My husband and I have been having this fight for the last three years. His elderly father can't take care of himself yet wants to stay in his home. He can afford to hire live-in help but won't because he wants to leave the money to his grandchildren. Therefore, he expects his adult children to take care of him. All of them work and have their own families. They all take turns bringing him dinner one night a week and the unmarried son moved in with him several months ago. The son now has a girlfriend and wants to be with her over the weekend. The other children decided that when the live-in son decides to leave someone will stay with the Dad over the weekend. I resent my husband because I don't think it's his responsibility to be his father's caretaker and he does. Thanks in advance for any insight you can provide.
be able to be the catalyst for change because of the need to protect ourselves,
but we can hope and pray for that one day to occur.
"addiction and abuse is what made me a true believer in the idea of "chosen family." I am so glad and grateful for the friends I have around me now - they are everything to me."
True wisdom. Working on this for myself. Scary thing about getting lost down the
care taking rabbit hole with the narcissist, once you come up for air, you're often
totally alone and broken. If it hadn't had been for the kindness of strangers, I don't
know how I would've survived.
I was the mother that 'I' always wanted. I tried to be THAT mother for my son but, in the end, it didn't matter. He had a mom who thought of HIM first, sacrificed what she wanted to do for HIS pleasure, spent her money on HIM and would have given anything to have a "good" relationship with HIM. Heroin won.
Maybe I shouldn't have thought I could "re-live" my childhood through my son. I just called him. He got all upset. He said that I made him want to get high. I give up.
children to gift them their retirement savings as well. When my parents were at
my age they were enjoying cruises, travel, endless new clothes, new furniture,
multiple remodeling projects, purebred dogs, etc, etc.
I've been taking care of dad's finances for nearly a decade and I've been careful to
budget his expenses so he has enough to afford excellent care with enough leftover
for fun stuff and useless doodads. But when he and some of his grifter buddies thought I should start paying for his care and other expenses so he could preserve his nest egg, I declined the offer.
There will be no LTC insurance, daughter care giver, pension plan, and only a tattered or nonexistent social safety net there for me. I refuse to sacrifice the basics for my own future because my dad wants to preserve his nest egg instead of spending it down for his own care. Never mind that I will never be able to have all the niceties that he enjoyed at my age. (I'm wondering at this point whether I can even afford a pet) All this fun was partly made possible because I essentially began paying for myself as teen, paying him room and board, putting myself through university, etc without him costing him a dime.
I'll bet I'm not alone with this type of experience either. Just a hunch. And I'm sure Im
far luckier than a lot of folks who had spendthrift parents many who ended up with little to nothing at all to help defray the costs of their care.
I do wish I had a Hallmark childhood and family experience, but I did not. And for me
to delude myself I did and do what my father would like me to do to keep him happy,
would be to leave myself destitute.
If she (?) does return, I'll bet it's more of the same - hurl an generalized accusation w/o any substance, explanation or understanding, then disappear (hopefully for good).
Probably many of you know the old Internet adage - don't feed the trolls.
And, for good reason - why should ANY of the caregivers here have to defend themselves to a newcomer who just hurls insults? Ignore her.
Depression is known to lead to dementia, though (whether from the depression itself or the meds used to treat it), so I'm sure she will learn along the way, as the rest of us had to.
shortened life expectancy, live for decades longer. That's right. Decades.
We're talking about parents who chose not to care for their children and/or abuse
them, saddling them with a lifetime burden of PTSD and lower earning and health
expectancy and then wanting full time care and funding for their old age. We're talking
about people who have been treated like servants through out their childhoods and
then expected to reprise that role again for their parent's aging process that can last
decades. And then we have to raise our own children. It's like being a parent, in a
completely nonreciprocal infantile stage of life for decades. There is nothing natural
or reasonable about that. There are no longer extended families and long term
communities like we once had. It's heartbreaking to watch people losing their lives
to care for those who never cared for or outright abused them.
And people actually have the audacity to think that we're selfish because we don't
want to cave into their every whim and demand. Because we want to maintain our
health, our jobs and other relationships? Really???
Because for some of us, that's the reality of severely impaired parents either with
dementia or personality disorders or both. No life at all. Many of us have to worry
about being left destitute and our health destroyed and isolated into our old age.
Not all of us get to live in a bubble :/
narcissists and other abusers to maintain their facade. My adoptive mother
threatened to kill me, made very credible attempts on my life, but played the
syrupy Christian at church. At no point did she show interest in me, my health,
my schooling, my friends. Only my clothes and hair so I could be a showpiece.
And then, because I was young and cute, she would become pathologically jealous
and physically attack me and sometimes my friends. My entire childhood was a
nightmare that I only escaped when I left my house and began couch surfing at friends.
I care for my dad who enabled this behavior, and worse asked me to "take care of
her and make me happy". Even though I feared for my life. He is extremely
narcissistic and would love nothing more than for me to live under his bed so I
could be there for him 24/7. I did foolishly hope for a real relationship with him,
but I now realize that to him, I'm a servant and then gossip fodder. And he'd really
like for me to pay for some of his care so he could keep all of his $$ and have one
last romance with some of the grifters that swirl around him.
