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s/o Attitudes towards care taking our parents & our kids


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#1 StephanieZ

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 08:32 PM

I find it really surprising how widespread the attitude is that care taking for an elder relative is a burden and will ruin your life/family/marriage/kids/etc. I've heard it over and over and over, especially when I was actively doing that for my mom . . . It still shocks and confuses me when I hear it, especially in a homeschooling forum, presumably populated mostly by parents who are clearly pretty driven to *personally* take great care of their kids and make sacrifices to do that . . .

 

Why is the care taking of our elders so denigrated when the caregiving of our kids and spouses is so revered?

 

I understand that care taking for our elders can be a burden financially and practically. I understand that if your elders were assholes and/or grossly irresponsible financially or otherwise, that it's not "fair" for their care to fall on you . . . But, let's say we take off the table parents/elders who've been hateful/evil and/or grossly irresponsible . . . Let's just give everyone permission to kick those folks to the curb and leave them to fend for themselves . . . Fine. I'm *not talking* about the abusive parents, the ones who ran through millions on diamonds and furs and saved not a nickel for retirement, the ones who are just mean/awful to you or your family . . . I'm not talking about those folks . . . 

 

. . .  and so, now we're just talking about ordinary, decent, loving, did the best they could elders/parents along with some fantastic, were the best thing since sliced bread (like my mom) kinds of parents.

 

Talking just about those good elders in our lives . . . why don't we honor and value the care we, as their youngers, can give? We sooooo value (over value?) the caregiving we give to our own children, and sometimes we also honor and value the caregiving we do for our spouse (or at least we talk a good game about it) . . .

 

But, somehow, reciprocating that loving/adoration/service that our parents gave to us . . . somehow, that's crap? Somehow that's ruining us? What makes us so damn fragile? We're tough enough to homeschool a half dozen (or more) runny nosed kids through their bratty attitudes, slammed doors, and awkward phases, maybe through a drug bust or car wrecks or a teen pregnancy . . . still loving, still serving them . . . and we can honor sticking with a spouse who might have a porn habit or an affair or a bad habit of spending what we don't have . . .

 

But, our elders? Those who loved us through our own failures and held us up when we hurt and put us on the right path when we were heading down the wrong one? The ones we knew we could call on when our husband left or we failed out of school? Those ones? They're somehow a burden? We're too fragile to make some sacrifices to serve *them*? 

 

Maybe I'm overly sensitive, being orphaned at age 44 . . . by two parents who really were "all that" and more, as imperfect as they were, they were exactly everything I needed them to be and so much more. But, I really think there is something very wrong with our culture that we're so intently devaluing something that is precious and vital. Taking our turn as the responsible one . . . taking that turn parenting our parents. It's brutally hard, but it's also brutally human. It just is what it is. Helping my mom figure out how to put on her dress was just as human as was suckling my babies. It is just human existence, and it is everything. It made me more of a human being to go through what I went through with Mom. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I miss her every day, not just the mom she was before dementia stole her from me, but also the mom she was when she looked to me as if I were *her* believed parent, the trust and confidence she had in me turned me into someone better and stronger than I was before she *needed* me. 

 

So, anyway, I don't get it. I think our culture needs to re-look at the value of being a caretaker of our elders. Maybe this is the next front for feminism, right after we finish reasserting the value of care taking of our own children. Maybe after we abolish preschools and day care centers, we can abolish nursing homes. In my perfect world, no human being would be institutionalized if there was an alternative place where they could be cared for by *people who love them*.

 

What do you think?

 

 


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#2 bolt.

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 08:40 PM

I don't think you are asking a question. I think you've got your values all figured out, and that your values will do an excellent job of guiding your actions.

However, it should be clear to you (from your "confusion" at others' choices) that not all reasonable and ethical adult humans see it that way. There are lots of other ways to see it.

I think curiosity might serve you better than indignation.
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#3 Sadie

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 08:46 PM

I suppose I feel that it probably will be something of a sacrifice at times, just as raising kids was sometimes a sacrifice, and that the sacrifice is often - ahem -gendered in a way it shouldn't be... BUT that doesn't make it something not worth doing if you are able to do so, if your parent/s want that, and if your relationship with your parent/s has been generally decent and reasonable. 

 

I don't understand the attitude that 'my kids don't owe me anything' - reciprocal bonds of care seem foundational to me. 

 

In any case, just because something is worthwhile doesn't mean it's without difficulties, and I'm all for better support of carers. That includes not assuming a carer is burdened, but not judging her if she expresses she is. 

 

I agree 100% that there is value in care work. The young, the disabled, the elderly - these are not inherently undignified jobs/responsiblities. I agree that one role of feminism is to assert the value in caring work (and man, it's not just some wishy washy emotional value, it's economic value too). 


Edited by Sadie, 17 October 2017 - 08:57 PM.

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#4 fairfarmhand

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 08:50 PM

Want to hear about my 2015-2016 year?

For 18 months a loved one was bedfast due to cancer.

So for 18 months, people had to turn this person every 2 hours to avoid bedsores. All night, all day. Adult diapers. While all 3 offspring of this person had children between the ages of 4 and 18. These offspring lived from 30 minutes to 2 hours from the ill person. They had to take 3 dayish shifts to care for the sick one. Exhaustion does not describe this way of living.

I'm glad you had that time with your mother. Good for you.

It doesn't always work out that way,

I'm still not sure how I feel about that time. Relationships were stressed horribly during that time and still are suffering. Grandchildren experienced anxiety, depression, and suicidal feelings due to the stress and pressure of that time.

At what point do you say, this is not working, it's not worth it.?

I don't want that for my children and grandchildren.

ETA: this person was a lovely person who is sorely missed. Nobody demanded anything. It was just a dreadfully stressful time with more to be done than was humanly possible. On top of grief that a loved one was in pain and dying.

Edited by fairfarmhand, 17 October 2017 - 09:08 PM.

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#5 Carol in Cal.

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 08:50 PM

That's a great essay, OP.

It's kind of how I've always seen it myself.

 

But in our family, the current crop of elders all are fiercely determined to stay in their own homes.

One set is about two hours away (in traffic, which is most of the time), and the other is 2000 miles away.

The two hour set is not interested in having help.  It is hard to overstate this.  Example:  The last time I visited, one complained for 10 minutes straight about how hard it is to go grocery shopping.  So toward the end of the visit, I said, "Why don't I run up to the supermarket and get you whatever you need right now?"  Now, the supermarket is about 10 minutes up the road, so this is EASY.  Plus I already drove two hours to get there, so why not maximize the usefulness of my visit?  But the answer was no, repeatedly.  Then 15 minutes later we had round two of what a pain it is to go grocery shopping. 

 

You may well ask, why not just bring them some stuff?  The answer is, it makes them mad.

 

I don't know what to do with that.

