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The NEVERENDING aging parents caretaking thread

JNA

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wahday - reading your post left me with a heavy heart.
 

ofos

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wahday, you're doing the right thing. It's been 15 years since I spent the last days with my dad. Hard to wait for the inevitable but I think it helps with closure.
 

Veloise

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Sitting vigil with my father in Seattle....
my brother, who lives in Seattle, is out of town with his family - at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.... 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...
Hmmm. Your brother might end up being fine with missing the final curtain. (Sis-the-doc was present at each parent's last breath. Not for me. I also declined to attend my last grandparents' funerals, having spent time with them hale and hearty just a year before. For many years, running my roadshow business, I had to face the notion of "what if?" while I was away, and I decided that I wouldn't drop everything to race across the country.)

Guess what is on my resume...shows level-headedness, explains the gap.

Holding your family and dad in the light.
 

Whose Yur Planner

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I wasn't there when three of my grandparents passed, but visited them just before they passed. I spent time with them and said my good byes. It provided closure for both them and me.
 

mendelman

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My prayers are with you and your family, wahday. I very recently dealt with a similar situation with my mother and I understand what your going through.
 

wahday

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You are are so frickin' nice! I appreciate all the support. Sitting outside the hospital in Seattle here and just heard a construction foreman tell his workers (with a good dose of sarcasm) "you guys are the best - you're slicker than sliced bread!" I don't know what that means, but I couldn't have said it better myself. Thanks!
 

ofos

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You are are so frickin' nice! I appreciate all the support. Sitting outside the hospital in Seattle here and just heard a construction foreman tell his workers (with a good dose of sarcasm) "you guys are the best - you're slicker than sliced bread!" I don't know what that means, but I couldn't have said it better myself. Thanks!
Least we can do. That sounds like a mixed metaphor. "Best idea since sliced bread" combined with "Slicker than snot". He should have ended with "If you takes my meaning..."
 

wahday

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Well I thought that too. But with all this free time I just had to see if this was some regional colloquialism playing on the "greatest thing" expression. Nothing definitive, but I found several forum and/or blog posts using it:

"Tonights lineup is looking slicker than slice"

"I mean this thing is slicker than sliced bread!"

"Some people think it is a solution to a non-problem. I think it is slicker than sliced bread"

"My acquaintance is a fellow I've known for several years who, while not a flaming Marxist, still thinks Barack Obama is slicker than sliced bread..."

What I really found entertaining were the many references to things that are slick. My favorite: "Slicker than a harpooned hippo on a banana tree" whoa!

Jesus! I have too much time on my hands (Styx was right) Or, to quote Mr. Petty, the waiting is the hardest part.

Thanks again Cyburbia!
 

Veloise

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Killing (hah) time while waiting

Wahday, sent you a PM.

  • Draft the obituary
  • Think about arrangements
  • Contact service providers and compare prices
  • Contact a few close friends and/or relatives
  • Work on photos for the memorial service displays (make color copies and use those)
  • Visit hospice/pallative sites. These contain very descriptive stages that will help you assess what is going on. Do you have time to run downstairs for lunch? How about running over to Kinko's to make color copies?

With an involved sibling who's out of pocket, I would do the data collection and then present my findings. Irrevocable decisions ("going to call up cousin down south to confront about those two extra cemetery plots, the hell with our infant brother buried in Detroit") should be belayed.
 

wahday

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Veloise, you're awesome! And we think alike as I have done 95% of your suggestions. I am just finishing my lunch, too. I even have photos assembled from back when he went into his current residence. He has Alzheimer's so it was a good trip down memory lane for him. Wrote the obit and editing from time to time. Selected the funeral home that will receive him (he will pass beforehand bro gets off the river) and they have agreed to put off cremation until my brother can come see him. And if there is anything anyone needs to know about the pre- and post-dying process I now feel like an expert. It's both macabre and fascinating.

Again, y'all are da bomb for your support!
 

Zoning Goddess

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My mom was in the nursing unit of her retirement community when she died several years ago. Hospice sent a nurse and she was wonderful.

