The Stress of Managing Aging Parents


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  64 comments   :  26,779 Views

Two years ago I lost my mother-in-law to liver cancer. From diagnosis to her passing we had less than 8 weeks to prepare for her death. It has been a very trying two years as my husband and I have spent countless hours teaching my father-in-law to carry on without her. My in-laws had a very traditional marriage.She took care of everything in the home--laundry, cooking, bills, appointments, you name it, she did it. But her passing forced us all to change. My father-in-law had to learn to do what she had done for him for well over 65 years.

This past Easter my father-in-law fell at home and fractured his greater tuberosity-the bone at the top of your arm. The break was so severe that if I had done the same thing it would have required surgery. However, because my father-in-law takes Coumadin (often referred to as a blood thinner) and his age (90), complications from surgery far outweighed the time it will take to allow the bone to heal naturally on its own.

Let me tell you, this has taken us on a fast a furious ride. He was admitted to the hospital for a few nights before being transferred to a rehab facility late last week. The social worker we have been working with told us because of this injury and a history of two previous falls, he should not live alone. We now have to take the next step into moving him into an assisted living facility. And we are learning so much.

I must say we never quite prepare ourselves for this time. Not only do we find ourselves having to look for a place he can afford, but we have to pack up 90 years of his life and dwindle it down to the few things he will be able to take with him. It has been an emotional roller-coaster for all of us. My husband is an only child so all decisions must be made by him. In some ways that can be a blessing as we do not have to argue over what is best with his Dad. But in other ways, it can be a very stressful time as ALL decisions must be made by him alone, all while maintaining a full-time job.

The stress of caring for our parents can be insurmountable at times. Not only do we have to make decisions quickly and many times the choices we have are very limited. We have to act fast and yet, without knowing how quickly he is going to heal will determine where he will move on from here. As with every other stressful event in our lives, it is the unknown, the uncertainty that can make life tough.  

Not only are we dealing with the physical stress of packing and moving him from a home he has lived in for almost six years now, but the emotional stress can be even more so. Having to surf through thousands of papers that my in-laws insisted keeping is draining to say the least. My in-laws kept every paper known to man going back as far as the 1940's.

We discovered so much as we began purging. We discovered baby books my mother-in-law kept from two babies she had lost shortly after birth-- one we knew of, but one who came as a great surprise. And to know that we will never know from her why she never told my husband is tough. We located my father-in-law's birth certificate with a different name than the one he goes by today. And of course coming across years and years of family photos can take a toll on any one.

We spend so much of our lives accumulating stuff that seems so important at the time, only to find ourselves having to dwindle our possession to what will fit in a 385 square foot room. I told my husband this has really caused me to re-think the 'stuff' in my own life. While we never expect or plan on our parents or another family member to get sick, turning to others who can help us out can lift a huge burden off our shoulders.

In the coming weeks, I hope to share with you some of my tips on how to maintain healthy habits while coping with the loss of a loved one or managing the care of an elderly parent. Until then I am back to packing and sifting through 65 years of memories my in-laws shared as a married couple.

Have you had to move a parent into assisted living? Do you have any lessons you can share with those of us who are just starting the process?  

