Caring for Your Aging Parents: How Do You Cope?

54SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  134 comments   :  86,742 Views

For many, caring for an aging parent is not an issue, but for others it's an all too familiar scenario. With life expectancy on the rise, caring for an aging parent(s) will, in all reality, be a likelihood for a number of us. And I am no exception. For the past 3 years, my husband and I have been caring for his aging parents--age 83 and 88. Their care has become a major part of our lives, especially this past year as both have experienced a major decline in their health.

Three years ago after shuttling our daughter off to college, my husband and I were looking forward to having some empty-nest time--time to spend together. However, those plans have been put on hold for the time being. With his parents advancing age and declining health, coupled with the stress and financial obligations of maintaining a home, they made the decision to sell their home and move closer to us.

So less than 3 months after sending our daughter off, my in-laws sold their home of 55 years. It was a tough transition to leave a place they called home for so many years and to leave life-long friends to move to what might as well have been a foreign country. Fortunately, we were able to find a nice independent living retirement community not too far from our home that fit well within their budget. Being able to bring many of their belongings from their home helped ease some of the anxiety that was to be expected.

The challenges of caring for aging parents can become quite stressful, particularly when one is trying to juggle family life, work, and household duties on top of everything else that life throws our way. So how does one cope with the demands caring for aging parents?

Below is a list of ideas my husband and I have come up with to help make caring for an aging parent just a little easier.

  • Keep Communication Open-Communication is an essential part of this process. Emotions can run quite high on both sides as the adult children assume more of the 'parental role' and parents acquiesce to their adult children, but not always without some resistance.

  • Keep a schedule-Each month I write their doctor appointments and other important appointments on a calendar that hangs in their kitchen for them to see and to help keep life a little less chaotic for all of us.

  • If you can, go with your parents to their doctors, or at least have someone else accompany them.-While I have spent more time in doctor's offices this past year than I have in my whole life, being at their appointments has helped me develop an open relationship with their doctors so that I have a better understanding as to their treatment plans. I discovered early on when they would go to their doctors on their own, more times than not, they did not quite understand the reasons for certain treatments which required me to call the office to get the full picture regarding their treatment.

  • Offer a shoulder to lean on- For the past six months or so, not a month has gone by when the loss of a friend isn't a part of their conversation. The loss of a friend, both old and new, can leave many elderly people quite depressed. Allow your parents to share their loss and grief with you.

  • It's OK to take time away-To say the transition has been smooth sailing would be far from the truth. Conflicts have been a part of the journey and knowing when to pull back is key. Learning to put up boundaries is a huge benefit. Being up front and telling my in-laws that we cannot be there every weekend has been a huge stress reliever for me and my husband.

  • Allow others to help-As I mentioned earlier, my in-laws live in a community with other retirees, many of whom still drive.Thankfully, their neighbors and friends have been more than willing to take my in-laws on quick errands or to pick up something at the market that they may need before our next trip to the grocery store.

    As with everything else in life, many obstacles can be met if we go in with a plan, have open communication and most importantly understanding. This is not to say conflict and emotions will not be a part of the journey, but for me being able to discuss my concerns with others has helped me cope with a situation many of us will certainly face at least once in our life.

    Do you care for aging parents? If so, what are some ideas you have come up with to make the transition easier?



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Comments

  • CAREYJORL24
    134
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  • CAREYJORL24
    133
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    132
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    131
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    129
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    Nicole - 4/16/2017   1:12:23 AM
  • LADYKATTY
    128
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  • CATHYJAMES020
    127
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    126
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  • CALVINELLIS
    125
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    .wixsite.com/dr-otoide or his Mobile:+2347089081873. - 4/4/2017   5:35:16 AM
  • CALVINELLIS
    124
    My Name is Calvin Ellis currently living in Ohio, USA.. This is my testimony about the marvelous work Dr Otoide did for me. My wife abandon me and the kids and went to stay with another man who she just met. And the man did spell on her so that she will never have nothing to do with me and my kids for that, myself and the kids has been suffering and it has been hell of a struggle, but I decide to do all means to make sure that my family come together as it use to, then I went on-line there I saw so many good talk about this spell caster called Dr Otoide on his web site. So I had to contact him and explain my problem to him and in just 48hours as he has promised, my wife came home and her behavior was back to the man i got married to. I can't thank the spell caster enough for what he did for me, i am so grateful and i will aways be thankful to him, once again thanks Dr Otoide email:drotoidesolutiontemple@gmail.
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    .wixsite.com/dr-otoide or his Mobile:+2347089081873. - 4/4/2017   5:35:15 AM
  • PASTY111
    123
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  • PASTY111
    122
    How I Got My Husband Back with the help of DR.BEN

