Sandwich Generation Woes

<p>RE: Medical Alert Devices. My brother & SIL got my mom one of those things. I am 100% positive she will never use it. When she had a TIA (mini-stroke) five or six years ago when she was on the phone with me, it took me hours & hours of begging plus calls to her doctor, friends, etc. to convince her that she needed to get to ER. This is despite falling and being able to get up. Maybe it is just me, and her resistance to anything I suggest. . . .but I am pretty sure she has fallen other times. She has also pressed the thing by accident (when I was around) and not heard the people checking on her via the speakers. IMHO, it is only something that assures my brother & wife 3,000 miles away, but in this particular case will never ever be used even when needed. YMMV.</p>

<p>Mom is less the defiant teenager than the defiant toddler that DD never was. She is starting to become a constant whiner (maybe due to hearing loss?) which bothers me like nails on a blackboard and is not something I ever permitted from DD.</p>

<p>The wonderful thing is that my brother was out recently and got our mom the hoarder to allow a ton of my dad's junk to be hauled away. (Dad passed away nearly 18 years ago.) We are on the same page, had a great visit, my brother saw how our mom is trying to pit him against me, and he saw how she can become so unreasonable. He was able to distract her so that I could smuggle 1997 dated barbeque sauce out of her fridge as well as tons of stuff dated 2009 which I suppose isn't quite so bad. I really want to take away the clothing from the 1950s and 1960s because dealing with consignment shops is time consuming, and I want get it out of the way because she has six other closets filled with clothes, including my ugly car coat from middle school (1960s) and the never worn coat my college boyfriend gave me from his dad's old factory.</p>

<p>Mom is pretty easy going, although getting her to stop driving was tough. One thing that concerns me right now is that she has lost her sense of smell. She still cooks every night (despite living somewhere with a nice little restaurant) and she wraps and saves leftovers. Mom no longer has any sense of time so that means she has no idea when she put the stuff in the refrigerator and she doesn't smell it when it is going bad. Recently, I opened the refrigerator and could smell something awful. I opened up leftover turkey breast and leftover beef roast and WHEW. I can suggest labeling - but that's not going to happen. So now when I visit, I have to open the refrigerator, casually talk to mom and open her various wrapped packages. </p>

<p>This along with the fact that she thinks there are two guys who live with her, dad and the "other guy" who keeps her company when he is out. And guess what, the other guy has a colostomy, too!</p>

<p>I am currently dealing with all of this. My mother was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia in early summer. Then she broke her hip and when I went back (600 miles) to help when she got out of rehab, I discovered my father in terrible shape due to congestive heart failure. (This was diagnosed when he broke his hip last winter, but he saw no point in following up with his cardiologist or taking his meds.) He went back into the hospital and I stayed three weeks while we found a caregiver. Now my mother is back in the hospital and both she and my dad believe that when she gets out they can be fine with no help. He is sure she can get better if she really works at it. She is totally focussed on not spending any money on care because once you start, <em>poof</em> it's gone. (They have some savings, but not unlimited funds.)</p>

<p>I leave on Thursday to visit and talk with him about future plans. (She is not capable of real planning because of the dementia; she is, however, very capable of arguing about any planning that is done.) The Parkinson's component of LBD makes it likely my mother will be in a wheelchair and will ultimately need nursing home care. I'd like to move them both out here so I can (I admit) take control of the situation. I have brought this up before and will give him another nudge. </p>

<p>The big lesson in all this for me is to do some planning. (Who buys a house in their seventies and then takes down all the railings because they don't like the way they look?) That, and try to stay flexible. And buy LTC insurance. And save as much as possible. And move close to kids. And make sure they move to places with good medical care and services . . .</p>

<p>The thing that most amazes me is that last November they took the train here (commuter into Chicago, then Amtrak to where I picked them up) totally on their own. Everyone was driving; my mom volunteering; my dad taking care of home repairs. It seemed like it could go on like that for years. My youngest is in his last year of undergrad and I was looking forward to being a little irresponsible. Man plans . . .</p>

<p>"The thing that most amazes me is that last November they took the train here (commuter into Chicago, then Amtrak to where I picked them up) totally on their own. Everyone was driving; my mom volunteering; my dad taking care of home repairs. It seemed like it could go on like that for years. My youngest is in his last year of undergrad and I was looking forward to being a little irresponsible. Man plans . . .</p>

<p>Amazes me too.</p>

<p>My folks were only 75 minutes away but my brother and I insisted they move 10 minutes away...which they did.</p>

<p>Well, we're ahead of the game, as mom & dad live 5 minutes away from most of us & their house is large enough that they could accommodate others to live in & help them as needed. We're all saving as much $$ as we can.</p>

<p>1moremom - you are so right. My mom has been slipping for a long time, but her decline has been very gradual. She was the reason dad wanted to move to a retirement community. Things have changed so much. He had a colostomy 23 years ago but no other health problems. In three years all of that changed, and it really changed in a matter of months. He has had congestive heart failure, pulmonary disease, two brain bleeds, blood clots, etc., etc. I do think that once men start to slip, there decline is much more rapid. I look around our church and there all of these fragile little old ladies.</p>

<p>We can only hope our loved ones stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible. My SIL's mom is 90 or more & she works out regularly with a personal trainer. She is stronger than I am & very fit. She helped care for her husband as he went into a decline. She now is able to live a more active life, including travel.</p>