Mom had had advanced dementia for her last couple years. My brother and I had already written the obit and made the "arrangements". He and his wife, and I, were there at the end. I'm sorry you're having to go this alone.
 

JNA

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wahday - you are better off dealing with this now then when I was only 14.
 

kjel

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Veloise, you're awesome! And we think alike as I have done 95% of your suggestions. I am just finishing my lunch, too. I even have photos assembled from back when he went into his current residence. He has Alzheimer's so it was a good trip down memory lane for him. Wrote the obit and editing from time to time. Selected the funeral home that will receive him (he will pass beforehand bro gets off the river) and they have agreed to put off cremation until my brother can come see him. And if there is anything anyone needs to know about the pre- and post-dying process I now feel like an expert. It's both macabre and fascinating.

Again, y'all are da bomb for your support!
Thinking of you and your family and hoping for an easy transition to the other side for your dad. Take care of yourself.
 

Veloise

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Helpful hint from Veloise

If you intend to cremate, but your very traditional parent would have wanted a very traditional funeral with viewing, a responsible funeral home will use their rental casket.
 

SW MI Planner

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Veloise, you're awesome! And we think alike as I have done 95% of your suggestions. I am just finishing my lunch, too. I even have photos assembled from back when he went into his current residence. He has Alzheimer's so it was a good trip down memory lane for him. Wrote the obit and editing from time to time. Selected the funeral home that will receive him (he will pass beforehand bro gets off the river) and they have agreed to put off cremation until my brother can come see him. And if there is anything anyone needs to know about the pre- and post-dying process I now feel like an expert. It's both macabre and fascinating.

Again, y'all are da bomb for your support!
I'm so sorry you have to go through this, much less by yourself. Thinking of all of you!
 

wahday

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If you intend to cremate, but your very traditional parent would have wanted a very traditional funeral with viewing, a responsible funeral home will use their rental casket.
Cremation was Dad's idea. After visiting with the funeral home I discovered its WAY more affordable than traditional burial. My mother was buried and my wife is Jewish (no cremation for her parents) so this is my first experience with that concept. When I was younger the idea freaked me out but now I find it rather poetic. These days people are buried inside concrete lined holes (I guess for public health reasons) which means you don't actually become part of the world/elements again. I like the idea that I, or my dad, might go on to become part of a flower or butterfly or whatever.
 

Veloise

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Good book to see if you can read while you wait

Jessica Mitford

With cremation you can hold a memorial service whenever is convenient; it doesn't have to be immediate. And the cool thing is: your "cremains" (they look like coarse sand) can spend eternity in outer space, the Gulf, the Hudson, your backyard...
 

Zoning Goddess

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Cremation was Dad's idea. After visiting with the funeral home I discovered its WAY more affordable than traditional burial. My mother was buried and my wife is Jewish (no cremation for her parents) so this is my first experience with that concept. When I was younger the idea freaked me out but now I find it rather poetic. These days people are buried inside concrete lined holes (I guess for public health reasons) which means you don't actually become part of the world/elements again. I like the idea that I, or my dad, might go on to become part of a flower or butterfly or whatever.
Both my parents were cremated (their wishes) and deposited in a "garden" at their Anglican church. It was all OK, except when Dad passed, the minister stuck the cardboard box with the ashes in the ground; when Mom passed 15 years later, the bishop had my brother and me dump the ashes in a hole. Whatever you do, it will be difficult.

p.s. My mom had Dad brought into his service in a casket and then he was cremated; my brother and i had signed Mom up with the National Cremation Society a few months before she passed. The cost for Mom was maybe 10% of what it cost for Dad's casket and cremation, by bypassing a local funeral home which sucked all they could out of Mom when Dad died.
 

wahday

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Both my parents were cremated (their wishes) and deposited in a "garden" at their Anglican church. It was all OK, except when Dad passed, the minister stuck the cardboard box with the ashes in the ground; when Mom passed 15 years later, the bishop had my brother and me dump the ashes in a hole. Whatever you do, it will be difficult.

p.s. My mom had Dad brought into his service in a casket and then he was cremated; my brother and i had signed Mom up with the National Cremation Society a few months before she passed. The cost for Mom was maybe 10% of what it cost for Dad's casket and cremation, by bypassing a local funeral home which sucked all they could out of Mom when Dad died.
All this feedback is great and I enjoy (not quite the right word but not sure what is) hearing about others' experiences.

