When is the time for a parent to move to assisted living? My father passed away four months ago and since then, my mother’s health has steadily deteriorated. Her depression has led her to an almost solitary existence except for the caretakers and my visits. She lives in a retirement home which has limited assisted units available and one has just opened up. It is a studio unit – much smaller than the two bedroom apartment she is living in now.
I know that change can be very difficult for older adults. However, her additional care in independent living is very costly and she is running through her savings at an alarming rate. Assisted living seems to offer better care and includes many of the extras she pays a premium for now.
I hesitate to be the one to make the final decision and desperately want her to “buy in”. She really doesn’t want to make the decision. I am torn between my feeling of responsibility to make sure that my mom is well cared for and my reluctance to become the bad guy – the one who forced her to make a move she really didn’t want to make. How have others dealt with this decision? written by Laurie in Tennessee
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 much introspection, I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and take action!
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. Has anyone out there had this problem???
Written by Joyce in Savannah
We often talk about care giving without addressing a crucial question. How does the caregiver survive economically when they’re devoting both their financial and personal resources (time, energy) to personally tending to their aging parent(s)? Before someone makes a major commitment like this, they need to give careful consideration to his or her own fiscal future. If unable to work and drawing from one’s personal assets to oversee a loved one, the caregiver may discover that he/she now has less money in his/her own retirement account. They may also have problems re-entering the job market after taking a personal hiatus, especially in an already shaky economy. What should one consider financially before becoming a caregiver and what resources should they already have in place? Let us know your thoughts!
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!
My mom has been gone just over 2 years and lived to age 91 with amazing will and zest for life until the last years of terrible pain from osteoporosis. We lived 2600 miles apart, with her remaining fiercely independent in her life in Washington, D.C. and me, the eldest daughter, entrenched in Seattle. It was hard, but she had absolutely no interest in moving so far away from her own roots…and I needed to respect that, no matter the stress that it caused me nightly. Her having enough resources for me to hire absolutely terrific caregivers graced us, but they weren’t me. I was the director of the “plan” and also sweated out every snowstorm, illness, and setbacks. Managing long distance was exhausting, but different from the challenges that you face as the family member on site every day. Her picture looks towards me from my dresser and I miss her even though we would tangle constantly over decisions. It broke my heart every time to leave her despite all my mixed emotions. The cross-country trips were about every 5 weeks for those last 2years…no regrets.