    What a wonderful and a straight forward spell caster that has brought back joy and happiness into my life after i saw a post on how he helped a lady called Nicole Morgan; i decided to contact him for help, when i told this God sent man Dr BEN on how my lover left me for 2 years without calling nor texting me, When i shared this my sad experience with Dr BEN he said everything would be okay within 3 days i was like am i sure what this man is saying is real, So i decided to give him a try and at first i was thinking he was a scam and i taught he was like other spell casters who come online to add pain to people's life not knowing there feelings but to make money, this great man Dr BEN is never like that because he is for good and to make people happy with the one they love, am just so happy, Even before the 3 days i just got a call from a man who has left me for 2 years saying that he his sorry and that he wants me back to his life i was so happy, He invited me for a dinner which i met with him there and we both talked, he said he wants to prove that he would never leave me for any other lady he engaged me and also made me had access to all his account am so happy all thanks goes to this great man Dr BEN a man who has brought back joy to my life, friends that need help in getting their lover's back i would advice you contact Dr BEN email: benherbaltemple@gmail.com or call him +1(310)-220-0075 - 4/3/2017   9:16:39 PM
  • CALVINELLIS
    121
    My Name is Calvin Ellis currently living in Ohio, USA.. This is my testimony about the marvelous work Dr Otoide did for me. My wife abandon me and the kids and went to stay with another man who she just met. And the man did spell on her so that she will never have nothing to do with me and my kids for that, myself and the kids has been suffering and it has been hell of a struggle, but I decide to do all means to make sure that my family come together as it use to, then I went on-line there I saw so many good talk about this spell caster called Dr Otoide on his web site. So I had to contact him and explain my problem to him and in just 48hours as he has promised, my wife came home and her behavior was back to the man i got married to. I can't thank the spell caster enough for what he did for me, i am so grateful and i will aways be thankful to him, once again thanks Dr Otoide email:drotoidesolutiontemple@gmail.
    com or his websites:https://drotoidesolutionte
    .wixsite.com/dr-otoide or his Mobile:+2347089081873. - 4/3/2017   8:01:38 AM
  • CALVINELLIS
    120
    My Name is Calvin Ellis currently living in Ohio, USA.. This is my testimony about the marvelous work Dr Otoide did for me. My wife abandon me and the kids and went to stay with another man who she just met. And the man did spell on her so that she will never have nothing to do with me and my kids for that, myself and the kids has been suffering and it has been hell of a struggle, but I decide to do all means to make sure that my family come together as it use to, then I went on-line there I saw so many good talk about this spell caster called Dr Otoide on his web site. So I had to contact him and explain my problem to him and in just 48hours as he has promised, my wife came home and her behavior was back to the man i got married to. I can't thank the spell caster enough for what he did for me, i am so grateful and i will aways be thankful to him, once again thanks Dr Otoide email:drotoidesolutiontemple@gmail.
    com or his websites:https://drotoidesolutionte
    .wixsite.com/dr-otoide or his Mobile:+2347089081873. - 4/3/2017   8:01:38 AM
  • CARARODA
    119
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    ordpress.com - 3/30/2017   4:04:02 AM
  • CARARODA
    118
    Hello I am cara,I am out here to spreed this good news to the entire world on how I got my ex lover back.I was going crazy when my love left me for another girl last month, But when i meet a friend that introduce me to DR Duck the great messenger to the oracle that he serve,I narrated my problem to DR Duck about how my ex love left me and also how i needed to get a job in a very big company.He only said to me that i have come to the right place were i will be getting my heart desire without any side effect.He told me what i need to do,After it has been done,In the next 2 days,My love called me on the phone and was saying sorry for living me before now and also in the next one week after my love called me to be pleading for forgiveness,I was called for interview in my desired company were i needed to work as the managing director..I am so happy and overwhelmed that i have to tell this to the entire world to contact DR Duck at the following email address and get all your problem solve..No problem is too big for him to solve..Contact him direct on: greatoracletemplesolution@live.com and get your problems solve like me..... ONCE AGAIN HIS EMAIL ADDRESS IS: greatoracletemplesolution@live.com his website https://greatoracletemplesolution.w
    ordpress.com - 3/30/2017   3:43:03 AM
  • CARARODA
    117
    Hello I am cara,I am out here to spreed this good news to the entire world on how I got my ex lover back.I was going crazy when my love left me for another girl last month, But when i meet a friend that introduce me to DR Duck the great messenger to the oracle that he serve,I narrated my problem to DR Duck about how my ex love left me and also how i needed to get a job in a very big company.He only said to me that i have come to the right place were i will be getting my heart desire without any side effect.He told me what i need to do,After it has been done,In the next 2 days,My love called me on the phone and was saying sorry for living me before now and also in the next one week after my love called me to be pleading for forgiveness,I was called for interview in my desired company were i needed to work as the managing director..I am so happy and overwhelmed that i have to tell this to the entire world to contact DR Duck at the following email address and get all your problem solve..No problem is too big for him to solve..Contact him direct on: greatoracletemplesolution@live.com and get your problems solve like me..... ONCE AGAIN HIS EMAIL ADDRESS IS: greatoracletemplesolution@live.com his website https://greatoracletemplesolution.w
    ordpress.com - 3/30/2017   3:42:25 AM
  • KIMSHAIN
    116
    My name is Kim Shain, am here to testify of a great spell caster called Dr Otoide. This man is truly a great spell caster indeed. I contacted this great man for a help and just within two days my problem was completely solved. My ex lover came back to me just within 3days begging me to accept him back. Now we are fully back again as one family, all thanks to Dr Otoide for restoring peace to my life. His contact email address: email:drotoidesolutiontemple@gmail.
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    wixsite.com/dr-otoide Good Luck. - 3/24/2017   6:01:20 AM
  • NCHILESHE
    115
    I am so happy to let the whole world know how this powerful spell caster saved my marriage and make me get Pregnant. Everything was going down the drain as my husband can not stop cheating on me with other women.He became used to always heating on me. I tried to make him stop, but I couldn’t help the situation, the more I tried, the harder it becomes. At times we will fight and go apart for some months and we will come back again just because of our kids. One day a friend told me about this spell caster who helped her too, his name is Dr Ogul solution temple. she said he uses white magic spells to solve spiritual problems. I decided to give it a try, I contacted him and he told me it will take just 2 to 3 days and I will see great changes in my husband. He actually cast a spell, believe me after 2 to 3 days of the spell, my husband was confessing different names of woman he has slept with. He begged for forgiveness and never to try it again. From that day till now, my mind is at rest. My husband dislike every other women on earth except me. And am so happy to have him for myself alone. The spell caster’s contact is Email[doctorogul@gmail.com] OR CALL +393511298302 You can contact him for any help, he is very powerful and can solve any kind of problem below.
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    - 3/20/2017   2:52:53 PM
  • JEANIE577
    114