Dad is an atheist so no church, synagogue or mosque (or meetinghouse or ???) at play in this scenario. Just he and his wishes. Though his will does put the decision of what to do with his cremations up to my brother and I. I would like to spread at least some in the woods beside my mother's grave (who died in '91). And I forgot we also want to put a headstone at his plot there even though he won't be buried there.

Anyway there will be no service with a casket for him though we do plan to have a memorial back in PA where he lived and worked for 40 years. He was a big shot genetics research pioneer so is quite well known at the university and some medical societies. Lots of folks there who would like to say goodbye.
 

Veloise

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Even cheaper...

Putting it out there in case someone needs it.

If you donate a body to science, for medical research, they can run their tests and then return the cremains. They pay all the outbound and return freight. A friend's mother died a couple years ago, and otherwise it was going to be set up a Kickstarter to cover expenses.

Funeral homes charge storage fees. Morgues do not. Another friend had his live-in GF die in a hospital, and he pretty much went dormant in terms of what to do. I think she was there for about a month. (Multitudes of friends stepped in, donating money for expenses, then clearing out his out with many dumpster-loads. It was a beautiful thing to see from afar.)
 

wahday

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Dad passed away Saturday morning. He took his time! 6 nights in the hospital and I am a pretzel. Back home now with my family and my brother, who still does not even know he went into the hospital, ends his river trip today. Will be quite a shock. Told the estranged wife as well (his, not mine) who had bowed out of his care when he got Alzheimer’s. A little uncomfortable. Just so long as she doesn’t come after his money…

Thanks everyone for the support. That was a challenging task to do by myself, but Cyburbia really helped.
 

Midori

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I'm so sorry. It sounds like you have been a real champ through all this. Even if your father doesn't fully realize all you've done, you have done him a real honor.

If you need to vent with the winding up of affairs (don't know if you will be involved in executing a will or administering an estate), feel free. I've done a very little estate work on the legal side, enough to know it can be a real bear.
 

ofos

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wahday, sorry for your loss but it's good to know that your solitary vigil is over. Hang tight to the good old memories and let the recent ones fade away.
 

Whose Yur Planner

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Dad passed away Saturday morning. He took his time! 6 nights in the hospital and I am a pretzel. Back home now with my family and my brother, who still does not even know he went into the hospital, ends his river trip today. Will be quite a shock. Told the estranged wife as well (his, not mine) who had bowed out of his care when he got Alzheimer’s. A little uncomfortable. Just so long as she doesn’t come after his money…

Thanks everyone for the support. That was a challenging task to do by myself, but Cyburbia really helped.
Sorry to hear that he passed, but am glad for you that it's over. The tough part is coming, so take your time.
 

kms

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Dad passed away Saturday morning. He took his time! 6 nights in the hospital and I am a pretzel. Back home now with my family and my brother, who still does not even know he went into the hospital, ends his river trip today. Will be quite a shock. Told the estranged wife as well (his, not mine) who had bowed out of his care when he got Alzheimer’s. A little uncomfortable. Just so long as she doesn’t come after his money…

Thanks everyone for the support. That was a challenging task to do by myself, but Cyburbia really helped.
Sorry for your loss.
 

Veloise

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What a way to go!

My brother married a great gal some 25 years ago. She's become my favorite sibling (and she enjoys me because I have bro's sense of humor and upbringing history, but we share grrll power viewpoints).

Her mother died last week, and I traveled to the funeral (waves at Grif) because my SIL has been so helpful and supportive over the events regarding my parents. In contrast to their long slow declines...

