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Thread: The NEVERENDING aging parents caretaking thread

  1. #26
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    "I was about to join the biggest club in the world: People Who've Lost a Parent"


  2. #27
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Maybe the NEVERENDING Family Estate Sale thread?

    Estate sale company has turned things around. Going by the photos, they've cleaned up, and staged a bit too.

    Image 16 shows the bare concrete floor in the living room. My effort to remove the ruined carpet/padding resulted in a damaged wrist.

    Image 62: we've taken to calling these the "nightmare clowns." Back when Ma was sick (late summer '99), sis-the-doc kidded her about using one of these as an urn.

    Image 94: my old 2 x 2 roller skates, circa 1982.

    Image 107: the electric-start snow blower that dear ol' dad couldn't figure out how to start. (Plug the cord into machine and outlet, start it. Unplug and remove the snow.) A former BF showed him how to accomplish this. "That cord doesn't work." Hah.

    Image 112: The one item that I sortof wish I'd managed to find during this summer's adventures. That "State fair" pinball thing was our gaming console for many years. Hardest slot to get was the "candy apple," 300 points IIRC.

    Know anyone in metro Detroit? Please feel free to spread the word. And drop by if you want to see how not to design a house without a neighborhood. I am certain that spending my teenage years there opened my eyes to urban planning.

  3. #28
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Snow blower you say? I could use one today!
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  4. #29
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    Snow blower you say? I could use one today!
    Pretty sure it's the same one, and that incident was in 1990 or 91. The neighbor (some 20 years younger) had a massive blower, and he's a runner. He always did the driveway and the road frontage.

    The company says "enter at own risk," and that goes for buying anything as well.

  5. #30
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I imagine it has to be hard to watch some of those things go. I think of how a person spends a lifetime collecting things that have meaning to them, and hoping to see them go to someone else who will appreciate them in the same way. Not having any kids of my own, I often wonder what will become of my own things when I eventually pass along.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  6. #31
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    Wow! I like some of the glass birds, and the Danish modern credenza! As if I need anymore stuff...

    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal View post
    I imagine it has to be hard to watch some of those things go. I think of how a person spends a lifetime collecting things that have meaning to them, and hoping to see them go to someone else who will appreciate them in the same way. Not having any kids of my own, I often wonder what will become of my own things when I eventually pass along.
    Me too. I've been attempting to de-clutter, and I often don't know what to do with items that aren't of much (if any) value to the average person. Freecyle only goes so far. There are a lot of people who would just as easily purchase something brand-new.

  7. #32
    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Mud Princess View post
    Wow! I like some of the glass birds, and the Danish modern credenza! As if I need anymore stuff...



    Me too. I've been attempting to de-clutter, and I often don't know what to do with items that aren't of much (if any) value to the average person. Freecyle only goes so far. There are a lot of people who would just as easily purchase something brand-new.
    My mom will donate just about anything to a local person who collects things for Nicaragua and then has them shipped down there by the truck load. They'll take just about anything.

  8. #33
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal View post
    I imagine it has to be hard to watch some of those things go. I think of how a person spends a lifetime collecting things that have meaning to them, and hoping to see them go to someone else who will appreciate them in the same way. Not having any kids of my own, I often wonder what will become of my own things when I eventually pass along.
    There were several thousand pieces of art glass in July. Each of us selected favorites, in the quantity that we each wanted, without regard to original price or whether it was "our fair share" (one of dad's favorite terms). For years I've looked at various paperweights and vases, thinking I'd take them home someday. That day arrived, and I have new/old glassware in almost every room. Mine is a tiny fraction of the total, not even 50 pieces. I do have some of the original vases (bought at J.L. Hudson's downtown) and some other items that I spent long childhood hours looking at.

    Seeing everything pictured by the company, it's clear that a) the folks were compulsive collectors 2) they forgot what they had at home and would readily pick up duplicates or "cousins," and iii) it's just stuff.

    A longtime buddy suggested the same, and allowed as how the little toddler rocker (last photo) should be saved for a great-niece. But a lot of that stuff (notable the religious icons, the lunchboxes, and the kiddie rocker) were collected during the late 80s, right after they retired and were scraping by on four pensions. Way more time and space than common sense. But it's not my house, and it's not my stuff. I debated on Ma's fur coat, deciding that my house doesn't need another one. (Mine purr.)

    Bottom line: live in housing that suits your current situation, not 3500+ s.f. and five BR if you're flying solo. Pare it down and don't put your heirs through this.

    My Salvation Army buddy is ready with the truck for post-sale clean-up.

    Dan, interested in your estate sale experience.

