AGING PARENTS

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
Any of you graying ILXors dealing with this? I am the sibling living closest to my 87 year old mother so I spend part of almost every day running errands with or for her and also taking her to doctor appointments. I have to keep track of all her medical issues because she can't remember anything. Not Alzheimer's—just severe short-term memory losses. My sister and I convinced her not to drive, which she resents mightily on account of being in complete denial about all her aging issues (Hearing loss, poor vision, the memory thing, heart condition, late-onset asthma). I'd love to play along with the "I'm fine" delusion, but not if it means letting her drive! I would have to live with the guilt if she hurt someone!
She also insists that she is capable of traveling alone on a bus, and believe me, she is not! I have been to the ER with her too many times for one reason or another. No way am I sending her off on a bus! When she goes to visit relatives we line up a driver, or drive her ourselves.
The whole thing has me mildly depressed.

Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Monday, 21 August 2006 17:44 (fifteen years ago) link

Any of you graying ILXors dealing with this?

It's a ways yet for me -- my folks are in their sixties and in good health still. But my dad is starting to slow down a touch -- kinda good that he's retired, officially -- and more than once I've wondered a bit about what the not-so-far-away-now future will mean.

Certainly I salute your patience with this all -- I'm not sure how I would react.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Monday, 21 August 2006 17:52 (fifteen years ago) link

But I'm not patient at all! That's the problem. It's hard to convince myself that her behavior isn't deliberate cussedness, because she has a cussed streak! But her brain is obviously changing.

Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Monday, 21 August 2006 17:56 (fifteen years ago) link

Had to deal with this with my mother in law some, recently. Gave me a preview of how it might be with my own parents, and it was absolutely fucking exhausting. She's not intentionally cussed, but stubborn nonetheless.

The patience is key, but it's really hard to keep it up. Can other siblings/capable family members come to visit to spell you for a bit?

patita (patita), Monday, 21 August 2006 18:43 (fifteen years ago) link

Any of you graying ILXors dealing with this?

If by 'graying', you mean 'balding', then yes, to some extent I am such a one.

At the moment the brunt of the responsibility has fallen to an older sister who lives much closer to my 81 year old mother than myself or my other siblings. She takes on the 'dutiful child' role, while the rest of us come in and put in a burst of assistance whenever the tide of troubles rises above a certain level, so my sister doesn't burn out.

My father died two years ago. During his last year and during the year immediately following his death, I drove the 75 mile round trip to see the two of them (later, just my mother) very often. There was so much that needed tending to.

My father, too, suffered from severe short term memory loss toward the end of his life, reducing him to a small shadow of the man he had been - because he became literally unable to encompass any activity that could not be completed within the two minutes or so that he was able to form and hold a single thought. He, too, was inclined to minimize or dismiss the severity of his problems. I finally realized that he understood very well the extent of his diminished capacity, but facing it was too great a threat to his sense of worth and happiness. Denial was how he held depression at bay.

Now that he has passed on, my mother has grasped the nettle of losing her companion and mainstay of 57 years with surprising firmness. I spent 8 months visiting her almost weekly during that transition. It helped a lot, I think, to have family members to talk to and grieve with, and help her form plans and carry them out.

I wish both you and your mother the best, but, as you no doubt know in your bones, even the best possible outcomes available to you and her are still damned difficult to embrace. The cost of love can be pretty steep sometimes, and the bills fall due with increasing frequency at this time. Good luck.

Aimless (Aimless), Monday, 21 August 2006 19:10 (fifteen years ago) link

I'm dealing with this with my grandparents and (sooner or later) my parents.

I just moved all of my (paternal) grandfather's stuff in with his, uh, 'friend' because he couldn't afford his truck payment and townhome rent and medicines and everything else at once. And since he's still part of the family cosntruction business I spend much of my day ensuring that he isn't overworking (or just screwing things up - he gets frustrated easily that his muscles and joints don't work like they used to).

My grandmother (maternal) has Alzheimer's (early-mid stage), and drove me kind of nuts before it was full-blown. Neither of my uncles, none of my ten cousins and my brother don't do shit. Anything not handled by my parents falls directly to me. The extent of the agonies here (some her fault, some not, mostly involving my useless uncles and their brood) is too long to list.

With both I'm always on-call to fix something or help out or figure out why the TV isn't working or why this bill didn't get paid. I can't say no, even when I want to, and the occasional feeling of being put-upon hasn't helped my relationship with my grandmother. (And, theoretically, I'd like to move north when my finances are sorted and my degree is finished - but I can't knowing that I'd leave anyone in the lurch.)

Only 20 years 'til my parents are in their late-70s...

milo z (mlp), Monday, 21 August 2006 19:22 (fifteen years ago) link

Yes, although my particular issues are different. My father has had one major stroke and probably innumerable little ones. The first one forced him to retire. Although, in the grand scale of things, he recovered, he definitely has problems remembering things (e.g., the Rolling Stones came out as "the one with the lips" after about five minutes) and isn't too steady on his feet. He's been in three car accidents in the last two years -- not hurt, but totalled two cars. A certain degree of bad luck, but the end result of it all is that he doesn't really leave the house, so he mostly just lays on the couch, watches television, and is grumpy and depressed. Thankfully, my mother's in pretty good health. But none of us really have any idea how to deal with the situation, and it falls to me to say "no" and/or make any "unpleasant" decisions. Meanwhile the two of them of managed to complete bungle their finances: they are possibly the only household in America who have managed avoid ANY capital appreciation on their real estate over the last 20 years (although they have done a wonderful job accumulating credit card debt). Sigh. I am already worried enough about my own finances, but it has now become apparent that I am unlikely to ever own my own home, as any extra money I have will be needed to keep them afloat.

i'll mitya halfway (mitya), Monday, 21 August 2006 20:17 (fifteen years ago) link

My parents are both in their late 50s, so not really aging as such, though my mother has a sort of rare foot problem, which affects nerve endings in her feet, and the implications of this and the way she has dealt with it thus far have caused considerable strain in the family.

