How many of us can remember at one time saying this.. When I get older, I will not be a burden to my kids… Ok, now think back to when your Parents were what your age is now. Do you remember hearing them saying something to that effect? More often than not you have. You may have seen how they dealt with their Parents aging issues, or maybe even say some program on television and they make the comment that they would NEVER want to be a burden on their Child. Then of course they may have said, and I have heard this many times from my Mother, “Whatever you do, do not just stick me away in some Nursing Home somewhere!” Now that are Parents are getting older, the time is coming around for the failing Health to be showing up . Or they actually might not even be that old yet, but they have either had physical ailments or “willed” themselves into being older than they really are. On the topic of willing themselves to be older is something I only recently have a theory about. I think in my Father’s case it is a little of both, but I feel he is leaning more on the side of making himself out older than he really is. I truly feel that he is making himself out to be worse off than he is, and I feel that it is because he is wanting attention. Again, just like when kids act out sometimes. They do it because they want attention. In my Father’s case, he lives alone 20 mins. from us. He doesn’t have any friends. he doesn’t get out of the house except for the occasional run to the grocery or hardware store. We have tried to get him involved with Adult groups/Centers, but he has no desire too. He wants no part of doing anything like Church, heck it is like pulling teeth to get him to come out to the occasional Family Function. He might leave his house to come out for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I think that is only because there is alot of food involved. He does like it when I go out there to his house, but after a very few minutes, the silence kicks in. So then I feel guilty for the lack of conversation especially if we brought our Daughter with us/me. Then when the time comes to go, instead of being glad for the company, he makes me feel guilty for leaving. Yes, it is because he is lonely, but he wants to do nothing to change that. I don’t know how to correct the problem. He is letting himself deteriorate to the point where he is just waiting to die. He has gotten to the point he can hardly walk around because his muscles have just deteriorated. It is a chore for him to walk down his driveway to check his mail. He has falling issues, and if he does fall, he could be on the floor for hours before he gets up. Ive spoken with his DR., and he ordered Physical Therapy. They were out there for a few weeks until even the Therapist stated to the Dr. that he has improved as much as he is going to. He chose not to put an effort into doing the exercises other than when she was there for that hour. He would rather just get frustrated that he was getting old and going down hill. I tried going out to his house a few times a week, but he just said what is the point it will not do any good.
After yet another fall, he stated he couldn’t live on his own anymore. So we moved him in with us. That was extremely hard on both of us. He was used to his way of doing things. We tried getting him involved in activities like going to the grocery store with us, or to our daughter’s soccer games, to my Husband’s Mother’s house for dinner, Etc. He might have gone to one, but the rest of the time all he did was choose to sit in the recliner and watch TV. Then complain he was tired of watching TV. He treated me like a servant. I would have to make his breakfast, lunch and dinner. Then it got to the point, he would look at the plate when I gave him his food. If he approved, he would take it and eat it, if not, I would get this silence, which would probably lead to maybe one or two bites then just set it aside. If I didn’t offer something for him to drink, would sit there and be thirsty. I actually did this one day, just to see what he would do. I finally brought him something to drink that evening, and he says,’That is the first thing I have had to drink all day.” Inside I was livid, but I calmly said to him (for the 30th time), Daddy you know where everything is, you can get up and get stuff for yourself. He would say yea I know, but it was just in one ear and out the other. Because, he still just sat in that recliner, Until….. Night time came. He would take a sleeping pill (prescription) at 7ish at first. Then, he started taking it as early as 6 pm., saying it took a while for it to kick in. Usually within 15 minutes of eating dinner, he went to bed. Then 3/4 of the night he is up and down, getting a glass of water, wanting something to snack on, trying to sleep in the recliner, then to the couch, to the bathroom etc.. walking by the computer room then make comments the next day about me not sleeping. One time, I left to go run an errand, but my Husband stayed at home. He told me that I wasn’t gone 5 minutes and Daddy was up walking upright and steady to the other room to get a snack out of the second fridge. Just scatting around like nothing.Why would he claim to be practically an invalid, yet get along 100% better than I have seen in a long time. Yes, I am guessing for attention, but I just do not understand why he would make it out to be so much worse?
What is the end result when you find yourself in the position of re- raising your Parent? Sigh, certainly is not growing up.
As we look back at the years of when we raised our children, we looked forward to the time when we were finally going to be able to enjoy our lives, our freedom. We had it in the back of our heads that this would all be worth it one day. We had lots of things to look forward to as they get older, such as graduation, marriage, grandkids, but most of all you can look back at the fact that you completed your job. Now it is your turn to enjoy things in life for yourself. You no longer have to always do the right thing and put your children first. You are finally allowed to be a little selfish an do things for yourself for a change. You can plan a vacation to where it is nothing but what you want to do. Especially if you have a significant other, in my case it would be my Husband. I went through a few bad Marriages before I finally found the right mate. Through all of them though, I kept my kids first. Now that the kids are almost grown out of the house, I can begin to be selfish and plan a future for myself and my Husband. We were so excited that we were finally going to go do something that we knew we would love. We love being Rockhounds, and looking for treasure. We were planning our trips around good digging spots, beautiful scenic areas we wanted to see, or just find a place where there was peace and quiet. Most kids do not like these kinds of things, they want Disney, Water Parks, things that were exiting. We spend all our time entertaining or occupying our children till we come to the day where we can stand back and say, It’s finally our time… Guess again. Sometimes it creeps up on you out of the blue or sometimes you see it coming but you just don’t want to face it. Until, you don’t have a choice. Not a choice that you can live with yourself on. You have to start all over again, but this time it is in reverse. Now it is time to take care of your Parent. You go through so many emotions it is that roller coaster all over again. But this time when your job is done you cant stand back and say look what I did, and I did a Damn good job. Now,you don’t think to yourself that you have an end in sight to where you can once again be selfish, because if you do , you looking forward to your Parents demise. What kind of horrible person would you be if you thought like that? So, you clench your jaws, bite your toungue and deal with whatever it may be that is going on at the time. These feelings will pass when you walk by your parent sitting in that chair (that they never seem to get out of) and they grab your arm and give it a shake with a greatful grin on their face. Or a “thank you sweety” when you bring them their dinner, which for sure would have never been gotten if you hadn’t have done it for them, the uptight feelings will subside, at least for now anyways. It is the right thing to do, you keep telling yourself. You know there is no way they can live on their own anylonger. Nor, would you be able to live with yourself if you chose the other option of putting them in a home. Then someone suggests those assisted living facilities to you. It is a thought, until you think about bringing it up to them. Or until you look into a little more and you find that in order for Medicare to cover the expenses of this, they have to be almost broke and homeless. Yes, they can transfer their assests out of their name into someone elses, then what? First, the State goes back 3 years looking into their financial History, so you know you have to continue your life as it is for at least another 3 years. How will I ever be able to manage that? Now, you have to approach them about transferring everything they have worked for in life into your name or whomever else. In my case I am an only child, so there is no other option besides me. The longer it takes, the longer time it will be over the 3 years. So when you do approach them, what goes through their minds? Do they now feel like they are a burden even more than what they were feeling becasue you are going to “put them in a home” No matter what you say or how you word it, this is what they are going to hear. Even if you decide that your not going the route of transferring their assests out of their name, How are they going to feel when everything they worked and saved for during their lifetime, will now be gone over a very small period of time? Now is the time we wish we could just climb back in bed and pull the covers over our heads and hope it will all just go away. Oh my goodness, did you just hear what you said? What kind of horrible person would think that way?