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Parenting my mom


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I sure could use a little rant right now.

Having an 89 year old as my responsibility is exhausting.


Just an example. I have power of attorney, and tried to apply it to one of her many bank accounts, but they only recognize their own internal POA docs. Drove to Mom's with the forms to sign in s l o w m o t i o n, took them home and she called me, saying since it's such a hassle, close the account and transfer the funds to her other account. Okay, that takes new forms for her to sign, and I have to contact the three direct depositors to that account to redirect the funds. They have long wait times on the phone, and the websites are useless.


She has scattered various ID cards and documents amid drifts of tschokes and debris, canceled checks to my dependant older siblings and clouds of talcum.


Almost everything I buy for her is unacceptable, so I get to return stuff all over town. She calls me to sift through the mountain of her belongings stored in my garage, then I later find the item she wants in her bedside table.


I've been finding a place for her to move, because the therapy place she's in costs $120K per year. I found a good home for her after driving around the county. She decided to stay another month where she is, so the place probably won't be vacant in a month.


Last week she called in tears, worried I was drunk in a ditch or something, when I was merely asleep. Apparently my cell phone had died, so she thought I had.


I can accept all of this crap because I love the old broad, and she loves me. What kills me is the fact that my brother and sister are oblivious to what I really do for their mother and never even thank me. When I do talk to my sibs, I get an earful about how the world mistreats them, how they aren't getting any, or just whining. They're both compulsive bystanders.


I have a few friends who lend emotional support, as well as a few who drain me.


Thanks, I needed to get that off my scrawny chest.

Me so whiney.

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My parents put their life on hold in a big way when THEIR parents got Alzheimers. They really loved their parents but started getting bogged down and discouraged.


I honestly did a few meditations for them, imagining their life going in a fulfilling direction... Suddenly after a few weeks went by, everything started happening all at once.


Their parent's place was sold, all estate details arranged, and my grandparents moved into an excellent living environment in a different state, where some of their OTHER children lived nearby and could visit regularly.


Soon my parents were back to what they love to do: which is traveling the world teaching english.


So I just think there is something to be said for meditating, prayer, visualization, and writing down your goals.


Focus on seeing and feeling the best of all scenario: where your mom is truly contented and happy, and some of the responsibilities are shared by others.


Focus on your own life working REALLY well... with just the right amount of space for your self, and just the right amount of giving for your comfort level...


Rehearse this over and over in your head... going to bed a little early and getting relaxed first really helps the process... Finally... release it to the Universe...


You will get results...

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There was an article in yesterday's paper about this, it was incredibly moving, about a man who looked after his elderly mother, and how it had been a MASSIVE impact on his own life. He was clear sighted, it had been very very difficult and not much pleasure, but he could not have done anything different. He was writing after her death, and it was moving and scary.


It's hard, to take care of a parent. I saw my mother do what you are doing now, to her mother who had alzheimers. It was tough and exhausting and not fun. I think you are doing an amazing thing, but I know that sometimes you can't be happy about it. The parent becomes the child, and it's difficult. But as you say, what else can you do?


Give yourself a massive pat on the back. I think that the kindness and caring and patience that you show are incredible, and to be honoured. I agree with moreloveinside, that you HAVE to be careful to keep your own inner resources well stocked up. I would personally dump friends who are exhausting, negative and using you. Friends should make you feel better not worse, and if you feel they are emotionally draining you, cut the source off. You don't have endless reserves, you know.


Be kind to yourself - take time out to do what you want to do, to rest, to play and to enjoy your own life. I personally think that it's much much better to commit to doing a certain manageable amount and do it forever, rather than take on far too much and then collapse a year down the road and be unable to do any more. Don't kill yourself to please your mother, or you could do it literally. Do what you can, and call in as much support as you can. You have to make sure that your own life is rich and valuable, and not just as carer to someone else.


I do think what you're doing is incredible - it's no bed of roses, and I can't pretend that it is. But...yeah, you're being true to yourself, and you obviously have a fantastic sense of integrity. I like that.

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My 60 year old cousin is taking her 90 year old father into her home this month. She told me today that she is scared. He drove his truck off a hillside last week and rolled to the bottom. They sold his truck for parts for $200. I wonder why they let people that age keep driver's licences.


My mom died when she was turning 53, and my dad has been remarried for 5 years. Haven't had the experience yet. But I have to take care of two grown disabled children, so it's a good thing I don't have the parent thing. Don't think I'd stretch that far.