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    113
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    112
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    111
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  • JANETDAWSON
    110
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  • 109
    Really related to this. We're kind of odd ducks in that we married late in life so our child is still a preteen. Husband's dad died 10+ years ago at the age of 93, and his mom is now 85 years old and in declining health. We moved her from her home for 53+ years across the state border up closer, first to an Independent Living Center and now in her own apartment. Meanwhile my parents split up about 15 years ago, my mom remarried, step-dad died 2 years ago at age 73 or so? and my mom is almost 70 now. She lives about 30 minutes drive from us and so far is living in her (HUGE) home next door to my stepbrother, and so far is in good health (but we've had ongoing medical situations with her over the past 15 years too.). So life is a continual plate-spinning act, running man-to-man defense at times taking care of one or the other's parent and trying to co-parent our child... It truly "takes a village....". - 7/21/2010   4:50:37 PM
  • TERRYMODICA
    108
    My husband and I are encouraging my aging parents to move in with us. They live a long distance from us (a plane ride). My mom is looking forward to it, but my dad (age 82) has heard horror stories about it turning into disaster - moving only to have to move out later with a lot of hurt feelings. Is there a website or blog or book with success stories that I could show to him? - 6/30/2010   9:34:38 PM
  • 107
    Great Blog..Many of us are at the age/stage of taking care of our parents. I too am taking care of my mother who will be 90 years old this year. I consider myself very very lucky that she is good health (no meds), but she has difficulties with getting around (Osteoporosis in both knees) so walking requires a cane and assistance, she's also legally blind in one eye. I admire my mom's will and determination to do things on her own, (she still manages to climb the stairs in her brownstone each day on her own and simple excises she's learned in her yoga classes).
    Wish I had the list in the blog at an earlier time. It did take some time for me to realize all that needed to be done. What has made it possible is the support and help of a family friend and cousin...we've learned together as each of us has similar responsibilities for family members, (and I do have a bit of outside help). Most importantly when caring for you elderly loved ones is that you go with them to their doctor’s appointments (caregiver if you can’t attend). You are their voice...You are the one to ask questions and relate concerns related to medication and tests that doctors are prescribing.
    This experience has also taught me what I might need to do ahead of time as I get older. It is a hard time for all of us but you will get through it. I keep in mind all that my mother has done for me and now it's my time to do for her.
    I would add three items to the list -
    1. Make sure to go over your parents financial set up - what bills to pay for them. Their social security payments etc. Have your name on their checking /savings /portfolio accounts so you don't have to worry about deposits or withdrawals, ( I give my mom a monthly summary and go over it with her).
    2. Make sure there is an updated will and power of attorney (if needed).
    3. This one is hard - Talk abut funeral aggrangements ahead of time - what would they like to take place.(try not to make it an overly serious conversation).
    To All...Hang in there!! - 2/15/2010   4:18:16 PM
  • 106
    I've just moved back home to help to care for my father. He is 62 years old, a Vietnam Veteran, and worked all his life in construction. In May of this year, he had a stroke that left him with severe aphasia, a distinct inability to find words like 'hand' or 'bed' or 'car'.
    Back around Xmas he got a scratch on one toe. Tiny little mark, not even as big as a pencil eraser.
    January 30th he had a below-the-knee amputation of his left leg.
    Mom had a stroke when I was about 13, left her a little 'touched in the head' sometimes. (attention span of a sand gnat. unable to cook because she leaves food on the stove and wanders off to watch tv, not allowed to drive at all, stuff like that). For the past 16 years, dads been the one taking care of her, with my brother and I going and doing what we can. Now I'm the full-time caregiver to both.
    With this I left behind a job and my apartment, and moved home with them. It can be very, very rough. I'm 30 years old, a computer programmer and night owl, with a penchant for loud music. I hated this house growing up, but now as an adult I can view it with realistic eyes (not the overly dramatic ones of a 15 year old that thinks the world hates her and is doing everything on purpose) Its a huge change for me.
