Love Does Not Mean 'Debt'.

by Leasa

I've read just about every post on this entire forum. I've posted what I have been going through. As a PARENT I would never put my kids through what so many of us on this forum have had to bear. I am going to be making a living will that clearly states I am not to live with any of my children when I become unable to live on my own. I will go to a nursing home or some other senior complex.

My children owe me nothing. I raised them, loved them and cherished them and I was blessed to have them. There is no child to parent debt. We all have to ingrain that fact into our brains.

When older parents, or younger ones for that matter start to feel as though their kids 'owe' them that is pure evil selfishness to the nth degree.

I and all of you owe them nothing. We can and in most cases (not all) love them, make sure they are being looked after but if we are doing it out of a sense of guilt and ruining our lives and our family's lives then we all need to see a shrink.

When an elderly parent has no concern for your happiness or well being it is the parent who is wrong, not you. That is not love. That is not respect.

If an elderly parent can no longer look after themselves and be safe at home, that is what nursing homes are for. There is a reason they exist.

So my message to you all and one I have just learned myself is guilt has no place in a healthy parent to child relationship and the world won't fall apart if they get angry with you. Do what you have to do and if they really love you, they will come around emotionally, if not.....move on.

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by: Anonymous

You stated how I feel exactly! Loved ones should remain loved ones...not nurses, not caretakers, not maids and cooks. Caring for my Mother In Law with terminal cancer in my home has destroyed the lovely relationship we had before. She now sees me as someone to do her bidding. I see her as a burden. I am married with small children but we no longer interact as a family. Every day, every moment is for her.

Will I do this to my children or husband? NO WAY. NO WAY. Living will for me too...put me somewhere, I don't care. I will not destroy my children's home lives and strain their marriages and scar my grandchildren.

Living with and Living for.
by: Anonymous

There is a difference between happily cohabitation and when one person is demanding, miserable and expects the other to give up having any kind of life what-so-ever. When an elderly parent is appreciative and fairly independent, of course living together is an option that is feasible.

Many years ago our life expectancy was very limited, just 70 years ago the average life span of a man was just 61 years old! Even then when one person did become dependent families were much larger and neighbours were more than friends they were people who were willing to become involved and help out.

Now, we are living well into our 70's, 80's and even 90's and our neighbours are strangers.

Let's face it, people are much more selfish and even siblings are often unwilling to help. One person cannot possibly look after a dependent person on their own without becoming exhausted, bitter and angry. We all have a bit of the Florance Nightingale in us and we go into it with the best of intentions, not realizing we are sacrificing what should be our best years and our own family lives as well. I tried it.

My mother was totally dependent, unable to even weight-bear and her care became extremely hard. I did it for two months and by the time she had to be hospitalized again, my eyes resembled two pee holes in a snow bank and I was emotionally and physically done in. She is unable to return home mostly due to failing health but also because I can't care for her at home any longer.

She fought going back to the hospital even with two lungs filling with fluid and many other aspects of failing health. She was so angry and hurtful that I did not take her right back home...the guilt almost killed me until I realized thanks to my husband that I deserved better and to have a life. My mother almost died at home because I was afraid to say no. Guilt is a powerful thing.

I ended up thinking, why would any 'parent' want to suck the life out of their own child like that?

From what I've read on these boards here, most of these parents are miserable anyway, even with a child giving up everything for them, so what is the point? They can either be miserable at home or in a home.

My aunt had her dad at home for many years. He was independent almost to the end at which point he entered a hospital for palliative care. But, during those years, he dressed himself, fed himself and was so cheerful and appreciative that having him around was a pleasure. I wish my mother could have learned something from him.

See the difference?

Love Does Not Mean Debt
by: Anonymous

Believe your comments are well articulated; however, they are not necessarily applicable to all situations. The relationship each child has with his/her aging parent is unique to the personalities and familial histories involved.

My 86 year old mother has been living with me for 7 years. Has it been ideal for us? No, however, it was the best option in our situation. I choose to care for my mother in my home for as long as it is feasible. Thankfully, she is able to function pretty much independently at this time and has no major health issues. I am able to continue working my full time job (I am a 60 year old divorced mental health professional.)

If/when she is unable to stay home without supervision, we will have to re-evaluate our options. Neither of us is wealthy, but we are blessed to be able to do as well as we do. The most painful downside to our living situation is that she very much grieves the loss of her independence/home and worries about being a burden.

Also, I have four brothers who, with the exception of one, do not take any interest in her and have basically "thrown her away" (her perception.) I struggle constantly with my resentment for their indifference/emotional neglect of her because I see how it hurts her.

All this to say I do feel we have a responsibility to be there for our parents, but certainly agree that there could and should be limitations to that support when indicated by circumstances such as you mention.

You are So Right!
by: Lynn

Thank you for the comments. As an (almost) Medicare-aged caregiver, I also share your feelings about making a plan for when I am unable to care for myself that does not include having my children do it.

I was responsible for my mom the last 10 years of her life, and am now living with my mother in law to help my husband care for her. We are thankfully both retired and we have no outside jobs to give up, and my mother in law is financially comfortable.

She could afford living in an assisted facility, but does not consider this an option. I think this generation of parents (she is in her late 80's) always considered it the job of their children to care for them in their old age. This is what everyone did.

Now, as life expectancy has gotten longer, we thankfully have more options for our generation (i.e., assisted living facilities, in-home care, etc.). Unfortunately, there will be a lot of pain and guilt to work through for those of us whose parents had no plan other than family.

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