--she had a hip replacement a few weeks back (at age 83, this does not align with "no green bananas")
--was recovering nicely, at one of her kid's in Florida
--woke up in the middle of the night, "I hurt all over, call an ambulance"
--DOA at hospital

And her six kids/multiple grands all get along well, there was no "I'm The Eldest so I'm in charge!" drama and discomfort. Although unexpected, her kids all picked up the slack and crafted some nice final arrangements.

Best of all: her house seems to be devoid of hoarding, collections, and other challenges for estate distribution. (She'd moved around her small town a couple of times, downsizing as a widow and as the nest emptied.) Her final home is a ranch condo, likely built in the Aughts, with no maintenance surprises facing the heirs.

Just some more ideas for those further back on the path.
 

kjel

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My brother married a great gal some 25 years ago. She's become my favorite sibling (and she enjoys me because I have bro's sense of humor and upbringing history, but we share grrll power viewpoints).

Her mother died last week, and I traveled to the funeral (waves at Grif) because my SIL has been so helpful and supportive over the events regarding my parents. In contrast to their long slow declines...

--she had a hip replacement a few weeks back (at age 83, this does not align with "no green bananas")
--was recovering nicely, at one of her kid's in Florida
--woke up in the middle of the night, "I hurt all over, call an ambulance"
--DOA at hospital

And her six kids/multiple grands all get along well, there was no "I'm The Eldest so I'm in charge!" drama and discomfort. Although unexpected, her kids all picked up the slack and crafted some nice final arrangements.

Best of all: her house seems to be devoid of hoarding, collections, and other challenges for estate distribution. (She'd moved around her small town a couple of times, downsizing as a widow and as the nest emptied.) Her final home is a ranch condo, likely built in the Aughts, with no maintenance surprises facing the heirs.

Just some more ideas for those further back on the path.
I hope my exit from this life will be just as straightforward. Because my mom and I had talked at length about what she wanted it was easy for me to make decisions when she did pass away unexpectedly. Her estate was very simple. Mine is a little more complicated, but we have these discussion about final wishes and I've got pretty much everything financial sorted out already, just a few loose things I am in the process of tying up.
 

Zoning Goddess

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My brother married a great gal some 25 years ago. She's become my favorite sibling (and she enjoys me because I have bro's sense of humor and upbringing history, but we share grrll power viewpoints).

Her final home is a ranch condo, likely built in the Aughts, with no maintenance surprises facing the heirs.

Just some more ideas for those further back on the path.
My parents both made detailed plans and involved my brother and me, so no surprises, just meeting up with the bishop at her church to save a date.
 

Veloise

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Aging relatives' excellent forethought

About a decade ago, a new senior retirement community opened in the 'burbs. My father's cousin and her husband had lived in their same home, inner ring suburb, for a very long time. It was his decision to move to this new place. At the same time, her aged mother was dying, finally leaving her house in Detroit for a weeks-long hospital stay. They had to contend with getting rid of her lifetime of stuff while they downsized to a 2BR apartment. (I ended up with several of my great-aunt's possessions, along with some of cousin's.) Interesting footnote: their wedding was November 23, 1963; my sister and I were their flower girls.

The new place, a megaplex of activities and services for the active senior, turned out to be a fabulous transition. While their apartment is smaller than the old house, it's all on one level, with two bathrooms and a well-designed modern kitchen. Their living room looks exactly like the old one, except that their picture window wraps around the corner of the building. In the public space, there's a front desk concierge, barbershop, salon. Library. Fitness area. Computer room. Classes on various subjects, Wii bowling league, movie room. Showcases with displays on rotation; one month it will be someone's needleworks, the next it will be Judaica or woodcrafts. Several restaurants with cafeteria, table service, buffet options. (I've eaten there often, and they are all good.) The youthful staffers are working on food service or hospitality degrees. All the buildings are connected so it's possible to walk everywhere and never need a coat. There's a weekly bus to various shopping places, and assistance with that. They take road trips to museums, cultural events, and other goings-on. Everyone knows everyone else, the residents wear nametags (helps with forgetfulness), and the whole set-up reminds me of a college dorm minus the crazy behaviors and looming graduation. Several times I mentioned how fun it looked to live there, and how much my widowed father would have enjoyed it had we ever been able to pry him from his house.

