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Tuesday, April 7

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Fuel

Lisa / August 7, 2006 12:36 PM

The wording of this question is a little loaded...sometimes nursing facilities are better equipped to deal with the ill than individual households.

That said, if it was within my abilities, I would take care of them in my home or hire someone to help them out at their own home.

Huh? / August 7, 2006 12:39 PM

I know this question was mentioned in a previous thread, but I thought it was a joke.

Marilyn / August 7, 2006 12:56 PM

Not a joke. I'm caring for my mother right now and all of her friends said their kids wouldn't do the same for them. I was surpirsed they would think that way. That's why I wanted to see what the generally younger readers of Fuel would say. Honesty, however, is essential.

shechemist / August 7, 2006 1:04 PM

Depends.

If it was going to be a matter of a month or so, hospice was involved, and my hypothetical dying parent didnít have dementia, nor was ventilator dependent, Iíd care for them at home. Iíve taken care of non-dying patients with dementia in a hospital (and the upsetting things they can do like yank out thier Foley catheter without deflating the balloon. Twice. Or becoming combative because they are confused.) and there is no way Iíd bring that home to my husband and kid(s).

Before my mom was killed, she was the primary care giver for her mother-in-law, who wasnít dying, but had very poor health. That experience was hard on my mom and she was adamant that if she ever needed the level of care her MIL needed, that she was to go to a skilled nursing facility. She didnít want to burden me.

Sarah / August 7, 2006 1:05 PM

Wow...yeah I would say that this question could have been worded in a more sensitive way.

This is a really tricky question, which I think is going to be different for every person.

Caretaking is very stressful and not everyone is cut out to do it...plus I don't even live in the same state as my parents. This is something that I'm hopefully not going to have to think about for some time...but I have two friends that are dealing with it now. One thing that I sometimes think about is whether my parents are putting enough money away for retirement, and whether they have long term care insurance. I have heard about people going bankrupt because they don't have insurance to cover nursing home costs. I will have to talk about it with them at some point but am very hesitant to do so. I also worry because they have mortages and loans and stuff that are on a thirty year repayment schedule...am I going to end up with that debt? Eek.

Andrew / August 7, 2006 1:06 PM

My dad is dealing with this issue with my grandfather (well, sort of -- he's not dying yet, but he's in his late 80s and has type II diabetes and short-term memory loss). Grandpa lived in his own home for a few years, with a woman coming by daily to check on him and make meals. He recently moved to a nursing home after a bout of dizziness caused him to fall several times; the last time, the caretaker found him on the floor in the kitchen, too week to get up and unable to say how long he'd been laying there.

When my other grandfather was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, he and my grandmother went with hospice care, which allowed him to stay at home and die in his own bed.

I'd probably follow these precidents, only sending my parent(s) to a nursing home if it became clear they couldn't live unassisted, and bringing them home with hospice care, if possible, for their last days.

Huh? / August 7, 2006 1:13 PM

Thanks for clarifying, Marilyn. I was wondering because, yes, it's a pretty uncharacteristic question for this site.

That said, I'm not sure what kind of answers you're going to get here. It depends on so many things--money, where you live in relation to ailing parent, type of illness/convalescence and whether it's short or long term. I think the answer boils down to this: most people will do the best they can do and the best they know how.

fluffy / August 7, 2006 1:18 PM

Mother- Yes, without hesitation, I would take care of her. I think my employer would let me work from home, but that would be the biggest hurdle. Being able to work and taking care of her.

Father- not my problem.

This is a difficult question. No one wants to think of their parents dying. I used to volunteer at an old folks home and I couldn't believe how many old people were just dumped there. At the same time, it was nice to see the old people make new friends. The ladies gave each other manicures and watched movies together.

I think I'm depressed now. Marilyn, good luck with everything.

Amy / August 7, 2006 1:33 PM

I just finished a bout with my Mom and neurosurgery. She was homebound for 3 months. I tried to make a deal with my family that M-F I would be at work and every weekend I would come down and help out.