 

The other family, wants to stay 2000 miles away.  When one died, we asked the other to come live with us or at least stay with us for a while.  But she wants to stay in her own home, even though she is afraid to be alone there.  If we move there to keep her in her home, we will both lose our jobs, which means that down the road if a nursing home becomes necessary we will not be able to pay for it; and we are literally the financial backstop, entirely.  Rock, meet hard place.  We are right in between you!

 

So, yes, I want to take care of our family; but I cannot for the life of me figure out how to do it.  They all seem determined to drive themselves into a crisis before making any changes, and so we have to respect that. 


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#6 solascriptura

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 08:56 PM

I guess I’m looking at it from the perspective of the person being cared for. Yes, I believe my children will care for me with love and respect. However, I don’t want to live an existence where I’m just suffering and waiting to die. I’ve seen it. I’m not convinced that my relatives suffering from AZ knew how long this care would extend their lives. It’s a very difficult issue and it has another layer because of my faith. I know what Christianity says about this issue, but I cannot shake the dread that comes over me when I think about the possibility of living 20 years with a horrible, debilitating disease.
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#7 marbel

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 08:57 PM

Whenever these threads come up, I feel such a mix of sadness and dread.  Sadness that so many people are angry at their parents for not doing everything possible to plan their lives so perfectly in order not to run out of money, or get sick, or need a place to live... And dread that my husband and I are not doing enough now to ensure that our own kids are never complaining about us on message boards in the future.

 

I'm pretty sure that 90% of parents don't want to be burdens on their kids.  Fear of that kept my mother from enjoying her last, I don't know, 10 years of life, at least, no matter what we (sibling and me) told her, how much we tried to reassure her that she didn't need to worry.  Most people do the best they can, but things don't always work out the way we plan them to.   

 

 


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#8 regentrude

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 08:57 PM

There is value in care work. Nobody said there isn't. But it is also a burden for the caregiver, and it is a fact that many long term caregivers suffer from burn out. Ignoring this because caring for elderly is "noble" does not help anybody. It would be more compassionate to acknowledge the difficulty and find mechanisms to provide respite care for carers, instead of telling them they should not be so "fragile".

There are very different levels of elder care. An old person who requires 24 hour skilled nursing care can at some point not be cared for at home by family. The available caregiver may not be physically capable of lifting the patient, or psychologically capable of being with the patient full time, or economically capable of forgoing an income. With medical advances, these stages can last many years, or even decades. 

The nursing home was the only place where my MIL with Alzheimers and MS could be cared for after it was no longer safe for her to be in her home, cared for by her husband. 


Edited by regentrude, 17 October 2017 - 09:00 PM.

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#9 Annie G

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 08:59 PM

Want to hear about my 2015-2016 year?

 

For 18 months a loved one was bedfast due to cancer.

 

So for 18 months, people had to turn this person every 2 hours to avoid bedsores. All night, all day. Adult diapers. While all 3 offspring of this person had children between the ages of 4 and 18. These offspring lived from 30 minutes to 2 hours from the ill person. They had to take 3 dayish shifts to care for the sick one. Exhaustion does not describe this way of living.

 

I'm glad you had that time with your mother. Good for you.

 

It doesn't always work out that way,

 

I'm still not sure how I feel about that time. Relationships were stressed horribly during that time and still are suffering. Grandchildren experienced anxiety, depression, and suicidal feelings due to the stress and pressure of that time.

 

At what point do you say, this is not working, it's not worth it.?

 

I don't want that for my children and grandchildren.

This was Mil this past year but she also had dementia and most times we touched (to do personal care or turn her)

her she thought we were trying to molest her. She was combative, frightened, angry...it was awful.  


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#10 Murphy101

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 09:00 PM

I agree with you. I took care of my mom as she died of cancer. I had a 2 kids under 2 and an unemployed sick husband and I still did it. And I didn’t even like her, we never got a long. But we didn’t fight either. We had reached the point of understanding that we were enigmas to each other. lol. For me, taking care of her wasn’t about her and who she was. It was about me and being the person I want to be.

It didn’t ruin anything.

I’m not really interested in being curious for why people view other (not abusive) people as burdens. I’m good with thinking that’s sad and not what I want for society and not the person I want to be.

That said, as long as they are taking care, I’m not picky about how they take care. If granny has dementia and needs more care than her loved ones can provide, then that sucks but it would suck more if she didn’t get the care she needs out of some misguided notion of guilt.

I also think it’s mostly a moot issue. It’s not like we have some amazing healthcare system so we can choose not to be burdened, or access services to reduce the burden, or access healthcare to reduce the health problems to begin with or have enough medical providers to meet the needs.

I might be a bit angry and bitter about healthcare in general in the states.
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#11 KungFuPanda

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 09:01 PM

I think you are grossly underestimating how many awful, toxic people there are and for the first time in history women (it's ALWAYS the women) can just say "No, I not want to" like men have done all along. I will delightfully take care of my mom. I'd even do it if she was more difficult to get along with it. There is no way to enjoy life living with my MIL and I won't do it. She can't be kind for more than a few minutes at a stretch and I can't live under a dark cloud of gloom.
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#12 Sadie

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 09:01 PM

There is value in care work. Nobody said there isn't. But it is also a burden for the caregiver, and it is a fact that many long term caregivers suffer from burn out. Ignoring this because caring for elderly is "noble" does not help anybody. It would be more compassionate to acknowledge the difficulty and find mechanisms to provide respite care for carers, instead of telling them they should not be so "fragile".

There are very different levels of elder care. An old person who requires 24 hour skilled nursing care can at some point not be cared for at home by family. The available caregiver may not be physically capable of lifting the patient, or psychologically capable of being with the patient full time, or economically capable of forgoing an income. With medical advances, these stages can last many years, or even decades. 

 

 I agree the realities, including burnout, should not be ignored. Nobility of purpose does not keep one sane in a very demanding job.

 

I'd like to see carers able to access a lot more respite, for starters. (And that's really only a very small start to the changes I'd like to see).

 

I disagree that care work is valued, generally.


Edited by Sadie, 17 October 2017 - 09:02 PM.

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#13 FaithManor

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 09:02 PM

My experience is akin to Fairfarmhand, and my own children suffered greatly because of it.

I am sure some elders age in a way that is pretty rosy and able to be worked around for those still raising kids, working, and running other households. This is not what a number of us have experienced.

In my case, I am now only middle aged but have major health problems because of the care giving.

Practically there is a big difference. We have children when we are younger, healthier, and have more stamina. They grow towards independence and the number of years that they are total, physical care is limited except in cases of extreme disability.

With elderly, the familial care givers are generally much older than when they themselves were up in the night with babies, not yet retired so generally still raising kids or launching them on adulthood, may already have some health concerns of their own, some could even be serious. Retirement ages have been raised so you face many more years of working. How do you juggle it? How does your body withstand it? How much do your own kids resent it when they need you but the elder has to be cared for?

