Sandwich Generation Woes

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

<p>That is the benefit of assisted living places…for some.</p>

<p>There are also often some adult day care and also senior citizen clubs that meet and have outings. Your office on aging should have more info about these options, many of which are free or low cost (depending on ability to pay). It helps them make friends and stay engaged.</p>

<p>My mom is in her 80s & has started going to the local mall 3x/week. She has made some new friends there that are 10+ years younger than her. They exercise & chat together and even eat lunch together. We’re happy for her, since some of her agemates are no longer getting out & about so much. Dad still goes to work daily & keeps engaged that way. He also has younger & younger friends all the time because the older ones honestly just can’t keep up.</p>

<p>Himom…in your family…80 is not a big deal…:)</p>

<p>

</p>

<p>I agree, and yet there is also a component of middle school mean girls attitude out there. Local senior center visits have shown that certain people ONLY eat at that table and certain people ALWAYS eat together and do things together. Weird! You would think at 70-80, one would be pleased to meet any new friends.</p>

<p>I think that’s true…I have been visiting my parents in their assisted living center the last few days…they just moved in Saturday…</p>

<p>And some people are very friendly…and others look like they have their own circle of friends…and it is a closed circle.</p>

<p>It’s only been a few days …so I don’t want to get too opinionated. :)</p>

<p>I will say this…the dinner…it’s like going to a Chinese restaurant. You are hungry after an hour. The portions are perfect…if you are 80. :)</p>

<p>I can relate to what is being said. My folks are 86 and 91. Mom’s had 4 major surgeries in 5 years. She has worked like crazy each and every time to recover to the point where she and dad can continue to live in their own house. I know this can’t go on forever and each time the phone rings at an odd hour I wonder …is this ‘the’ call.</p>

<p>While growing up my folks were extremely frugal…to the point of leaving me with some pretty heavy resentments. And yet, they always stated clearly their goal of financial stability to the point where they would not have to burden their children. They have achieved that goal and surpassed it. For this I am very grateful. </p>

<p>We recently took my parents and DH’s mom to visit DD. It was a 4 day trip and in retrospect it was a wonderful, memory making experience. And yet, while it was happening it was one of the most frustrating 4 days in memory. What a challenge to have 3 grown toddlers! Why can no one use the restroom BEFORE we get in the car! Each time I was on the verge of losing it ( and towards the end of the trip that was about every 30 minutes) DH kept reminding me…we are setting the example for our kids as to how to treat their elders. </p>

<p>And so, I try to practice patience with every interaction…and when necessary…follow up with a nice glass of Pinot.</p>

<p>Oh yeah… most memorable comment of the trip…MIL had unplugged the A/C because it was making the room to cold. The next day when I asked her if she wanted her room as hot and humid as it was…she stated…well since I unplugged the A/C it doesn’t seem to work anymore! Regretfully it was too early for the Pinot ;)</p>

<p>When I would go and have dinner with my folks at their assisted living place (before that it was the golf retirement community and before that the big suburban house) well we would sit together and let me tell you, “all the eyes of Texas” were on us.It was kind of creepy but they were happy there for the short time they lived there. They accepted their aging. Before that at the golf place it was an all bet’s are off environment. But with illness, giving up the car etc. I became the parent and how awful is that? But you know, it is all good. In the end.</p>

<p>dietz, do I recognize your words and the phone call routine.</p>

<p>Now that we don’t communicate by phone like we used to the occasional marketing call at odd hours is even more annoying, while being a relief at the same time.</p>

<p>I think one reason my parents are so difficult is that they never had to deal with aging parents. My grandparents always had a younger family member living in house or next door who bought groceries, drove to doctors’ appointments, et al. And as this was going on my parents viewed these relatives as freeloaders (because they were living on the grandparents’ properties) and had absolutely no appreciation for what they were doing in terms of elder-care. Also, both my grandmothers lived into their nineties in their own homes and my parents assume they will do the same.</p>

