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Abusive parents and guilt over aging and care...


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I was having a conversation with neighbors who are moving away about the declining health of their mom. The mom, who has dementia, expressed in a moment of clarity that she was counting on him (her son) not to send her to a nursing home. The son told her to never worry. The neighbor’s wife was saying no way should an aging person have to stay where they don’t want to be. So, they are prepared to take her in even though their new house is really small. I felt that they are good at heart (and saints) for thinking this way. But I immediately felt uncomfortable because I have a whole different experience. Even though there is a bad history with my mom, I would not be happy for her to be (nursing home) where she doesn’t want to be. Also, though, I know it would be extremely difficult for me to take care of her because of her personality and the history. I just stood there during the conversation feeling so inwardly awful.
 

Most likely (and hopefully) my mom will continue living with her favored child. This would make her happy. I know she would not want to go to a nursing home. 

There has been too much controlling, deceit, fibbing, passive aggressiveness, jealousy, manipulation, and emotional abuse for me to live with her. I would not trust her to be alone in my house without snooping, especially in my office...for account balances, etc. There is sound reason for this. Unless you keep proper distance and boundaries, she has a way of digging herself into you (physically and mentally) and just taking over. She stands right next to me at the stove and turns the burner up right after I turn it down, and stirs and checks while I am the one doing the cooking. I would lose all autonomy in my life. This is a seemingly small thing, but many of you know of other things she has done. 
 

I don’t feel this is something that would ever be necessary, but it’s really hard to come to terms with the feelings of not being able (emotionally) to take care of your mother. It doesn’t make you feel like a very good human. 
 

So I guess I’m just saying that hearing of other’s attitudes about taking care of their parents no matter what, just makes it really hard for me. I don’t want things to be this way. I wish they weren’t. But they are.

Are people in my situation justified in feeling this way? I know there are others here who have similar experiences. I guess this is just something that will be a part of who I am for life. 
 

 

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There are consequences to actions, and parents who use and abuse their kids must face this. There is no good reason you should take your mother into your home. It isn't even honoring the position of mother  because allowing her to make you miserable, interfere in your relationships with your husband and children, and cause you so much distress is just not good. It has too many lifetime consequences. Such folks need to be taken care of by a staff at a facility. This is the natural outcome of being that kind of person, and takes the teeth out of their ability to continue to really hurt others. Staff get to go home at the end of the day. They do not have to be subject to it 24/7, and are trained to expect it, and diffuse it or compartmentalize it. Mean grandma at the nursing home does not have the same far reaching impact that mean grandma has in a relative's home.

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Of course you are justified in feeling this way! I don't believe in "Family, no matter what." I can't recall off the top of my head your entire history but just based on the things you shared in your post, no one should ever be forced to live with someone who treats them that way. My relationship with my own mother has become complicated as I've gotten older, but she not abusive, as your mother has been to you. And I know that I could never take her in to live with me. It would be bad for everyone involved. 

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Posted (edited)

(((Indigo blue ))) my mother reminded me over the weekend why she will never live with me ever. I will make sure she is cared for, but it will not be by me, or my children. I have been trying to subtly urge her to start thinking about what the next step is, because it will not be with me.

the guilt is huge, I can live with it better than I can live with her.

Edited by saraha
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Posted (edited)

Even in a family with good, loving relationships, it may not be possible to care for an elderly person at home. While the elder may prefer not to be in a nursing home, I find it very selfish to make one's adult children promise they would never put the old loved one in a nursing home.
Caretaking and nursing is hard work. Emotionally, physically, financially. Sometimes, family members just can't. Even if they love one another.

I see my mother caring for my father in their home. I am very concerned about the toll that takes on her. My best friend nursed her husband at home until that just became too much and she was breaking. No person has the right to demand that of another - not even of one's adult children., and not even if they have a wonderful, close relationship.

ETA: And no matter what solution one chooses, there is probably always guilt. I feel bad for not being able to be there and help, for my sister to do the lion's share of helping and taking a pay cut to reduce her work hours to do so - and I bet she probably feels guilty that she cannot do more. But there is no point in the feeling when it's not a workable alternative.

Edited by regentrude
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My best friend is currently taking care of her mother with dementia. They have always been super close and positive. It is still an unbelievablly difficult situation. I basically CANNOT imagine how awful it would be for a person who felt they were doing it out of obligation and the resentment that would fill every area of your lives. I know my friend is struggling with some resentment toward her siblings... that will almost certainly permanently impact their relationships. 