<p>A recent Canadian article estimated that 1 in 4 adults > 35 years old have COPD (emphysema, chronic bronchitis, chronic asthma) by the time they die. It is tough when you can't breathe but not fatal.</p>

<p>Trying to stay healthy is one of the many things we can do so as not to be a burden to our kids. Like your 90 year old friend. I know women in their 70's and 80's who play tennis actively, almost daily. We can't control much, but what we can control, we should.</p>

<p>Worknprogress -- boy, can I empathize on the refrigerator front. Whenever I visit MIL, she is always surprised that I go and buy new milk, but her apparent willingness to drink milk that clearly smells bad is not something I can do. Strange, because she's exquisitely sensitive (in a bad way) to many scents -- if a lilly ever shows up in a flower arrangement it is plucked right out and tossed outside. </p>

<p>I've heard repeatedly that the easiest sell for LTC policies is to the children of elderly parents who've needed care. It was certainly true in our case. What we particularly saw was that there really aren't good options other than staying at home when one spouse needs full-time care and the other spouse needs none, but can't necessarily provide all or most of the disabled spouse's care, financially or physically.</p>

<p>There a MANY holes in "the system." My folks golf 3-4x/week, walk briskly every day, go out regularly, read, have friends, travel. They are doing all they can to be as active as they can. They expect they will likely live quite a bit longer, as healthy longevity runs on both sides. </p>

<p>Even long term care policies have their limitations and are NOT created equal, which I posted about previously on other threads, but can be useful and helpful in appropriate situations.</p>

<p>One of the insurance agents is interested in changing H's life insurance policy into some other hybrid or other--it could even become a long term care policy; we have not been interested. Right now, we pay no premiums on it & get a tax-free dividend on it every year.</p>

<p>CCsiteObsessed, regarding my parents, my DH says, "It's a good thing we once had a toddler. It was great training for dealing with your parents." Argumentative, immune to logic, sneaking/lying, resistant, stubborn, lacking in good manners and good sense, helpless, and possessing the attention span of a gnat.</p>

<p>We are experiencing all the above with my parents. My children never behaved so badly.</p>

<p>I went through much of this, the decline, both physically mentally, with my mom, who lived with us for ten years.</p>

<p>She had her own bedroom and bathroom on the first floor, bur we shared the living areas. If I had it to do over again, I would have had a separate in law apartment for her.</p>

<p>Having her in our midst ended up being very disruptive to our family dynamic, I had no space or peace. She became very demanding and needy, (eventually in a toddler like fashion) I worked full time and o would dread going home, trying to navigate parenting my kids while never knowing what was going to have her worked up.</p>

<p>martina99.....that is not a pretty picture..</p>

<p>My folks are not going to move in with me...</p>

<p>Watching the decline of our parents is really tough....</p>

<p>I told my wife yesterday, "I never thought we would have kids again."</p>

<p>
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My folks are not going to move in with me...

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</p>

<p>Reading threads like this makes me absolutely determined that <em>I</em> will NOT move in with my son, when I get decrepit and crazy.</p>

<p>My mother always said that she would never move in with me...she'd live close to me, but never move in with me. I can see her point now. She passed away before doing either of those things, but my dad is declining. He came to look at assisted living places near me last month. If he had to move, at least now we have a place that he wouldn't mind living in.</p>

<p>I kidded the Ds--going on tours of assisted living places reminded me of going on college tours, including lunch.</p>

<p>
[quote]
I told my wife yesterday, "I never thought we would have kids again."

[/quote]
Mom3ToGo and I had the same discussion. However there is one big difference ... the toddlers grow up into more mature young adults ... our parents will continue to regress and there is nothing we can do about it. I never appreciated the time and emotional toll required to care for a declining elderly relative until I lived it ... and I wish my best to anyone doing their best in this tough situation.</p>

<p>I have to admit, mine lives with me and it is the right decision, for us. There are many compromises and there is a serious lack of privacy, but it is a trade off. As THE caregiver child, I would be worrying daily about her in her own place, checking in, going there, driving places. A lot of worry is allayed by having her in the same place. She is wonderfully positive, has a great attitude, etc. None of the above complaints, and it still drives me crazy just to always have her around, always seeing her, wondering if I should be doing more to help her find 'a life' now that Dad is dead. They moved to my town when he got ill and she never made friends here, she used all her energy caretaking him. </p>

<p>It is rough to find friends & hobbies in a new town in your 80s.</p>

<p>It is especially tough when both parents who are raising their kids AND caring for their folks have to work full-tiime while balancing things. There are not enough good options to pay all the bills and provide the care many would like to. I think it's SO much tougher than raising kids because our folks are older, heavier, and often upset because they can remember that things weren't always this way and they don't like losing their abilities and freedoms. Driving is especially tough to get many to agree to stop doing. We have tons of accidents in our state--many with elderly drivers or pedestrians.</p>

<p>"However there is one big difference ... the toddlers grow up into more mature young adults ... our parents will continue to regress and there is nothing we can do about it."</p>

<p>Yes...it is amazing to watch....</p>

<p>When we are young... a young boy might think..."Someday, I will be as strong and as smart as my dad".</p>

<p>Now I am 55...and I think "Someday, if I live long enough, I will be as strong and as smart as my dad. Oh my god!".</p>

<p>I agree with Skyhook, I am not moving in with my adult kids.</p>

<p>"I kidded the Ds--going on tours of assisted living places reminded me of going on college tours, including lunch." </p>

<p>Yeah. Although we didn't go to as many. "This is good enough. You are going here." :)</p>