I discovered that I really liked the weekend thing - but I know that if I didn't establish that boundary I would have fretted about her all of the time. Assisted care vs. home care is totally dependent on the situation. I know that I am eternally grateful to my grandma and her church for helping out so much.

The recommendation I would come up with is to find an outlet where you don't have to be the caregiver - a good cup of coffee with a friend at least once a week. Silly movies. I love Netflix.

I hope your mom is doing well - I knew that I was lucky because we had a defined period for healing and she didn't have any complications. 3 months didn't seem like forever because she raised me, right?

Bill V / August 7, 2006 1:36 PM

I would take care of mother / father for 18 years, then they're on their own.

John Glenn / August 7, 2006 1:50 PM

I'd like to thank John Glenn for his courageous flight in 1998 at age 77.

Because of his initiative, there will soon be a day when we can shoot all our elderly citizens into space.

Lisa / August 7, 2006 1:50 PM

Marilyn--Like Sarah said, not everyone is cut out for caretaking.

I took care of my grandmother each weekend for the year before she died as she suffered through throat cancer. It was very important to her to be at home, and my help plus that of a hired caretaker the other days made that possible.

Had I not been able to help (as the oldest grandchild), I think she'd have had to gone to a facility. Her three sons lived nearby and cared for her deeply, but I don't think they could handle it emotionally (especially given the nature of some of the care she required.) And I get the sense she was more comfortable with me anyways (gender may have played a role).

It was tough, but one of the best thing's I've ever done.

Good luck.

Paula / August 7, 2006 1:57 PM

How, uh, timely as this was recently something I had to cope with. My mom was dignosed with lung cancer in mid-January - by the time it was detected it had spread to her bones, adrenal glands, and brain - she only lived eight weeks after she was diagnosed. She was able to be at home for about 5-6 of those weeks but then she bgan having problems with shortness of breath and she had to be hospitalized. From there we did not have much of a choice - because she needed such a high level of medical care we found an excellent nursing home that could cope with the care and was close to my family so we could all visit once or twice a day. Sadly, she was only there for a week before she needed to go back into the hospital where she died.

I still beat myself up sometimes going over and over in my head thinking that there was maybe some way she could have been at home.

Baldeesh / August 7, 2006 2:03 PM

This is a rough subject.

My mom lost her mom when she was 24. I'm 25, and the thought of losing my mom (or her getting old and frail) terrifies me.

But I would do whatever I could for her - and I'm sure my 3 younger sisters would pitch in.

And my mom told us that we don't have to take care of our stepdad if we didn't want to. Which is awesome, because my sisters and I are not a fan of the guy.

Ralphie / August 7, 2006 2:04 PM

That's a tough one. I had a friend recently who's sister had her grandmother move in with her. The thing that sucked for my friend, was that her sister was expecting her to come out and babysit her kids and the grandmother every time she couldn't be there. It was her sisters decision to move the gram in, but she would get a big ol' guilt trip if she had plans of her own, because her sister just expected her to help out. The gram had Alzheimers, and couldn't recognize anyone anyway, so she would have been just as comfie in a home.

I guess the point here is, if you make the decision to take someone in yourself, that's laudable, but it's not ok to put that stress on others if they can't handle it.

JB / August 7, 2006 2:07 PM

My mother and I have both been in this situation with various relatives (she lived with and cared for an alzheimer's patient, I lived with and cared for one who had terminal cancer), and have struck a deal with each other: That no matter what, we are allowed to "ship" each other off to nursing homes if we become infirm to the point we can't take care of basic needs like feeding or going to the bathroom, or don't recognize each other. NO GUILT is allowed. Weekly visits are required. She is my best friend and we have talked about this more than two people probably should--it's been sort of an obsession for both of us as we each dealt with our respective caretaker duties for others--and we decided together that this was the best way for us.

It's different for everyone, however, and I encourage people to talk about it with their loved ones BEFORE they have to deal with it.

Marilyn / August 7, 2006 2:08 PM

Thanks for the good wishes. I'm lucky because I have my husband at home during the day and my brother or niece will come and stay with her with some advance notice if I have to go somewhere. She has been in the hospital for a month, though, and I can't wait to get her home again. I really miss her and treasure all the time I have with her. Who knows how long it will be? Taking care of her is the most rewarding thing I've ever done, but YES, it is tough and not for everyone.