That is NOT a better solution- hopefully your siblings can handle it. 

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If they don’t understand it, they haven’t lived life with abusive parents. I am sorry you understand it, and I am glad they don’t. 
 

Why in the world would someone feel it ok to demand that a child care for their abuser? I actually think it is healthy and right to deny them the opportunity to sin against you more as an abuser. Sometimes love looks like healthy boundaries.

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Chiming back to add, so far all of my family members made me promise, when they had their faculties, to not take them in as their own experiences as caregivers have been so difficult. And, when they all lost their faculties most begged for us to take them in because when the moment came they feared the change. Sometimes the ask isn’t the true wish—it’s just a fear of the unknown.

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Posted (edited)

Your feelings are your own and they are valid. This is a hard place to be, especially during mothers’/fathers’ day when everyone is celebrating ‘good’ parents. You’re a good person. You are enough. Give yourself grace and time to move on.

Edited by Sneezyone
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10 minutes ago, Indigo Blue said:

<snip> The neighbor’s wife was saying no way should an aging person have to stay where they don’t want to be. <snip>

 

Your neighbor may not have intended this like it sounded.  This is very black and white thinking.  For people who have the finances, the physical and emotional energy, good mental health, the space, resources and a good grounded working relationship with healthy boundaries with an aging parent, that's great.  Plenty  of people do not have this.  I have a good relationship with both my mother and my FIL who each live alone now.  But neither will ever live with  us.  I'm sorry this made you feel badly, but it shouldn't.  Plenty of us are in the same boat.  It is quite a bit of bandwidth just to have an aging parent you're involved with without all the hands on day to day care.  

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Posted (edited)

I agree with the others, your feelings are valid and you have a right to them. The awesome thing is that you are the one solely responsible for the decisions that you make and are free to make different ones than others. I know that your neighbors don’t see what you see, but that’s ok. Your experiences lead you to make different choices. And that is ok

Edited by saraha
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9 minutes ago, Indigo Blue said:

 

So I guess I’m just saying that hearing of other’s attitudes about taking care of their parents no matter what, just makes it really hard for me. I don’t want things to be this way. I wish they weren’t. But they are.

Are people in my situation justified in feeling this way? I know there are others here who have similar experiences. I guess this is just something that will be a part of who I am for life. 
 

 

I am coming from a position where I have an incredibly healthy relationship with my parents and in-laws.  Dh and I chose to purchase as house that has a first floor master in order for my parents to move in with us, not for health reasons but because they needed to downsize and it just makes financial sense for everyone. It has works well for the last 2 years.  They WILL be with us until they die unless medical needs exceed what they are comfortable with at home.  My brother is moving across the street from us next week so he'll be available for help when the time comes.  I would happily welcome my mil, fil, or fil's husband into our home if they ever needed it. 

But I 100% do not believe it is anyone's responsibility to offer that to their parents.  Parents and children need to sit down and put out all the expectations on the table.  And parents need to plan for what their children are willing to help with. Even with good relationships, not everyone is capable of accommodating people fully the way they want it.  Compromise and planning are key.  

With bad/toxic/unhealthy relationships it is even more important that these discussions happen.  But it is the child who needs to push that because in a toxic relationship with bad communication the parent often times just assumes they have the child's home as a back up.  The child needs to make it completely clear that isn't an option and do so without guilt. 

You can be a loving child to an abusive parent while setting up clear boundaries that keeps them out of your home.  Don't feel guilty because people with healthy relationships feel strongly about their obligations to their loving parents.  They aren't living your reality.

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We are in a similar situation with my MIL. She has been the subject of many of my posts here over the years. She lives far away, by herself, in an unsafe home (hoarding, disrepair, unsanitary). 
 

She wants to come live with us but it would destroy our lives. I know this and I feel justified. Yet it is an awful feeling and I don’t know what to do with it. 
 

I am sorry your are struggling. You are far from the only person dealing with these issues. But people don’t talk about it a lot because there is a lot of shame in not caring for aging parents and people with functional families often just can’t relate at all.