<p>Ever since we entered this new phase of life I have been saying that I need to sit down and write myself a letter that I can give to my kids and say “Give this back to me when I reach a point that I am not always rational or making good decisions and I need to let you have a bigger voice in how I am managing life.” (Whether or not I will listen to my younger self is probably debatable.)</p>

<p>One thing I’ve learned: I want to live somewhere that has great senior door-to-door transportation services on-demand. When I can’t (or shouldn’t) drive, that will make a huge difference. I’m happy to pay, but it is these kinds of things that make staying at home a lot more feasible. (Cabs aren’t ideal because the cab driver is rarely prepared to come to the door and assist someone down a snowy path, or help someone with arthritis get a coat on.)</p>

<p>This is a great thread. Gosh, I didn’t realize how much I need to talk about this!</p>

<p>An observation - one thing I have learned is that we CANNOT completely control how we age. We can do many, many things to stack the deck in our favor, such as eating well, exercising, using our minds, having friends, etc., but what happens is a combination of habits, genetics, and the luck of the draw. Of the five seniors for whom I care, the one who had the most amazing health habits all of his life, is alive at 91 and still walking everyday, but he had a devastating stroke 6 years ago and can barely communicate. All of them have outlived their parents, but with varying degrees of health. So - we cannot allow ourselves to get too smug or think we are OWED a certain quality of life because of what we have done. </p>

<p>My other observation is that as seniors age, they become less aware of what is going on around them - people waiting to leave a restaurant or how no one else is talking in a theatre, or the fact that taking them to the doctor for a 15 minute appointment is almost 3 hours of your time - 20 minutes to drive to their apartment, 15 to get them out of thier place (if you are lucky), 20 to go to the doctors, 30 for wait + visit, etc. So the quick trip to the doctors is a BIG chunk of your day. </p>

<p>And yes, there are mean girls in retirement communities. When my dad was in the hospital, some of the women were very, very nice to my mom. Her language skills are shaky, but honestly, she is the sweetest person to be around. She listens, she laughs, she is appreciative. The sort of “popular” girls saw her one day in the hall and I KNOW they went in another direction so they wouldn’t have to ask her to join them for lunch. They didn’t see me coming out of the elevator, but when they did they exchanged glances and didn’t acknowledge my hello. I wanted to grab one by the shirt and say, “Hey, sister (she WAS a former nun) would it have killed you to invite my mom?” Not that I get angry or anything.</p>

<p>Just my thoughts :)</p>

<p>I am in the begining stages of caring for my parents. A few years ago, we convinced them to move closer to us. They were only 20 minutes away, but 20 minutes meant that helping them do even the simplest thing would ‘cost’ us an hour. Now they live 2 houses up the street from us. I hope that they will not need to move in with us as I really do need my space.</p>

<p>I recently convinced them to FINALLY update their will. I set everything up. When they pulled out their will, we discovered that it was only in my dad’s name. My mom did not have a will at all!!! How they didn’t catch that when it was written 20 years ago, I’ll never know. </p>

<p>More recently, I had to push my mom to set up a dr. appointment for a certain problem that she’s been ignoring for years. I also went with her and then made sure that she followed through with the prescription. </p>

<p>This is so hard, and my parents are still fairly healthy and very independent. My next assignment is to get them to look at LTC policies. Wish me luck! This will not be easy at all. </p>

<p>To the OP, thanks for starting this conversation.</p>

<p>Ok bookreader…I am wishing you good luck…and everybody else in this thread who is going thru this.</p>

<p>My widowed and brilliant mother has serious alcohol consumption problems which landed her in the hospital recently. With that, we removed her car (my brothers and I) as it was the only responsible move. She is now angry with us all the time and wants her car back so she can be “independent” (= resupply her alcohol). It is rather heartbreaking because it overwhelms any good feelings just to deal with her, but we have to stay strong and resolute.</p>