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  • 63
    My mother has cared for my grandmother for the past 10 years. My mother was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in December and is undergoing chemo. Trying to care for both of them has probably been one of the most stressful things I have ever tried to do in my life. I will say, this experience has brought me closer to my mom and taught me some valuable lessons in patience. Fortunately, we are expecting a full recovery for my mom but it will be a long uphill battle. We are currently researching assisted living facilities for my grandmother. I have the utmost respect for anyone who provides daily care to a parent or grandparent. It takes a strong committed person to be able to handle that type of stress. I pray daily for strength and guidance so I can be that type of person for my mother. - 1/26/2016   11:36:40 AM
  • 62
    It was three years ago that my grandmother was admitted to the hospital and never went home. We had a big celebration of her 90th birthday Labor Day weekend before hand but we never knew what was going to happen next even though she had been battling breast cancer off and on for 12 years and it slowly advanced to her bones and finally to her brain. All her life she said that she never wanted to be put in a nursing home because she took care of elderly people the latter part of her life until she finally retired when she was about 85 years young. She had lived alone in her home up until that point an had insisted that she never be put in a nursing home because she knew what it was like. She had taken care of elderly people until she retired at he young age of 85. She never looked her age until the last few days of her life. He cancer the she had been battling the last 12 year of her life was rapidly progressing and we finally admitted her to t he hospice. Up until that point we had tried to get her to update her living will but she kept putting it off until it was too late. - 12/17/2015   11:44:38 PM
  • 61
    I am also an only child and in September 2015, my father had a triple bypass. It created worlds of stress on mom and me. He came home from the hospital the first time too early (as far as I am concerned) with 3 times a week PT and nursing visits leaving the rest of his care to mom. I helped as much as I could, but I also work full time. Well, he got a blood infection and went back to the hospital. Meanwhile in caring for dad, mom hurt her back with lifting him and such. So with him back in the hospital, mom down with her back at home, I ran from work to the hospital to mom and around every day. I also helped her with house cleaning and grocery shopping, not to mention cooking/providing as many meals as possible. After all of that, dad is finally back to fairly good health and mom is getting there with her back. It's been a long 3 months. I got a HUGE wake-up call of what will happen when the time comes to take over for them, and honestly it scared the bejeebers out of me! As an only child the task of "parenting" your parents is daunting. (I am also single with no children of my own.) I'm glad I found this blog entry and that there are other people out there facing the same things. Thank you for posting! - 12/17/2015   3:27:52 PM
  • 60
    I am having to deal with my parents. As an only child, my husband and I have to do it all. The worst problem was the fact that I didn't know how bad his mental decline was. Their investments were all scattered at several firms and there was no list of their holdings. It took a year of going thru their mail to finally get the answers. The other thing is to get names on old pictures. These can be scanned and kept with the information for future generations. - 12/17/2015   1:03:38 PM
  • 59
    I just had to do the same thing. I have a sister but she is out of state. My daughter and I chose to move in with him so as to not make his life more stressful. Its difficult to say the least - 12/26/2014   2:27:21 PM
  • 58
    My Mom, 93, moved in with us last November. Mentally she's really there - funny as all get out - didn't know that about her. I hadn't lived with her for over 50 years. I didn't/don't know who she is. We weren't close.

    She's got neurological damage and uses a walker, shakes, can't speak well. She's also got bone on bone shoulders. Doctors won't operate. She's in constant pain and takes pain killers that would give me pause. She's fallen once since she's moved in. Like to scare the life out of me. Fortunately nothing was broken.

    She doesn't care for my healthy cooking.

    This is hard for us. It's like having a three way marriage. She's got an uncle who's 110 years old. No one dies in my family before 97 years old unless they were killed. My mom is really healthy, fit and within the correct weight range. She's going to be here a long long time or maybe I'll find her in her room one morning. That's scary too. Both sides of that equation.

    So, the only thing I can say is to look at the good stuff. OK, you've got 60 years of stuff to go through. The pile does end at some point. We helped Mom go through some of her stuff for about two years before we could convince her that she couldn't continue to live alone. I lived 7 hours and my brother lived 2 hours away. But, I gotta say, I found out some really interesting stuff going through all that paper. Mom was a receipt, checkbook and recipe collector.

    Since she's been here, I've had to thin out some of the "stuff" I've been collecting. It's made me become aware of the time I have now and to live now plus, the house is getting less cluttered.

    Count your blessings that you're able to do this and to have the opportunity to look into another life and enjoy and share the wonder of it. Even though it may be hard.