    I wake up around 10am (used to be around 2pm) daily. I fix lunch for them both, and help dad get up, showered, dressed and moved into the living room. I take mom shopping if she needs to go, or I go try to finish packing my stuff for storage if not. I'm here for Dr appts (I'm the one that explains whats going on, gives them the list of side effects things are causing, tells how hes adjusting or how her meds are doing for her, depending on who's dr we are seeing that day)
    We do have nurses for PT (to keep him moving, with the hope of a prosthetic leg in the near future) OT (teaching how to dress, shower, and basically live with one leg for now, and with muscles that go wonky at weird times), skilled nursing (to check the recent surgery, make sure no bruises, cuts, scrapes or sores go unattended) and unskilled nursing (hes 200lbs, 6ft tall, im 6in shorter, and limited use of one arm. Helping him shower alone, doesnt work well).
    I was in a car wreck myself about 8 years ago, so have limited mobility as far as walking or standing, and using my right arm.
    I cope as best I can, when it all gets too much, I grab a walkietalkie (in case anything happens) and disappear. I go play with the dog or cat, go for a walk, (its the middle of the woods. Beautiful now, oh how I hated the solitude growing up) go write, listen to music, or play on the computer. Anything for a little while to center myself and not let it all get too much, but ofc I am still able to be reached if its an emergency.
    Yoga helps, also meditation. Morning and night I set aside at least a few minutes, before they wake up or after they go to sleep. The fact that I LOVE cooking and they both don't anymore is also nice. Means being alone in the kitchen to fix food.
    Sorry for the long post, my one failing is being a bit longwinded in typing. =)
    As our parents generation grows older, there will be more and more people taking care of aging parents, and there will always be the ones taking care of other loved ones in their golden years. I hope anyone else going through anything even remotely similar can see the comments posted on this blog and know they're not alone. - 2/5/2010   10:44:00 PM
  • 105
    BettyBay -- i'm so sorry to read of your troubles and it seems to be more than one person should bear. Will pray for blessings for you. - 1/31/2010   3:02:47 PM
  • 104
    THX nancy -- a great topic and one I live daily. I would also add Keep a Sense of Humor as a bullet point. What an education we get as we perform this loving service for our parents, and realize that someday someone will do so for us. Aging is something that happens to all of us and as we lose stamina and memory it's good to acknowledge those things and laugh with each other about it. We've had some funny and precious moments along with all of the frustrations. Thanks for introducing a relevant topic. - 1/31/2010   2:57:44 PM
  • 103
    I helped my mom take care of her mom the last 2 years she lived. She was livining with my parents and died in their home. She had lung cancer and a few other problems, it was a very slow & painfull time for all of us. Then I took care of my fathers parents part time from 1983till their time was up. I started while they lived in their own home, then we moved them into my parents house, (about 14 months after my grams died) we also had a couple of day time helpers, one was their daughter, but my mom did from 7pm-7am every nite till they passed. My grandmother had alzhimer(sp) for 10 years before passing away. She went from walking, take care of herself, her husband & house to being in the fetal position, tight fisted, and no talking the last three years before dieing in my parents home. My grandpa's last 6/7 years he went from perfectly healthy to haveing heart problems which he had 3 or 4 surgeries, burning half his body with 3rd degree burns which was a mess to take care of, liver cancer which was 2 more surgeries, and a few minor problems. He died 4 years after his wife. Mom & I were the main caregivers in the end. While my grandparents were going thru all this living upstairs at my parents my dad had Lou Geriks disease which put us thru that much more. My mom slept in the dining room for 7 years while dad had the TV room. Once he needed more equipment to keep going we moved him into the living room & mom took his room. Which she still lives in now. After my grandparents died mom moved up to have some privacy, but now she's 78 & can't do steps. Last june (09) she fell & broke some bones in her back & herniated disc in lower back. She also has lung problems & is on oxygen 