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My parents are both dead, but there is no way I could have lived with my mom. Dad? Sure (probably). But my mom living with us just would not have worked. It's sad, but she would have caused issues. I lived far away with small children when she was dying and my sister and father took on the burden of most of her care. I thanked them both, prayed for them, and visited when I could, but realistically, that's all I could do. I did feel some sadness that I couldn't help me - but guilt? Guilt to me implies that I think I should have (and could have but chose not too) done more, but given the situation, that was not possible. I was thankful my sister was able to help as much as she did.  Sometimes I think we just have to talk to our guilt. Other people have other situations, abilities, resources. They should do what they think is right as they have the opportunity/capability. So, no guilt on you.

And I've seen this with the elderly/not long to live folks. I think they in some ways become like toddlers again and forget to consider the others involved in the situation - very self-centered. And sometimes they have unrealistic expectations. I've talked to my children and expressed the hope to them that I never do this, and if I do, their first priority is their own family, not me. Do the best you can, no guilt. 

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Yes, you are justified for feeling this way. There is no way I could care for either of my parents in my home, or my MIL. It would lead to divorce for me and DH. I won't allow people to make me feel like I am an interloper in my own home, and all of them would do just that. 

I don't feel bad that I won't be caring for them in their dotage. None of them have done the work to develop a strong bond to us, and a very strong bond is needed to withstand the demands of elder care. 

I wish a lot of things were different about this situation, but it is what it is.

 

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Sometimes aging persons have to stay where they do not want to be, because the needs are too much to be taken care of at home. And that is even in a best-case scenario (like my sweet mil, who has made the best of it, and remains cheerful). In a nursing home situation, you can make sure needs are met, visit (if you desire), and then go home to your peaceful house. Your responsibilities do not go so far as to put yourself under her damaging influence once again.

I take a little bit of issue (but on your behalf) with your statement:

28 minutes ago, Indigo Blue said:

I would lose all autonomy in my life. This is a seemingly small thing

That is NOT a seemingly small thing. The things you have mentioned are the kinds of things that wear one down immeasurably. Besides, most people that I know wouldn't be able to be in a nursing home if they were capable of riffling through things and hanging around the stove. Maybe an assisted living, but the nursing homes I am familiar with only take those who have more limitations. 

I, too, don't think it is fair or right to make relatives make promises about future care. We don't know what the future holds, or how difficult or impossible it might be to keep those promises. My sweet mom currently lives with my sister, but I would have been happy to have her live with us. However, our relationship has been much different than yours. In addition, she has long-term care insurance, and has repeatedly said that she does not want any of us to take care of her if she becomes unable to live in her current circumstances. One of her biggest concerns is being a burden to any of us. 😞 

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16 minutes ago, saraha said:

(((Indigo blue ))) my mother reminded me over the weekend why she will never live with me ever. I will make sure she is cared for, but it will not be by me, or my children. I have been trying to subtly urge her to start thinking about what the next step is, because it will not be with me.

the guilt is huge, I can live with it better than I can live with her.

I do think that we live at best peace with ourselves if we are willing to see that needs are met - basic needs such as shelter, food, clothing, medical care, some level of companionship if possible - as we would do for a child. 
 

However, that does not always mean being the full time caretaker. In some cases it works, even beautifully, as posters like SpyCar have shared. But when prior years involved abuse and/or abandonment, I personally believe that affects the level of commitment one can make and remain healthy enough to meet the needs of his/her own spouse and children. 
 

I try to keep in mind the story of the Good Samaritan. He saw to the needs of the one beaten and robbed, which involved sharing of his time and treasure. He set the man up in an inn to heal, saw that his needs were met. This is a story I held close as I spent time actually caring for a previously estranged elder, then when eventually moving this person from my home into managed care. I have to say that even without doing the hands-on care, just managing medical and business affairs were a near full time job for a while. It takes a lot of time and mental and emotional energy to be the steward of another adult’s life. It’s not always possible to do that well at the same time as providing hands on care. 
 

Something I’ve said here frequently is that dementia is a game changer. We currently have one elder that we know would be easy to have join us in our home. The spouse, however, would be very hard to have, due to a combination of adult ADHD and declining mental capacity - this person will need constant supervision. It’s not always about how much you care, it’s often about capacity to provide safe and proper care, for both the elder and the caregiver(s) in residence. And if that person has a history of abusing you, that greatly reduces your capacity to care. And that’s not your fault at all.
 

