Just need to vent...

Discussion in 'Caregivers' started by HeavenlyRN, Mar 15, 2010.

  1. HeavenlyRN

    HeavenlyRN New Member

    Wasn't sure where to put this post, but I guess thisis the best place. Hence, the request on other boards to come here to read this. I've read other similar posts and have responded to a few but I just need to vent.

    I live in the same town as my parents, ages 85 and 84. They still live in their own home. about 12 years ago I talked them into moving from theri 3 storey home into a ranch style home that is handicapped accessible. My mom has had 4 joint replacements and other various medical problems. At the time I had been working on a long-term care rehab unit and saw how often elderly people had to move out of their homes into long term care because their homes were not set-up for someone recovering from surgery or sho had had a stroke, etc. Anyway, they took my advice and had a house built. It's real close to all of their doctors and the hospital that their doctors are affiliated with.

    My siblings (both older) live out of town: one in Vermont and one in California. My bother - in Vermont - retired a couple of years ago. He and his wife are still real busy though. When there is a problem with either of my parent's health, he will come to town for a while to help out - but of course, then he has to go home. Then, it is just my husband and me again to deal with the day-to-day problems.

    My mom has dementia and my dad takes care of her. She is still mobile and her long-term memory is intact, but her short term memory is horrible. It can be very exhausting to be around her because she asks the same questions over and over again. My dad is at patient as he can be, but I do see a lot of stress under the surface. He pretends that everything is fine, that he is handling things OK. He has already had one heart attack and has a pacemaker, so I know it can't be easy trying to handle all of the stress. He will not accept any help from anyone, outside agencies or rarely even his own family (me!).

    My husband and I both have health problems of our own. Not to mentional financial issues. My siblings take at least one vacation every year. The last time my DH and I went anywhere was about 6 years ago - and my father paid for that vacation. They both own 2 homes. My hubby and I lost our home to foreclosure 4 years ago and now live in an apartment.

    While I am not the direct caregiver of either of my parents - I am always "on-call" should they need something. My husband and I have attempted to broach the subject of "what if" with my siblings. What if mom goes before dad? What if dad goes before mom? What if dad has to go to the hospital for a while? What if, what if, what if? Neither my brother or sister seemed to grasp the concept. My brother's response was, "Well, if dad should die first, we'll just get someone in to take care of mom." HELLO! It just ain't that easy. He also said that he would "just move mom closer to us and put her in assisted living."

    My husband and I have wanted to move south for several years. I would do it in a heart beat if it weren't for my parents. I just can't leave them here. Being in a warmer climate would be so much better for my health. We hate NY State. The government s*cks. There is no way that either of my siblings would think of moving back to help take care of their parents.

    Who else has had this problem and how did you deal with it?
    How could I move away without feeling incredible guilt?
    COULD I move away without feeling incredible guilt?
    How can I can get my siblings more involoved?
    CAN I get my siblings more involved

    I apologize for the length of this post, and for the general "why me?" tone of it. I've just spent the last half hour crying.

    Thanks for listening - Jan
  2. butterflydream

    butterflydream New Member

    aren't they? Bottom line will be for you only to do what you feel is best.

    Although i do know of others whom have to do just what you are describing.
    If your siblings haven't had alot of involvement in the past 12 years, more than likely they will continue as they are and i doubt they will become more involved if they haven't already.
    Although things can change, open communication with them could be a good start or could be a disaster. Depending how you approach them with you and your husband have considered relocating.

    Since you now feel you would carry guilt upon relocating, more than likely you would carry this feeling with you. This is something you would need to change upon yourself.

    You have been through alot the past years with health , financials and your parents.
    Sometimes it may be best to let time ride and get a better view of what lies ahead.

    Wish i could be of more help, vent anytime you need too.
  3. TwoCatDoctors

    TwoCatDoctors New Member

    I somewhat can understand what you are going through. My Dad lives across country from me, and my brother lives in another State. I am disabled in a scooter and at the poverty level on SSD, and my brother and his wife are extremely well off.

    For many years, I was the one calling Dad constantly and keeping track of him and running up my phone bills, sending him gift packages to keep him happy and trying to take care of him long distance. I couldn't be there, but I was there to talk to him, tracking him down when I couldn't reach him and he would be in the hospital, etc. My brother and his wife sort of sat back and that was their choice.

    It reached a point where my brother, his wife and I had to make time and have long discussions about my Dad. I know their schedule is busy because they vacation a lot, but this needed to be discussed and I could not travel to get to Dad. (Just last year they were suggesting I move to Dad's location and I think it was so I could watch over Dad, but with my back injuries, I can't travel like that so that meant they would have to be the people who would travel to him if anything came up). We discussed so much and got everything on the table including Dad's attitude and refusal to want help and his declining health and everything.