Thirty and diapering a fifteen lb infant is not even comparable physically to being fifty and diapering a 185lb grandfather. Not in the ballpark.

I get so anemic at times that I can hardly hold onto my mom and steady her walker. ETA. I am better now thankfully.

But I have to go back to work next year. No choice. The stress of how to make it all work is pretty awful.

Edited by FaithManor, 17 October 2017 - 09:06 PM.

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#14 fairfarmhand

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 09:03 PM

This was Mil this past year but she also had dementia and most times we touched (to do personal care or turn her)
her she thought we were trying to molest her. She was combative, frightened, angry...it was awful.


There is no one size fits all solution. How much do you sacrifice your own children for elder care? When a dementia patient is violent? When you can’t pay bills because a person needs 24 hour care and you lost your job? This is an extremely complex problem. We can’t oversimplify it by lauding how noble these jobs are and saying how people are selfish if they can’t do it.


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#15 solascriptura

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 09:03 PM

There is value in care work. Nobody said there isn't. But it is also a burden for the caregiver, and it is a fact that many long term caregivers suffer from burn out. Ignoring this because caring for elderly is "noble" does not help anybody. It would be more compassionate to acknowledge the difficulty and find mechanisms to provide respite care for carers, instead of telling them they should not be so "fragile".
There are very different levels of elder care. An old person who requires 24 hour skilled nursing care can at some point not be cared for at home by family. The available caregiver may not be physically capable of lifting the patient, or psychologically capable of being with the patient full time, or economically capable of forgoing an income. With medical advances, these stages can last many years, or even decades.
The nursing home was the only place where my MIL with Alzheimers and MS could be cared for after it was no longer safe for her to be in her home, cared for by her husband.


Oh my. My dh is about a foot taller than me and has a good 80 lbs on me. I love the man to death, but there is no way I could physically move or care for him. If we were both elderly?

#16 Sadie

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 09:05 PM

The problem I have with outsourcing is the same one I had with outsourcing childcare, and it's an ethical one. Carers are not paid in a way that compensates them for the reality of their job. They just aren't. I have trouble using a system that I believe rips workers (mostly women, in the aged care sector here, mostly migrants) off. 

 

So if my parents need to be cared for in that sector, and not at home, and I acknowledge that with the best will in the world it's a real possibility, I will only be able to live with it by agitating not only for better conditions in general but for better conditions and pay for the workers. 


Edited by Sadie, 17 October 2017 - 09:08 PM.

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#17 solascriptura

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 09:06 PM

There is value in care work. Nobody said there isn't. But it is also a burden for the caregiver, and it is a fact that many long term caregivers suffer from burn out. Ignoring this because caring for elderly is "noble" does not help anybody. It would be more compassionate to acknowledge the difficulty and find mechanisms to provide respite care for carers, instead of telling them they should not be so "fragile".
There are very different levels of elder care. An old person who requires 24 hour skilled nursing care can at some point not be cared for at home by family. The available caregiver may not be physically capable of lifting the patient, or psychologically capable of being with the patient full time, or economically capable of forgoing an income. With medical advances, these stages can last many years, or even decades.
The nursing home was the only place where my MIL with Alzheimers and MS could be cared for after it was no longer safe for her to be in her home, cared for by her husband.


Yeah. My relative took the AZ meds. For what benefit? She is at the same place, but it just took a lot longer. There is no cure for AZ. I also don’t believe that these meds have any point. It didn’t improve her life at all.

#18 Janeway

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 09:07 PM

If I had elders who loved me and treated me as such, I would love to jump in and take care of them. Even this week, I have made favorite foods for my dad and all sorts of things, only for him to tell me pretty much what he thinks of me today, again. I did need this reminder. I left being upset, but not surprised. I would have done anything for my parents, if they cared about me. But they simply never have. Heck, if they could just be decent now (Mom is dead so it is too late, but Dad?) then I could do anything at all for them. 



#19 ErinE

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 09:10 PM

I understand and support the OP. But I knew a large man who attacked a small woman as sundown's syndrome set in. She called me crying because she was so exhausted and couldn't physically handle him or the tasks anymore. She was provided 24-hour nursing assistance, but it was a bit of a ticking clock. Would he die before the benefits wore out and he would be involuntarily transferred to a facility? I've known an elderly woman who berated and harangued her caretaker mercilessly. The elderly, especially elderly men, can be still be physically, mentally, and emotionally aggressive in ways that are easier to handle when the person is small and relatively healthy.

Edited by ErinE, 18 October 2017 - 10:34 AM.

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#20 Elizabeth86

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 09:15 PM

Girl, let me tell ya,you took the words right out of my mouth. Our society has it all wrong. Everyone is too busy and too worried about me me me. It sucks. My aunt completely took care of my Mamaw instead of putting her in a home and I respect her so much for that. I truly hope my parents don't need that from me, but I sure hope I can do it if they need me. This post made me cry. I'm so sensitive right now. I thought I was the only ond to feel so strong about that. I hope we can keep this post civil. I really like it.

I've only scanned replies and correct me if I'm wrong op. I'm sure you would agree if you had the case of an Alzheimer's person that was putting your family in a dangerous spot or you physically couldn't care for your spouse due to your own health you would agree sometimes you just can't, but it's like people just don't want to even if they could that's the problem. Am I right? This is how I feel anyway, there are always exceptions, but for the most part society just puts away the kids and the old folks and that is what is sad.

I also wanted to add, I am very careful about saying what I will do for sure because no one knows what they will do in certain situations. I do know what is right and what is wrong and I know sometimes things are simply out of our hands, but I do vow to do the very best I can for my patents as they did for me.

Edited by Elizabeth86, 17 October 2017 - 09:41 PM.

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#21 FaithManor

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 09:23 PM

I understand and support the OP. But I've knew a large man who attacked a small woman as sundowner's syndrome set in. She called me crying because she was so exhausted and couldn't physically handle him or the tasks anymore. She was provided 24-hour nursing assistance, but it was a bit of a ticking clock. Would he die before the benefits wore out and he would be involuntarily transferred to a facility? I've known an elderly woman who berated and harangued her caretaker mercilessly. The elderly, especially elderly men, can be still be physically, mentally, and emotionally aggressive in ways that are easier to handle when the person is small and relatively healthy.


And just so everyone knows, men with dementia can become quite primitive sexually making advances on their own daughters and other female caregivers, grope, and become sexually violent even when this is so far from their character before dementia as to seem entirely impossible. There are types of dementia in which the best thing is a lock down facility, 24/7 trained staff, and the legal ability to restrain. In many states it is elder abuse for you to lock an elder in or use restraints in the home. Only doctors can order and enforce this. I legally would have no right to prevent a mentally ill elder from leaving my home no matter what the danger, and even if attacked, no right to put that person in restraints.