    Blessings come in strange boxes. - 10/29/2014   10:53:38 AM
  • 57
    I never, ever post but this is a very important subject. My mom had a brain hemorrhage in 1999 and we have been on a roller coaster every since - multiple nursing homes, assisted living, mental and physical issues (including a 10 day coma), Medicaid, selling her house, etc. Been there, done that. She is now in extremely poor health in a nursing home on hospice care. She did no planning, all on me and my brother. HOWEVER, I will share the BEST advice I ever got. When my mom was in a coma, my clergyman said, "Don't beat yourself up worrying about making a BAD choice - they are all bad choices." This was really (strangely) very comforting to me. I stopped wishing for the perfect answer. Just kept putting one foot in front of the other. 15 years is too long.
    - 3/26/2014   2:20:10 PM
  • 56
    This really speaks to me right and mom are 94 and 92. Both diagnosed with Alzheimer's last year. Dad had to stop driving (thankfully!) and we moved them to assisted living last Fall. We are getting ready to auction their. Home, car and possessions next month and they don't really understand what is going on. Although I'm extremely grateful for their reasonably good health, I wish that others would understand their mental state. They can't keep track of days/times, cannot follow simple directions and tend to bluff their way through the day. It's like having a couple of 4 year olds living on their own. Getting others to communicate to them through me is the biggest challenge. With a full time job, 3 children of my own, and a household of 54 years to sift through I couldn't be more stressed. Everyone going through a similar situation has my utmost sympathy! - 2/22/2014   8:25:44 AM
  • 55
    When my mom died, Dad moved in with me. The adjustment was tough at first, but we love each other so much and have always been close. The only thing I can offer anyone dealing with this situation is to have patience and talk honestly about what everyone expects and how each member of a household deserves respect and has a right to expect respect. Also - and this is a tough one, new parameters need to be set. You are adults, not a little kid and a parent. That takes patience and daily communication. - 1/13/2014   11:31:23 PM
  • 54
    You have just written my story for the last month couple of years. Last year my dad had a series of falls and we had to make the move to a skilled care facility for him. He was so very unhappy and angry. He did ok for a while but then after more falls, he just seemed to give up. He passed away in June of this year. Mom was determined to stay at home but she too was falling. I just moved her last Monday to assisted living and she is very angry, bitter and overwhelmed. She went from a two level townhome to a studio apartment so I really empathize with you trying to scale things down for your father in law.

    There is a wonderful book called: A Bittersweet Season Caring for our aging parents and ourselves. By Janet Gross It was very helpful to provide some insights from someone who has been there.

    You are in my thoughts and prayers; this road is not an easy one and it sometimes feels very lonely! - 10/28/2013   1:27:12 PM
    Hey guys, are you murmuring on toking your aging parents? I think you must be proud of it as you still with your parents. In my part, its so hard without them, no one you whom to tell your problems with, no one will really care on you. You must be happy because you are still with them..

    Anyways, in terms of stress Its just a simple matter to deal with. Just relax after the hardwork on taking care with them or you can visit my blog @ for more details and instructions on how to deal with these things.

    :) - 8/30/2012   9:35:51 PM
  • 52
    Hi, Nancy, as you can see, I am behind in my reading.
    DH and I have been married 58 yrs. in Sept. and I have been telling him we must go thru all these old things as no one else has the time to do so. (And we live in three different houses, so can you imagine our accumulations???)
    You really hit home with this excellent article.
    - 7/6/2012   9:55:15 PM
  • 51
    My mother just had knee replacement surgery and is in a health care facility.
    But shes not the easiest person to get along with. She wont do her therapy the way shes suppose to.. Shes in the early stages of demecia .
    She shouldnt live alone. So were trying to see if she can stay there . but right now she dont like it there. so what do we do.. I work full time. so living with me is out.. which we wouldnt get along anyways. My mother lived in her house for 60 years. So trying to get things in order is not easy at all.. this was a good topic. - 5/13/2012   7:11:16 AM
  • 50
    My Mother is in a nursing home. My StepFather is still in their home. When he is ill or has a problem, it all falls on me. I have some family here, but the are not healthy. My health isn't always good either. I don't mind helping my StepFather. I really like him and enjoy his company. But sometimes I do wish there were some kind of relief for me. Very stressfull at times, especially when I can hardly take care of myself.