    Over the past several months my Dad at 92 has been in and out of the hospital as my Dad wasn't eating well, wasn't drinking, wasn't taking his meds and thus causing himself to have multiple heart attacks. My Dad is fully competent mentally but this kept happening until the hospital called my brother and said you better get down here as this is enough. My sister in law traveled there (brother hadn't recovered from back surgery) and my Dad required Assisted Living and the doctors said he can no longer return to his home.

    My Dad has resisted everything, but my sister in law just got him into a lovely and fantastic Assisted Living and furnished it beautifully with new furniture and many nice new things, and the place has great activities, they take the residents on trips, they have good food and Dad has a Penthouse apartment that is beautiful--if I had the money I would be living there. Now Dad is being obnoxious, misbehaving and starting fights and these are grounds to have him kicked out--he knows that. It all makes me so sick, and my brother, his wife and I are helpless to do anything because my Dad is fully competent to get himself kicked out and do what he wants.

    For you, it is time to have the discussion NOW with your siblings about everything. As a suggestion, it might help to cause the discussion by explaining that due to your health, it has become a necessity to move South and that is why this family discussion is necessary at this point. Insist on the discussion.

    And the discussion should include what paperwork has been completed by your parents. It only takes one parent to become incompetent through a stroke, coma, etc. to cause a complete family crisis and it's time to have everything worked out in advance as you will be moving. It was found when my Dad was hospitalized that he did not have a Power of Attorney and didn't have a Living Will, so if he became incompetent (coma, stroke, etc.) none of us could have touched his money to pay his bills or to sell his home to get him into a nursing home or anything. And we had no instructions or whether he wanted to be kept alive if he was brain dead--it's terrible stuff to worry about. So it's important to talk about all of that with family now.

    You have done everything you possibly can and given your life and health to try to help your parents and it's your time to get up and fly from the nest. Your Dad won't accept any real help except when he wants it so you are merely hanging around waiting for that "once in a while." It's time to consider that you must live for yourself and put your health first and no more guilt--guilt would have been if you were never there for them--and you were there for them, they just rarely needed you and you did manage to get them into a handicapped accessable home that would serve them for the rest of their lives .

    I will tell you that the situation with my Dad has made me very sick and upset and is highly stressful and it is not good for me at all. You got your parents into a home that will allow for future home health care for most of their life if needed and that was so smart. But you will shorten your life if you continue in a place that is bitter cold, paying large heating bills, and feeling guilty and unhappy.

    And it's amazing how if you are there to always take care of your parents and their situations, of course no other sibling will rise to the cause as you are always there to do it. When you are no longer there to take care of it, it forces the hands of the other siblings.

    Thanks so much for everything you have done for your parents. You are wonderful and a dream child to have. Now let your other siblings step in and you get rest and start working on your health. Many, many hugs.

    [This Message was Edited on 03/16/2010]
  4. HeavenlyRN

    HeavenlyRN New Member

    for the thoughtful responses. This "issue" takes up so much of my thoughts that I think I'm just stuck as to what to do.

    Unfortunately, my husband and I have already had "the talk" with my siblings and, although they seemed to understand and say all the right things, I can see that it will go no where.

    Much of the advice that you gave me is advice that I have given to the loved ones of some of my patients. Yet, I can't seem to apply that same advice to my own situation.

    Yes, guilt is a big part of this whole thing. My mother and I have a joke that goes like this....."I'm on a guilt trip and my mother is my travel agent!" We can laugh about it but I don't think she realizes how true that statement is!

    Obviously I have a lot of thinking and soul searching to do.

    Thanks again to both of you.

    Jan
  5. TwoCatDoctors

    TwoCatDoctors New Member

    What I so wish you would do is to often go to a mirror, look at yourself, and say "I am a wonderful person, and a very loving and fantastic daughter. During my lifetime I have given so much of myself to help my parents. Now I must give of myself to me and my immediate family and I refuse to feel guilty about that."

    Keep repeating it to yourself, because you're making yourself feel bad with a guilt trip, so try to counteract that by facing yourself and repeating positive things to yourself often. Truthfully, the guilt trip doesn't have your mother as a travel agent--you are the planner, driver and the travel agent and we do it to ourselves, all by ourselves.

    If you can't get past the guilt, it may be time to see a therapist to help you through this. Guilt is many times blaming ourselves, not for committing some criminal activity or cheating on a spouse, but for things that may be beyond our control. But the longer we allow it to fester, the longer it eats away at us.

    Many, many hugs.