24/7 for the last 2 years. When she came home I moved in with her giving up my life, my husband, 3 dogs, 6 cats, & 2 beautifull yards of gardens!! About 4 years ago the house next to us burned down when all was settled we bought the land & garage. Boy do I love to garden!! In september 09 she went in the hospital with pnemonia and lots of back pain, oct she went back in for 2 weeks then to rehab for 18 days to build up her strenght, and get her walking again with a walker. When she came home I came back to living here. Last year I got to go home for a few hours 4-6 days a week, but in november I started staying 24/7. Once she came home we have had one problem after another. She fell & ripped her arm open in 7 places some very deep needing meds & cleaning 3x's a day, then rashes all over her body, some were shingles, that was fun! Cleaning her 3x's a day & reapplying meds over 2/3rds of her body. She still has rashes on her legs which is one med, then a different kind on her chest, back & arms, psorisis (sp) on her head/scalp which is 2 shampoo treatments one is every other day & the other we leave on for 20 mins then wash out. Oh Fun Fun Fun!! Since she was in & out of the hospital 3 x's we do have visiting nurses who come 2x's aweek & a bath lady on M, W, F's so I do have that much help. My husband has his own Neon shop so he takes us to the doctors, does our shopping & get our meds. My brother was supose to help but he hardly ever comes over. Dec he tried to do the shopping but he buys the wrong brands or can't fnd it. Plus if it's not on the list he doesn't buy it. My husband has been doing it for years so he knows all the ropes, & gets her treats. He did put up the outside lights for christmas but cancelled christmas dinner & gifts with the 3 of us, How nice of Him!! Course his family of 5 got dinner & gifts, and her mom & 2sister. He did come for 20 min one nite to let me go home to my family for the evening. He was supose to stay for 3 hours!! Now it's a Big Joke that I have date nite with my husband on fridays! Out of 8 weeks I have made it home 3 times! I turned 50 in sept. I have dercums disease, 3 bad disc in my lower back, ( was supose to have surgery but my husband wont let me) carpal tunnel in both wrist, in 2000 I was hospitalized for my heart, in 2001 I had a stent put in, exactly one year later, ruined xmas both years! And I have COPD & a few little things. Was in a car accident in 91 which left me in bad shape, my rt foot turns inward since I rode the brakes for 2 blocks before finally stopping, I broke my tail bone, have a closed head injury, & injured my neck. 2 weeks ago I drop a sock, bent to pick it up then couldn't stand back all the way. So I'm using the wheel chair to get around, mom has her walker and no one in my family gives a hoot or is helping us in any way. Some days we only get 2 meals, wash is behind mom can't get to it & it's hard for me. My husband came the first 3 days & stayed with us helping in every way possible but he does have a shop to run. Right now were trying the best we can, but being with each other 24/7 & both of us in so much pain we tend to fight over such stupid things. Both of our backs are so bad everything has to be done in small steps. Mom yells God help me, Jesus help me, over & over & over every time she walks or tries to do anything it's FUN!! My prayers and best wishs go out to all who are here in the same shape!! I have been taking care of sick & dieing family members for 28 years now! When is it my turn to be taken care of?? Since God took 4 of my babies & the doctors killed the twin of one of them, I am childless so I have no one to care for me as I get older & sicker. - 1/28/2010   5:17:55 PM
  • LOUISE253
    102
    Great article. I live with my 91 year old mother who is amazing. There are days, however, when I want to tear my hair out. :) The way I cope at those times is to think of all the years she looked after ME when I was a baby or young child, all the support she gave me over the many many years when it must have been very difficult and she no doubt would have liked to tear HER hair out. I feel honored to be able to give back a little and realize that never with all my time does it equal what she sacrificed all her life for me. Then I think ahead and wonder what will I be like at 91 (if I even make it that far!!). Both of those help me as does taking long walks and deep breaths. - 1/25/2010   10:33:13 AM
  • 101
    Great article Nancy. I do care for both my parents who live about 30 miles away. Dad is 88yrs old, Mom 84 yrs old suffers from dementia. I have 2 older brothers. All 3 of us work together as a team taking care of my parents which includes making repairs to the house, completing inside and outside chores or whatever needs to be done to help them maintain their independence.