    I am so glad you were able to do all of this.

    I have also been purging "Stuff" out of my house when I can. I am giving away and throwing away "Stuff."

    Blessings. - 5/12/2012   6:39:27 PM
  • 49
    Bless you for helping do all this for your father in law. Before my husband passed away very unexpectedly last Christmas he helped my parents with all their finances, and took on that job with his own mother, too. All 3 were in assisted living facilities in 2 different cities and we were so very fortunate to be able to sift through over 60 years of their possessions and come to a reasonable amount to take with them in the next stage of life, selling the houses, etc. It's so hard for them to make that transition but the peace of mind for us as their children is immense, too. My father passed away right after Thanksgiving but my mother is still doing well. My MIL has no short term memory but enjoys her asst. living arrangements (finally!) and that's a blessing for her daughter and for me, too. I hope you and your husband will feel good about this decision. You're a great support system to his father during this difficult time! - 5/12/2012   3:57:55 PM
  • 48
    I'm still in the process of having my mom put in a nursing home but dealing with
    medicaid and this has been going on for 5 months now. Its hard and stressful
    but I know that its for her health and safety, she is 89. Its never easy having to
    put a parent in a retirement home. - 5/11/2012   7:27:00 PM
  • 47
    Going through the same thing with my husband (20 years older than me) right now. He has been in the hospital for a week after several falls and finally got a diagnosis of hodgkins lymphoma. Will be moving to a skilled nursing facility soon. - 5/11/2012   6:19:05 PM
  • 46
    I know all to well that place you are in. I went through this with my mother and Dad a few years ago. They grieve at letting go of everything they have worked so hard for, their independence, their ability to make the decisions; they know they must give this all up. It is equally hard on us, their children, to see them in this condition, and we struggle with the remembrance of who they were while figuring out what we must do and how to help them live this part of their lives with the dignity and respect they so deserve. - 5/10/2012   10:47:50 PM
  • 45
    Well i need to know how I can follow your blogs. My mother is 88, falls a lot and we are trying to figure out what to do too. i know what you mean about them saving every scrap of paper! - 5/10/2012   9:58:51 AM
  • 44
    I shall be following your series of blogs with much interest. My sisters & I have spent a lot of time together this past year... touring long term care facilities, visiting mom in hospital, moving mom into long term care. She is in a very caring, wondering nursing home. Six months later, when we are hoping to slow down our visits... we now have to deal with my dad's decline in health. It is exhausting, yet we want to have the best care & situation for him at this time - just as we do for mom. My parents are 91 and 89. My husband's mom is 92 & lives in her own home too. - 5/10/2012   6:52:02 AM
  • 43
    We will be moving my husband's Mother, into a nursing home, in the next two to three months. She really needs to be there. She is in a senior's building now, but you need to be able to take care of yourself. She has alzheimers', and is beginning to annoy the other tenants there. She phones us at all hours, looking for her Mom, who passed in 2005. She also now, thinks my husband is her husband, and I am his girlfriend. Needless to say, there is a problem with that. We will sure be glad to get her settled. we worry about her, not eating properly, or taking her medication right. We go there, almost every day, but she can't remember a thing we say, or even if we've been there. It is time. She is going to be 84, in the fall. My Mom is going to be 85, but is in great shape, and has all of her mind. I thank the good Lord for that. She makes us a big meal, each Sunday, and gets along fine. - 5/9/2012   7:41:36 PM
  • 42
    Thanks for this blog.
    Not an easy time for any of you, including yourself (especially as you are your husband's closest support).
    I was "spared" having to declutter Mum's house for and with her by her rather sudden death - yes, even when it's cancer, the death can seem really sudden. So my brother and I, with our families, "only" had to clear out the whole house! In some ways, it *was* easier, because Mum no longer needed any of her stuff. And she had left us notes as to what she wanted to happen with various items.
    I really look forward to reading your ongoing blogs about this.
    And I also hope that the blogging helps you to nake your way through all the stresses you'll have to cope with on behalf of all of you.
    My thoughts are with you. - 5/9/2012   4:49:51 PM
  • 41
    You never know until you go thru it, how hard it is. My wonderful in-laws had the foresight (and enough money) to move to an assisted living place in their 80s. It was 3 states away, so even though they were well cared for, my DH had to make quite a few trips down in their last years. We all referred to him as "the designated child", as his brother & sister live on the west coast. His dad died at age 95, and his mother 10 weeks to the day after at age 93.