LJB / August 7, 2006 2:13 PM

As a 24yo long-term care ombudsman with parents in their early 50s, I know a lot more about nursing homes than is practical for my personal life. That said, there are good homes and bad homes, and the best thing you can do is research, research, research. Contact your local ombudsman for information on facilities, how to choose one, residents' rights, etc. Sometimes long-term care is the best option, whether it's because an illness has progressed, or that the bonds of the familial relationship can't support that kind of dependency.

If I had to, I would take care of my parents. My resources and our relationship could bear that strain (well, my resources in 30 years when they would be elderly). More and more federal and state funding is being directed towards programs--like caregiver support, home modification, etc.--that help seniors remain in their homes longer, and eases the burden on family members somewhat.

The Illinois Department on Aging's Senior Help Line can help link a caregiver or senior to those services: 1-800-252-8966.

jonesybot / August 7, 2006 2:53 PM

Wouldn't that have to depend on circumstance and resources necessary for care?

This is really a drag of a question, because who can really predict the right thing to do, and one's own strength in challenging situations?

I am an only child and the prospect of being faced with this some time in the next 15-20 years haunts me.

sb / August 7, 2006 2:54 PM

i think the wording of this question is really unfair.

my grandm0ther had a stroke while i was in high school. she was paralyzed on the left side of her body. she lived next door and my mom tried to take care of her at home, with the help of a CNA who was there during the day.

One night Grandma was hungry and decided to get up and fix herself a tuna fish sandwich. She had forgotten she could no longer walk. She fell and broke her hip. She laid there for hours until Mom happened to check on her. The family decided she'd be better off in a place where there was 24 hour professional health care.

The tenor of this question and some of the responses seems to be: "would you be a good person and take care of your ailing family member, or a total wuss who can't handle it who ships them off to die in misery?" maybe this was not the intent. but when people are very sick, it's not always best for them to be at home. unless you have tons of money and can afford round-the-clock care. - and maybe not even then.

the sad thing is that so many nursing facilities are not good places to live. this is heartbreaking, and I think that it says really terrible things about us as a society. this decision, which many of us may have to make, would be easier if the care facilities were more, well, caring. my family's decision to keep Grandma at home was motivated at least in part by fear of substandard care; but home care was not right for her.

Annie / August 7, 2006 3:13 PM

That question is pretty loaded. SB is right, home care is not right for most people. I'm not a medical professional, and if I was, it would be irresponsible of me to procide that kind care for my own parent.

Additionally, most people's homes are not set up for the kind of situations that sick &/or frail people face. Stairways, showers, even getting in & out of bed can be hazardous. Nutrition becomes an issue as well.

This isn't to say that I would just ship my folks off to a nursing home the minute they get the sniffles. But I've seen the way my dad's family delt with their ailing mother. Their desire to keep her at home as long as possible was really motiviated by denail of the situation. As long as they kept her in her own home, they could pretend she was ok. My own mother has told me that she doesn't want me in that position, and I'm fortunate that they have the means to have someone care for them properly. I know I could not do it.

Andrew / August 7, 2006 3:17 PM

Apologies for the question wording -- no implications one way or the other were intended. I just used Marilyn's phrasing.

I've rephrased it a bit to make its intent clearer.

Marilyn / August 7, 2006 3:20 PM

Hey, I wrote that in haste. My original wording was much more sensitive. I'm not interested in who is planning to "dump" a sinck parent. On the other hand, there do seem to be a lot of older people who don't feel they can rely on their children, and they would like to. My mother didn't want to be "a burden" either until she realized that she needed help and hated the four days in the nursing home. Don't always fall for the brave routine. When you're actually in the foxhole, things change.

CarrieD / August 7, 2006 3:36 PM

As someone who lived in a developing country for two years where nearly all older parents remain in the home, I think this question is interesting (though, I agree, poorly worded).