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I feel your pain. My dad passed away last summer and I was basically forced to move back home since all 4 of my brothers were married, had kids, etc. My mom is disabled, but she can still mostly care for herself. However, after my dad died, she totally forgot how to function as an adult. She won’t pay her bills, she barely gets groceries, and she stays in front of the TV in a zombie like state most of the time. I have a brother that’s 2 hours away, and he’s only visited 3 times in the past 5 months. Whenever she has a problem, she calls one of them and they admonish me. It sucks because if someone would even take a weekend to come and take care of her, it would give me so much of a break. She won’t leave town, even though 2 of my brothers have offered to have her stay with them for a month. I haven’t had a weekend to myself since August.


I love my mom and helping her isn’t that much of a burden, but I did have my own life and freedom before all of this happened. It doesn’t help that she still treats me like a kid.


I guess since people are living much longer, healthier lives, elder care is going to be a reality for a lot of people in the world. I applaud you for standing up to take care of your mom and understand how frustrating is it when you are the only one. I would say the main thing is, know what is enough for you. Some weeks I can only come by once or twice a week because that is all my body will allow. Sometimes I have to say no to some of her zany requests. Don’t forget to take care of you while taking care of your mom.

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It's a tough road...there's no doubt about that. I have a few friends in a similar position to you and as my mom's in her eighties, I know my turn probably come soon. My best friend had to care for her mom for a couple of years after she had a stroke and complications from diabetes and we spent many nights on the phone talking about it. She also had the issue of a sibling who did nothing to contribute and would do nothing but b***h about how bad her life was. What I can tell you is that my friend's mom passed away a couple of years ago, and she's never regretted the extra time and effort that she spend ensuring that her mom's final days were comfortable. It's given her some peace of mind knowing that she did the best she possibly could.


I know that doesn't make it any easier right now, and you'll need to unload and rant from time to time. I wouldn't be surprised if there are forums and websites dedicated just to this as there are so many people in our generation in the same situation. Is there any way that you could "delegate" some of the duties to your siblings?


Just know that you're doing a wonderful thing. I have two sons, they're only in their teens now, but if they turn out to be as giving and compassionate as you are when I'm old and may need some help, I'll be very proud of them.

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Thanks, folks.


I just went through some dead-end phone menus and had some customer service peeps tell me I need to do more red tape to even get answers. Tricare is closed due to bad weather. WTH? This is a full-time job, and had some bearing on why I quit my job last week to live off my savings.


I know someday she'll be gone and I'll be glad I did all this, but right now I'm pretty jammed up with frustration. Despite my gentle nature I recently screamed so loud my throat hurts. I never felt so alone, so it helps to cyber-rant.


I wish my only problem was sexual frustration. I'd celebrate!

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I can accept all of this crap because I love the old broad, and she loves me. What kills me is the fact that my brother and sister are oblivious to what I really do for their mother and never even thank me. When I do talk to my sibs, I get an earful about how the world mistreats them, how they aren't getting any, or just whining. They're both compulsive bystanders.

Write them off and let it go.


Part of this is that you are taking your frustration with your Mom and transferring it to your sibs. Understandable but not ultimately helpful because you aren't dealing with the real issue when you do that. They are who they are and you can't change them.


You can't change your Mom either and that is why you are frustrated.


It's not the people so much as the circumstance and you have little or no power to change that but have to cope with it anyway.


It's the sense of helplessness that is so bad.


But there are upsides:


  • Your conscience is clear. You will never have to reproach yourself.
  • You don't have to deal with siblings who are much more involved but who disagree about how to handle your Mom and her affairs - imagine the battles and frustration if they had joint power of attorney with you and you have to get a consensus for every decision you made.
  • You can post about it on here and get support of a kind. We can't solve the problems but we can listen and sympathise.

You are a good man to go through this for your Mom. But then I expected nothing else.

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Today I was once again unable to do things for Mom. I tried to open a checking account, renew an ID card and redirect her income, but even with POA, it was impossible. I'd never have imagined the Patriot Act would turn Power of Attorney into a useless concept, but that's the crux of it. At every turn, new notarized docs are needed, and Mom is supposed to magically appear at bureaucratic offices even though she can barely go 50 feet from her bed without freaking out.


I joined a forum for people in my shoes, and the stories are heartrending, and mind you it's not about the wrinklies, but their kids!


To paraphrase The Who...Hope I die before I get old.

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I was considering that today.


I'm finding that many caregivers are actually hamstrung by the Patriot Act.