    My dad passed at age 61, but Mom lived independently in her apartment til she broke her arm at age 99. She was the one who made the decision to go to an assisted living facility, bless her heart! She was 100 years and 4 months when God called her home.I have boxes of some of her belongings in the garage that I haven't gone thru in the past 4 years. I really need to do that, and pare down lots of our "stuff". Getting older really sneaks up on a person!
    Remember to make time for yourself, and don't be afraid to ASK FOR HELP if needed! Bless you! - 5/9/2012   4:35:45 PM
  • 40
    I look after my elderly mother. She moved in 5 years ago after coming tor ealise that she could no longer take care of herself. Whilst she can be trying at times, she means well and although I do moan at times, I feel priveleged to look after her. I would never consider putting her into a home as I know she would simply pine away. She likes to be ina mongst her fa,ily and in contact with other people. Her health is not improving and there are several things she has had to overcome since being withus. She never went to the doctor when she was on her own and nor was she weating properly. it is still an uphill struggle every day to get her to eat but at least she is eating a lot better now and her health, after a lot of hard work on our part, has improved. We are now faced with theproblem that her eyesight not mopbility is what it was. She has taken a lot of persuasion to go and have her eyes eseen to but eventually she did. However, nothing will convince her that she needs a wheelchair. She is of the opinion that it is not fair on my wife who would be the one to push her as I am in a chair so couldn't do it. Needless to say my wife thinks nothing of it as she says it is just like pushing a pram. So that is our next battle I fear. If she does not go with us on this then she is going to find she will notbe going out for much longer. She can just about walk into the church and that is such a short walk. She still tries to do ehr shopping bit that is getting harder and harder and she suffers afrterwards. With all of these negatives it would be easy to give up on her nad allow her to be placed in a car ehome. How3ver, that is not what i would wish fro any parent uless it is for their own good or ebcause they ahd too much going on that it wold be impsosible for me to provide adequate care. Despite allt heups and downs and the frustration etc. I hope that my mother is with us for a few years yet and it will be a sad day when she is not. - 5/9/2012   3:11:07 PM
  • 39
    I look after my elderly mother. She moved in 5 years ago after coming tor ealise that she could no longer take care of herself. Whilst she can be trying at times, she means well and although I do moan at times, I feel priveleged to look after her. I would never consider putting her into a home as I know she would simply pine away. She likes to be ina mongst her fa,ily and in contact with other people. Her health is not improving and there are several things she has had to overcome since being withus. She never went to the doctor when she was on her own and nor was she weating properly. it is still an uphill struggle every day to get her to eat but at least she is eating a lot better now and her health, after a lot of hard work on our part, has improved. We are now faced with theproblem that her eyesight not mopbility is what it was. She has taken a lot of persuasion to go and have her eyes eseen to but eventually she did. However, nothing will convince her that she needs a wheelchair. She is of the opinion that it is not fair on my wife who would be the one to push her as I am in a chair so couldn't do it. Needless to say my wife thinks nothing of it as she says it is just like pushing a pram. So that is our next battle I fear. If she does not go with us on this then she is going to find she will notbe going out for much longer. She can just about walk into the church and that is such a short walk. She still tries to do ehr shopping bit that is getting harder and harder and she suffers afrterwards. With all of these negatives it would be easy to give up on her nad allow her to be placed in a car ehome. How3ver, that is not what i would wish fro any parent uless it is for their own good or ebcause they ahd too much going on that it wold be impsosible for me to provide adequate care. Despite allt heups and downs and the frustration etc. I hope that my mother is with us for a few years yet and it will be a sad day when she is not. - 5/9/2012   3:11:00 PM
    I have heard friends say that they do not want to be a burden to their kids. This kinda makes me cringe. Who wants to become a "burden" to anyone? My mom died at 97, and I was honored to care for my precious mom the last few years of her life. She was the personification of kindness and virtue. Of course caring for her was my duty of honor. I pity the folks who must "care" for the elderly parents who are grumps, mean spirited, demanding and critical....I think this would be a nightmare. Strokes and medical conditions can alter personalities, however, and add enormous stress. When I require nursing care, I hope and pray that kind individuals will tend to me---without resentment, and without calling me a "burden." Care support teams can offer respite to caregivers so that they can have needed rest. It is all about balance, and very much about the "Golden Rule"... - 5/9/2012   1:52:02 PM