And as the place filled up, its owners realized that there would be a need for additional housing units (all the current residents invited their friends, who decided to downsize from single-family homes and move in), as well as further care options. A nursing care facility, Alzheimer's unit, and more special services were built.

Cousin's hubby began to decline last fall. On one of my visits, she mentioned that she couldn't leave him in the dining room while she walked me to the exit because he would wander off (she enlisted a friend to sit with him). Around the holidays he worsened, and moved to the care facility on campus. To get there, she traveled from their 4th floor place to the ground floor, then walked across a parking lot (there's also a shuttle bus). Between sitting at his bedside, when his long-term prognosis became clear, she'd return to their place and begin the process of sorting through his things.

While I don't have details on his final arrangements, I am guessing cuz will use the chapel area right there at their complex. One of the biggest challenges for a new widow is companionship, friends staying in touch. This should be a comfortable transition with all the gathering places, public spaces, and ease of dropping in.

Putting this out there for those interested to consider. While senior communities aren't for everyone, they are certainly worth a look.
 

JNA

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What an experience helping Mom(84 yrs old) downsize(clean out) from the house she lived in for 55 yrs - 40 years as a widow.
It was an effort to keep her moving along in the decision making - she would stop and reread all the papers she had saved - even some from college. 8-!
 

kjel

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What an experience helping Mom(84 yrs old) downsize(clean out) from the house she lived in for 55 yrs - 40 years as a widow.
It was an effort to keep her moving along in the decision making - she would stop and reread all the papers she had saved - even some from college. 8-!
My heart goes out to you as I know this was difficult for both you and for her. I remember when we moved my grandmother from her place she lived in for 20+ years as she went to live in an assisted living facility and eventually a nursing home.
 

Planit

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What an experience helping Mom(84 yrs old) downsize(clean out) from the house she lived in for 55 yrs - 40 years as a widow.
It was an effort to keep her moving along in the decision making - she would stop and reread all the papers she had saved - even some from college. 8-!
My mom has the same issue. She must read every slip of paper in its entirety before she throws it out. Cleaning out takes an awful long time.
 

Bubba

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I'll preface this by noting that I live about 250 miles away from my parents...

My father is 81, and my mother turns 77 in a couple of weeks. While my father is in good shape mentally, and in passable-to-decent shape for his age physically, my mother is pretty far advanced into Alzheimer's. Aside from a little house cleaning avoidance (nothing major), I hadn't seen any areas of concern with his care of her during recent visits down. And then, Friday night during dinner out, I get a text from my sister (who lives a few miles away our parents) - apparently my mother had wandered out of the house and made it about a half-mile away before being recognized and brought back...and Adult Protective Services and the police were called. Talked to my father on Sunday - he acted like it was nothing, and that "people who have no business helping her out try to help her out by calling the police." :not:

And then my sister started talking to some of the neighbors...seems that this is a regular occurrence, along with some other warning signs of neglect. While I know that it is not intentional on the part of my father, care for someone like my mother is difficult at best, and he seems to be in denial of the fact that it's overwhelming him. His younger brother called me last night to politely try and order me to drop any plans for this coming weekend and get back to my hometown to talk some sense into him - I told my uncle I was one step ahead of him, and already planning on coming down to have a Come to Jesus talk with the old man.

So, there's that...
 

kms

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I'll preface this by noting that I live about 250 miles away from my parents...