I gave up a decade of vacations to care for him, I now suffer health problems due to
the stress of dealing with frequent hospitalizations, constant health crises, dealing
with logistics and the chaos caused by the grifters in his life.
And the kicker? Majority of the grifters are avid churchgoers. Christian folks who
want to be my dad's new bestie and then it's "How about a loan?" How about
"investing in my Christian MLM scam?" "How about if I just borrow your car for awhile?"
"How about if you invest sight unseen in out of state real estate?" "How about you
let me go through all your financials to "organize" them?" etc etc.
All "Christian". Every last one of them.
In my case and I think many others, that distinction is pretty much meaningless. Unless your parents have money and are willing to part with it, or you (the adult child) have more money than you expect to need in your lifetime, there really is no way to ensure the parent is cared for without doing it yourself. Many of our parents have outlived their savings or they had no savings to begin with. And there can be many years between the time the parent starts needing help and the time they become disabled enough to be medically eligible for Medicaid. It's easy to say "Oh, just put them in a nursing home if you don't want to care for them." But it's not at all easy to do, even if both the parent and adult child are willing, which often they're not.
My mother is now in hospice at home. Even now, it's unlikely she'd qualify for a Medicaid nursing home because she can still feed herself, go to the toilet herself, and walk (maybe a dozen steps) with the help of her walker. In any event, it's sort of late to set that in motion. She doesn't have enough money to self-pay even for the first month, and the application for Medicaid could take longer than the time she may have left.
Like many seniors, my mother never gave a thought to needing care and how much it might cost. When she started falling and losing her mobility, I asked her if she'd ever considered assisted living, and her answer was a flat "no". Just a few months ago, she asked me "If I had to go to a nursing home, could I afford it?" She has no idea what her puny little pension and social security would cover, which is barely anything. Certainly not a nursing home. Not assisted living either, for that matter.
I don't want to tell people that they're responsible for seeing that their parents are cared for. I think people need to start taking responsibility for their own needs in their older years. It's not the children's fault if the parent retired early, didn't save, failed to plan. I intend to keep caring for my mother until the end, but I honestly wish she'd called on me for help now, when she's near the end, instead of 7+ years ago, when I would have preferred to be doing a million other things with my life other than of driving her around and taking care of every little "emergency" at her house. I don't think anyone should feel obligated to do what I did. If I had to do it all over again, I would not.
Often the adult child who is tasked with caregiving is the one who is unmarried and has no family of their own to take care of them in their older years. It is not fair to condemn people for caring about money. None of us can survive without it.
I got criticized on here on a different thread the other day about my situation and the fact that we finally found my mom a facility, and she will be moving in soon.
A few months ago, I found myself again stepping in to protect my mother from abuse. Seems like this is the story of my life. Her mother has always been abusive. She's still alive, and still hates her daughter for being her only female child. Hasn't even once called to see how mom is doing, but did show up to court to defend my abusive sister.
Mom was married to an abusive man for some years after she and my stepdad who helped raise me got a divorce when I was 15. He pretty much abandoned us for another woman. I was 21 when she married a man who beat her up, and she would call me crying and come stay with me, but always ended up going back to him until he left.
Now we're going through it again. I had to get her out of a physically and mentally abusive living situation with my sister.
I feel like I've always had to take care of her in some way ever since I was little, and never had a normal mom like my friends did. Major role reversal.
I do feel like I need to take care of her in making sure she gets good care, keeping her safe, and taking care of her health. But I'm not ashamed to say that I've tried taking care of her in my home, and that it's much better for me, my husband, my kids and mom for her to have professional care and be able to socialize with people her own age.
It's just been running us all ragged. Staying up all night with mom because she's hearing voices and scared to sleep in her room or to sleep at all, then getting up early to take blood sugars and insulin, running on very little sleep, plus her not wanting to let me out of her sight all day, as I try to take care of my kids and home and family is overwhelming. Not to mention paying her bills and dealing with her legal matters.
I firmly believe that God gives us the help we need, we just have to use it. Sometimes that means outside help by professionals.
I am a Christian. I am an only child (female). Both my parents were alcoholics. They divorced when I was 5. My mother is narcissistic. I took care of them (as a kid) when they were drunk (cleaning up puke, etc.) so becoming a nurse was just part of the norm.
Fast forward 56 years. After taking care of my dad 10 years earlier (he was a nice guy in his older years, making up for a cruddy childhood) then came mother. She is now 95 and stage 6 Alzheimers.
My husband and I tried to care for her in our home but she would scream at the top of her lungs at 2 am, she would get up in the middle of the night, take off her diaper and urinate on the floor and would hit, spit and scream anytime she felt like it.
Could she control it? No. Could I physically lift her, watch her 24 hours a day to make sure she didn't fall or touch or swallow anything dangerous and make sure she made it to the bathroom each time, then wipe her so she didn't get a UTI. And work 3 days a week as a nurse on top of that?
I was loosing my mind, my marriage was suffering and I physically was doing myself more damage to an already bad back if I tried to pull her up from the chair or turn her over in bed.
