by Corinne
(Boston, MA)

So glad to see these posts and know I'm not alone. I'm an only child ( sister died a long time ago). I agree with what everyone is sharing. I have done every for mom.

She's 86 and I'm 54 and have spent most holidays away from my own kids and husband as she lives in a different state ( thank God). She is losing her vision. Is hard of hearing, incontinent, can't do stairs, insomniac. The usual.

She's in a nice "independent " living facility which offers more care as she inevitably declines. She hates it. Refuses to make friends. Makes scenes in the dining room and loves to complain about everything.

Only talks about how the other residents "families are so great and take them
out to dinner, on vacation", etc.

Actually, I know she's exaggerating and now it makes me annoyed rather than guilty. I speak with her daily for an hour or more and visit all the time. My guilt is how I've neglected my own family.

If I told he I was leaving my family to
care for her, she'd be thrilled. I agree. All
The medical establishment does is postpone the decline. This poor woman has half a life and they push pneumonia shots to extend the misery for all.

Her generation didn't care for elderly parents. They died quickly and with some dignity left. This needs to be a national
Conversation. When friends tell me of their parent's death I think of their good fortune. Awful but true!

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When's it my turn?
by: Anonymous

I feel so bad that I am sitting here nodding; yes I wish my Dad would die, yes I resent that every tedious hour I spend caring for him and his petty needs... every hour I spend watching him eat a sandwich he "didn't really fancy" - an HOUR for a SANDWICH - is time I know I'll never get back to spend with my grandchildren

My Mum died in July - Dad knocked her over in the driveway of their house, because they were both in denial of his advancing dementia and had a "friendly" doctor who deemed him fit to drive (though to be fair I drove with him and he seemed okay, for an 87-year-old) now all I can think is how hard the last years of my beloved Mum's life were; putting up with Dad!

The accident then a severe infection five days after her death (ten days in hospital, being let out for her funeral... none of which he can remember so we are having to constantly assure him that she is indeed gone, then soothe the inevitable tears, as the grief at this "news" hits him for the thousandth time, toughening us up and making it impossible to grieve for Mum ourselves) have accelerated his decline alarmingly.

He now often doesn't know what country he lives in... despite living here for nearly 50 years, he talks about "going home" where people care for him, and how dare we suggest he is not able or that they are either gone or not interested.

He has to go to residential care but is so resentful of any change to his living arrangements; my sister has moved from her home 400km away to live with Dad full time, nothing she does is good enough - I still have to go every day to put out spot fires between them... she doesn't really know "Demented Dad" living away for so long, (I live around the corner and have been "doing" the hospital/doctor/clinic/specialist runs for years, so have been more aware of his decline).

He threatens to kill himself all the time, I just wish he would die in his sleep; he cries constantly for the love of his life, my Mum, who he was married to for over 65 years, he has no memories to share with us they are fading - only bitterness seems to remain; he can remember someone ripping him off for a dollar thirty years ago!

I have an EPA and he tells me all the time that I just want his house; I've tried explaining that we will use the value of his house for HIS residential care, he doesn't understand... I'm just taking his "stuff" that he "worked his balls off all his life for"....

even though by the time he was my husband's age he had been retired for seven years, NONE of which was spent caring for elderly relatives, ALL of which was spent traveling and living as he liked, spending as much time with us, his kids and grand kids as he liked, DOING what he liked. As my title says, I just feel "when's it my turn?"

Another Five Years
by: Anonymous

Sometimes I think that might be how long my mother has left. When you're 35 or even 50, five years doesn't sound like a long time. You can do it. You'll get there.

*Now,* at age 65, five years sounds like a lot.

If she lasts that long, I'll be 70 and heading toward my own end. So far, time only moves in one direction and we can't get these years back. Plus, unlike with raising a child, you get no sense of progress.

Regardless of how hard you work to take care of an elderly parent, you know it's only going to get worse. This is awful.

At least for me, my sense of guilt has melted away. It might come back after my mother is gone, but I doubt it.

Thank you all for posting; I feel less alone
by: Anonymous

Thank all of you for posting your comments. I have it easy compared to most of you, and yet I am miserable. It does help to know I'm not the only one; misery loves company. But my life is rushing by without me.

I am so angry, sad, resentful, and feel so ashamed and guilty that I feel this way. I wish my 95-year-old mother would die so that I could have a life.

She has been living with my husband and me for 18 months. Nothing is wrong with her but being legally blind; she will outlive me. If I don't kill myself, stress and my rising blood pressure will do the trick. I am doing my best to avoid thoughts of suicide, but sometimes it's very hard.

We moved her into our house after my father died; a huge mistake, since now we are stuck. I didn't think she would live this long. I retired only six months before I had to start taking care of her and my father. I had been looking forward so much to taking little trips to visit my kids and grand kids, but I had to give that up.

The good thing about this experience is that I will NEVER move in with any of my kids. Under any circumstances. It is the worst thing you can do to someone you love.

Actually, I already knew that I would never do that to our kids, but I couldn't get my husband to promise not to do it, either. Now he knows! So if I die first, I'm hoping that he won't inflict himself on our kids, and destroy their love for him, now that he has seen how that works out.

National Conversation on Aging YES!
by: Lily Slowe

I so agree with you. My aging mother did not take care of her parents so she has no idea the impact of this life choice on our own families.

Our generation is truly the sandwich generation.

I have grown children that I seldom see because I must be here with my Mom and money is difficult for all of us. So we depend on face time and telephones.

We'll be well into our 60s and 70s before we can move on with our lives. Hopefully still healthy.

Stay strong.


I Know--Believe Me, I Know
by: Anonymous

My 89-year-old mother isn't in a facility and she lives eight miles from me. She won't let me bring in help, and she refuses to go anywhere else. She's incompetent but stubborn, and can be vindictive. I'm an only child.

You made an observation that has occurred to me as well. Other generations didn't have to care for elderly, lingering parents, at least not on this scale.

Another reason besides lack of medical advances is due to immigration. My own mother took care of my grandmother, and it was a miserable job.

But prior to that, my grandparents and a lot of others' parents and grandparents came to the US and North America from Europe. They left family behind and didn't get stuck with the job of taking care of old, sick people.

I have come to the realization that we, right now, need to take the best possible care of *ourselves* to try to avoid 20 years of decrepitude. Our aim must be to live our best lives, have a short period of illness, and then die well. If we can manage that.

I agree with you
by: Sharon

Humans are living far too long. When you get to the point of being sick, feeble and in misery it's time to pull the plug.

I say we should be able to make the decision to stop administering medications and treatments. Just make a person comfortable and let them go!

You are lucky though, at least she doesn't live with you like mine does. (92)
I'll be glad when she's dead and I can have my life back.

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