It's not a secret that our culture is much more friendly to the "shipping off" option than other parts of the world, but it's also much easier for the oldest generation to stay in the home elsewhere, because the grown children are often still in the house too. The burden for the primary caregiver (the daughter or daughter-in-law) is alleviated by unmarried sisters and grown sons or daughters-in-law as well. Conversely, while the older generation is still able-bodied, they can also assist with childcare for their grandkids. In the country where I lived, both nursing homes and daycare centers are unnecessary.

For my own part, I think having to care for one or both parents on my own would be extremely daunting, however I definitely don't want any hypothetical future children living with me after they're grown (let alone bringing in their spouses!). Although other cultures have an advantage with the caregiving question, they definitely are without things we as Americans value pretty highly, such as social independence and privacy.

sb / August 7, 2006 3:37 PM

oh wait- now the wording's been changed, so it looks like i'm complaining about nothing...

thanks though.

mary / August 7, 2006 3:57 PM

i agree with what most everyone here has said. i would take care of her to the best of my abilities (and with the help of hospice) but if her condition required 24 hr help, i would have no option but to send her to the help she deserved. since my siblings live all over the country, i would be first candidate for primary caretaker, but i doubt my siblings would not offer to help. my mom took care of my dad when he was sick with cancer until he passed away, and i think that myself, and my siblings, would agree that she would deserve the best, whether that be love and care in my home, or not.

Allan / August 7, 2006 3:59 PM

I heard that girls are into guys who treat there mothers well so that makes me want to take care of her myself Plus it would be weird to send her off to a nursing home when it is her house I am living in but then again I would finally have my own place and that would score me some points with the ladies too.

Alison / August 7, 2006 4:04 PM

As an only child with not only a mom and a dad, but a stepmom and a stepdad AND a history of Alzheimer's in the family, I have been thinking about this a lot lately. I definitely agree that when it comes to Alzheimer's in it's advanced stage, a good nursing home is not only less complicated option, but a safer way to go. When taking care of someone who really can't do anything for themselves and is prone to wandering and violent mood swings, it's best to call in a trained professional.

In other cases, such as cancer and strokes, though, I can see a very valid case for wanting to spend your time with your loved ones in a familiar, comfortable place.

Ugh, what a tough question.

julie / August 7, 2006 4:10 PM

caregiving is tough work. when you're caring for a family member, you rarely get paid for it. it can be emotionally and physically taxing, and may take skills beyond those you already have.

I guess instead of asking this question, maybe we should ask why it is we're so hesitant to trust the pro's, and how we can change that? Most nursing home workers and home caregivers earn less than a McDonald's employee, yet we trust them with our loved ones' lives. Maybe if we fixed that, paid a professional salary to get a professional workforce, the choice wouldn't be as tough.

mike / August 7, 2006 4:38 PM

This isn't a downer.

daughter / August 7, 2006 5:28 PM

My entire childhood consisted of taking care of my grandparents - in their homes, in our home, in the hospital and eventually in nursing homes and rehab facilities. I would try to keep my parents at home as long as possible, but we have all talked and realize that we are not medical professionals and its okay if there comes a day when an assisted living communitity is in their best interests.

Another thing is that I can't imagine a day when I WILL be able to take care of them at home long term if they need 24 hour supervision. Who will pay my rent? How do people do it?

I also have some mentally disabled family members, and we have had similar tough conversations about their situations, as they will likely outlive their caregivers.

mike-ts / August 7, 2006 5:34 PM

This is a topic that can be discussed over a week, not just a couple of days on Fuel. It has so many facets, I don't know where to begin.

I've seen dozens of these situations in the family, and none have been a cakewalk (in spite of good luck with family liberally pitching in, and very helpful and sympathetic stand-up husbands/wives of caregivers in the picture). One doesn't know how hard the job of caregiving really is, especially when you have an elder who is hard-headed and independent who just won't listen to a junior in the family. Then Alzheimers, the only thing I can think of that's as intensive is taking care of a mentally special-needs child.

Plus, nowadays, go ahead, leave the workplace to take care of ma for five to ten years, then try to get back in the workplace careerwise and not find yourself not getting hired back in your field, and you end up taking a fast food job.

