Demand Legislative Intervention!

by BJH
(Northern CA)

There is a caregiving explosion in our nation which is taking a heavy toll on families - mentally, emotionally and physically.

I am 67 and had to move my mother(94)into my home over 3 years ago. I treasure her, but this has been the worst roller coaster ride I've ever experienced. The ONLY reason I make myself keep going is because I feel more compassion for her than I do myself.

Our laws and the medical field have continually come up with more and more life-extending drugs for the elderly.

Wouldn't it be nice if they had an equal sense of humanitarianism for those who end up caregiving? Instead, they leave it unaddressed, assuming families will chip in (usually out of pure guilt) and/or pay for exorbitant assisted living care while offering little to no support services.

I, for instance, live in a rural community where, believe me, Visiting Angels doesn't exist! Nor do any counselors. It took me a year to find a therapist on my own whom I could rely on as needed. His office is 75 miles away.

Another inequity is how the elderly are cared for "up to a point" in a hospital or nursing facility by Medicare. Once that runs out the doctors, nurses and hospital sorta disappear into the woodwork, assuming you'll automatically take over.

Not all of us are capable of doing so, and those who do always end up relinquishing ALL our own needs in the process.

Today I sent a link to this site to my state senator, requesting someone at the legislative level take a look at how this situation is impacting our nation's mental health. I'll let you know if I hear anything back.

Maybe if enough of us put pressure on our elected officials, someone will see fit to at least conduct a study. I hope.

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Sorry for the misunderstanding
by: Juvenal

I've decided that I really have better things to do than to keep fighting with BJH (the one who posted this article) about his replies to my replies to my responses. Since both of us want the last word, this can go on forever and end up nowhere.
Good luck to him and to all others who post here.

The Real Subject
by: BJH

I don't give a rat's ass who my "friend" is or if wagging fingers should be applied for emphasis on someone's comments.

What I do care about is why I started this post in the first place, which is caregiving and how the medical community and our government places more value on life extending efforts for the elderly than they do about what's happening to caregivers in this nation who are dealing with the ramifications of lame priorities.

In that vein, we all agree - something's screwed up and accusing someone of not "getting it" or making sarcastic remarks serves no purpose.

I can handle immature and sarcastic comments. What I won't let slide, however, is someone presuming I don't know what it's all about, so to clarify ...

I know the frustration and angst of being a long term caregiver. My mother moved into my home a year after my husband had died. My entire house (and life) was turned upside down to suit her needs.

Plus I was still grieving the loss of my husband, which wasn't an easy task in the midst of full time caregiving. I survived it. Fine. Now my mother's been here 3+ years. If you count the 7 prior years when I was a part-time caregiver (when she lived in her own house), it adds up to a long time of caregiving.

Her physical condition now requires 24/7 care. Babysitting. Elder-sitting. Call it what you want. It's not fun. It usurps your time and drains your energy.

I can't travel, go to concerts or art shows, attend my g'kids' school games or dance concerts, or go visit friends and family like I want to, which is especially disappointing when it comes to being around my g'kids and great g'kids.

I struggle to get back into my hobbies for distraction, but there are too many interruptions.

Cooking, cleaning, shopping - it all hinges on my mother's needs, not mine.

Sometimes I cry. Other times I scream. The rest of the time I just go with the flow because I've learned that - regardless of how much money my mother might or might not have - I can't change what's happening. Everything is upside down.

I have no choice but to endure it - and I don't say that out of some warped need to be a martyr. It is what it is and I'm not the only person in this country struggling to endure respectfully.

Still, I hate it almost as much as I hate watching what my poor mother endures by living so long that she no longer feels any sense of purpose or physical comfort.

This problem is multi-faceted and tests everyone's mental, emotional and physical endurance. It also challenges our moral views on the aging and how it is effecting our society.

Figuring out what to do about changing that reality is what matters, which leads me back to my original post - things ARE screwed up and it's going to take efforts from a lot of different angles to find the right solutions.

All I've been trying to say is that it SUCKS and I want somebody somewhere to help start a realistic dialogue regarding solutions that help all of us.

by: Juvenal

Be sure to wag your finger when you say that!

Are You Serious???
by: Anonymous

Where is the sarcasm and rudeness in this person's plea for being heard? And we can't talk politics?

Politics is what has put us in this predicament!

This person is spot-on with Medicare dropping you like a hot potato and sending your parent home. And when your money runs out, you are stuck.

Maybe you haven't reached that point yet in your caregiving journey, or maybe your parent has money. There comes a time when you hit the wall.
This forum is a place for everyone to vent, not be criticized, we all get enough of that from the real world.