  9. #34
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    The NEVERENDING sis-the-doc needs psychiatric help thread

    Oh, the irony. Passive-aggressive.

    From my comfy desk and high-speed internet two hours away, I created an event page on FB, hawking the estate sale. Brother and I have shared it again and again...between us we have 800 friends. I updated the Caring Bridge site to help promote the sale to people who cared about dear ol' dad. And this morning I added a listing on the garage sales section of Craigslist.

    Sent a message to the bank trustee about having real estate sell sheets available. She's a banker, not a marketer; "first we have to get past this estate sale." Not in the project management world! I created a couple of documents and sent to the local Kinko, FedEx Office, a colorful card with bullet points and photos about the house, and a distinctive "visitor sheet" where folks can list their contact info should they be interested in possibly buying the place. Paid about $5 for the printing and $9.95 to have them delivered. With ink pens.

    And sis's reaction: "were you asked to do that?"

    Well, no.

    No one asked me to get in the car and drive to the hospital (two hours) the day he was admitted, and on Father's Day (she was in Chicago at a Jethro Tull concert). No one asked me to drive from Ann Arbor (one hour) every single freakin' day that Ma was a patient there. No one asked me to craft not one, but two well-written, loving, and complete obits pre-need.

    No one asked me to donate money to his church's (no longer shabby) social hall to fix it up. No one asked me to create a scholarship for her alma mater, to be awarded to female medical students studying psychiatry.

    It's hard to believe that this person was raised in the same environment.

  10. #35
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    That sounds pretty crappy Veloise. I've been through all of that three times now (my mother and both of my wife's parents), with the fourth and final time probably not too far in the future. My father has Alzheimers and is pretty advanced right now. He lives in Seattle near my brother now but has a big ole storage unit of stuff in California we will have to deal with at some point. So tedious! But we were just talking about what to do regarding all the memorial stuff, unloading the storage unit items, etc. He lived and worked in PA for almost 50 years and so all of those friends and colleagues are back there, making the plan for what to do after "the event" rather complicated

    I count my lucky stars every day that my brother and I are so close because it has made all of this so much easier. The financial stuff, the power of attorney issues, healthcare decisions, and on and on are things that can really tear families apart. Let alone what happens after they pass away.

    Sorry you are having to go through this. I expect this is your sisters way of dealing with her grief and lingering feelings of powerlessness, but since its not contributing to the bigger picture or the cohesion of the family, it seems like its just downright annoying. And frustrating. Oy! Good luck!
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  11. #36
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Thanks wahday. A big part of it is her ongoing power struggle with the bank trustees. Every week she swings from a polite request to a dripping-with-hostility nastygram. First bank declined to work with us. Second bank, our trustee was re-assigned after two months.

    Sis's current MO (she told me today) was to not do anything extra "because that's the trustee's job." So...if the sale is a flop (thanks, Michigan winter!) there's more to put into a dumpster. What's the benefit to us?

    Oh, and she won't use the Salvation Army for the leftovers. "It will be handled." She won't tell me how.

  12. #37
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Veloise View post
    It's hard to believe that this person was raised in the same environment.
    I've always thought that about my sibling(s) too. The (s) is for my brother who died earlier this year. Both are (were) very greedy and self-absorbed.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  13. #38
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I feel so lucky to have the family I do, where everyone gets along and nobody gets into another's business. My wife's family... not so much. Her brothers are alright, but she has these two aunts that make Homer's "gruesome twosome" look appealing. There are a few others in that generation that are almost as bad. After getting off the phone one day she said something that is still quoted on our refrigerator door - "I am so glad I live in Wisconsin." (The rest of her family lives on the west coast.)
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  14. #39
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    This may sound callous - but what is the price for the house? The color rendering and Bing Maps aerial indicate it is a pretty well executed Mid-Cent Mod house.

    Hopefully, someone doesn't buy and tear it down for some hideous Neo-Gothic-Tudor-Colonial monstrosity.

    Also, post pics of the house if you have them. I'm going to pass your estate sale link to my parents who would probably be very interested provided they're in the Flint area this weekend.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  15. #40
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mendelman View post
    This may sound callous - but what is the price for the house? The color rendering and Bing Maps aerial indicate it is a pretty well executed Mid-Cent Mod house.

    Hopefully, someone doesn't buy and tear it down for some hideous Neo-Gothic-Tudor-Colonial monstrosity.

    Also, post pics of the house if you have them. I'm going to pass your estate sale link to my parents who would probably be very interested provided they're in the Flint area this weekend.
    Aren't you a friend on FB? I have a house page set up there, with better pics. No price set; needs some repairs. A local friend went to the sale, and she got back to me about "the condition of the house."

