his late mother-in-law. After the MIL's husband passed, she apparently and rather suddenly realized she'd subsumed her interests to his for her entire marriage and thus had no actual friends of her own, they were all his friends and, very incidentally, their wives. Hmm. Their kids were already grown with jobs and families of their own, so on her own most of the time she was miserable and soon enough landed in a clinical depression, for which she refused treatment. Her daughter and my bro had earlier suggested a senior living community, since before the hubby's death the woman had been pretty sociable at least as far as entertaining the friends of her husband and their tag-along spouses, plus her kids and grandkids on holidays and assorted weekends at the elder couple's cottage in the summer.

But no. The MIL said she'd just keep her home and the summer cottage and be damned to any other ideas. She had no particular hobby or avocation and so nothing to do but watch TV once there was no demanding husband to satisfy, so she immediately began to focus on the familial deficiencies of her grown kids (my SIL has two brothers) and all their children. Oy. She also declined health-wise and so eventually ended up living in my bro's house after some surgeries and general physical decline. My SIL is a banker and the bro a techie who worked from home so he ended up the de facto caregiver, meal prepper, meds dispenser etc.

The couple and their minor kids soon became miserable with the woman telling the bro not to fuss over her but complaining to her daughter each day-end about how she was ignored all day, and my brother relaying to his wife the unkind remarks her mom had made about HER all day long. The woman's favorite mode of operation was to self-demean and bestow flattery on anyone in her extended family to their faces, but then whine about how uncaring they all were behind their backs.

Everyone knew this was how she had become, so it was hard to maintain a sort of sunny "how are you today mom" approach after not very long. "Oh don't fetch my sweater, it's warm enough here without it" was bound to become "... and he doesn't even keep it warm in here or bring me a shawl" . And somehow "well she's at work all day but she could phone on her lunch hour, I didn't bring her up right, it's clear to me now" was the end of the story versus at midday if my SIL did happen to call home and ask for her mom, my bro would tell his MIL that her daughter was on the line and she'd say "oh tell her to save it for when she's not on the office clock". It was no-win for anyone or anything except clinical depression...

Really it became intolerable pretty fast but some days can seem way longer than others. Eventually my bro's wife realized she couldn't put herself OR her own immediate family through that any more, so they put their foot down and said they could not care for her properly and found her an assisted living facility with attached nursing home and that was that. She turned to greeting them with smiles and then complaining about the place, and then complaining about her family to the facility's caregivers after visits, probably before the visitors had reached the parking lot.

The thing to focus on here in this tale is that my bro and SIL could only manage that transition in living space for her mother because in a friendlier time early after my SIL's father's death, the widow had given power of attorney to her daughter.

Honestly without that I think they would have had to build an addition onto their house and try to hire domestic help to get some distance from that woman, she became hell on wheels in such a short time it was astonishing.
 

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It has been eluded to in this thread, but how do you feel about suicide as an option? I assume some do and some don’t. I have no moral issues with this, as when it’s time to go it’s time to go. My father has said nothing about offing himself, but it is upsetting to contemplate, and I have not mentioned it or am concerned about it. Better to go with drugs instead of violently with a bullet. I am surprised that 9 States have made physician assisted suicide legal. Is it legal in the UK or EU?


For myself, I think I’d have to be in a state of constant physical pain or a very low quality of life to consider it. I’m thinking for most people that an advanced state of dementia puts the individual into more or less a dream state where suicide is less likely, but not impossible.
Legal in Switzerland. Not in the U.K. But what are they going to do? Arrest you? If Mrs AFB was to pass I don’t think I’d be far behind. If I die she’ll be doing the same (her words). Life’s tough enough. Why not take the easy way out when the time comes?
 
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