My father is 81, and my mother turns 77 in a couple of weeks. While my father is in good shape mentally, and in passable-to-decent shape for his age physically, my mother is pretty far advanced into Alzheimer's. Aside from a little house cleaning avoidance (nothing major), I hadn't seen any areas of concern with his care of her during recent visits down. And then, Friday night during dinner out, I get a text from my sister (who lives a few miles away our parents) - apparently my mother had wandered out of the house and made it about a half-mile away before being recognized and brought back...and Adult Protective Services and the police were called. Talked to my father on Sunday - he acted like it was nothing, and that "people who have no business helping her out try to help her out by calling the police." :not:

And then my sister started talking to some of the neighbors...seems that this is a regular occurrence, along with some other warning signs of neglect. While I know that it is not intentional on the part of my father, care for someone like my mother is difficult at best, and he seems to be in denial of the fact that it's overwhelming him. His younger brother called me last night to politely try and order me to drop any plans for this coming weekend and get back to my hometown to talk some sense into him - I told my uncle I was one step ahead of him, and already planning on coming down to have a Come to Jesus talk with the old man.

So, there's that...
Oh no. I hope your visit with your dad turns out well for your family.
 

kjel

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I'm so sorry Bubba. I hope your family can come up with something that works for everyone.
 

mendelman

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I can only imagine the difficulty of such as situation.

I tangentially experience elder care when my grandmother had to come live with us when I was a teen.

Right now, my siblings and I don't necessarily see the prospect of elder care for our Dad (he's 75 and extremely independent), but my wife and I have the specter of elder care for my MIL. She's only 66 but physically about about 80+. Though, my wife's sister has a large house and lives 10 miles away from her, as opposed to our 200 miles.
 

DVD

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Sorry to hear that. My wife had to take care of her mom. We moved her in to make it easier and when she wanted to walk outside we would have the kids ride bikes. They had a firm no going past this part of the sidewalk policy and kept mom in line. It was kind of cute, because she would listen to them more than us. I'm dreading having to take care of my mom. She's in San Antonio and my brother is in Houston, but I know I'll end up doing the care giving. Fortunately she's still an angry old lady yelling at the kids to get off the lawn and the worst we have to deal with is the darn computer and she knows my brother is the computer guy.
 

luckless pedestrian

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Oh I am so sorry to hear this - we have had to deal with this with my Mom for the last four years before she died a few months ago and it was very hard to watch

My MIL lives with us and I will tell you it's very hard taking that on - it has ripped our marriage, family life, kids, household and my self esteem to shreds so I warn people about taking that on in their homes.
 

Bubba

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So, there's that...
Thanks, all.

The talk went better than expected. I do not think that I was saying anything new to the old man, but my voice is a bit more, um, penetrating than my sister's or any of my aunts/uncles. Also, I'm a hell of a lot more blunt when irritated, With that said, I don't have much faith in the old man actually doing everything needs to be done to get help. However, their wonderful neighbors have mobilized to provide some support with meals in the short term, and by late in the day on Sunday I was hearing some things that seemed to indicate that at least part of what I talked to him about was sinking in.

Having to be the adult to your parents fucking sucks, by the way.
 

WSU MUP Student

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Bubba - I'm sorry to hear about the problems with your parents.

My parents are roughly the same age as yours but are still pretty sharp mentally and very active (knock on wood) though my dad has his heart problems. When my grandma (my mom's mom) started showing the early stages of alzheimer's about 15 years ago she was in Florida and all of her kids were up here in Michigan and not only could they not see her downfall as closely as somebody living nearby, they didn't like telling their mom what to do and grandma, who was always stubborn, didn't like being told what to do by them. She had a few neighbors who would look over her as best they could but they were all 80+ years old as well and either only in Florida a few months of the year (grandma lived their full time) or busy dealing with their own old person problems.

My dad's sister lives in Florida about 90 minutes away from where my grandma was and volunteered to go check on her each week. She had known my grandma all her life so she used the pretense of just going to visit because grandma lived right across the street from the beach but she would come over and really just use the trip as a chance to help catch up on cleaning, run errands, and make sure she was taking care of her (my aunt was also already retired so she had time to spare). We found that grandma was much more willing to do what my aunt would tell her to do than what her own kids would tell her. I think it helped that grandma didn't look at my aunt as her own baby. She thought of my aunt as an impartial person in all of this.

I know I would have a hard time telling my parents what to do if it ever comes to that. Thankfully, I don't think either of my older sisters would have any difficulty at all doing that.
 
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