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Dealing with my aging parents

Updated on June 17, 2013

My aging parents

Recently I went back home for my uncles 50th wedding anniversary and I was hit with a barrage of emotional turmoil. While it was great seeing cousins and relatives I hadn't seen in quite a long time, I wasn't quite ready to deal with my parents decline.

I know people get older and health declines but I wasn't prepared for it to happen just yet to my parents. My sister lives only 45 minutes away so she sees them every week and calls them every day. I live out west and so it is much more difficult for me to deal with them from a distance. I try to phone a few times a week but I get the nasty retorts on the other end. The parents saying ;" yes we are alive and breathing do you want anything else?" Not like gee it's good to hear from you or how is your day going etc.. They are more annoyed at my calls than anything else. So I just stopped for a while. I don't know how to deal with them. Emotionally it's very painful getting nasty responses from them.

My sister thought it would be a good idea if I just gave up my whole life and went and lived with them. Unfortunately I have a huge stack of bills ,plus 21 years of wonderful loyal clients that I can't just up and leave. The reality is that I can't afford to live where my parents live and they can't afford to pay all my bills. So we have talked about some possible church ladies that can look in on them a few times a week maybe? or a live in nursing student? or a temporary renter in one of their rooms so they could be making some money instead of paying huge rates for live in help. We have mulled over tons of ideas but whether they will go for any of them is yet to be seen.

We do know that they will never move into assisted living, unless they are on deaths door. So we just have to figure out a way to have them looked after on a regular basis that doesn't cost an arm and a leg and that will be helpful not harmful to them. It seems as if we need a genie. It would be great to find someone like in that show years ago called Hazel. I wonder if there are any of you that remember that show from the 50's.

Well time to start doing. We (my sister and I)are being proactive in doing what we can right in the moment. My mom can no longer smell due to a polyps she had removed in her nose and she can no longer see 100% as she has severe macular degeneration. So when we were there we walked into burned smelling bacon. She didn't realize it was burning, till someone woke up and smelled it. My brother and aunt were staying with them. So we purchased a smoke detector. What's next? Dad has diabetes and early onset dementia although he passed a test his regular GP gave him, he has burned garbage near the house to mix with compost for his garden. He has forgotten how to get home a few times and called a friend who told him how to get back home. There are pages of information we sent his regular doctor but she hasn't seen the side of him that we have and so she doesn't think anything major needs to be done now.

It is very difficult talking to my dad about his finances and needing any kind of help. He thinks everybody else has a problem and he is the only sane one. He thinks we are trying to be greedy when we ask him about how much care he could afford. He just says it's none of your business. The only way we could get access to his financial information would be to take him to court, which we aren't prepared to do.

We just want to find out what they can afford health wise for live in help or special doctors that deal with aging. But any suggestions he refuses because he thinks he is fine. Pretty soon we will have to take measures to the next step. We are both dreading that day. I do hope we won't have to go to court. My mom is used to my dad taking care of everything that deals with finances, so she is on his side in that regard.

So we have a long road ahead of us in figuring out what needs to be done in this highly emotionally, tumultuous situation. It puts our own mortality into question and for those of you with no children or insurance or money it becomes even more troublesome. I told my sister if I can't function any more without help and I can't afford aid at that time in my life , I'll just take a bottle of pills and go to sleep. Hopefully at that point I will have lived a full life and I'll be ready to go .

Hopefully none of you will ever be faced with such a horrible decision. Life is wonderful as long as you can live it to the fullest otherwise it's more of a nuisance than not. But this is where free will comes in. Ah Life! What a ride.

All we can do is take one day at a time and deal with what happens in the moment. We are doing the best we can with the information provided to us.

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