Please do not heap guilt on yourself!

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No one wants to be in a nursing home.    But, that doesn't mean people don't have to go into nursing homes!    I don't think it should be about "oh they DESERVE to not be in a nursing home" or they "really don't want to go into a nursing home".    It's about if someone can take care of someone else, and is willing to.   And no one should ever feel like they should have to be a full-time caregiver if they don't want to be.   It's about boundaries, and knowing your own limits and respect for your own life too.

A lot of times, you cannot provide care at home.   No matter how wonderful or deserving your parent may or may not be.   You just can't do it!     

No one is ever going to understand, and honestly you just have to choose to not feel guilty about it, probably over and over and over again.  ❤️

 

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I don’t think that it is the children’s responsibility to physically provide care for an elderly parent. While that might be the ideal situation in your neighbor’s situation, that doesn’t work for every family.  

I took out personal details just because it was turning into a vent post.

 

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1 minute ago, City Mouse said:

I took out personal details just because it was turning into a vent post.

 

(I'm not laughing at you, but I am laughing because I had to do the same thing in my post!)

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I've said it before, and I'll say it again - you have no obligations towards people who hurt you.

This responsibility towards your parents only kicks in after they've fulfilled their responsibility towards you, as their child. And clearly your mother hasn't. So all you have to do to meet the criteria of "a good person" is not literally let your mother starve on the street. But that can mean paying for some of her care. It doesn't have to mean taking her into your own home.

As for your neighbors, I hope nothing ever happens to them to make them regret their words.

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No guilt!!!  This is another one of those posts that’s amazing b/c of the complete agreement of all posters!!  🙂

You reap what you sow - abusive people find themselves with nobody willing to have them in their homes b/c they have made themselves so destructive to their families.

Do NOT feel badly about protecting yourself and your family from destruction and abuse!

 

Anne

 

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Just now, Indigo Blue said:

@Jaybee, I just meant the stove thing may seem trivial. I wasn’t clear, there. Sorry. 

Well...it wouldn't be trivial to me. It might make me want to smack somebody (ducks head in mock shame). I was actually thinking of the list of things you mentioned, though I only quoted that one part. You are a good daughter, and there is nothing wrong in realizing that there are lines that must be drawn.

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You are absolutely justified in feeling that you are not able to provide any care for her.

The guilt and feeling like an awful human is NOT justified. If she, as a capable adult, has not been planning for her own long-term care (that doesn't rely on family) she is making her own bed.

What other people may or may not do for their parents has no bearing on your unique circumstances. Please try really hard to reframe your thoughts around "not being good enough" in this. You are justified, worthy of love and self-compassion, and are incredibly courageous for recognizing and naming your limits. Many people will put themselves into untenable situations because they are not strong enough to set a boundary.

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Posted (edited)
34 minutes ago, teachermom2834 said:

This is so true!

OP, it will be interesting to see how your neighbor’s thoughts change after a year of caregiving. While it may work out for them, she’ll probably be more likely to understand why others cannot. 
 

ETA I messed up the quoting, this is what was supposed to be in the box above:

But people don’t talk about it a lot because there is a lot of shame in not caring for aging parents and people with functional families often just can’t relate at all.

Edited by Seasider too
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And sometimes parents don't want to move, too.  My parents both died by the time I was 23.   My dh's mother died by 34.  Then we just had FIL.  He got prostate cancer, and we offered to have him move into our area- either with us or in a separate apartment- so we could care for him.  He didn't want that- he preferred to live in his very unsafe home with one son who sort of helped and another who had invited all kinds of weird people in the house.  We tried again when he got colon cancer- no, again.  As it was, he only went into a hospital for hospice care for about a week and a half before he died.

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Sometime that occurred to me literally just now is that people don't always tell the truth. It's possible that your neighbor didn't mean it the way it sounds, but that she was trying to continue convincing herself that what her family has chosen to do is the right course of action for them. Saying over and over again things like "Nobody should have to live somewhere they don't want" can be like a wish or a prayer - if you say it often enough, maybe you'll believe it and you'll be happy, or at least happier, in your tiny home with an extra adult who is becoming less functional every day.

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If an adult wants to live in a family situation, they have to behave like a functional family member.  If they don't, they don't get to live in a family situation.  They'll have to be in a situation where someone is paid to deal with them.  Life is full of natural consequences. 