No one can open a bank account without proper ID, but it also makes it harder to obtain proper ID. People have to appear in person when POA isn't recognized, even if they can barely move. I once delivered a digital photo to the Navy, a daylong process to get her ID renewed. Now they require an 8 by 10 glossy chemical photo that's notarized to prove it's her, then the usual long wait at their office. That would involve buying/renting/hiring a camera then paying a notary before spending a day at the Naval base. My other option is to hire a bus to bring her to a DMV appointment, but then I have to go through a maze of regulations at the care facility to allow her to go. That's probably the next step.


I just want to get her affairs in order, find her a suitable care facility, and then go look for a job.


If anyone here finds this boring, please nudge a sibling into position to take over before you have to.

Move far away and hide.

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Can you open a bank account in trust for her under her name and operate her bills etc out of that?





In trust for Dako's Mom


I opened one like that for my theatre group when I produce a play. It's'my' account' and i alone can operate it but it is clear what the funds are for.

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I already have, and I'm trying to get the trust set up to also function as a checking account of sorts. It has a few snags, but I think it'll work.

I just need to get three government agencies to deposit to it. Federal = difficult.


Whenever I find a solution, there's a fly in the ointment. I waste lots of time hitting dead ends.

At least I delivered a new wheelchair today. One less task on my list.

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If the deposits to your Mom's account are the same every month could you just let them continue to deposit them in that account and have your Mom either sign a bunch of post-dated cheques to the trust account or a standing order?

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A good idea, but I'm trying to head off future tasks. They change monthly.


My procrastination allowed these things to snowball.

She once had five bank accounts for me to manage, and I aim to have but one.

I wish I'd have done more when POA meant something.

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I am sure you have checked this, but along the lines of DN's advice to seek legal advice, is there maybe a website that collects all this information and tell you how to? (if not there should be!). If not I tend to agree that it might help your sanity to hire a lawyer.


I watched my mother go through this when her parents were the same age as your mother with similar issues. She had the patience of a saint but I still don't know how she did it. Hats off to you. And good luck.

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Daks - I do feel for you. I know first hand the trials and tribulations of the role of mom parent and how the other siblings just feel like, oh, Dako's got it, yay, we're off the hook.


I agree with DN - write 'em off.


OR - call them a lot more often with things she needs and help YOU need.


I've handed off most of the mom duty responsiblitiies to my brother but we share, because I know how hard it is to carry by yourself.


I'm glad you found a group of people in similar situations. That's GOTTA help.


Thanks for sharing - I wish I had more to offer than just an empty, "I understand" comment. But I do.

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Thanks, all!


I posted m situation on a caregiver's forum, and the consensus was that I need to pace myself and not try to do everything at once. I tend to take on stress until I go ballistic, and that's my own fault.


It's humbling to see how seniors with their own health problems are the caregivers to parents with dementia, lousy personalities or severely demanding medical conditions.

At least I can take a break from this, and Mom is still a sweet woman.

I guess that's the payoff.

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Dako, do you have children?


I ask only because here's another thing to remind yourself when your frustration gets the better of you. You're showing your children (even if they're adults) what YOU believe is the RIGHT and COMPASSIONATE thing to do for an aging parent.


Both my parents have been in your shoes. Not nearly as alone as you are, I can say they're lucky that their siblings ARE/WERE involved. But somehow, my parents both ended up being the "primary" and taking care, or at least, being the leader in the care team...


I'm so proud of both of them. It's hard for my mom, to watch her mother with Alzheimers, decline to an almost infant-like state. This is not how she wants to remember her mother...but her compassion, patience and gentleness are infinite. She never cries or loses her patience in front of my Nana, which her other siblings do...because she knows all that my Nana has is this moment, and she doesn't want to give her negative emotions to react to. My dad, runs his own business, and still, he managed to be the most active in her financial care, and was the one who went to church with her, and took the daily phone calls when she was confused, scared etc. Again, his siblings DID do what they could as well, so I can't complain on that score, but in the end, no one wanted to make her decisions for her, and she wanted anyone to do it (she didn't have confidence in herself). My dad constantly walked that line and held her hand through deciding what's best for her...


I know how my parents view their responsibilities to their parents. And I know what I will need to do if that time ever comes. They've shown me what's right....


You're conscience will be clear and your soul will be at peace when she's gone. I know that doesn't help now, but you've gotten good advice here. Do the best you can without hurting yourself. You'll be doing her a favour too if you can maintain your strength for this enormous responsibility in the long term...


Hang in there, and know you're being true to your own moral code. Choose your battles and pace your tasks.


Good luck

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I've encountered some wonderful people who care for elders, and I would be hard-pressed to feel like a martyr after hearing their tales. Mom is alert and as difficult as I can be.


I never had kids, so I'll manage old age alone.

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