Note to Paula:
Quit beating yourself up over the need to have your mom in the nursing home at the end. My father wanted to remain at home, but ended up at the hospital for his last days of lung cancer. I refused to leave him like that without the 24/7 care of the hospital, yes in defiance of what he wanted. Hard Head gave me the dirtiest look when I signed him into admissions.

You tried to get her the best medical care you could, while you could, let that be your comfort. If I honored his wishes, I'd be miserable knowing that I didn't try my best for him when he needed me the most. You did good.

w / August 7, 2006 7:31 PM

I would take care of them in my home.

Shasta MacNasty / August 7, 2006 7:54 PM

If I had the financial resources and help of family members, that absolutely I would want to take care of them at home. It depends on the situation and what I'm able to do.

printdude / August 7, 2006 8:10 PM

I cannot make that decision without more information; there's a line that needs be drawn here.

I would put up with a lot, but I will have to make that line somewhere before i'm changing diapers. Because I'm not.

Lady J / August 8, 2006 9:39 AM

I took care of my father in our home when he was dying of cancer, along with the assistance of Hospice. I was 23 and, at the time, it sucked. I wanted to go to shows, hang out with my friends, etc... Looking back, I made the right choice for the situation. It was an exhausting few months, but he cared for me for all over those years... so why not return the favor if I was able.

JP / August 8, 2006 10:22 AM

This is really depressing. I love my Mom but there is almost no way I could take care of her myself nor could I afford to put here in a nursing home. Depressing. New topic please. Something that allows me to briefly forget about the long list of hard things I have and will be dealing with. Something like. "What is the funniest joke you know" or "What was the best birthday gift you have given or received"

jonk / August 8, 2006 10:57 AM

when my mom was dying from breast cancer and after spending most of two months in a hospital, my sister and i moved her into a nursing home, i think on the advice of hospital folk. she wanted to be/die at home (if not before, at least after some time in the n-home). i thought about quitting my job to take care of her, and sometimes regret i didn't. she was basically immobile in bed for four months which caused her skin to break down causing various infections, when she wasn't hallucinating from the drugs, she was asking to die. i'm not sure i could have coped 24/7, or even 9-5.

i'd be curious to hear from the old folks who said their kids "wouldn't do the same for them" - would they expect it? want it? what kinds of variables (gender (of cared for and caring), ethnicity, class, etc.) tend to foster what kind of expectations?

Marilyn / August 8, 2006 11:09 AM

I don't know that I can speak for them entirely. I assume that they would like to be at home in the care of a loved one. I think they are sad that they don't think that they will be able to have that with their children. People my mother's age (Depression-era) are a lot more family-oriented and person-to-person than my generation (Baby Boom) or the generations that have come after me. That seems to cut across all ethnicities from what I've observed, once a group gets a generation or two in America under their belt.

But I kind of think nobody of any age would like to be in a nursing home if they could avoid it. I took Mom to one, and the attendants would leave her all day with her pump beeping, her roommate moaning, etc etc. I couldn't leave her there and knew I could handle her care myself. She went to the hospital when I couldn't do what she needed. She'll be home again when it's safe for her. I'll put her in home care hospice when the time comes.

Avril2080 / August 8, 2006 11:25 AM

My father wouldn't tell me that Mom's dying. Neither would my mom, of course. . .

If Dad isn't around and Mom becomes ill, I suspect that she'll tell my brother.


spook / August 8, 2006 11:31 AM

I think when an adult brings a child into this world, they do it for their own personal/selfish reasons. The child has no say in the matter. A parent then has a sacred obligation to make sure the child has all there needs met untill the are of 21. When the child is is an adult, they should not be guilt tripped into being a permanent caretaker for a parent.

With that being said, I believe that its important for all adults to fight for not just universal heath care but grade A care for seniors by their government which means decent retirement housing for seniors at all levels of heath

Leelah / August 8, 2006 11:35 AM

I have no idea.

This is a pretty depressing topic. And it's my birthday, which should be a day of joy and happiness for all!