Now, what do you think I should have done? I had to put her into a Memory Care facility that had 3 shifts of caregivers to assist her. They are set up for pee and poo accidents. They have strong, young assistants who can lift her.
She changed my diaper when I weighed 10 lbs., I was caring for a totally confused and combative woman and changed her diapers at 130 lbs. .
Was I wrong to place her? Am I a bad Christian?
I would suggest that you not judge.
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged."
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgement on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other you are condemning yourself, because you, who pass judgement, do the same things.
If given the same set of circumstances, I believe you would HAVE to put your parent in a facility also.
Many times things are easier said than done.
The Great Untold Story of why so many elderly people end up in care homes is because dementia turns many of them into ABUSERS.
Sometimes dementia is not even required for elderly people to become verbally and even physically abusive towards their adult children and other carers.
And you can't put a grown up in a time out.
Nobody asked to be born, but even if that were a real thing....NOBODY deserves to be ABUSED. And especially nobody deserves to be abused just because their parent thinks they're too much of a special snowflake to live in a nursing home.
Edit: By the way, I AM looking after my mother at home, and no, she DIDN'T take care of me when I was young. She drank her face off and popped valium like candy, and treated me like garbage, even when I was picking her up off the floor and cleaning up her mess. I had all the responsibility of a parent with none of the authority. Her dementia personality is exactly like her drunk personality, and she expects everything of me except that I should have (or even want) a life of my own. But right, I'm just selfish for wanting to be free of her abuse. I bet you think battered women deserve what they get, too.
Patty - my father sexually abused me and my siblings from birth onwards, until I told my mother what was happening when I was 10 years old. My mother made us stay together as a family and pretend nothing ever happened, which was like being abused all over again. We were forced to act like we had the perfect American family pretty much until the day he died. I moved in to become my mother's 24/7 caregiver just before he passed away. I was her caregiver until she died a few years later.
Please stop and think before you post. Your words are hurtful and unnecessarily harsh towards those who have sacrificed a LOT to care for the parents who caused them pain and suffering - something many people would never even consider doing.
I still feel resentful in some ways. Years have gone by since I've had a vacation. I feel like life has been on pause for the past six years. I've had to quit my job, pay for their expenses out of pocket, and my own personal life and health has suffered greatly.
So I see both sides to your post. Believe me, what I would give to have a single family member (it's not that they don't care, I just don't have any!) to have helped me through all of the doctor's appointments, meals, cleaning, toenail clipping, etc. It falling on one person is just too much, really. But your husband might have great compassion and love for his father. I would have never guessed that my father, who I felt actually hated me, would turn into a gentle (yet grumpy) giant who needed help like a child would. In my heart, I felt I should help him. And even with the setbacks it caused in my own life, I am glad I did it. I held his hand when he passed. I have no regrets about helping him. So if your husband is adamant about helping his father and actually really wants to, maybe you could compromise with him? Also, if he has supplemental insurance for medicare or medicare replacement plans, they sometimes will offer an aide to come in for free or a nominal fee. I was never able to use that feature because my dad and mom also refused help. Janet, I feel for you. You are not alone. Please keep us updated.
People here are talking about impossible conditions, such as parents who have always been abusive -- who never did take care of the children. Or, people have their own health issues, and are simply not physically capable of providing total care for a loved one. Just a couple of examples of what people must contend with.
Yes it is. On the flip side, I do know of people who have an elderly relative living with them and it is working fine. I know some folks who have an elderly mother (70-ish) living in their lovely basement apartment overlooking a pond. The mother is still a decent driver and is frequently out with her friends doing charity work. She is widowed and did not want to live alone and continue maintaining their large house.
I know another couple who have an elderly mother living with them and they are doing fine. The mother is able to get around with a walker and her mind is still good. She is a pleasant person. I think she helps do things like food prep and folding laundry.
Xenajada: "I read a comment on this website from a social worker who went to check on an elderly woman and rang the doorbell multiple times. Finally a very slow moving, 80-ish, stooped woman using a walker answered the door and said, 'Sorry it took me so long to get to the door. I was giving Mother a bath!'"
W O W. This whole scenario is just going to get worse and worse, as everyone is iiving longer and longer.
It will be AL or SNF at that point. As of this writing, both my parents are still able to walk and still have all their marbles. My dad, however, thinks he is getting mild dementia as he has trouble remembering names.
Before you judge everyone who puts a parent into AL or a SNF-
Someone else commented here about "cleaning up a little urine." Yes, that is easy enough. But do a search on this website and you will read MANY horror stories about dementia patients and their obsession with feces, pulling it out of their diapers, smearing it all over themselves and the house, using the furniture as a toilet, etc. Now imagine dealing with that multiple times EVERY DAY.
Or imagine the father who has severe dementia, but still is able to get around just fine and is pretty strong. Imagine him sun-downing every evening and punching and kicking anyone who tries to stop him from leaving the house.
I read a comment on this website from a social worker who went to check on an elderly woman and rang the doorbell multiple times. Finally a very slow moving, 80-ish, stooped woman using a walker answered the door and said, "Sorry it took me so long to get to the door. I was giving Mother a bath!"