It's a tricky situation as for whatever reason, mostly a weird sort of shame or embarassment, she is loathe to talk about her problems with my Dad or myself, or anyone really, my sister whom she is very close to can sometimes get a little discussion about it.

It's terrible because she grieves for her feet as things worsen, quite slowly, though the condition may one day lead to her being in a wheelchair. She grieves yet she never seems to get past the denial stage, she can't accept or discuss the problem.

So she will often cry kind of uncontrollably, it's awful to hear, but worse is that she won't allow you to help or even talk, my Dad sometimes just says to me "I have no idea what to do", which is also quite weird, it all feels kind of dysfunctional.

So I relate to the "denial" thing you mention Beth, my mother is much younger and this is a problem. I can only imagine what she'd think if she knew I was discussing this on a messageboard...I just wish I had some productive advice rather than just empathy...

Ronan (Ronan), Monday, 21 August 2006 20:31 (fifteen years ago) link

Empathy is just the ticket, thank you all. I don't think there are any easy solutions. People say "you have to hire someone," but that would entail such a huge loss-of-face for my mother. Suddenly she'd be this person for whom people have to be hired. I'd like to put that off as long as I can. Which means extra strain on my nerves, but I have to feel like I'm doing right by her, as long as it doesn't turn me into a total bitch. Which it could do. When I'm the slightest bit sharp with her she'll say "don't get mad at me all the time," which is manipulative crap because I DON'T get mad at her all the time. But she loves the sacharrine niceness of hospital nurses. She wants that from everyone, all the time, and sorry, I just can't do it.
Yikes, Ronan. Your poor mom! But maybe it's good that she's weeping like that. Sounds like a little window of non-denial.

Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Monday, 21 August 2006 23:43 (fifteen years ago) link

Argh, that pride and independence is hard to deal with. It had my grandmother living alone until she was 102, and my mother, aunt and uncle running around at her beck and call constantly for 8-10 years before that.

Good luck Beth, and everyone else posting here. I've been really lucky so far, but the day isn't far off -- my mother will be 74 next month and my dad is 77. But my dad, Jesus, he heals quicker than Wolverine. He planted his garden this year, went in for quintuple bypass surgery, and was recovered enough to bring in the harvest himself.

Danny Aioli (Rock Hardy), Monday, 21 August 2006 23:58 (fifteen years ago) link

I've told you before and I'll tell you again, Rock Hardy. You come from excellent stock!

Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 00:04 (fifteen years ago) link

My father's 77, suffers from dementia and psychoses due to alcoholism which the psychiatrists think was in part due to early onset alzheimers as well as his being extremely depressed. He's in a home, a wreck of a man and his family barely talk to him and none of his old friends come near thanks to the treatment he metted out to everyone. My mum watches out for him and takes care of him. It's quite horrible, he doesn't recognise me.
I'm just saying I hope you appreciate good people in ill health as well as good health. It's a massive burden and can be very upsetting. My eldest brother refuses to aknowledge my father's situation in anyway which is horribly awkward because he's the legal next of kin. (Which is another thing to be wary of when you have to take care of your parents, your status in law). Don't be ashamed to look for help if you can. But if you do make sure that they're treated well, homes and nurses aren't necessarily good, abuse of the elderly is more common than is often aknowledged and pretty horrible.
Anyways I hope all your parents always have plenty to smile about whatever their troubles.

Major Alfonso (Major Alfonso), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 00:14 (fifteen years ago) link

xpost --
I think about death a lot, but haphazardly -- impressionistically, I guess -- because I haven't had to face it up close. I don't really want to live as long as my grandmother. There was a big reunion of my father's clan a couple of years ago and just by chance, a couple of days earlier there had been a story about an 80-year-old guy who played golf with his buddies and had died of a heart attack right after finishing. I was telling one of my aunts about this, and how awesome it was. "That's how I want to go, 80 good years, then lay down for a nap and drift away." My aunt was a bit pissed off at this. "I'm 80 years old, do you think it's time for me to lay down and die?" Holy fuck, ultimate foot in mouth.

Danny Aioli (Rock Hardy), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 00:17 (fifteen years ago) link

Oops!

Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 00:19 (fifteen years ago) link

I blame my dad's wine.

Danny Aioli (Rock Hardy), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 00:25 (fifteen years ago) link

If wine was the key to longevity we'd be a family of the undead!
My parents used to get mailings from the Hemlock Society, but when it came right down to it, my father couldn't do it. He had Alzheimers, too, so if there was ever a case for offing yourself... I think in a case like that you just have to pick a day to do it and stick to your plan. My father was a terrible difficult person—I wrote upthread about the difficulty in believing that my mother's dotty behavior isn't deliberate—somehow manipulative. With my father it was the same, if not more so. Even though I knew his brain was being turned into a rotten hunk of plaque I still felt like the resulting behavior was just more of the same shit we'd been putting up with our whole lives.

The child unable to believe that the parent has lost power?

Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 00:31 (fifteen years ago) link

terribLY difficult. Sheesh!

Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 00:34 (fifteen years ago) link

haaa, no, I blame my dad's wine for being thoughtless enough to tell some old people I wanted to die when I got their age. (Which is not exactly what I was saying, but I'm sure it sounded like that.)

Danny Aioli (Rock Hardy), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 00:51 (fifteen years ago) link

Too bad you didn't say quickly enough, "Oh, I figure I'd have to live at least to 90 in order to get in that many good years!"