    Here's what the book author wrote. He was very kind.



    Here's one showing the back of it.


  16. #41
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Veloise View post
    Aren't you a friend on FB? I have a house page set up there, with better pics.
    Yeah, I'll have to check it out when I get home. No FBy here at work.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  17. #42
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    Put my 87 year old father in a nursing home on Tuesday. My 86 year old mother can't take care of him any more. They live in Virginia Beach, I live in Oregon. My sister died four years ago, and her daughter lives in Baltimore. Her attitude is "Getting old sucks." They had in-home help for over a year, but it still was too stressful for my mother. He has dementia that waxes and wanes, is incontinent, is deaf, and can't walk. Yesterday in one of his clearer moments he looked me in the eye and said, "Why am I here? Why can't I go home?" This is killing me. I want to try to figure out if there is some alternative. My mother can't afford 24-hour in-home care for him, and to be honest doesn't want someone in her home due to her own issues. There seems to be no right answer: no matter what, someone is going to get screwed. I'm just beside myself.

  18. #43
    Cyburbian
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    I can understand your feelings, Otis. Can your parents move to a place together, a place equipped to care for your father and be comfortable for your mother?

  19. #44
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Ideas...

    Assisted living places: a nice ranch unit for your mother and drop-in care for dad. My community bands play at such places, and they offer a continuum of options for everyone from the "active senior" to the ones for whom Dr Jack would sign up.

    It's a lot easier to hire someone than draft a relative. Health aides will cheerfully do just about anything, while the sibs - nieces - grands - cousins will develop their own issues.

    Lots of social service agencies are available to help. Let your fingers do the walking. (My father didn't have to die of self-induced malnutrition. Seniors are eligible for meals on wheels, and it's not income-based despite what my sister thinks.)

    Feeling your pain. HTH

  20. #45
    Cyburbian Plus
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    This has been semi instructional in that I will be dealing with long distant parental care / property issues my self.
    Sister & Brother - just 1+ hr away
    Brother in CA
    Me in IN
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


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    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  21. #46
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Otis View post
    Put my 87 year old father in a nursing home on Tuesday. My 86 year old mother can't take care of him any more. They live in Virginia Beach, I live in Oregon. My sister died four years ago, and her daughter lives in Baltimore. Her attitude is "Getting old sucks." They had in-home help for over a year, but it still was too stressful for my mother. He has dementia that waxes and wanes, is incontinent, is deaf, and can't walk. Yesterday in one of his clearer moments he looked me in the eye and said, "Why am I here? Why can't I go home?" This is killing me. I want to try to figure out if there is some alternative. My mother can't afford 24-hour in-home care for him, and to be honest doesn't want someone in her home due to her own issues. There seems to be no right answer: no matter what, someone is going to get screwed. I'm just beside myself.
    So sorry to hear about this. I am in this boat for the third and final time as far as parents are concerned (combing both my parents and my wife's). My father also has dementia (Alzheimer's) so I am also aware of the particular problems that creates.

    Veloise is right about the assisted living situations. To be more detailed, there are places that provide the full range of care, depending on developing needs, that may range from totally independent living, to assited living, to nursing care, to hospice. It is very common for couples to move together when one is still independent but the other is requiring care beyond what they can provide. One reason this can be attractive is that at some point the other spouse will need care and then they are already at a place that can provide it. It also gives them some time to develop relationships rather than being ushered into such a place at a crisis time. And knowing that they can be there until the end is helpful.

    Expense can be a big factor, depending on existing coverage, but if they are both leaving their home, that can help. Proceeds from the home sale can go toward the care if they owned, or if they rented, that rent can be applied to the new living situation. Don't rule it out without looking into the costs.

    My father, who does not have a spouse caring for him, lives in an Adult Family Home (AFH) which has been really great. Its like a regular home in a regular neighborhood that serves a small group of 5 people, all suffering from dementia (you can imagine what THAT dinner table conversation is like...). The staff is 2 people FT during the day and then 1 at night unless there is an emergency. There is lots of consistency in care, lots of personal attention (which is so important for dementia patients) and the caregivers know the patients much better, thus reducing indicences of medical complications. They can read the signs of an emerging infection or change in behavior and catch them earlier. Its a huge improvement over the large nursing home type facility he was living in. Also, he can be there until the end.