    All of us are listed as Power of Attorney and Durable Health Living Will. This makes it much easier for trips to the doctors and hospital. We all take turns running both of them to their doc and lab appts. Also keep a list of meds, dosage and when taken on your person, in your glove box as well as a copy in a manila folder in their house to quickly grab it in case you had to call the ambulance and they need the information.

    I would suggest to contact the local Office of Aging to see if your parent/s might be eligible for personal attendant services. Someone who could come to the home to perform housekeeping, meal preparation, bathing, grocery shopping, etc. The goal is to help individuals maintain their independent in the home instead of having to go to a nursing home. Services I would suspect is dependent upon each state funding. Don't be afraid to ask what services are available. Sometimes it's under Community Home Based Services for the Elderly. Check it out.
    We have installed several monitoring systems to alert us when my mother is up and about. She wanders at night. There are many assistive home modifications available on the market. Telephone ringers so pple can hear the phone ring.

    I've been blessed to be part of a close knit family where my brothers and I do whatever it takes to keep our parents at home. It is my father's wish to keep my mother home for as long as possible. My brothers and I have set up a schedule of taking turns staying overnight so my Dad can get rest at night. We have been fortunate that they were eligible to have a personal attendant come help with housecleaning, laundry and bathing my mother for 35 hours a week. My father makes the meals, etc. and we do the rest.

    It is challenging particularly when you have a chronic disease yourself. The real issue for me is not so much as the physical demands (although it is exhausting but I can handle it) is trying not to 'let' my mind go to that space of 'losing' my real Mom since the disease has taken over her mind. But that's life even if it's not fair.