Aimless (Aimless), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 01:09 (fifteen years ago) link

Good one!

My mother (89) has had alzheimers for about 8 years. Her body has served her well, but her brain slowly went to bits shortly after my stepfather died. Unable to manage her house anymore, my brother and I moved her to an independent living center that guaranteed access to its nursing home if and when the time came. It came about two years after the move. I live 3 hours away, but my brother lives within walking distance and visits her several times a week and we included her in family events until about a year ago when she just became unable to feel comfortable outside of her nursing home environment.

She's now almost totally deaf and has never used a hearing aid which makes any serious communication impossible. I visited last week and found her doing a crossword puzzle. We did the puzzle together for a while, but her mind kept drifting all over the place.

My wife's father (82) has Parkinson's and fell down the stairs recently. Compression fractures of three vertebrae was the diagnosis. Surgeons injected some kind of cement in his spine and he was getting about with a walker after only a few days. My wife plans to care for him in his home in the near future. He suffers from dimentia, too, but is on so many meds that I think that may be a contributing factor. This guy was an infantryman in world war II, a radio and tv personality and has had a very good life. He is loved by many people and has had countless visitors at the hospital. He is very frail now and has told me, and I'm sure others, that he knows his life is at the very end.

These are two of the coolest people that I have ever known, both with precious little time left. One knows it and one doesn't seem to. They are both receiving the best care available, but y'know sometimes that don't mean a thing. My thoughts are with all of you.

jim wentworth (wench), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 01:27 (fifteen years ago) link

five years pass...

This. Heavy shit, huh?

(✿◠‿◠) (ENBB), Monday, 20 August 2012 17:34 (nine years ago) link

yep

curmudgeon, Monday, 20 August 2012 18:31 (nine years ago) link

In darker moments, I look at my folks now (esp. my Pa who is 75 this week) and feel like the wave of their good years is just on the cusp of breaking. Not really ready for it, not at all.

that mustardless plate (Bill A), Monday, 20 August 2012 18:44 (nine years ago) link

My mothers good years are most definitely past. This has become very evident as she's staying with me for a couple days and it's totally heart breaking. Also, there's some memory loss/disorientation stuff happening that's scaring the crap out of me.

(✿◠‿◠) (ENBB), Monday, 20 August 2012 18:54 (nine years ago) link

so heavy i can't really talk about it

these albatrosses have no fear of man (La Lechera), Monday, 20 August 2012 19:00 (nine years ago) link

Yeah. I started trying to talk about it with someone at work and couldn't really hold myself together. This is really tough. :/

(✿◠‿◠) (ENBB), Monday, 20 August 2012 23:12 (nine years ago) link

Good luck Erica... luckily my parents are still mostly 'together' and my dad's problems are a result of his alcoholism rather than real mental deterioration, but it's still awful to have to deal with this stuff.

one dis leads to another (ian), Monday, 20 August 2012 23:31 (nine years ago) link

yeah i'm going through this too. all the best, E x

jed_, Monday, 20 August 2012 23:36 (nine years ago) link

and everyone else :/

jed_, Monday, 20 August 2012 23:36 (nine years ago) link

This took up took up over 10 years of my life (from 1994 - 2008 in fact). Both my parents got ill in their early to mid-seventies, and both had dementia and a pretty terrible end in a nursing home in their late seventies.

I spend most of this period visiting at weekends, and other times - and in that rather mad space where you seem cut off from the concerns of normal life, unable to relax for a minute, and living a kind of nightmare existence that no-one else around you realises. (Nothing like the horrific life of a full-time career - but bad enough).

The only thing you can say about it is that it passes, and you realise that what felt like an endless enduring period was in the end just another temporary era.

Bob Six, Monday, 20 August 2012 23:43 (nine years ago) link

Siblings help -- if you're lucky.

a regina spektor is haunting europe (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 20 August 2012 23:46 (nine years ago) link

I'm an only child. This is the only time I've ever wished I had siblings tbh.

Thanks, guys. Things are OK and we had a really nice evening. She's staying with me until she flys back to FL on Wed. Ian - alcoholism is a factor here too in addition to a lot of other things. I guess I just really feel for my dad and am really saddened by realizing that it's only going to get worse from here and I'm afraid it's going to do so pretty quickly.

(✿◠‿◠) (ENBB), Tuesday, 21 August 2012 00:10 (nine years ago) link

I feel for you, ENBB. I'm an only child too; my mom's 84 this year but still drives, takes care of her own stuff, is still sharp as ever (dad died in 2000). But I dread so deeply the coming of the signs. I can't even model it in my mind. Hugs.

Lewis Apparition (Jon Lewis), Tuesday, 21 August 2012 00:37 (nine years ago) link

my mom's 84 this year but still drives, takes care of her own stuff, is still sharp as ever

That's fantastic, good for her! Mine is 74 this year but she's an old 74 and hasn't driven in at least 5 years. Anyway, like I said, we had a lovely day today. It's just a really difficult process to watch and I worry about what will happen down the line.

