I was recently reminded by someone offering some advice on why I was always so exhausted, that I am my parent’s daughter – not their caregiver. I had unconsciously slipped into a role of servitude, running myself ragged between taking them to doctor’s appointments, managing their medications and doing their shopping. Was it that lingering childhood need to prove myself or to assuage some kind of guilt? After a weekend of introspection, I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and take some positive steps forward.
My parents are in a retirement home and for an additional $55 a month each, a nurse on the premises will handle the reordering of pills and fill a pill box for each of them weekly, taking over all of the responsibility attached to the nearly 20 different medications they take between the two of them. This enormously time consuming responsibility is now in her hands. I realized that it was one of the best investments that could be made – $110 a month to preserve my sanity, health, marriage and work load. For an extra $30 once a week, I could have someone do their grocery shopping.
The difference? Now I can spend quality time visiting my Dad and Mom. I am much more relaxed, able to enjoy their company and focus on what they are saying. Be kind to yourself and assess who you really want to be. Sometimes help is right in front of you and all you need to do is take advantage of it.
My parents can no longer handle their finances, so my husband and I have stepped in to help out. They are in their mid-80’s and reside in a retirement home in a semi-assisted living arrangement. Their cost of living averages about $90,000 a year including medical and other incidentals. Much of their money was in CD’s as they wanted something low risk.
The question that arises is CD’s versus Money Market accounts? Interest right now is minimal. Here’s how we understand it. With a CD you are committing your funds for a time period of 30 days to 10 years. The longer your money is in, the higher your interest rate will be. Money Market accounts are similar to savings accounts but usually pay higher interest. The minimum balance is greater and you are limited to 3 to 6 withdrawals per month.
We want to make a responsible choice and are leaning towards CD’s as they seem to be so much easier to oversee. Would love to have some feedback on what others in our situation are doing.
I’m feeling like all the care of Mom and Dad–taking them to doctors (heart doctors, psych doctors, eye doctors, ear specialists, urologists), taking them on outings, conferring with their caregivers about all the details of their needs, buying them clothes, a lift chair, selling their couch and now their buffet, buying and trying to install their air conditioner, paying their bills, staying on top of their investments, sitting beside them at the emergency room (more times than I can count) and much much more–is too much for me alone. I want help. I want at least one thing I don’t have to be responsible for. I’d like one thing I don’t have to do the legwork on. I’d love to hand off some of the other duties, say bill paying and doing background checks on the caregivers, but this one more thing totally overwhelms me.
My younger sister is getting right on the Power of Attorney documents–and & I want her to talk with our parents about their resuscitation wishes.
I’d love for my older brother to take the lead on talking with an accountant and come up with a salary package for our main caregiver and withholding taxes and figuring out vacation or sick benefits.
I don’t know if my siblings have any idea how much time and energy and hours our parents take! Their latest issues are constantly on my mind. Right now it’s Dad’s uncharacteristic change in behavior and Mom’s psych medicine, which I fear, has turned her into a zombie (although the anxiety has lessened).
I’m sorry to dump this all at once, but please, please, I need my siblings to pitch in where you can!
It feels like an appropriate time to consider moving my mom & dad from their apartment. My parents are in there late 80’s & currently have wonderful care at home. However, the other night, my dad lost his balance & ended up on the living room floor. The caregiver could not get him up, after several attempts, so they called 911 & the paramedics came to assist him. Dad was not hurt & refused any medical treatment. This was a near miss and not the first time Dad has fallen (nor will it be the last).
My mom is not so stable either. I am thinking about looking at assisted living or a nursing home, one that will accommodate their needs & meet our approval before either of them seriously hurts themselves.
Questions I have thought about are: which ones accept Medicare, is there a waitlist, can my parents be together in the same room? Also, what activities are offered, how much staffing & assistance is available to residents.
Can anyone chime in…… I want to make a good decision for my parents & help them transition to a new home……I am not sure how to accomplish this.
The September 2011 issue of AARP Magazine has an article by Sally Abrahms called “The Caregiver’s Dilemma”. It discusses the fear that many of us who work have, concerning telling our boss that we are a caregiver. We can’t afford to miss work or lose our job, forcing us to become “closeted”. What’s one to do?
While my parents are in a retirement/assisted living home, I spend an inordinate amount of time doing their grocery shopping, juggling doctor visits, medication, and medical crisis both large and small that seem to pop up a couple of times a month. If I cancel a client meeting on short notice, I look unprofessional and incompetent. It’s not that a client wouldn’t be sympathetic but work is work. They want the job done, regardless of the fact that you may have ended up spending the night in a hospital emergency room.
As pointed out in the article “What makes elder care unusually challenging is its unpredictability. You might ask about taking off every Tuesday at 3 pm for your child’s soccer, but you have no heads-up about when your mother is going to fall and break a hip.”
I’d love to hear how some of you have dealt with this seemingly impasse. Are my fears exaggerated? How have you dealt with clients or bosses in this Catch 22 situation?