And as for "really doesn't want to," this is the real world.  In the real world what we want and what options are reasonable, available, and accessible don't always match up.  That's life.  We all need to get over that when think about our future eldercare situations.  Just because an elderly person is unrealistic about their eldercare desires, that doesn't obligate their adult children to ignore reality and give the elder what they want regardless of the various factors in volved. Like most family dynamic situations, it's a 2 way street and both sides have factors that need to be considered before a decision is made. 

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Posted (edited)

My parents were not abusive, and I have a fairly stable/good relationship with them these days... and I still have no intention of providing nursing care for them in my home.

I really am under the impression that most elderly people go to the hospital one day with a health event of some kind. During their stay they are assessed as to their level of independence, either for recovery or for daily living. Some are prescribed various levels of home care. Those who are not capable of daily living are referred from the hospital directly into full time care to get the medical attention they need for the rest of their lives.

I don't want to sound cold, but isn't that the normal way of things? Literally everybody's grandparents and all the elderly folk of my church acquaintance do this. I only know one family that ever housed a grandparent -- and they only did it for a few years while he was reasonably well. (He too went to the hospital one day, and was referred to nursing care from there.)

Of course nobody "wants" to be old, and ill, and incapable of independent living... but not wanting it doesn't make it not happen. When you need full time care, you need full time care. One's children do not simply become capable full-time nurses out of the blue one day.

Edited to add: I'm Canadian. I think some of you might want to consider whether your perspectives are tied to an American cultural viewpoint... or possibly the feelings of the situation might be much more tightly bonded to the economics of the situation than anyone cares to explore.

Edited by bolt.
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47 minutes ago, TravelingChris said:

And sometimes parents don't want to move, too.  My parents both died by the time I was 23.   My dh's mother died by 34.  Then we just had FIL.  He got prostate cancer, and we offered to have him move into our area- either with us or in a separate apartment- so we could care for him.  He didn't want that- he preferred to live in his very unsafe home with one son who sort of helped and another who had invited all kinds of weird people in the house.  We tried again when he got colon cancer- no, again.  As it was, he only went into a hospital for hospice care for about a week and a half before he died.

This is so true. We are buying a retirement house big enough to accommodate my mom, but she is determined not to move and wants to remain near my brother who is a jerk and neglectful. But he was her favorite child. So she will likely end up dying alone in an unsafe house, and I am powerless to stop that. It hurts that this is what she chooses, and my sister is furious with her that she says she will NEVER leave her house no matter how alone she is, however what will be will be.

Eldercare stuff is complicated. They can become very childlike, and yet, have all the rights of adults so you can't protect them from themselves.

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13 minutes ago, bolt. said:

My parents were not abusive, and I have a fairly stable/good relationship with them these days... and I still have no intention of providing nursing care for them in my home.

I really am under the impression that most elderly people go to the hospital one day with a health event of some kind. During their stay they are assessed as to their level of independence, either for recovery or for daily living. Some are prescribed various levels of home care. Those who are not capable of daily living are referred from the hospital directly into full time care to get the medical attention they need for the rest of their lives.

I don't want to sound cold, but isn't that the normal way of things? Literally everybody's grandparents and all the elderly folk of my church acquaintance do this. I only know one family that ever housed a grandparent -- and they only did it for a few years while he was reasonably well. (He too went to the hospital one day, and was referred to nursing care from there.)

Of course nobody "wants" to be old, and ill, and incapable of independent living... but not wanting it doesn't make it not happen. When you need full time care, you need full time care. One's children do not simply become capable full-time nurses out of the blue one day.

Edited to add: I'm Canadian. I think some of you might want to consider whether your perspectives are tied to an American cultural viewpoint... or possibly the feelings of the situation might be much more tightly bonded to the economics of the situation than anyone cares to explore.

It can happen like that here, but isn't necessarily common. Medicare does not pay for long term nursing home or assisted living. Medicaid does but the elder has to qualify and that isn't easy. A lot of elders do not have assets large enough to pay for extended periods in a facility ($3000-6000 a month depending on care levell, but too much to get Medicaid. The default at many hospitals is that family WILL move in with the elder. The default is that family is obligated to provide care giving, and hospitals put a ton of pressure on families to do so. Medicare pays for almost no in-home help. Once a family absolutely refuses to cave to the demands of providing nursing care, a social worker will become involved. But, facilities routinely have a six month to two year wait for beds. Turfing an elderly person home who cannot take care of themselves happens often enough to be scary and the lower the income, the more likely to occur until assets drop low enough for state help.