It is really important if you choose to take an elderly person with dementia in or care for them in their home, that you familiarize yourself with the law.
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#22 eternalsummer

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 09:27 PM

I suppose I feel that it probably will be something of a sacrifice at times, just as raising kids was sometimes a sacrifice, and that the sacrifice is often - ahem -gendered in a way it shouldn't be... BUT that doesn't make it something not worth doing if you are able to do so, if your parent/s want that, and if your relationship with your parent/s has been generally decent and reasonable. 

 

I don't understand the attitude that 'my kids don't owe me anything' - reciprocal bonds of care seem foundational to me. 

 

In any case, just because something is worthwhile doesn't mean it's without difficulties, and I'm all for better support of carers. That includes not assuming a carer is burdened, but not judging her if she expresses she is. 

 

I agree 100% that there is value in care work. The young, the disabled, the elderly - these are not inherently undignified jobs/responsiblities. I agree that one role of feminism is to assert the value in caring work (and man, it's not just some wishy washy emotional value, it's economic value too). 

 

 

I love the bolded especially.  I am decidedly not a feminist, as the movement on the whole I find completely misguided (at best), but the idea of asserting the value of caring work rings very true.  

 

Also, yes, taking care of children can be undignified and gross and hard and if your 5 year old instead of learning to feed and bathe himself were instead slowly slipping back into being unable to even use the toilet, and it looked like you had years of this left to go, I can see how it would be depressing and very difficult.    I still think it is imperative to do it as well as you can (given the parameters of the relationship).

 

I do see it as a moral issue - one that some people disagree about in the West (although I think it's pretty obvious that across the world, care of elders in the home by their family is pretty standard).  But like other moral issues, I do believe there is a right and a wrong.


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#23 katilac

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 09:30 PM

 

Maybe I'm overly sensitive, being orphaned at age 44 . . .  

 

Maybe after we abolish preschools and day care centers, we can abolish nursing homes. In my perfect world, no human being would be institutionalized if there was an alternative place where they could be cared for by *people who love them*.

 

 

 

To be brutally honest, it is a lot easier to put in the hours of care when you are in your early forties than it is when you are considerably older. My sister is approaching 60 and my parents need very little help so far, so she will likely be about 64 when lots of actual care is needed. That 20 years makes a huge difference, physically speaking. You can do more care without ruining your own health. 

 

I have fallen a bit behind on the other thread, but this has come up before, and I really don't see people complaining about things like helping mom figure out how to put her dress on. Also, it sounds like you had the blessed luck to have a parent with dementia who looked at  you with trust and love, who welcomed your help. Many people with dementia are physically combative and emotionally difficult. 

 

In the other thread, I said that I would help out my parents and other relatives in various ways, but I also pointed out that I lack the caretaker gene. That doesn't make me a horrible person, it just makes me a horrible home health aide. Yes, I mothered my children even when it was grosser than I preferred, but they started off at 7 pounds and grew out of the worst of it rapidly. I joke that they potty trained early because they knew mama couldn't handle it, lol. Believe me, nobody wants me in charge of their physical care. 

 

If someone can be a caretaker for their parents and they wish to do so, that's great. But it's not the best decision for everyone. It's quite often not even the best decision for the person who needs care, imo. If the person won't or can't help with their own care, things such as hygiene or getting dressed, it is brutally difficult to get those things done. You can have the best of intentions and still not be able to provide the best of care. My sister died in a hospital, and we had at least one person with her 24/7*. Even in the hospital, with a hospital bed and trained nurses and extra hands to help, it was insanely difficult to provide for her physical care (she could not help). There was absolutely no way we could have done it at home. Even if we all upended our lives to be there all the time, we could not have provided an acceptable level of care. The hospital was the better choice. Likewise, sometimes assisted living is the better choice. 

 

And, um, after we abolish day care centers and preschools? No, thank you! I know some great parents who use daycare, and I happily sent my kids to preschool. 


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#24 marbel

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 09:32 PM

I'm wondering if I misunderstood the OP. I didn't get the sense that she was advocating keeping an elderly parent home and being sole caretaker under all circumstances.

But there are ways adult children can participate even when the parent has to be placed, for example, in a memory care facility for their own safety and that of others.

Years ago I knew a woman whose mother was in a nursing home. The woman decided it was too difficult to see her mom growing old, so she told her mother she was moving far away and couldn't visit anymore. It was a lie. She didn't move, she just wanted to stop visiting. What a horrid person.

Edited by marbel, 17 October 2017 - 09:32 PM.

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#25 Sadie

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 09:33 PM

I love the bolded especially.  I am decidedly not a feminist, as the movement on the whole I find completely misguided (at best), but the idea of asserting the value of caring work rings very true.  

 

Also, yes, taking care of children can be undignified and gross and hard and if your 5 year old instead of learning to feed and bathe himself were instead slowly slipping back into being unable to even use the toilet, and it looked like you had years of this left to go, I can see how it would be depressing and very difficult.    I still think it is imperative to do it as well as you can (given the parameters of the relationship).

 

I do see it as a moral issue - one that some people disagree about in the West (although I think it's pretty obvious that across the world, care of elders in the home by their family is pretty standard).  But like other moral issues, I do believe there is a right and a wrong.

 

Well, tbh, most feminism is all about ditching the care work, lol, and outsourcing it to brown women instead. Lean in and all that. Not very many feminists assert the value of care work. Especially unpaid care work. So what I think feminism should do is quite different to what feminism actually does. 


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#26 Laurie4b

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 09:33 PM

In my opinion, I don't see it as an either/or proposition.

 

I think the responsibility for honoring one's parents and caring for them as they age can be fulfilled in different ways, on a continuum from co-living, to living next door, to the parent living in a retirement community or memory care unit with a great deal of visitation from adult children. The point is love and care and involvement not where the care happens. 

 

What I see that I think is wrong is when siblings allow all the responsibility to fall on one adult child, even when the other siblings live close by and the parent has been a loving and decent parent and grandparent. That is utterly despicable imo. 

 

 


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#27 fairfarmhand

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 09:34 PM

I do want to mention that I would hope that my children would welcome me into their homes if I was simply getting feeble and a little forgetful. That’s a vast difference between 24 hour nursing care for a bed fast patient.


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#28 Elizabeth86

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 09:37 PM

I'm wondering if I misunderstood the OP. I didn't get the sense that she was advocating keeping an elderly parent home and being sole caretaker under all circumstances.

But there are ways adult children can participate even when the parent has to be placed, for example, in a memory care facility for their own safety and that of others.

Years ago I knew a woman whose mother was in a nursing home. The woman decided it was too difficult to see her mom growing old, so she told her mother she was moving far away and couldn't visit anymore. It was a lie. She didn't move, she just wanted to stop visiting. What a horrid person.