  • 37
    I pray and hope during this time in your lives that everything will work itself out, just to take a bit more of the burden off your shoulders. I hope you make the right decisions for you and your family's lives. As for me, I still have both my parents and I do consider myself very lucky. I'm only 31, single yes (doesn't matter really), but I've had friends lose 1 or both parents already and I can see how tough it has been on them to live without that guidance, that wisdom. I try to never take another visit to or from my parents for granted. I'm at an age now where I cherish every family dinner and certain photos over others. When the time comes, I plan to never have to put my parents in either an assisted living or a nursing home. If that means, I have to learn a new skill and become my own boss just so I can live at home to take care of them, then so be it, which is why I'm going to continue taking different classes here and there at a county college. I'm already considering all these facts that my parents are not getting any younger and neither am I. Good luck with everything and my prayers are with you and your loved ones!!! - 5/9/2012   1:04:49 PM
  • 36
    As distressing as your situation is, there is a flip-side. You still have your parents and they can still assist you in making decisions. My mother died on my 35th birthday, my father died less than 3 years later. As the oldest sibling it was my responsibility to take care of my father's estate as well as guide my sister. While 38 is an "adult" age there were still lots of lessons I had to learn on my own. I didn't have Mom to go to when I had a difficult problem, I had to figure it out on my own.
    My advice is to cherish each moment you have with your parents, even if you don't agree with them. Once they are gone, their wisdom is gone also. - 5/9/2012   11:43:21 AM
  • 35
    My mother has lived with us going on 10 years now. In our home. I have learned so much. I can say after all the ups and downs she will leave this life feeling loved. I finally have reached the stage of controlling my hurt when she says something insensitive and well what I've had to learn just goes on and on. It would take a book just about to share my insights now!!! She is 90 now btw. - 5/9/2012   11:36:47 AM
  • 34
    This post addresses many of the issues I have been facing for 2 years now. As others have commented, it can be very stressful. My step-mother died from ovarian cancer 2 years ago leaving my 86 year old father in shock, grief and unable to take care of himself. My step-mother had also taken care of everything in the home including making all the decisions. I am the only child and live in a different state so taking care of moving my dad into assisted living and funeral arrangements, etc. was extremely stressful. My dad recently passed away-he had really lost the will to live I think. Now I have my mother who is independent as of this moment but is showing signs of Alzheimer's and has made it clear she will not move out of her house or accept any medical care. I will be following your series on these issues closely. Thank you for this! - 5/9/2012   11:20:11 AM
    My heart goes out to you. My sister and I are juggling similar issues, and it is very difficult for everyone. All the best to you, your husband, and your families. - 5/9/2012   11:02:17 AM
  • 32
    I feel your pain! My f-in-law passed 3 years ago and my m-in-law just couldn't live alone because of health problems. We got her into a wonderful assisted living facility which, luckily, she had the $ to afford. My husband is the only one here so we had to clean out their apartment (tons of clothes and paperwork!) She died last year. Now my parents are having some major health problems! I have 4 siblings but only one lives within driving distance, so most of the burden is on me and my husband, who has health problems himself. I still haven't recovered from the last 3 years and am totally stressed out. I feel like I have no time for "me" and my husband. I am an emotional eater so you can imagine what it is doing to my weight issues. UGH! It never ends sometimes!!! I am just trying to hang in there. - 5/9/2012   10:22:38 AM
  • 31
    All 4 of our parents are still alive. My FIL looks older each & every time I see him. I know this phase of our life is fast approaching. And I too, really need to rethink all the stuff we've accumulated.
    Thanks so much for such a thought provoking article, Nancy! - 5/9/2012   9:50:22 AM
  • 30
    We've had to move a family member into a nursing home from a senior living facility. I definitely agree about re-thinking and purging our personal "stuff". - 5/9/2012   9:13:15 AM
    For some of us the best solution is to find a good nursing home where they are cared for and walk away. What I did and have never been healthier or happier than when I walked away and left the care and welfare of my mother in hands of people paid to care for her. Rather than a family member who had no emotional connection to her.