    The moments of terrified clarity you mentioned have been the hardest for me to deal with, but its important to remember that with dementia, they really do forget about their anxiety after you leave. Its the family members that hold onto those feelings and are haunted by that desperate pleading face. Believe me, I know. This may sound crass or insensitive, but I think about my father's state (which is actually much further along now - he can't really speak nor get around or eat by himself) as being much like a dog's state of consciousness. He is very much living in the moment and not capable of reflecting on a lot if it isn't actually happening right then. And I don't think he thinks much about me when I am not there. But when I arrive, he sees me and remembers me and used to plead with me to take him with me, etc. So terrible. But, out of sight out of mind. Plus, any explaining I used to do about whay I couldn't care for him in my home is forgotten within the hour anyway. My dog also probably doesn't do a lot of thinking about me in my absence, but when he ses, me, he thinks "oh, there you are!" It feels very muchy like that.

    Another advantage of the high level of personal care at the AFH setting is that the staff is there to help you out. They usually help provide a distraction when its time to leave, easing my father's anxiety and mine. They know how to handle the situations well...

    Good luck with everything. Its really a totally crappy situation no matter how you slice it. We just stumble through the best we can.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  22. #47
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Caregiver issues

    Drafting a family member means no time off, 24/7/365 caregiving, and often a changed living situation anyway.

    Some years back my father's favorite kid mentioned that her house, with a separate guest room and attached bath, would be ideal for taking care of an old man. (She overlooked the steps, but then again so did dear ol' dad when he offered to host his aging aunt.)

    During my exploration into services (wow, it's been a year since he landed in the hospital for the last tidal wave), it was amazing to find how helpful the social services world could be. Police said they have a route of solo seniors who they check, and they referred me to another agency with home care. Those folks suggested another place. They all work together and support each other.

  23. #48
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Bumping so a new seeker can find it

    Quote Originally posted by Veloise View post
    IP, perhaps this will help a bit.

    And for everyone who doesn't live near an aging parent, here's a link to what appears to be a nationwide service that provides help with "aging in place."

    The term home care describes two very different types of care:

    Home health care provided by licensed medical professionals, for which you need a prescription.
    Non-medical home care, such as personal care, homemaker or companionship services provided by professional caregivers.

  24. #49
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Sitting vigil with my father in Seattle. He's been living with Alzheimer's for years and we are at the end. He was admitted to the hospital over the weekend and as per his medical directives (since he could not swallow on his own) he has been without fluids or food for a few days. The end is nigh.

    The bummer (or, more of a bummer) is that my brother, who lives in Seattle, is out of town with his family - at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Literally unreachable. The group he is with has a satellite phone but as fate would have it, the number he left is missing a digit and despite many hours tracking down customer service and support, it turns out there is no directory for these phones, so its impossible to find the correct number. I even called the Park Service who said they would try to get a message to him, but the section he is in is inaccessible so it will have to wait. He isn't slated to get off the river until June 10 when all of this will be done. He missed our mother's passing, too, so I feel bad for him. Though he has been living here with him and caring for him more than I.

    So, doing this one solo (got a kid still in school this week so mom is with him and the daughter back in NM). Pretty heavy, but I am glad to be here to send him off. This will be my 4th death. It ain't fun, but it is part of life. Still, its not exactly experience I would put on my resume.

    In brighter news, my son is receiving an award for academic excellence tomorrow at a school-wide ceremony. I'm so proud of my little over-achieving 6th grader! Just like his grandfather. He would be proud...
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  25. #50
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    Sitting vigil with my father in Seattle. He's been living with Alzheimer's for years and we are at the end. He was admitted to the hospital over the weekend and as per his medical directives (since he could not swallow on his own) he has been without fluids or food for a few days. The end is nigh.

    The bummer (or, more of a bummer) is that my brother, who lives in Seattle, is out of town with his family - at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Literally unreachable. The group he is with has a satellite phone but as fate would have it, the number he left is missing a digit and despite many hours tracking down customer service and support, it turns out there is no directory for these phones, so its impossible to find the correct number. I even called the Park Service who said they would try to get a message to him, but the section he is in is inaccessible so it will have to wait. He isn't slated to get off the river until June 10 when all of this will be done. He missed our mother's passing, too, so I feel bad for him. Though he has been living here with him and caring for him more than I.

    So, doing this one solo (got a kid still in school this week so mom is with him and the daughter back in NM). Pretty heavy, but I am glad to be here to send him off. This will be my 4th death. It ain't fun, but it is part of life. Still, its not exactly experience I would put on my resume.

    In brighter news, my son is receiving an award for academic excellence tomorrow at a school-wide ceremony. I'm so proud of my little over-achieving 6th grader! Just like his grandfather. He would be proud...
    Hang in there-prayers are with you and for an easy passage
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

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