Readers Respond: Plight of caring for aging parents touched many

Been there and done that. This article tells it like it is. All you can really do is read articles like this one. Learn what Eldercare options that exist where your parent lives and try to stay ahead of the game. AARP is a great resources and there are many good books on the subject. Put the plan in place before you need it. This situation deteriorates fast and you should do the leg work before a crises comes up. Your parents will always say they do not need help until they can no longer deny the fact and then they will expect a solution instantanously. It does not work that way. My husband and I went thorough that with his mother until she died last year at 91 and we are going through that with my parents now. Now we are investigating and lining up support systems, we have met and will continue to meet with siblings to divide up the work and responsibilities. Don't go it alone that is foolish. We had the money talk with my parents and we know where their paper work is, how they pay their bills, how they keep their house running. We know where the wills are and who has POA. We have a plan in case we have to step in to take over. You cannot do this on the fly and in the end you have to know in your heart that you did the best you could and the best that your parents will allow you to do. One last thing. Get your own situation in order so that your kids will not have to go through this stuff either. We are doing that too.

Tina2000 wrote:

Another good article. This is hard stuff and it takes an emotional toll. If I were to add anything it is this. Taking care of a elder is a emotional challenge because of some of the negative behavior exhibited by the elder. The changes in personality and the manipulation can be overwhelming and should be acknowledge. Elders really know which buttons to push and will push them. As a care giver you have to prepare for this and protect your self.Don't try to take it all on and get as much outside help as you can. The care giver needs support and respite from what can be a years of care-giving duties.My husband and I had each other when we were caring for his mother and the same is true now that we are gearing up to do the same for my parents. Obviously as the person becomes more dependent they will demand more of your time and want you in sight all the time. This is not possible, you need time away from the situation.The Elder will also reject some of your interventions and will display hostility towards your efforts. That is part of the deal. Adults do not like to be helpless. So you do the best you can and have confidence you are doing your best. We brought in nursing care and housekeeping services to assist us. If people offer to help don't be a hero, use them even if it is just running to the store for you or visiting so you do not feel isolated. One last thing. I always read about guilt. Guilt that you did not do enough. You can only do your best. Remember, you are managing decline. You may be able to make the person in your life comfortable and safe, you may be able to make the situation stable but this is only temporary. Their bodies and minds are failing so having a realistic expectation about what is going on will help with the guilt.

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