This reminds me of my mil. Her mother wanted to call her every night to talk. My mil told her not to call on work nights and gave her a fake work schedule so she wouldn't bother her so much. My mom and I talk daily and we both cherish that. I couldn't imagine being so hurtful. We always make time for small talk.
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#29 LarlaB

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 09:47 PM

I hear what you're saying, but don't have the same experience/perspective. I think it IS esteemed to care for aging parents. Its very challenging but honored in my circle of the world.   In a perfect world, dealing with 'normal....best thing since sliced bread, supportive parents who saw you thru everything' would be a natural relationship of reciprocity.  Yet I can count on ONE hand the number of friends of mine who have parents like that. Its sad, but a reality. At least in my world. 

 

Some thoughts: 

 

1.  The overwhelming majority of my friends do not live anywhere close to their parents- as in different states. Its a new generation that doesn't all live in a heap or within easy driving distance. In several cases, neither parents or children will relocate. In most cases, parents are moving to be near adult children. 

 

2.  There is a huge amount of flawed humans out there, who grow more stubborn and cantankerous with age, or become abusive in old age.  Extreme abuse cases aside, there are still a lot of nasty, very difficult to deal with older adults out there who sadly, are far far far worse to deal with than a teenager who slams doors, mutters and is disrespectful.  Its far more complicated and nuanced than simply 'do the job' and loving. 

 

3.  It IS incredibly difficult and demanding to care for children and aging parents simultaneously.  Nobility aside, the reality of caring for a terminal or dementia or physically limited parent is staggering on its own- much less juggling a job and full time parenting. Something has to give. Not everyone can juggle it all.

 

4.  Some parents are incredibly irresponsible with their finances.  Sure its their money to spend.  But its an unfair expectation to then presume children need to step in and offset that irresponsibility.   That is a hugely complex issue that several of my friends deal with. My IL's are part of that group. No diamonds and furs.  Just incredibly childish, irresponsible spending. 

 

That is what I see thru my lens.


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#30 Annie G

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 09:47 PM

There is no one size fits all solution. How much do you sacrifice your own children for elder care? When a dementia patient is violent? When you can’t pay bills because a person needs 24 hour care and you lost your job? This is an extremely complex problem. We can’t oversimplify it by lauding how noble these jobs are and saying how people are selfish if they can’t do it.


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You're right. Every situation is different. I was honored to take care of mil but it was my decision. My own children are grown so it helped that I didn't have to feel like I was neglecting my kids. I wouldn't call someone who chooses not to do it selfish.  Dh has told me that he can't/won't do for his father what I did for his mother. I don't fault him...it's just not something he feels he can do.  I had no idea I would want to do it until she got sick. We weren't close but as she became sicker and I cared for her, we became very close. Who knew??? 

 

I feel for people who have no good option...they cannot afford to hire care but they also can't afford to lose their jobs.  My inlaws could afford to hire care but were afraid to have strangers in the house. 

 

Getting old is more complicated than I ever thought it would be. 


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#31 nixpix5

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 09:57 PM

I think it depends on the level of care. A slightly feeble and fragile parent with descent faculties coming to live with me and sharing the burden of life. Me cooking and cleaning my home they live in to ease their burden and bills. Absolutely. Full blown alzheimers or dibilitating cancer I feel needs a higher level of care. I watched my mom take care of my grandma in her last 5 years as she screamed profanities, got lost, hit my mom, bit her and put her bird in the oven. It strained my mom's memories of her mom. I do feel an obligation to my parents though for normal aging caretaking. I believe that absolutely. I am happy my own grown sons also feel that way. We all feel familial obligations strongly.

All in all though my family is really lovely so I cannot speak for other people's situation. I know some elderly people who would rather die then live with their grown kids so it goes both ways I guess.
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#32 FaithManor

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 10:06 PM

I think it depends on the level of care. A slightly feeble and fragile parent with descent faculties coming to live with me and sharing the burden of life. Me cooking and cleaning my home they live in to ease their burden and bills. Absolutely. Full blown alzheimers or dibilitating cancer I feel needs a higher level of care. I watched my mom take care of my grandma in her last 5 years as she screamed profanities, got lost, hit my mom, bit her and put her bird in the oven. It strained my mom's memories of her mom. I do feel an obligation to my parents though for normal aging caretaking. I believe that absolutely. I am happy my own grown sons also feel that way. We all feel familial obligations strongly.

All in all though my family is really lovely so I cannot speak for other people's situation. I know some elderly people who would rather die then live with their grown kids so it goes both ways I guess.


And this is probably where the discussion has issues. Some are imagining scenario A and wondering why on earth the others are not willing to provide this while some others have experience with scenario B- me included - and have done the full care cancer patient who gets you up nine times a night for a year and needs to be changed while you try to figure out how on earth you can manage to continue to roll him for cleaning when he weighs more than you, is screaming obscenities, trying to hit you, telling you that you are a waste of skin, and your hemoglobin count is one-half a point north of needing a blood transfusion but you have no one to spell you so you can even see the doctor for yourself.

Scenario A, yes definitely. Hopefully after these next two surgeries, this will be the case with mom. I will need to work to support her, pay for her meds, etc. But if she can run a load of laundry here or get something out of the freezer to thaw for dinner, let the dog out, be pleasant and loving, then we can make it work.

Scenario B. Never again. I won't survive it.
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#33 WoolySocks

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 10:07 PM

I was someone who in the other thread that I don't feel parents should expect care from their children.  I think being emotionally present and supportive during these years without providing physical care 24-7 for potentially years is a bunch to take on.  My father died 2 years ago and mercifully I was not involved in his physical care.  But just walking through paper work and being there for both my mom and my dad during that time was the hardest most emotional work I've ever done.  I have some physical auto immune issues that make stress weigh a heavier toll and doing long term physical care would be horrible for me.   I also may need (and want) to return to work as my kids move out.  Not everyone has it in their blood to be a life long caregiver and there seems to be a bunch more shame doled out to women who burn out on care giving than men. 

 

I have every intention of being intimately involved in my MIL, FIL, and mother's life to the end.  They are set up to not likely need direct physical care from their kids.   If that works for your family and is a goal for someone else's, I admire them for it.  I just don't really get the hate for people who CANNOT do it for whatever reason.   Some care giving is literally not safe to do at home.


Edited by WoolySocks, 17 October 2017 - 10:08 PM.

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#34 eternalsummer

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 10:18 PM

wrt day care centers: well, if we were just putting old people in institutions during the day when we were at work, and taking them home at night to be with their families, that would make a lot more sense to me (although still outsourcing the hard work to someone else and also being quite inefficient).  A preschooler or toddler who goes to daycare still has a family; he lives with his family and is loved by them and eats with them at night  and etc.

 

The equivalence is not day care centers.  It is orphanages.