    I don't regret taking care of my parents. I retired from work to take care of them. I'm thankful to be able to appreciate them even more in their elder years.
    Lots of stories to hear; lots more lessons to learn and much more love to receive and give. - 12/29/2009   12:23:04 PM
  • 100
    My mother died when I was a Senior in high school at age 58 from a heart attack (she smoked) and my father had a heart attack at 75 when I was 25 and so I didn't have to take care of parents. I will NEVER be a burden to my children, that is for sure. - 12/14/2009   9:48:59 AM
  • JOJO8296
    99
    great article, i can relate. my dad died this past june and i was his caregiver for the past year, he had a heart attack. my mom passed away four years ago from cancer and i was glad that i had returned home five months before she died. you learn a lot about yourself when you have to do something like this and hopefully it turns you into a better person; you also learn a lot about your parents that you did not know before. it is hearbreaking but also rewarding when you look back and see that you did the best you could and you can go to sleep with a clear concience, and remember karma, do to others what you would like them to do to you - 11/28/2009   12:26:38 AM
  • 98
    My 89-year-old mother is still trying to live on her own. For the last 5 years, I visited her every other weekend, buying groceries, cooking, helping her with housework. For the last 3 and a half months I have spent 3 days a week at her house. My husband and I live 3 hours away from her. His mother is as old as mine and he helps her as well. We both retired this year and expected to spend more time together. Instead, we are spending more time apart. Our children occasionally spend time with our mothers, but they live in other towns and our busy with their own lives. Despite the help of my husband's sister and my brother, I often feel overwhelmed. - 11/21/2009   9:08:47 PM
  • 97
    I know this is a little late to comment but...I have been busy with my elderly (87) Mom! It is great to read everyone's comments and realize Bobby and I aren't the only ones in this situation. It is very stressful and time consuming. I have 4 sisters but I live the closest and have a fairly flexible schedule since I own my own business so I am the primary caregiver. One sister comes once a week to grocery shop for her (even tho she still needs something most other days I am there!) and one other does help when she can but travels a lot. So it is up to me to do the doctors and other things. One other suggestion I have is Bobby and I typed up the medicines and surgeries and allergies for my Mom and laminated it into a note card size to carry in her wallet. I had her in the ER the other day as she fell in her kitchen (I was out jogging so the medic alert people couldn't get me-I was promptly reprimanded by mom for not being available!) and the ambulance took her. I think I will copy another card to carry myself as I noticed she is starting to not remember where she put it. But Nancy you are right. Take time for yourself once in a while (but don't go jogging with out your cell phone..ha, ha). Also, don't hesitate to ask for help once in a while. Every so often my sisters trail off on helping out and I just gently suggest to them that I need a little more help. Luckily they are always good about picking up the slack once in a while. When my mom gets a little testy I just remind myself what she had to go thru to raise 5 little girls and that she is just getting frustrated sometimes. It's all just a part of life. Thanks again Nancy for this article! Anne - 11/20/2009   4:54:29 PM
  • 96
    I lost my mother this August. I moved her into our home after she had a major stroke. She was my best friend and taught me the meaning of unconditional love. I was honored to be able to take care of her. I spent my days with her sharing her last days. I took her to doctor's appointments, and when her health continued to decline spent days and nights in the hospital with her so she was not alone. Now that she has passed away I'm lost and feel like I'm just drifting without a real purpose. I still go through all the motions, housework, shopping, laundry, I homeschool my grandson, but I just feel so overwhelmed and empty without her. Seeing other daughters and their mothers brings the tears. Enjoy each opportunity to tell your parents how much they mean to you while you still can. - 11/17/2009   2:03:46 AM
  • 95
    It was an interesting article and thank you for sharing. Both of my parents lived to be 74 years old before they passed away. But 10 years apart and Mom just passed away in this Sept. - 11/17/2009   12:01:36 AM
  • 94
    I can be empathetic with most of you with parents in their later years. My mom turned 70 in September. My stepdad also died in September from a short illness from cancer. He had lung cancer that metastisize to his brain. My mom thinks I should give up my apartment and my job and my friends here in Houston and come running to her with open arms or she thinks my brother who is very happily married in West Virginia and has a good job should transfer down to Louisiana to meet her every beck and call. Well, if it sounds like I am angry and just might be. My parents divorced when I was 3. My mother made no effort to make contact with my aunts and uncle from that side of the family when I was younger. She made sure that I couldn't see my dad because there was no visitation in the original divorce decree. She taught me all sorts of trash about my dad. I met my dad when I was 40 and have had contact with him over the years. He is not the person my mother said he was. My dad will be 70 tomorrow.