Our system is crazy broken. On top of that, some state legislatures, wanting to lower what medicaid pays for nursing care, have looked at trying to make laws to force adult children to provide in-home nursing care for free for their parents. It is nuts, but we have politicians who think this is moral. 

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You're justified. 

Put it this way, it's not even good for the elderly abuser to be cared for by their abused child. Care is high stress, and it's just not a good situation for either party. 

The first thing I worked out in therapy was that I could never, ever put either myself or my mom in that situation. 

I mean, yeah,  I'm all for care and inclusion of the elderly in the family IN THEORY. It's just that practice is more complicated. 

 

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50 minutes ago, Faith-manor said:

It can happen like that here, but isn't necessarily common. Medicare does not pay for long term nursing home or assisted living. Medicaid does but the elder has to qualify and that isn't easy. A lot of elders do not have assets large enough to pay for extended periods in a facility ($3000-6000 a month depending on care levell, but too much to get Medicaid. The default at many hospitals is that family WILL move in with the elder. The default is that family is obligated to provide care giving, and hospitals put a ton of pressure on families to do so. Medicare pays for almost no in-home help. Once a family absolutely refuses to cave to the demands of providing nursing care, a social worker will become involved. But, facilities routinely have a six month to two year wait for beds. Turfing an elderly person home who cannot take care of themselves happens often enough to be scary and the lower the income, the more likely to occur until assets drop low enough for state help.

Our system is crazy broken. On top of that, some state legislatures, wanting to lower what medicaid pays for nursing care, have looked at trying to make laws to force adult children to provide in-home nursing care for free for their parents. It is nuts, but we have politicians who think this is moral. 

IME fantastic social workers stepped in much earlier. And some skilled nursing facilities will do an intake “Medicaid pending,” which means they can get into residential care, but would be charged fees in arrears if Medicaid for long term care is not approved. There are a lot of things that will disqualify a person from Medicare, and though it is a federal program, the criteria varies from state to state. It’s near impossible to prepare an application without complete access to all of someone’s financial info for the last 5 or more years, and unless the applicant is flat out indigent, often requires the assistance of an elder care attorney. 
 

With hospital discharges, the attending physicians don’t always verify if an elderly patient actually has someone to help at home. Many will reply with a resounding yes, despite not having someone who can provide adequate levels of care (for a variety of reasons). But someone nailed it upthread - though elderly, and possibly not of sound mind, these are adults with rights, who can exercise the right to live independently even if it’s not safe for them to do so. Several of the social workers we worked with said in many, many cases, things have to get bad before there can be an intervention - an actual crisis point. But if the finances aren’t right (like way poor or wealthy, hard to be in there middle), it’s challenging. 
 

I believe it was easier in previous generations when families weren’t as spread out for careers, there were fewer life extending medical interventions, and people in general had families younger so they weren’t trying to both provide elder care and raise their own kids at the same time. 

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Absolutely justified, IB! I am having some similar thoughts about my own parents. I'm an only child, and I have no earthly idea how I am going to manage caring for my parents, especially my (npd?) mother. may be forced to move in with them though. If dh and I can't work things out ( he moved out last March for a number of reasons) and he wants to sell the house, I will have literally nowhere else to go. The thought of that makes me physically ill, so I'm trying to just get through one day at a time. 
 

Hugs. It's rough. I know!

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I am completely estranged from both of my parents and do not feel any guilt at all. I don't even think I ought to feel guilty. They made their choices, and presumably they are content with those choices. Why do I want to sacrifice any sense of wellbeing I can muster for people who don't even like me?

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I am estranged from my one parent and am mostly glad to be so.  There is no way I would take that parent in.  I can think of only one time I'd be okay having a real relationship with this person and it isn't in this world under the current system of things.  