If you don't agree with someone, that's fine, but don't put them down here, this is the only place they have left to go.

by: BJH

Your sarcasm discredits everything else you'd said that might have made sense.

by: Juvenal

Sorry, BJH but who said I was your friend?

To Juvenal
by: BJH

You really had my attention until you relied on this post to rant about corrupt politicians.

There's a reason politics and religion shouldn't be discussed among friends. Maybe politics and caregiving issues shouldn't either.

Senator Nielson is Taking an Interest!
by: BJH

Maybe squeaky wheels DO get the grease! I just received a call from Senator Nielson's office assistant, who told me their staff did read my letter of concern, as well as look at posts on this site.

They are going to be contacting California's governor (Jerry Brown) about this topic, particularly from the angle of recent hospital closures in our county and the lack of other local resources for elders and their caregivers! SCORE!

What's interesting is how they will be relying on a political aim concerning Governor Brown's plans for moving to this county (after a new reservoir is built next to property his family just happens to own.)

The senator's office will approach this whole topic from the viewpoint that since he'll be living here, he should have even more concern about having medical resources available.

In addition to the medical issues/resources, we discussed how deeply care giver's emotional, mental, physical and often financial aspects are being impacted. I told her I believe this entire topic, complex as it is, has begun impacting our culture's ability to survive in an increasingly stressful environment.

I will post anything new that I find out. Meanwhile, I invite you to join me in expressing your concerns about this topic with your elected officials.

Where's Kevorkian When He's Needed?
by: Juvenal

I think the problem here is we live in an unrealistic country which believes every person, no matter how weak or worthless, has the RIGHT to live to be at least 100.

It is simply ludicrous, and disastrous, for a society to embrace such a myth, and then actually try to realize it with medical science, as can be seen by the overwhelmingly negative comments and posts on this site from children who have been stuck, for whatever reason, in looking after the parent(s).

So what is the solution to the great dilemma?

When a person gets to be so decrepit that he cannot even attend to basic sanitary needs, or ends up on life support for various reasons, or loses her mind and can't remember anything, what to do then? Do we pull the plug on them if they can't make the decision themselves because they have Alzheimer's? Or do we, as a society, come to our senses and demand that uninformed legislators not be allowed to preach their sanctimonious views on legislative actions, that would allow one the right to choose a form of humane euthanasia, so long as they are still mentally competent?

The question isn't black and white, cut and dry.

I don't fully believe that the State has a right to dictate and interfere in how people should care for their parents, lest they are doing something harmful or illegal.

I've read that sometimes it's really not the doctors' fault in trying to artificially prolong the living dead, but they do so out of the family's stupid intentions, like "Do everything for daddy, doctor to keep him barely alive or else I'll sue the hospital."

Put a pacemaker in an ailing 98 year old man so he can try to make it to 100, or 110. When is this absurd nonsense going to end? When is humanism going to take hold over the believers?

People bitch about Medicare and the Social Security system, but how would they be doing without it on their own if they, or their aged parent didn't have a personal, large fortune to spend on their healthcare?

I think most know that an ordinary visit to the hospital for anything, will end up costing THOUSANDS of $$$, sometimes even WITH insurance.

Health insurance companies are mainly unconscionable, similar to fat happy leeches full of the elderly s blood. If people feel that the system is either outdated or even broken, then they need to make their voices heard to Washington; but they need first and foremost to STOP electing bat-sh**t loony politicians with Bible Belt beliefs who promise them a panacea if they believe in God's Land (or the American Empire's true god of money).

And if they don't want to be saddled with an elderly parent, then it is a personal decision that is ultimately up to them to find a way out of, not Medicare's.

Nevertheless, I'm sick of an immensely immoral government system, coupled shamelessly with the military industrial complex, that has been waging perpetual war for perpetual peace with the Middle East for 15 wasted years.

And what of the tremendous loss of treasure that has been blithely thrown away by Bush AND Obama, which should have been used to fix our own problems, and not squandered in the Empire's ravenous lust for oil, and its Crusades against terrorists? We were able to ban nuclear testing finally, but apparently we're not able to ban the Joint Chief's of Staff from warmongering the Emperor of the West. 20 trillion dollar debt, anyone?

Who's going to foot the bill when China rises and extorts us with our trillions in debt to them? Seniors, families, the working poor? Or Paul Ryan, the Royal Bushes, Dick "Heartless" Cheney and Obama the Spendthrift?

Merry and Happy Christmas in advance to you all. While the craven millionaires in the nation's capitol celebrate with their mistresses and ill-gotten gains, I wish all the humble people peace and joy who suffer.

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