(✿◠‿◠) (ENBB), Tuesday, 21 August 2012 00:53 (nine years ago) link

pullin for you E - us only children gotta stick together. this terrifies me too - and is a big part of what motivates me to do what I do now - but hopefully there will be a good, long time before anything really happens.

jack chick-fil-A (dayo), Tuesday, 21 August 2012 00:58 (nine years ago) link

You know you have my support as another only, but I'm too much of a weakling to talk about this stuff
In earnest
In public
Beyond this

But you know where to find me offboard if you wanna talk!!

these albatrosses have no fear of man (La Lechera), Tuesday, 21 August 2012 01:57 (nine years ago) link

i will say that my mom is pretty damn sharp in mind, but whenever i visit, i insist on driving EVERYWHERE. her driving scares the bejesus out of me, don't understand how she hasn't had her license taken away. and it only gets worse as she gets older.

for reasons of sass (the table is the table), Tuesday, 21 August 2012 05:28 (nine years ago) link

yeah driving is often the "tipping point" of aging parents decline. really hard to give up.

my heart goes out to enbb,la lechera, ian and everybody facing this. all my middle-aged friends have ailing/aging parents right now, you guys are confronting it early like i did. these days my father in law is essentially dying, i was going to post this on the fuck cancer thread but it fits here too. he's 84, until a couple years ago was robust mentally and physically, the picture of how you'd hope to age. so it's shocking to see his rapid decline not just bodily but he's become very confused and withdrawn, barely a shell of his former self. chemotherapy is keeping him alive but at what cost? we just had our annual visit and my wife, her mom (who's a rock) and her two siblings are stressed out and struggling. not much else to say. but it's good to talk about it, in fact it's important for your - our - own mental health to let it out.

(REAL NAME) (m coleman), Tuesday, 21 August 2012 09:39 (nine years ago) link

My dad had the driving decision taken out of his hands as he went blind in one eye at the start of the year, but he was getting to be quite a dangerous driver before than (he's 80) so we're really quite glad about it.

ailsa, Tuesday, 21 August 2012 09:54 (nine years ago) link

even though she knows she needs them, my mom refuses to get glasses because she thinks that they make her face look weird
she lives in fear of having her driver's license taken away from her because she is a very independent person and likes her alone time
:(

these albatrosses have no fear of man (La Lechera), Tuesday, 21 August 2012 13:24 (nine years ago) link

My mother-in-law has had quite serious dementia for the past six years or so. This started when she was in her early-to-mid 60s - one of the first events that really got us thinking that something was up was when she drove her car the wrong way round a large roundabout into oncoming traffic. At the moment she lives in a nursing home as is pretty much just a shell of her former self - she doesn't even know who her children are any more when they come to visit, but thankfully she does still appreciate the company which at least is one small positive that you can take away. Totally depressing though, so for anyone out there who is dealing with this right now, I can totally sympathise.

mod night at the oasis (NickB), Tuesday, 21 August 2012 13:35 (nine years ago) link

My mom, turning 80 next month, has been fighting the decline, bless her. Joined the hospital wellness center, has been selling and giving away decades' worth of my dad's accumulated packratcrap, still gets out there and mows her own lawn, etc. Next week she, my daughter and probably my wife are heading off to Biloxi to the casinos. But the decline is there...bad knees, bad feet, diabetes... My sympathies to everyone having a tough go of it these days.

Romney's Kitchen Nightmares (WmC), Tuesday, 21 August 2012 13:45 (nine years ago) link

My mum (68) has been dealing with my gran (88) for a long time; my gran has alzheimers. About six months ago she finally got her moved to a nursing home in the same town (200 miles from where my gran was before). Only now is she at the point where she can see any humour in the situation, which results in Facebook messages like this from my mum:

Today's visit to your gran!

G. (after a bit of mumbling and searching for words) Are you my daughter?

Me. Yes.

Gr. Are you really my daughter?

Me. Yes.

Gr. I can't remember. Am I your mother?

Me. Yes.

Gr. Where did we live?

So I started giving her a potted history of our life.

GR. How do you know you're my daughter?

A bit later on....

Gr, Haven't I got nice legs!

She thought it was quite funny that she couldn't remember things; seemed very happy and settled. The staff bore this out.

Sick Mouthy (Scik Mouthy), Tuesday, 21 August 2012 14:11 (nine years ago) link

three months pass...

My mom and grandma live together with mom's "girlfriend", and I moved to be closer to them and my terminally ill Dad (they were separated). Grandma is sharp as a tack and well into her 90s. Of course I love Grandma, but mom is making seeing Grandma a miserable experience.

Like I said elsewhere she is getting into that old people thing of being passive-aggressive. I know I called her a "fascist" I didn't mean it, it's that her emotional state is kind of fascist.

It's her stupid family. She wasn't raised by her own mother, she was raised by her abusive and creepy grandmother and aunt and it really shows in how she deals with stuff like death and adult responsibilities.

If anything difficult happens in her life - death or whatever - she just escapes mentally. Her mom's family had a lot of money and stuff was handled for her all her life!! She doesn't understand why other people don't have it as easy. Because of her family, she feels she has a lot of power and I can't ever suspect her of having mental problems EVER.

six months pass...

My mom gave up driving last month. Kinda shocked, but pleased that she came to the decision herself. She's 88 and is in reasonably good health for her age - despite the piles of crap that she's hoarded (ongoing issue for her entire life). Sister is gone for several weeks so I'm on mom duty... it's extra frustrating because her hearing is so bad that she leaves the televisions on with the sound maxed-out and she can't hear the phone.

Vexing problem of the moment... Her sense of time and calendar dates are slipping, so making plans becomes a comedy of errors ("stop by this week" *does so* "what are you doing here, I said to come by next week") ad infinitum ad nauseum

Elvis Telecom, Monday, 1 July 2013 23:40 (eight years ago) link

wow, that sounds like a serious challenge. i'm sorry. i have this thread bookmarked and it popped up just as my parents arrived yesterday for their first visit in 3 years. they are aging. my mom is in great shape (in spite of some health issues this year) but my dad keeps looking and acting less like himself, which is thrown into stark relief when we look at old pictures together.

hmph.

free your spirit pig (La Lechera), Tuesday, 2 July 2013 14:15 (eight years ago) link

I am going to visit my parents this weekend and I think that I'm actually going to have to ask them point blank what they want me to do for them if they ever get dementia or need care etc. My mom is in bad shape and her memory is already slipping and my biggest fear is that my dad dies first (though this is prob unlikely you never know) and I'm left to make decisions for/about her. I want to know now and while I know she's not going to want to talk about this I'm going to make them because I'm an only child and they have no other relatives here to help and I can't handle the stress and weight of this alone without knowing what they want.