    Please remember that no all parent child relationship are wonderful. There are many that there isn't a hallmark card for. Those who had an abuse relationship as a child have a whole different set of issues when dealing with an aging parent. How do you care for someone who never care for you. And sometimes the best solution is to leave them in the care of those who are paid to do so.

    Have not seen or spoken to my mother in over 4 years. It was the best thing I ever did and only wish I had done it much earlier in my life. She is I am told happy living the life of the poor sweet little old lady whose only child and living relative has abandon her. - 5/9/2012   9:10:28 AM
  • 28
    My husband (also, an only child) helped downsize his Mom twice. Once from both a summer home plus city home toa retirement apartment, then from their to a long term care facility. Not easy for either of them. I found the same when, my husband lost his leg & went in to a wheelchair--downsized over 1/2 my household my moving to an accessible apartment. It is hard deciding when items remind you of happy days - 5/9/2012   7:50:22 AM
  • 27
    Thank you for a thought-provoking post. I look forward to following this series! - 5/9/2012   4:49:58 AM
  • 26
    So good to read how others are going through the same experience with my mom.Sometimes I feel sorry for myself because my mom has alzheimers. I want to pinch myself to think that it is really happening to her, a super mom. My friend reminds me that my mom is still with me even if she has changed. - 5/8/2012   11:32:12 PM
  • 25
    This is a subject close to my heart. In 1989 when I lost my grandmother to dementia, I started learning about aging. I even joined AARP at 30! The best advice I learned was to talk to your family now - about them and about you. Don't wait until a sudden death of a spouse or a fall or injury creates a crisis. Inteview a Geriatric Care Manager. Nursing homes have rules and restrictions on taking patients that may come as a suprise as well as a big sticker shock. Dying is a part of life that we pay too little attention to . - 5/8/2012   9:16:18 PM
  • 24
    Three years ago I lost my Dad (Alzheimer's complications) but he had lived in a nursing home for nearly 3 years -not easy but he was driving my Mom crazy. - 5/8/2012   9:11:32 PM
  • 23
    My goodness how many of us are going through this. I left my career at 49 to support my mom in caring for my dad when he got a brain tumor and later into assisted living. He passed away 2 years later. At first I thought mom was going through some really difficult grieving, but at 72, she was diagnosed with alzheimers. Since then I've been her primary care giver. My sister works and has young children but mom spends almost every weekend with her. We also got her into a senior day program 2 days a week which has helped this passed winter. But as time progresses the illness progresses and it is becoming increasining difficult to manage. The most diffiuclt thing is that mom realizes what's happening to her and is aware as, almost day, she loses the abilities to do simple everyday things. Emotionally, this is the worst. And there is little reasoning with her on almost anything.