 

 

And yes, we pay caregivers of the elderly especially way way way too little.  CNAs make nada.  The private home aides my in-laws hired, they wanted to pay as little as possible.  They thought $10/hr was a great deal (for the worker!).  Hahahaha.  


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#35 eternalsummer

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 10:23 PM

I'm wondering if I misunderstood the OP. I didn't get the sense that she was advocating keeping an elderly parent home and being sole caretaker under all circumstances.

But there are ways adult children can participate even when the parent has to be placed, for example, in a memory care facility for their own safety and that of others.

Years ago I knew a woman whose mother was in a nursing home. The woman decided it was too difficult to see her mom growing old, so she told her mother she was moving far away and couldn't visit anymore. It was a lie. She didn't move, she just wanted to stop visiting. What a horrid person.

 

My in-laws put their parents in a nursing home that is 15 minutes drive from one of the siblings.  Part of the draw was that they would visit all the time, etc.  

 

They ended up coming out maybe once a month.  15 minutes away!

 

Dh and I and all our kids (and then eventually just DH and the older kids, once we had lots of very little ones and the room was smaller) went every week from an hour away for years.  And then when the siblings did visit, on rare occasion (like once a year), they'd send out missives like "please do not get mud on the carpet" or "please do not put up pictures of the grandchildren" etc.

 

 

oooh I am still mad


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#36 swimmermom3

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 10:25 PM

I find it really surprising how widespread the attitude is that care taking for an elder relative is a burden and will ruin your life/family/marriage/kids/etc. I've heard it over and over and over, especially when I was actively doing that for my mom . . . It still shocks and confuses me when I hear it, especially in a homeschooling forum, presumably populated mostly by parents who are clearly pretty driven to *personally* take great care of their kids and make sacrifices to do that . . .

 

Why is the care taking of our elders so denigrated when the caregiving of our kids and spouses is so revered?

 

I understand that care taking for our elders can be a burden financially and practically. I understand that if your elders were assholes and/or grossly irresponsible financially or otherwise, that it's not "fair" for their care to fall on you . . . But, let's say we take off the table parents/elders who've been hateful/evil and/or grossly irresponsible . . . Let's just give everyone permission to kick those folks to the curb and leave them to fend for themselves . . . Fine. I'm *not talking* about the abusive parents, the ones who ran through millions on diamonds and furs and saved not a nickel for retirement, the ones who are just mean/awful to you or your family . . . I'm not talking about those folks . . . 

 

. . .  and so, now we're just talking about ordinary, decent, loving, did the best they could elders/parents along with some fantastic, were the best thing since sliced bread (like my mom) kinds of parents.

 

Talking just about those good elders in our lives . . . why don't we honor and value the care we, as their youngers, can give? We sooooo value (over value?) the caregiving we give to our own children, and sometimes we also honor and value the caregiving we do for our spouse (or at least we talk a good game about it) . . .

 

But, somehow, reciprocating that loving/adoration/service that our parents gave to us . . . somehow, that's crap? Somehow that's ruining us? What makes us so damn fragile? We're tough enough to homeschool a half dozen (or more) runny nosed kids through their bratty attitudes, slammed doors, and awkward phases, maybe through a drug bust or car wrecks or a teen pregnancy . . . still loving, still serving them . . . and we can honor sticking with a spouse who might have a porn habit or an affair or a bad habit of spending what we don't have . . .

 

But, our elders? Those who loved us through our own failures and held us up when we hurt and put us on the right path when we were heading down the wrong one? The ones we knew we could call on when our husband left or we failed out of school? Those ones? They're somehow a burden? We're too fragile to make some sacrifices to serve *them*? 

 

Maybe I'm overly sensitive, being orphaned at age 44 . . . by two parents who really were "all that" and more, as imperfect as they were, they were exactly everything I needed them to be and so much more. But, I really think there is something very wrong with our culture that we're so intently devaluing something that is precious and vital. Taking our turn as the responsible one . . . taking that turn parenting our parents. It's brutally hard, but it's also brutally human. It just is what it is. Helping my mom figure out how to put on her dress was just as human as was suckling my babies. It is just human existence, and it is everything. It made me more of a human being to go through what I went through with Mom. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I miss her every day, not just the mom she was before dementia stole her from me, but also the mom she was when she looked to me as if I were *her* believed parent, the trust and confidence she had in me turned me into someone better and stronger than I was before she *needed* me. 

 

So, anyway, I don't get it. I think our culture needs to re-look at the value of being a caretaker of our elders. Maybe this is the next front for feminism, right after we finish reasserting the value of care taking of our own children. Maybe after we abolish preschools and day care centers, we can abolish nursing homes. In my perfect world, no human being would be institutionalized if there was an alternative place where they could be cared for by *people who love them*.

 

What do you think?

 

I think I really love your post. My mom and I have had a far from perfect relationship and she was really tough on me about homeschooling Sailor Dude. But right now, none of that really matters.  I'll take each day I can get, because I know not being able to pick up the phone and call her will far more difficult than anything I am doing right now.


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#37 KungFuPanda

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 10:38 PM

I am a terrible nurse. I didn't get the carer gene. I'm squeamish about all manner of smells. I taught my kids early to 'hit the bucket' because cleaning up after sick people skeeves me out. My MAIN occupation is giving full time care to my 17-year-old son with duchenne's . The physical stuff is actually manageable. You learn to do things one at a time and, taken alone, no single task is THAT hard. You learn patience because things can take longer than you expect. There are patient lifts that are fairly easy to come by and equipment that spares the carers muscles and back. In situations where a person is losing skills, they sometimes do it gradually and you gave time to adjust. I never could have pictured myself pulling this off and it's not as hard as I imagined.

For me, the issue is emotional. I couldn't do this for someone I didn't love just because we're related. If a person has treated people horribly their whole lives, they shouldn't even expect anyone to step up. How you treat people matters in this world.

As for abolishing preschools, has no one ever spent time in a decent preschool? Or is this opinion based on spending zero time in this situation? I have experienced delightful, well-run preschools where the kids are happy to be there and the teachers are delightful. I've seen therapy-based preschools that made amazing and time-sensitive progress in little kids. Sure, a parent could attempt to DIY but the time constraints combined with reinventing the wheel don't make the odds too good that the kid will be better off as a child. Also, if the kid's mother can't work, this may mean the child can't go to college and their future is limited. The big picture for children with working mothers isn't all that grim and likely better than those with SAHMs who live in poverty.
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#38 Arctic Mama

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 10:42 PM

I’ve encountered some of that, but I don’t really get it. I mean, we are building a house with a second main floor handicapped accessible master suite and access to the upstairs bedrooms by elevator, precisely because we figure we will have to take care of at least one set of parents and/or our disabled son. It’s just a given that we want to have the ability to move someone in with us for their care.