<p>Add to that her forgetfulness about basic health and safety needs - taking her own medication, locking her door, cooking on an open stove (now unplugged) and we siblings are at it all the time. The combination of aging, early dementia and whatever the alcohol did to her brain is making it hard to enjoy any encounter with her.</p>

<p>I’d like to promote my kids to be in better contact with her, but frankly they find her difficult. When I see grandparents skyping with their college-aged kids, I envy them all. When I have to fly in to New England to work with my brothers on realigning her care, that’s one less chance to fly out to one of my own young adults whom I’d enjoy seeing, but that’s the way it is right now. She lives in the independent section of a continuous care campus, and we’re now waitlisted for Assisted Living, but it will be months before a spot comes available.</p>

<p>My dad had Alzheimers but was much sweeter than this. It’s a complete role reversal as in his lifetime, he was the rock and she the sweetheart. In old age, they switched places. The people we take care of are familiar but sometimes also feel like strangers. Weird.</p>

<p>Oh, this thread does my heart good! Let’s just make it one of those permanent threads, and hang out together. All in favor?!</p>

<p>worknprogress, you are so right about the 15-minute appointment taking 3 hours of your day! My GOSH, they move so slowly, and it’s not entirely because of physical constraints. They seem to just lose focus and grind to a halt. Highly frustrating until I developed my Parent Logistical Rule of Thumb: Make an reasonable estimate of how long something should take. Add a little cushion. Multiply by 4.</p>

<p>dstark
Thank you!!</p>

<p>LasMa
You are so right. Your rule of thumb on estimating time for activities with our parents is spot on. Makes me crazy and I wonder if I will be that slow someday. I hope not but I do admit that I am slower than I used to be. Sigh.</p>

<p>OK. Here’s a different type problem. My dad has hidden money all over their house. In the rafters, in little jars and boxes, in the chimney, in every little nook, cranny and crevice. I’ve tried telling him how dangerous this is. (It’s mostly coins, but if anyone found out and it got out, they’d be sitting ducks for home invaders). I can’t just take it out. I can’t take it back to his bank. I have no access to his accounts. Mom would like to hire a housekeeper but that would increase the likelihood that the stashes would be found and talked about in the wrong circles. </p>

<p>Anyone else? The thing is when my grandparents did this, to a much smaller extent, dad used to make fun of them. Now he is doing it.</p>

<p>

For my Mom this was one the attributes of her dementia … she hid money and, more importantly, her and her mom’s jewerley. In this case her dementia also helped the situation … when we found money or jewerley we kept it and fortunately she couldn’t remember she had hidden things so we never were caught. After the first time we found some jewerley we also removed the other valuable jewerley before it was also hidden. Hiding things can be a big issue as removing anything from the house brings the risk of also removing something of significant value that was hidden.</p>

<p>

</p>

<p>Oh, yeah. And it was worse because my mom took really good care of my grandma (moved in and lived with her) but also treated her somewhat like another child. And was angry at Grandma. Then when I heard those angry words coming out of MY mouth to MY mother, I really freaked. Freaked a LOT more than when her words came out of my mouth at my kids. Ouch.</p>

<p>And both Grandma and now Mom hid stuff all over the house. And grandad’s clothes (died in 1968) are still in the closet (mom just moved her stuff into a different closet). </p>

<p>But Mom is still living there, alone, but NO ONE is even in the same state as she is. Worries me sick, but neither of her in-laws (my H nor my SIL) get along with her very well, so there is no chance of moving there or her moving here. </p>

<p>This will not end well.</p>

<p>No. This is not dementia. Dad may have OCD or it may be a hangover from the Depression. He still talks about how the local bank failed back then and his grandfather had a stroke when he found out he’d lost all his money. </p>

<p>It 's like Silas Marner or Scrooge. He just likes to look at and count his money, even though it is not a safe way to keep money.</p>