    Beckyi - 11/16/2009   11:35:56 PM
  • VANANDEL
    93
    My husband's parents thankfully decided to go to a multi-tiered retirement community WHILE THEY WERE STILL ACTIVE AND MOBILE. What a blessing for them and for us! They made lots of friends since they were so active, took part in many of the community's activities and thoroughly enjoyed their lives. My Father-in-law went through all the stages: independent living, assisted living, and full-time care before passing away. Fortunately my mother-in-law is still quite active and in good shape.

    My husband and I are definitely going to find a similar community for us, and take their recommendation to move while we are still active. We don't have children of our own, so we can't depend on others. But even if we did, we saw the great lives my in-laws had and we cannot think of a better plan! - 11/16/2009   10:57:35 PM
  • 92
    nancy, what a great topic and so true. anne and i talk about this all the time, her mom is still in her home as our my parents. we find ourselves being parents of the parents, the handyman, the taxi, etc. they both live very close which is good and bad in so many ways. we know that it will only become worse as the years go so we make sure we do have time to ourselves, time away, and recruit others to help. we believe this is the most import thing to keep our sanity so if anyone is just hitting this time of your life please remember you have a life also.
    thanks nancy!! - 11/16/2009   8:49:51 PM
  • 91
    Nancy, as if I didn't respect a lot already; I do that much more now. With my dad gone there is no one there to keep tabs on my mom. Thank goodness we've got her into an apartment around the corner, but that's still not in the same dwelling. Having to take care of ailing parents can't be an easy task, but I'm sure you're doing your best.

    As always, best wishes. - 11/16/2009   8:35:59 PM
  • 90
    Thank you, Nancy, for a great blog.
    I had the blessing of taking care of my Mom for 3 years when she became very ill, had multiple strokes, and her mind was pretty much shot. I got her healthy again, and had a tight relationshipu.
    I had a Great-Aunt Mame that I got to visit in the nursing home during my grade school and high school years. I would stop by after school, and sing and play piano for her and her friends. She loved it, and so did I. She was a delight- until she just got too sick and in pain. She had a pretty crappy time of dieing- she wanted to go, but the nursing home wouldn't let her. She tried refusing food, but they force fed her. She is one of the main reasons that I have had a Living Will since I was about age 30.
    Know what you want- be clear, be kind to the people who are taking care of you! - 11/16/2009   8:27:30 PM
  • 89
    It is the most difficult thing I ever had to do (and still doing). I feel so sad for those that have no one to watch out for them. Very important article. Very good tips - caregivers must make time for themselves and reach out for help from family, friends and organizations. You are not alone. - 11/16/2009   8:14:51 PM
  • 88
    It sounds like hell and I'm not looking forward to it. I could say all sorts of things about my family here but I will bite my tongue. D: - 11/16/2009   7:30:43 PM
  • 87
    I was my mother's care-taker for over 15 years. It is not an easy task. I think the best piece of advice is take time for yourself, too. When I didn't I found that I could quickly become irritable and bitter, and I didn't like myself that way. Don't be afraid to say when something doesn't fit into your schedule. My mother was not the easiest woman to care for, and could be very demanding, but we found away to make it work. She lived in a retirement community for the last 8 years, and that made a world of difference for our relationship. For the last 3, she was in the assisted living section, and that actually allowed me to be a visitor and not just a "worker-bee" when I was there. I could go after school each day and visit with her, and not work my butt off to get her work done. I felt like our relationship was ten times better, and it made it easier when she passed away 9 years ago. My father had died when I was 29, so I never had the opportunity to care for him. Hard to believe that its been that long. - 11/16/2009   5:32:11 PM
  • JUDYK16
    86
    I took care of my mom the last 5 years of her life. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's shortly after we moved from her home of 45 years to a new home in a new state. The only people we knew were my sister and her husband. The last 2 years were especially difficult when she physically got weaker and weaker and mentally more confused. Who knew you could forget what toilet paper was used for! I will be eternally grateful for the help I received from the medical community, The Alzheimer's Association and the caregivers who helped me out. - 11/16/2009   3:30:01 PM
  • 85
    When I corrected my Dad's age, in my comment, both comments are up there now, sorry, don't know why, or how to get rid of the one. - 11/16/2009   2:10:01 PM

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