I don’t really resent it and we have planned for it, because they’re family. I am not awesome at this whole caregiving schtick, but it’s not some sort of life ruining thing to take care of one of my parents or even my husband’s parents. And if we never have to that’s fine too, but I figure it can’t hurt to plan it in just in case.
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#39 Storygirl

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 10:44 PM

I didn't read the other thread, so I don't know whether people were saying that they were unwilling to care for elderly family members. Or if they were unwilling to care for them in their home. It's possible to take care of a loved one without having them live with you.

 

It's hard no matter what.

 

My mom with Alzheimer's lived with me for almost a year. My dad still worked (in his 80s now, still working) and didn't understand her level of need. He didn't do the childcare when my siblings and I were young, so he really just didn't know how to step up. My siblings, who lived in the same town, had a lot to say about Mom's care but were not willing to actually do it themselves. So I took her in. But I lived three hours away, and I had no help. I also had four small children to homeschool and was unwilling to have hired caregivers in my home.

 

Why do children consider it a burden? Because it is. That doesn't mean that I wasn't willing. But it was a burden, absolutely.

 

And the decision to put her in a nursing home was stressful, too, because it fell on me, the one person who had been determined that Mom stay at home. I knew what I was getting into, because I helped Mom care for her own mother in our home for six years when I was a teen. But I found I couldn't meet all her needs and those of my children as well.

 

And now I live hours away from her and only see her every few months.

 

So it's hard, no matter what.


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#40 Arctic Mama

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 10:45 PM

That's a great essay, OP.
It's kind of how I've always seen it myself.

But in our family, the current crop of elders all are fiercely determined to stay in their own homes.
One set is about two hours away (in traffic, which is most of the time), and the other is 2000 miles away.
The two hour set is not interested in having help. It is hard to overstate this. Example: The last time I visited, one complained for 10 minutes straight about how hard it is to go grocery shopping. So toward the end of the visit, I said, "Why don't I run up to the supermarket and get you whatever you need right now?" Now, the supermarket is about 10 minutes up the road, so this is EASY. Plus I already drove two hours to get there, so why not maximize the usefulness of my visit? But the answer was no, repeatedly. Then 15 minutes later we had round two of what a pain it is to go grocery shopping.

You may well ask, why not just bring them some stuff? The answer is, it makes them mad.

I don't know what to do with that.

The other family, wants to stay 2000 miles away. When one died, we asked the other to come live with us or at least stay with us for a while. But she wants to stay in her own home, even though she is afraid to be alone there. If we move there to keep her in her home, we will both lose our jobs, which means that down the road if a nursing home becomes necessary we will not be able to pay for it; and we are literally the financial backstop, entirely. Rock, meet hard place. We are right in between you!

So, yes, I want to take care of our family; but I cannot for the life of me figure out how to do it. They all seem determined to drive themselves into a crisis before making any changes, and so we have to respect that.


That is hard! I’ve already hinted that if they need care it’s either moving in with me or paying for their own home health aide, because we cannot move to help them. We can help, but they have to flex a bit too so we can all make it work, and uprooting our kids and home isn’t happening. I think that’s a pretty reasonable line!
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#41 Storygirl

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 10:58 PM

Caring for my mom didn't "ruin" my life. But it changed and limited it drastically. It defined my days and made my nights worrisome and weary. It was physically and emotionally hard. It was isolating and stressful.

 

I don't think you can expect anything different if you are dealing with Alzheimer's or a similarly debilitating condition.

 

At the same time, I think family should take care of each other, in whatever way they can.

 

So I both agree and disagree with the sentiments in the OP. Yes, it can be a great burden. It's not just an attitude; it's reality.


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#42 Arctic Mama

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 11:01 PM

I do want to mention that I would hope that my children would welcome me into their homes if I was simply getting feeble and a little forgetful. That’s a vast difference between 24 hour nursing care for a bed fast patient.


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Oh, totally totally agree. I think myself and the OP were thinking more along the lines of the attitude of not wanting to deal with the elderly out of finances and inconvenience, not whether or not it was safe and the best choice for the elderly individual. Sometimes the most loving and responsible choice is professional care - but that’s really separate from refusing to help them, more like helping them in the best way you can, whatever that shakes out to be for their individual circumstances.
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#43 FaithManor

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 11:05 PM

The other thing that enters into the difficulty is that many elders end up child like. But you cannot treat them as children and make decisions for them, you can not put limits on their behavior, you cannot do ANY of the things that you did when your kids were little. When they were young, I could say nap time, enforce it, and lay down myself or get something done. But you have ZERO authority over the elder that lives with you. Zero. They are legal adults even if their mentality is that of a five year old.

As for making houses handicap accessible? It would cost us forty thousand dollars, not paid for by any insurance, to make over this house for my mom if these two surgeries don't work. We have already bailed her out on $20,000 I medical bills and business debt. This can't keep going. It is untenable.

And the house is currently valued at $35,000 so putting $40,000 into it, would be beyond financial suicide. At this point though some of her house is not handicap accessible, it does have a wheelchair ramp on the front and one bathroom we can get her in and out of with her walker. But we can't live there because there isn't any space for our college boys to come home to, and likely the bank is going to end up getting it in the settlement for the business.

Okay, I have to stop thinking about this or I am going to have another week long bout of insomnia.
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#44 Arctic Mama

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 11:12 PM

Faith, your situation isn’t the type we are talking about. There are limits physically and emotionally. In fact I do worry my own health may be the hardest thing about caring for my son or relatives, because getting through a normal day is tough enough without dropping.

In some ways I have the luxury of being exposed to all this fairly young, because we *can* plan this out and account for it. We also don’t have any massively destitute relatives who we will care for whose house alone couldn’t cover two or three decades of care - a benefit of them living in an insanely expensive state. That isn’t the case for everyone - you just do what you have to do.

I’m trying to do right by my family with the budget and skills I have, if it is needed, and check my own attitude and selfishness that says I don’t want to change adult diapers and fight someone just to get dressed. But that’s just me and my own situation - I really don’t think this can be a prescriptive discussion because of how different each situation actually is.

#45 Supertechmom

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 11:27 PM

Because I am a kid who grew up in a house where both parents were primary responsible for elders who wouldn't move to accommodate their caregivers. 

 

 

I swore then I wouldn't do the same to my children.



#46 Seasider

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 11:28 PM

Wow, I really don't know what to say.

OP, I respect your opinion, but I don't appreciate the implication that it should be a benchmark for my reality.
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#47 Pawz4me

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 05:05 AM

I find it really surprising how widespread the attitude is that care taking for an elder relative is a burden and will ruin your life/family/marriage/kids/etc. I've heard it over and over and over, especially when I was actively doing that for my mom . . . It still shocks and confuses me when I hear it, especially in a homeschooling forum, presumably populated mostly by parents who are clearly pretty driven to *personally* take great care of their kids and make sacrifices to do that . . .