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1 hour ago, Faith-manor said:

It can happen like that here, but isn't necessarily common. Medicare does not pay for long term nursing home or assisted living. Medicaid does but the elder has to qualify and that isn't easy. A lot of elders do not have assets large enough to pay for extended periods in a facility ($3000-6000 a month depending on care levell, but too much to get Medicaid. The default at many hospitals is that family WILL move in with the elder. The default is that family is obligated to provide care giving, and hospitals put a ton of pressure on families to do so. Medicare pays for almost no in-home help. Once a family absolutely refuses to cave to the demands of providing nursing care, a social worker will become involved. But, facilities routinely have a six month to two year wait for beds. Turfing an elderly person home who cannot take care of themselves happens often enough to be scary and the lower the income, the more likely to occur until assets drop low enough for state help.

Our system is crazy broken. On top of that, some state legislatures, wanting to lower what medicaid pays for nursing care, have looked at trying to make laws to force adult children to provide in-home nursing care for free for their parents. It is nuts, but we have politicians who think this is moral. 

Yeah. That sounds like your culture is actively manufacturing elder-care guilt in order to cope with the political and economic decisions that are made well above the average person's pay grade.

Get out of the hospital ASAP, whether you can cope or not = an economic decision.

The reason qualified normal elder care is not available to most middle-income people = an economic reason.

The reason elder care specifically designed only to serve the destitute is terrible care = an economic reason.

How bad is the care?

I won't speak for the whole developed world (at least not without research) but I think having your medical needs met by medical professionals is widely considered normal. Having them met by unqualified family members is a second-best solution, frequently found in places where hardship is normal. People feeling legitimately guilty for choosing to have one's parents receive elder care in a professional setting instead of at home is all kinds of backwards (unless it's actually substandard care).

The message that between a whole country of taxpayers and an entire for-profit insurance industry, that elder care is only available to people who have been abandoned by their loved ones and are willing to descend into abject poverty... I mean, no wonder people feel bad to say, "I hereby abandon you." -- but it's the system that is letting you down I think. Your elders don't need families who are better at sacrificing, they need to be entitled to care (or at least able to purchase it at a reasonable rate).

Crazy broken.

You have a system of oppression that literally makes people feel guilty for the privilege of being oppressed by it!

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I agree with Rosie_0801. I have no guilt at all. I removed my toxic mother from my life after giving her a second chance; she used the opportunity to pretty much burn our family to the ground. She's a grenade with a false Aunt Bee veneer. No way I would take her in.

Good luck to you, OP.

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My mom told me years ago that she doesn't want to live with me when she's older.  We had elderly relatives living in our home for many of my growing up years.  My mom saw first-hand what it did to our family and she doesn't want that for mine.  I am thankful because I know it would be a rough ride.

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56 minutes ago, Junie said:

My mom told me years ago that she doesn't want to live with me when she's older.  We had elderly relatives living in our home for many of my growing up years.  My mom saw first-hand what it did to our family and she doesn't want that for mine.  I am thankful because I know it would be a rough ride.

My dad has done the same. His father lived with he and my mom, and he nursed my mom at home for 5-7 years before she died. Eventually, toward the end mom did go to a nursing home. 

Dad knows what that level of care does to people and he doesn't want that for his kids.

He's told me "Put me in a nice place and COME SEE ME. People can be paid to take care of me, but you're the only daughter that I have." He and my stepmom have long term care insurance to provide for this. Since mom was sick for so long before she died, he kind of has a complex about long term illness and end of life things. He doesn't want to put me (it'll be me because my brothers live far away and cannot drive.) through any of that.

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1 hour ago, Junie said:

My mom told me years ago that she doesn't want to live with me when she's older.  We had elderly relatives living in our home for many of my growing up years.  My mom saw first-hand what it did to our family and she doesn't want that for mine.  I am thankful because I know it would be a rough ride.

My MIL told me the same thing. She works for the health agency and audits nursing homes, she said she wants to go to a nursing home, with people her own age and activities. She doesn't want to be stuck in someone else's home and cramping their style 😄 

She and FIL found it difficult in caring for her in-laws, and she doesn't want to put that on us. She's a gem. My own parents are closer to that age and we have our own issues. It will probably shake out that Dsis takes care of our mother (she has the most 'hold' over her) but I will support dsis however I can apart from actual face to face contact with our mother. I feel not much guilt over this. That boundary was drawn a long time ago. I may feel different when the time comes. Our dad lives far away and is an uber planner. I suspect he's got it all sorted, probably assisted living with all his friends. He is welcome to come and live with us, we'd build him a self contained granny flat. He has a lot of friends and family though, I don't know that I'd be top of the list for his care!

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