    I am single, no children and the last few years have opened my eyes to the need to prepare for old age. It will happen. Maybe I'll be one of the lucky ones who continues in good health into old age. If so, great, but I'm not banking on it. - 5/8/2012   9:01:17 PM
  • 22
    Wow - can I relate to this Nancy! I went through this with both of my parents with them fighting me every step of the way. Like your husband I had no siblings to help, and I'm not married either - so it was just me. There is a website called "A Place for Mom" that will assist you in finding an appropriate place for your Dad - I highly recommend them and the service if free. I hope that your Dad can recover fully and live a happy and healthy life. It is incredibly hard to watch the people you love slowly deteriorating and knowing that it is only going to get worse. My last parent died about 9 months ago, and I'm still dealing - both literally and figuratively. I would suggest that you try very hard to talk to your Dad about his wishes (medical, financial) while you still can. I will be very interested in future blogs on this subject in relation to your health choices - I know I did not do a good job of making healthy choices during the more stressful times. I sincerely wish you the best. - 5/8/2012   8:47:18 PM
  • 21
    My family and I have been dealing with this for the last three years and it gets progressively worse with each passing year. The stress of all this, along with other things going on in my life, has taken its toll with my weight loss. I will be looking forward to your future blogs on how you keep your weight loss journey intact while these others stressors are going on - 5/8/2012   8:22:44 PM
  • 20
    So many good comments. Like everyone else, I am close to this point with my parents. Luckily, though I am the only one living close to them for the day to day, week to week care, I have 4 other siblings (all older than me) to help make the big decisions. All I can say, Nancy, is be careful of what documents you throw away. A lot of them would be treasure troves to genealogical societies (like that birth certificate!)! I don't know how to go about checking on if they want it, but I can look into it for you if you want. I have some friends who are AVID genealogists that I could ask. - 5/8/2012   7:33:09 PM
  • 19
    Nancy, my heart goes out to you, your hubby and your FIL at this time. Through all these difficulties, I see it is a blessing that you are both there to help with the care and process. My mother can no longer live alone; but as she can still do many things for herself, she still lives at home -- we are blessed to have one of my brothers and his family able to live with Mom.

    My advice is to keep doing what you're doing first of all. Be sure you do lots of research and ask lots of questions. One of you should be there for doctor and therapy visits when possible as you can't depend on your FIL to remember everything and to relay all important info. Even while he is in a care facility, I suggest you guys keep a complete list of his medicines and have that with you for any doctor or hospital visits; this has come in handy several times for us. My brother/SIL created the list and then gave others a copy.

    Make sure you take time for yourself during this stressful period. They need you strong and healthy! Hugs. - 5/8/2012   6:19:17 PM
  • 18
    I was employed to provide non medical services for seniors living in their own homes. Part of my tasks was to ensure that the individual was still capable of living independently. My toughest day, was when I entered a person's home and found the oven door open and turned to its highest setting and the client had no recollection of the oven being on or the door being open. I had previously worked in a nursing home, and observed many residents being strapped into a chair or bed "for their own protection" and beleived that it was severe loss of dignity and independence. Do not depend on reviews and fancy pictures from the facility - try to tour the place yourself or send a trusted proxy to evaluate conditions. - 5/8/2012   6:08:50 PM
  • 17
    You have my deepest sympathy. I may be doing that for my own father-in-law sooner than I'd care to---he seems to be entering dementia. And my husband's family doesn't *talk* about any of this!

    My parents, on the other hand, are in reasonably good health in their 80's, but have already placed a "hold" on an apartment in an assisted-living facility (it's very nice!). Unfortunately, as the only daughter, I'll probably be helping my parents slog thru tons of their "stuff" for a year before they are able to pare down enough to fit in a two-bedroom space.

    Best of luck in these trying days. - 5/8/2012   5:35:59 PM
  • 16
    Pay Nursing Home Insurance policy, so you can afford to send them to one if they need it. - 5/8/2012   5:12:28 PM
  • 15
    I appreciate this sharing of such intimate glimpses into the extraordinary curves that ordinary life throws us. My experiences will be different (they already are) but I know I am helped by learning from others. My initial thought-- wow, you have so many photos and papers! Even though you likely won't understand or recognize what all of them mean, you do have them. Not every family is so fortunate.
    Thank you for choosing to allow us into your family's experience and my warm wishes for an amazing journey for all of you. - 5/8/2012   5:09:34 PM

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