 

Why is the care taking of our elders so denigrated when the caregiving of our kids and spouses is so revered?

 

I understand that care taking for our elders can be a burden financially and practically. I understand that if your elders were assholes and/or grossly irresponsible financially or otherwise, that it's not "fair" for their care to fall on you . . . But, let's say we take off the table parents/elders who've been hateful/evil and/or grossly irresponsible . . . Let's just give everyone permission to kick those folks to the curb and leave them to fend for themselves . . . Fine. I'm *not talking* about the abusive parents, the ones who ran through millions on diamonds and furs and saved not a nickel for retirement, the ones who are just mean/awful to you or your family . . . I'm not talking about those folks . . . 

 

. . .  and so, now we're just talking about ordinary, decent, loving, did the best they could elders/parents along with some fantastic, were the best thing since sliced bread (like my mom) kinds of parents.

 

Talking just about those good elders in our lives . . . why don't we honor and value the care we, as their youngers, can give? We sooooo value (over value?) the caregiving we give to our own children, and sometimes we also honor and value the caregiving we do for our spouse (or at least we talk a good game about it) . . .

 

But, somehow, reciprocating that loving/adoration/service that our parents gave to us . . . somehow, that's crap? Somehow that's ruining us? What makes us so damn fragile? We're tough enough to homeschool a half dozen (or more) runny nosed kids through their bratty attitudes, slammed doors, and awkward phases, maybe through a drug bust or car wrecks or a teen pregnancy . . . still loving, still serving them . . . and we can honor sticking with a spouse who might have a porn habit or an affair or a bad habit of spending what we don't have . . .

 

But, our elders? Those who loved us through our own failures and held us up when we hurt and put us on the right path when we were heading down the wrong one? The ones we knew we could call on when our husband left or we failed out of school? Those ones? They're somehow a burden? We're too fragile to make some sacrifices to serve *them*? 

 

Maybe I'm overly sensitive, being orphaned at age 44 . . . by two parents who really were "all that" and more, as imperfect as they were, they were exactly everything I needed them to be and so much more. But, I really think there is something very wrong with our culture that we're so intently devaluing something that is precious and vital. Taking our turn as the responsible one . . . taking that turn parenting our parents. It's brutally hard, but it's also brutally human. It just is what it is. Helping my mom figure out how to put on her dress was just as human as was suckling my babies. It is just human existence, and it is everything. It made me more of a human being to go through what I went through with Mom. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I miss her every day, not just the mom she was before dementia stole her from me, but also the mom she was when she looked to me as if I were *her* believed parent, the trust and confidence she had in me turned me into someone better and stronger than I was before she *needed* me. 

 

So, anyway, I don't get it. I think our culture needs to re-look at the value of being a caretaker of our elders. Maybe this is the next front for feminism, right after we finish reasserting the value of care taking of our own children. Maybe after we abolish preschools and day care centers, we can abolish nursing homes. In my perfect world, no human being would be institutionalized if there was an alternative place where they could be cared for by *people who love them*.

 

What do you think?

 

In general it makes me very sad to see so much of the "me, me, me" attitude expressed on this board. Really, I think most of us here exemplify the best in our society usually. But in this area -- no. No.

 

And I say that having noted the exceptions you listed (abusive relationship, etc.) Some who are commenting here either missed that or are ignoring it.

 

And I have the opinion I do having grown up in a home where grandparents were cared for -- two with terminal cancer and one with some type of dementia (don't know if it was Alzheimer's or something else).

 

(Hospice is a wonderful, wonderful organization. Most people dealing with terminal illnesses or caring for someone who is dealing with it wait way too long to get their help.)

 

In our families of origin (mine and DH's) families take care of each other. Obviously there are limits. We've progressed to the point that we can prolong life so long that sometimes it does become unrealistic/impossible to care for the elderly at home. I don't think you're referring to those situations.

 

I do hope our boys won't be put in that situation. It's not fun. There's no way around that. And I hope they can avoid it. Does that make me hypocritical? I don't think so. It's the attitude I'm addressing and that makes me so very sad and not have much hope for our society.

 

And truthfully it goes beyond caring for the elderly. For example, I've seen posts on here claiming they can't go see their parents (their kids' grandparents) more than a handful of times a year because they live an hour or two away. That's a big deal to anyone? When I was young my maternal grandparents lived about 90 minutes away. We went to see them almost every Sunday. I understand if finances are severely limited or there's no dependable vehicle. But otherwise--no, I don't get that at all. 

 

 

I'm wondering if I misunderstood the OP. I didn't get the sense that she was advocating keeping an elderly parent home and being sole caretaker under all circumstances.

But there are ways adult children can participate even when the parent has to be placed, for example, in a memory care facility for their own safety and that of others.

Years ago I knew a woman whose mother was in a nursing home. The woman decided it was too difficult to see her mom growing old, so she told her mother she was moving far away and couldn't visit anymore. It was a lie. She didn't move, she just wanted to stop visiting. What a horrid person.

 

Ditto.


Edited by Pawz4me, 18 October 2017 - 05:08 AM.

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#48 DawnM

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 05:43 AM

My parents told me the greatest gift they could give me was to not be a burden on me.  And they bought into an extended/graduated facility so that they could be independent as long as possible and pre-pay for nursing care if/when needed.

 

I plan to do the same as much as i am able.

 

Unfortunately, our society is quite transient these days.  It is rare that entire families live/stay in one spot.  It has its positives and its drawbacks.  

 

But I grew up overseas.  When I came to the States for college, my parents stayed in Africa.  We have only been in the same country for the past 15 years or so.  So, just being Stateside is "close" in comparison!   


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#49 Diana P.

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 06:00 AM

This is a difficult topic for me, but here's my quick response:

I didn't ask to be born, so it was not my choice to have parents.

I had children. My children didn't ask to be born so it really is my duty to give them the best care since I brought them here.

#50 SparklyUnicorn

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 06:19 AM

I've seen it make people miserable.

 

My MIL took care of her father until he was 98.  The day he died she was visiting us in the US and got a call at 4 in the morning.  Just to get another family to freaking be willing to keep an eye on him for the two weeks she was visiting was close to impossible.  She has two siblings and neither wanted to do it.  And their father was not even bed ridden!  The first thing she said after was thank God.  And then she went to bed.  She was relieved.  Her parents were grumpy, demanding people.  She spent most of her life after her kids were out of the house waiting on her parents.  If she came 5 minutes late to make them lunch they'd tell her what a horrible daughter she was. 

 

I get it.  I don't ever want to be that kind of burden on my kids. 

 

Plus you cannot assume there isn't some relationship issues to begin with.  I don't want to take care of my parent because frankly I don't always like my parent.  Just because he contributed to my conception and birth doesn't mean I owe him something.  He wasn't always so good to me.  KWIM?  So there is that possibility too with some of these responses.