Anne / August 8, 2006 12:24 PM

My grandmother lived with my parents until a few months ago, when she moved to a nursing home a few miles from their house. I was really surprised to see how much happier she is there than living with my folks. She's so much less isolated--before, she never saw many people aside from my parents, and now she has tons of daily social interaction. My parents are happier too, because they have more privacy, can go on trips without worrying about her, etc.

Granted, there are several special factors at work here--she's still pretty lucid and healthy, she has her own room, the staff seem pretty on-the-ball, and my parents are able to visit her often.

eep / August 8, 2006 1:53 PM

My grandma has been living with my parents for seven years now (I lived with them for two during this time). Grandma will be 99 next month, and for the past three years my mom has had to be with her 24/7 because she can't do daily tasks unassisted. Unfortunately now my grandmother's dementia is getting worse, to the point where sometimes she doesn't know whose house she's in. My parents are currently contemplating moving her to a home, because the stress of her dementia combined with her health problems are becoming more than they can handle. Their rule has always been this: if my grandmother can't walk or use the facilities that they already have in the house, then she'll need more specialized care. And if she doesn't recognize family any longer, then she'll go to a home. Even with this plan in place from the start, knowing that it's coming to this is still hard for all of us. You can't help but feel like you're abandoning someone, even when the rational part of your brain tells you this isn't the case.

It's a tough call to make. Taking an ailing parent into your home results in more sacrifice than you can imagine. My parents liken it to taking care of a very large infant. They've promised me that they'll never ask of me what they've done for grandma, and I appreciate that they're taking my future into consideration. That said, if I have the capabilities to help them in their later years, I can't imagine not doing it for them (whether they want me to or not). But it will definitely depend on their health and mental status.

Marilyn, good luck, and my thoughts are with you and your family.

fluffy / August 8, 2006 2:37 PM

Allright, that's it! I'm going back to volunteering at the old folks home. I always like to get them bright plastic flowers in a colorful jar. That way, the flowers never die and they have something cheerful to look at.
I don't have any family nearby, my grandparents have all passed away, and old people don't care if you're weird. Especially the ones with dementia. Just kidding. But really, it's easy because I am not emotionally attached to these folks, but I care about them. For people who feel bad about sending their relatives to these places, know that here are volunteers out there that care.

mike / August 8, 2006 2:49 PM

Spook, I am counting on the baby boomers to raise holy hell as they age and realize how bad it is. This generation has been a very outspoken one and I am praying that they continue.

Marilyn / August 8, 2006 3:05 PM

Fluffy - Am I going to need YOU! With no kids or other loved ones to look after me, I'm definitely headed for the warehouse.

Hal Shipman / August 8, 2006 3:16 PM

I'll be following my mother's example with her mother. Moving in with her wasn't really an option, as my mom's place is all stairs. She moved my grandmother to town after finding a good quality nursing home very, very near her own place. She visited daily and then took FMLA when it was clear the condition was terminal so she could be with her mother as much as her mother wanted/needed.

lara / August 8, 2006 3:44 PM

i must confess, i am somewhat disappointed with some responses that whine about this being a "depressing topic". if you find matters pertaining to the full range of human experiences "depressing", perhaps you should turn away from fuel when you see a serious question and seek out some online humor or some such.

i echo the sentiments of each individual case being, well, individual. not only might finances and facilities factor into such a choice, but also one's relationship to the category of family. i think a sense of familial obligation varies for such a wide variety of reasons, prolly the most important of which is the relationship to the person needing care.

i would also say that i think this points to some of the limitations of a society organized around the nuclear family. of course, few could drop their lives to provide full time care for another. but, perhaps old-folks-warehouses are not the only possible alternative. perhaps, we ought to consider a society where caregivers are communal but not institiutional. i must say i don't possess an exact blueprint for such a model, but any others out there that find the immediate family vs. institution just a bit thin as far as alternatives go?

sb / August 8, 2006 3:48 PM

i just started volunteering for a hospice, Vitas Hospice Care. They need volunteers. It's a nice way to do something about this matter of helping the dying people, if you care about it. You can do nursing home visits, inpatient unit or home visits, whatever suits you best. It's flexible and you can volunteer as much or as little as you want.