Airwrecka Bliptrap Blapmantis (ENBB), Tuesday, 2 July 2013 14:19 (eight years ago) link

Just to share my own personal woes on this thread --

My father nearly died last week; he collapsed on his way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. The ambulance came and got him to a hospital and it turned out he had two massive ulcers in his stomach and large intestine. This comes about 6 weeks after a surgery to biopsy a growth in his spinal cord.

Yesterday morning, recovering from the emergency surgery to stitch up the ulcers, he had a major heart attack and is in the hospital with a breathing tube, heavily sedated etc. On our way up to Rhode Island yesterday our van broke down on the Triboro Bridge -- shocks gave out and started to rub against the front tires, causing lots of burnt rubber smoke. We got it towed back to your neighborhood (luckily we weren't halfway through connecticut) and it's going to be repaired this afternoon, $800 later. I'm incredibly worried about my dad. The doctors are not sure how to treat him; they can't give him the usual blood thinners and medications because of the ulcers and recent surgery. I wish so badly I was there. And now I'm worried about the drive up, even though the car is getting fixed, I have a strong distrust of automobiles... Just don't know what to do. It's bad when my aunt is telling me to go straight to the hospital and bring his 'paperwork' (read: living will.)

So scared :\

i guess i'd just rather listen to canned heat? (ian), Tuesday, 2 July 2013 17:06 (eight years ago) link

I'm sorry to hear all of that.

Tottenham Heelspur (in orbit), Tuesday, 2 July 2013 17:37 (eight years ago) link

me too. suerte, ian.

free your spirit pig (La Lechera), Tuesday, 2 July 2013 18:41 (eight years ago) link

really sorry LL. I fully agree. In my extended family there is someone who at a fairly young age started a decline (a very unusual form of dementia) and the family intended to sit down and discuss directly what they wanted. one day, not very long after it was detected, it was like a switch had flipped and it was simply too late.

kinder, Thursday, 13 January 2022 21:30 (four months ago) link

i had to look after myself and here we are. Yes. It's unavoidable sometimes, for various reasons, and we all have to look after ourselves at some points, no matter what else is going on.
Not really advice, but just remembering, though in some ways this still applies:
the only way I got through some potentially crushing situations was by stepping in and out, with work in its own area, unavoidably, and at least it's a different area, for a while. But also being able to go in a music interest area, or one for a reading break, walking around, running errands, combining those last two, but only sometimes. Time is limited, but going back and forth at all can come to be seen as some degree of relief in itself.

dow, Friday, 14 January 2022 07:33 (four months ago) link

at least it's a different area, for a while. I meant that at least it's a different area to be in, for a while.

dow, Friday, 14 January 2022 07:36 (four months ago) link

(Also after I'd go to bed, I'd make a point of saying, when it seemed necessary,"Well this shit isn't going to be resolved by lying awake all night," because it never has, for me. "So fuck it and goodnight, self."

dow, Friday, 14 January 2022 07:40 (four months ago) link

like sharing the good here as well. dad has his good and average days, but it's a joy spending time w/ him. i tell him how much I love him every day. he lights up. I love that look.

his sense of humor is still buried in there. sometimes I tell his old jokes to see if he still remembers them. he was looking at me today and I said "what're you looking at" and he said "not much", deadpan. <3

other than the one day that scared the shit out of me w/ mom, she's been much better lately. and we think we've found a new adult daycare for him that's better than the last (we've been holding off as it seems risky to send him to one right now, but cases/hospitalizations coming down in FL). this one has financial assistance, which last one didn't.

they were written with a ouija board and a rhyming dictionary (Neanderthal), Saturday, 22 January 2022 17:52 (four months ago) link

(please picture me knocking on huge planks of wood as I typed all that)

they were written with a ouija board and a rhyming dictionary (Neanderthal), Saturday, 22 January 2022 17:52 (four months ago) link

Got a fun email from my mom yesterday...I'll excerpt the relevant sections.

Yesterday morning I delivered myself to a dermatologist for Mohs surgery. I had a suspicious spot on my left temple, very close to the hairline. Generally, it was dry and sometimes flaky; however, one day in October, I had blood running down the side of my face. The biopsy was done 2 weeks ago and indicated basal cell carcinoma.

...

The procedure was done in Morristown and went smoothly. The doctor did two scrapes to get to clear skin. There are sutures which stay in place until next week. I haven't yet removed the big pressure bandage but must do it this afternoon (24 hours). I have no idea what the surgical damage is but any scar will be under my hair. It's nearly impossible to see the spot because it is right behind the temple piece of my glasses and without said glasses, I cannot see at all.

Nonetheless, I am home for the next week feeling unsettled and unable to either drink alcohol or exercise to work off my general anxiety. Stitches come out next week on Wednesday.

...

I will need to see a dermatologist every 6 months for the next few years and need to go for a whole body check after this spot heals.

This is the first I'm hearing about any of this and the inciting incident took place in October! Thanks for the update, Mom!

but also fuck you (unperson), Saturday, 22 January 2022 18:57 (four months ago) link

Oh my in-laws were famous for that. Like,"oh well Harold went to the ER in an ambulance with chest pain two Fridays ago, but he is feeling better now."

mom tossed in kimchee (quincie), Saturday, 22 January 2022 20:09 (four months ago) link

I have a friend whose father had a heart attack one morning, and drove himself to the hospital while my friend slept in the other room. The first he heard about it was the hospital calling to say his father was in a coma.

Halfway there but for you, Saturday, 22 January 2022 22:24 (four months ago) link

DAMN. My mother tripped on the cats and fell down the stairs, injuring her leg enough that she went to urgent care. She only told my sister and myself this afterwards.

Does anyone here have experience/advice/recommendations on moving an aging parent into one's household (as distinguished from moving back home to a parent's house)? For years I've talked about wanting to buy a 2+ bedroom condo, within walking distance of Metrorail and retail, "if my finances ever permit." I did not say out loud that the second bedroom would be for my mother or other aging relatives, but that was always the assumption.

Well, my finances just now might permit, and I've identified a neighborhood with certain recent developments that check off a great many points on my wishlist. (Fun fact, given ILX's origin as a music forum: I would be literally going back to Rockville.)

I floated the idea with my sister, and she immediately said Mom and I would drive each other crazy. And she's probably correct. But I'm already facing the major life change of menopause. Should I be considering this change as well?

Infanta Terrible (j.lu), Monday, 24 January 2022 14:29 (four months ago) link

Would your mother even go along with this if you told her ( and you decided that you could deal with it despite your sister’s comments)?

curmudgeon, Monday, 24 January 2022 16:31 (four months ago) link

I haven't even discussed it with her. I don't imagine she'd be eager to take me up on the offer.

Infanta Terrible (j.lu), Monday, 24 January 2022 17:18 (four months ago) link

Maybe just get the house, if it appeals to you either way, and mention it to her as an option---if you really think it might work out, that is---and maybe she'll eventually come around, without a hard sell---?

dow, Monday, 24 January 2022 17:50 (four months ago) link

And even if she didn't, it might be good to have if she really could not live on her own.

dow, Monday, 24 January 2022 17:57 (four months ago) link

(As long as you don't overburden yourself, of course.)

dow, Monday, 24 January 2022 17:58 (four months ago) link

some suggestions, though my situation was different:

1) Make sure she is amenable to it. resistance at first is normal and ok but if she goes along with it but doesn't really want to, it'll lead to resentments later.

2) Agree up front on 'house rules' , like with any other roommate. It's hard to adjust to someone else's habits when you're used to going solo, even more so when it's family.

3) I don't know your mother, so have to kind of give 'conditional' suggestions, but if your mother is the type that is resistant to help, try to frame it as an offer rather than a demand. rather than 'I'm going to go grocery shopping for you' or 'I will left this for you', framing it as "would you like some help with that?", "can I help you get groceries this week?" etc.

4) make time for yourself to be out of the house periodically, for 'me time'.

they were written with a ouija board and a rhyming dictionary (Neanderthal), Monday, 24 January 2022 18:12 (four months ago) link

Thanks. I assure you I am at the beginning of this process. (You've heard "Look before you leap"? I tend to look so deeply and intently I sometimes never get around to leaping.)

(Also, if the markets continue on their current trajectory, I may not be in such an advantageous position financially after all.)

Infanta Terrible (j.lu), Monday, 24 January 2022 18:34 (four months ago) link

MoCo has better aging services than DC, and way more assisted living/memory care/nursing homes if she ever needed that.

If living together wasn't working out, would she have the $$$ to move out and into independent living/assisted living/memory care/nursing care???

mom tossed in kimchee (quincie), Monday, 24 January 2022 22:28 (four months ago) link

The $$$ is a significant consideration because America. If she owns a home, it is not considered an asset when calculating Medicaid eligibility (in case I have not said it before one billion times, MEDICARE DOES NOT PAY FOR ASSISTED LIVING/MEMORY CARE/NURSING HOMES, NOT AT ALL, NOT A PENNY, HAVE A PLAN, THAT PLAN MAY BE MEDICAID***).

***not the great plan really, and it does require doing things like NOT selling a house generally

mom tossed in kimchee (quincie), Monday, 24 January 2022 22:34 (four months ago) link

sorry for yelly

it's just really really important for planning purposes

mom tossed in kimchee (quincie), Monday, 24 January 2022 22:36 (four months ago) link

hard agree with quincie, this stuff is super important

but ... aren't there situations where someone has to sell a home to pay for long-term care before he/she is eligible for Medicaid? all I know about this is that it's complicated and confusing, so more details would be welcome

a few years ago I went through some of this with my father (who had enough income to pay for memory care) and very recently watched it play out with a close friend's partner (who couldn't afford memory care), and the differences in their comfort and longevity were brutal.

Brad C., Monday, 24 January 2022 23:27 (four months ago) link

My mother may have the money right now. But she's fiercely independent (as I will be if I live to her age); she just insists on living alone in squalor.

Infanta Terrible (j.lu), Tuesday, 25 January 2022 02:32 (four months ago) link

Medicaid varies somewhat by state, but unless you have a high-end property and a ton of equity in it, a primary residence is excluded as a countable asset for purposes of Medicaid qualification.

That said, game plan in my family is to sell off house and use proceeds for long term care, because while the Medicaid route can work, it ain’t pretty ime.

mom tossed in kimchee (quincie), Tuesday, 25 January 2022 02:35 (four months ago) link

Jlu that sounds like many of my clients. They don’t/won’t make a move until there is no alternative. A fall is not infrequently what forces a change :(

mom tossed in kimchee (quincie), Tuesday, 25 January 2022 02:37 (four months ago) link

Mom, Monday - "I think dad might have anxiety. maybe we should get anxiety meds."
Me: "Not a bad idea. but....this is also why yelling at him frequently isn't a good idea" (which I've told her a bazillion times)
Mom: "I know, I know...."

today

Mom proceeds to start barking at him in the bathroom cos he had the audacity to soil his diaper while at the doctor when he hadn't had an opportunity to go to the bathroom for several hours because he was at the doctor.

while I'm trying to supervise a training class.