/PSA

Appleby / August 8, 2006 5:16 PM

My parents volunteered to assist and later be patient advocates (at a nursing home) for a severely disabled elderly couple. Over years of volunteering in this way, they've learned a lot about nursing homes and the sorts of decisions they might soon be considering (they're both in their seventies). They've told us, their kids, about some of the things they have decided, but I'm also pretty sure they've made many decisions they haven't told us about yet.

It's a hard thing to think about. I don't like to think about my parents dying and it's hard to think about them planning for the time before they die. And when I finally do have to think about the plans they've made, I may not be comfortable with everything they've decided (and I have 4 siblings, so there may be many conflicting opinions).

I guess I'm just saying that it won't entirely be up to me, and I'm trying to prepare for that, too.

spook / August 8, 2006 5:18 PM

hummm.....Wonder if old Blagg the Axman believes in nursing homes?

Emerson Dameron / August 8, 2006 6:29 PM

I wouldn't "send" my mom anywhere, nor would I drop everything, rush to North Carolina, and insist on moving in. I would talk to her about what she needs and what I'm able to do, and make a mutual decision based on the circumstances. It's not a binary question.

I don't want kids, and I don't expect anyone to take care of me when I decline. If I'm lucky, I'll see it coming. If I'm alone and facing a terminal illness, I'd prefer plenty of time to take a vacation, blow my remaining dough on good times, write a few letters, drink a fifth of good whiskey and walk into the ocean.

Spook / August 8, 2006 8:19 PM

I hear the voters of Connecticut are going to send Joey The Loser Lieberman to a nursing home! And I hope its the worst one in the state!

Cheryl / August 18, 2006 1:25 PM

No, I wouldn't. It's not personal, it's situational. I have a severely disabled child to care for. That, in itself, brings its own pressures. The going is tough and there'll never be an end to it. My son will need care for the rest of his life.

There's absolutely no way I'll be able to care for him and either/both of my parents if they become ill. It will kill me and that's no joke.

Unfortunately, Mum doesn't understand this. Mum's the guilt-thrower in my family. Dad's pretty laid back and doesn't say much. So, one day, after hearing female co-wokers recount their stories of caregiving, I noticed a distinct absense of partners/brothers in the equation and remembering the way I was brought up (my brothers weren't expected to do household chores), I feared what Mum had in store for me. So I said, "You and Dad need to consider your care options when you're older as I won't be able to do it as I've got my disabled child." Mum's response was, "If Dad dies first, just leave me in the room with the pills." Thereafter, she's told me countless stories of how she and her sister cared for their aging parents. Note the words "AND SISTER". I don't have a sister to help me!

Mum's also began co-dependent behaviour. Tasks she was very able to do before, she shies away from saying things like, "You're going to have to do that for me because I can't," or "I can't do that because I'm thick."

I refuse to do these tasks for her but I will supervise and talk her through doing them while she gains her confidence.

Eight months ago, Mum told me of these women she knew of (but didn't know personally) who care for their mothers. When I said that caring is a very hard job, she said, "Oh no, they find it easy." I thought, but like a coward didn't say, "I bet they don't have a serverely disabled child to care for as well!" I'm still reeling from that one. I feel so angry at her negative comparisions.

She KNOWS I've got a severely disabled child who'll need care for the rest of her life. She KNOWS that my not being able to care for her and/or Dad is not personal, it's situational. But still she chooses to guilt trip me and make me feel bad about it. It won't change anything in that my son is never going to miraculously become non-disabled or disappear from our lives. All that's going to do is detroy our relationship.

I've explored different approaches of raising these issues with her but always back down because I'm scared. She used to shout a lot when I was a kid. She was very stressed, depressed and struggled virutally alone. Dad brought home a wage but wouldn't help her practically because he was old fashioned in his ways. So, Mum shouted a lot and it scared me. It still scares me and I'm 35!

If anyone can help, please email me.

Drugstore / March 19, 2007 1:39 PM

Generally all the aging people feel depression. Make them aware about the beautiful nature. Engage them in new skills with smaller children. WBR LeoP

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