I call her on it often, she often lashes back out ("I NEED HELP!", "THIS IS HARD!"), which...she's not wrong, no, and she's been fucked by the terrible healthcare system, but, at the same token...ain't helping dad out any either.

(I'm fine, because this is a 'regular' thing for us, just noting the yin/yang my mom have where I often have to be the 'good cop').

they were written with a ouija board and a rhyming dictionary (Neanderthal), Thursday, 27 January 2022 22:40 (four months ago) link

but, on the plus side, i think we've found a new adult day care. just wanting to wait a little longer for OMicron's plateau in FL to decrease a little more

they were written with a ouija board and a rhyming dictionary (Neanderthal), Thursday, 27 January 2022 22:40 (four months ago) link

(also....I have been doing a much better job of taking time to myself, which has me much more on an even keel. probably cos I'm drinking muuuuch less)

they were written with a ouija board and a rhyming dictionary (Neanderthal), Thursday, 27 January 2022 22:43 (four months ago) link

This summer we'll be moving to my wife's hometown. She got a job there that is a huge step up career wise, but we also need to help take care of her mom. She had a stroke a while back and recovered very well but we can tell her short term memory is shot and she falls down too often. I won't have a paying job for the foreseeable future; I'm going to take care of the house and the kids and keep an eye on the mother-in-law (and make art).

A big part of this is being a buffer between wife and MIL. They get a long pretty well for a few days and then wife gets touchy and cranky because of old resentments and before I know it she's being shitty to a daffy old lady. Thankfully MIL functions on her own pretty well, we don't need to live with her or even visit her every day for the time being. Although I need to check in often enough to keep her off the roads. Once we get settled we'll need to figure out when and how to get the car away from her.

Cow_Art, Friday, 28 January 2022 04:23 (four months ago) link

the car issue is always "fun". be real careful with the being a buffer to understand the limits of you serving that function - it's important to remind the other person of their behavior to the other, but a few times I've felt pretty beat up when trying to do the same with my own mother towards my dad.

he's very big in the region of my butthole (Neanderthal), Wednesday, 2 February 2022 19:05 (three months ago) link

dad was doing real well, then the phys therapist they sent, who is very high-strung and stresses my mother out, showed up and freaked the fuck out at his heart rate, which was in the 90s-100s (which is high, borderline tachycardic, but it has been for years). his blood pressure has been fine. basically ended the phys therapy session early and demanded we set up an appointment with the doctor.

Doctor wasn't worried about it, said they weren't going to put him on a beta blocker again out of fear of slowing his heart too much, only to do it anyway. Mom went ahead and filled it, and since then, his heart rate is a lot lower, but sometimes his BP is low and he can barely move now. the nurse we saw today said (as I suspected) his body seems 'shocked' by the sudden drop in heart rate so he's weaker now.

so now (with doctor consultation) we're taking him back off of it. we're hoping to not be assigned that physical therapist again.

he's very big in the region of my butthole (Neanderthal), Wednesday, 2 February 2022 19:08 (three months ago) link

Hope things are okay, Neanderthal!

we need outrage! we need dicks!! (the table is the table), Friday, 4 February 2022 23:29 (three months ago) link

yeah as we expected, he's moving better again once he's off of the beta blocker.

he's very big in the region of my butthole (Neanderthal), Saturday, 5 February 2022 00:29 (three months ago) link

so we good ! :)

he's very big in the region of my butthole (Neanderthal), Saturday, 5 February 2022 00:29 (three months ago) link

Good to hear.

we need outrage! we need dicks!! (the table is the table), Saturday, 5 February 2022 03:13 (three months ago) link

Word.

dow, Saturday, 5 February 2022 07:29 (three months ago) link

they're keeping dad on the beta blocker. but he's been slightly better since then, getting used to it.

now I'm thinking I might need a beta blocker, so I'm making an appointment at dad's cardiologist.

my resting heart rate has always been between 90-100, no matter what shape I'm in, and it has dad's down to a manageable 67-70, whereas mine has felt for decades like it's beating out of my chest.

beta buddies? maybe!

also it's dad's 74th birthday today. i sang happy birthday to him and he smiled.

sorry Mario, but our princess is in another butthole (Neanderthal), Friday, 18 February 2022 22:02 (three months ago) link

My mom turned 73 yesterday. I called, we talked. This morning she emailed me to let me know her power (electricity & hot water) was down, but it was restored by the afternoon, which is good, because I would not have been able to help her in any way.

but also fuck you (unperson), Friday, 18 February 2022 22:11 (three months ago) link

have learned just incredibly how bad with money mom has been by seeing the series of loans with shady companies mom took in what feels like mere minutes after their last bankruptcy in 2016.

I could not cure her debt issues unless I completely trashed my own future and took all of my savings out, and that would probably last all of ten minutes until she started doing it again. neither my brother are I are willing to sacrifice our entire futures, so we're really just helping stop some of the bleeding. which is still hurting us and neither of us would be able to do if we didn't both have well-paying jobs (trying to get my head around what we would have done if both of us were struggling or out of work).

it's more a 'sigh' than a table-bang at this point, mostly because a lot of the elderly are in this position, but this is what decades of "Well, we can't afford this, but we want it, and we'll find some way to pay for it later" does. especially considering mom seems to think loans are 'free money' and forgets the 'having to repay part'.

this was the saga of our relationship that was actually flaring up prior to the pandemic/dad's decline, that I put aside for the good of the family, but every so often I get reminded of it and I'm still not completely over it. during the times where mom and dad should have been thriving, failing to budget or limit big purchases or thinking of the future completely got them upside down and they've been struggling to get back above the surface for 15+ years. dad's disability just sent things into a death spiral because he had to outright stop working abruptly in 2019 after he got fired (arguably for something related to his disability, which they should have fought, but in fairness, it probably wouldn't have worked).

This is why I get mad when friends ask me "why do you act like you have no money, you make a good salary, you have savings", and I reply "yeah, and I too have a mountain of debt, some of which acquired in helping the folks, and I am not willing to wind up in the same situation they are if I can help it".

I don't know that they could have survived the great recession even if they had been good with money, but having to file for bankruptcy a second time literally the minute after their last one hits the "7 year" mark and then immediately setting themselves up for what will probably be a third in a few years from now means this will be a never-ending cycle. my brother and I are helping only as much as we can and avoid having the remainder of our lives ruined in the process, so it's a very thin tightrope.

(what shocked me is how many other people I found on the internet in a similar scenario).

sorry Mario, but our princess is in another butthole (Neanderthal), Tuesday, 1 March 2022 03:55 (two months ago) link

one key example - in 2005, my folks borrowed $1,000 from me, promising to pay it back later in the year. instead of paying it back, they bought a flat-screen tv that cost more than that. even though they were making payments on it, those payments in essence prevented them from paying me back a little each month.

in 2012, they decided they wanted to go to New York for their 40th anniversary, and wanted us to join them. we'd agreed for months we'd all pay our own way, no sign or sound of concern over the expense. even when I asked. after everything had already been booked, dad said he really couldn't afford the trip but couldn't say "no" to mother and that he hadn't won the lottery, so could I give him $1000 (which was about more than a quarter of what I had saved up). I said ok, if he repaid me every month after, as that was going to hurt my savings. he made one repayment, then asked for it back, then never saw another dime.

again....I buried my frustration over this when shit hit the fan the past few years, but tonight, when my mom asks me to help her upload docs for the debt consolidation she's doing and I see all of the damage she did to them over the last few years....well, it reminds me that I'm still not entirely over it. even though I still love them both dearly.

I had emotional outbursts over it in years past, those won't happen again. there's no point, and it won't help anything. but let's just say I've been bailing my folks out financially for the entirety of my adult life. Literally since the moment I graduated high school, without interruption. so yeah, I'm an enabler. I just realized it wayyyy too late.

sorry Mario, but our princess is in another butthole (Neanderthal), Tuesday, 1 March 2022 04:02 (two months ago) link

That is very frustrating to read, even. I'm so sorry you've been having to deal with it for so long.

we need outrage! we need dicks!! (the table is the table), Tuesday, 1 March 2022 22:52 (two months ago) link

yeah, that is really awful. i’m sorry they put you guys through this.

*hic* (cat), Wednesday, 2 March 2022 00:10 (two months ago) link

Literally cannot fathom the concept of doing this to my own kids. I guess the only lesson they've learned is that it'll all work out somehow because our sons will sort it out for us, so fuck it, let's do it again.

assert (matttkkkk), Wednesday, 2 March 2022 01:44 (two months ago) link

sillier note, but I'm in the other room and the physical therapist is working with my dad and all I hear is:

"PUSH! PULL! PUSH! PULL! OH YES OH YES, YOU STRONG MAN!
PUSH! AGAIN! PULL! PULL! OH YES SWEETHEART YOU ARE SO STRONG OH DON'T STOP!"

and trying not to giggle

i read to 69 position (Neanderthal), Tuesday, 8 March 2022 20:05 (two months ago) link

mom got a job! 20 hours a week or so. and the hours are probably going to be like 4 or 5 a day (or maybe a few full time days and a lot of 'off' days) so it shouldn't negatively impact me being able to work and watch dad (plus we're probably sending him back to adult day care soon).

and the apartment complex FINALLY is building our handicapped ramp, a year later!

nice to get some good news.

i read to 69 position (Neanderthal), Thursday, 10 March 2022 16:17 (two months ago) link

and I just got a huge unexpected bonus.

please be the beginning of a big cycle of good news!!!!

i read to 69 position (Neanderthal), Friday, 11 March 2022 16:44 (two months ago) link

congrats & congrats, that's all fantastic!

A Certain Catio (cat), Friday, 11 March 2022 18:32 (two months ago) link

Yay! You're due for some good luck.

Christine Green Leafy Dragon Indigo, Friday, 11 March 2022 18:36 (two months ago) link

one month passes...

So I started openly talking to my mother about my looking to get a 2-bedroom place, which would be available to her. This happened while we were traveling to Minneapolis for a memorial service for my late Aunt Donna (her sister-in-law), so we were already discombobulated and facing change. My mother at this point wouldn't commit to moving in with me, but she did talk some about wanting to downsize. Baby steps?

Infanta Terrible (j.lu), Tuesday, 10 May 2022 17:14 (two weeks ago) link

My 80 year old dad, who got divorced in the past year, now has a girlfriend who is my age. Um, good for you, Dad?

immodesty blaise (jimbeaux), Tuesday, 10 May 2022 17:19 (two weeks ago) link

was a good week for me to 'recover' mentally and emotionally, mom had a meltdown, her first in a while.

I'm getting better at this. weirdly due to increased upper body strength due to a) having to lift dad all the time to save mom from hurting her shoulder/back and b) being in a play that requires me to brandish a heavy-assed claymore the last two months.

tomorrow, though, we talk to the Area Agency on Aging for our annual re-evaluation of his eligibility for the LTC plan in Florida. we're on the waiting list, and he's rated a priority of 4 out of (I think) 7. but a lot has changed since that assessment, so hoping we get him moved up.

good thing is I now have a nurse I trust and can hire ad hoc now and then for short 3-4 hour spurts.

Deez NFTs (Neanderthal), Thursday, 12 May 2022 19:52 (two weeks ago) link


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.