14 Replies Latest reply on Oct 29, 2009 7:54 PM by Maur

    Retirement Concerns

    Maur

      Hello, I'm a divorced woman and am planning to retire as of Dec 23rd after working 32 yrs in the same place. My daughter needs me to babysit her newborn and my mother who lives with me has dementia that is getting worse by the day. My daughter and her husband fall into that crack where they can't afford daycare but make too much to "pay" for daycare. My brother passed away years ago so I'm the only one left to take care of mom. Her doctor told me that in a very short period of time she will not be able to be left alone.

      While a big part of me is ready to retire due to burnout at work, there's also a big part that is scared to death because of finances. I'm only 60 so I can't draw social security yet. I do have a pension but it's not as much as I make working of course. Any ideas or suggetions you can throw my way will be greatly appreciated.

        • Re: Retirement Concerns
          Juliann

          Maur,

          You are very brave to face and consider a multiple caregiver situation.  I was not living near my mother when she was claimed by alzheimer's but I know the changes my father (who was 6 years older) went thru to provide care, and he was in his 70's.  I also know others who have taken on the Alzheimer care, and an apparent key to survival is support groups.  So you might want to start your search for help in your area.  Some churches also provide respite care, and some communities have day care centers.  I am sure that your daughter will want to spell you sometime to appreciate your position.

          Good luck and God Bless

          Juliann - if you need a pen pal, I am here. 

            • Re: Retirement Concerns
              Maur

              Juliann,

                Thank you so much. I appreciate your caring/understanding response. And thanks for being a pen pal, I'm sure I can use it. It helps knowing there are other people out there that can relate. I look forward to corresponding with you in the future.

              Maur

                • Re: Retirement Concerns
                  Juliann

                  Maur,

                  I am pleased to be your pen pal friend.  On Sunday I am leaving "On Holiday" to spend a week with lady friends in Carlsbad CA.  I will be driving over - a 6-hour trip - because I like to drive and to prove I can still do it.  We were work mates and friends some 20 years ago, and have kept up with each other since.

                  When I return, I will check back with you.  Have a great week.

                   

                  Juliann

                    • Re: Retirement Concerns
                      Maur
                      great ... I look forward to it. I just got back from a short trip to Vegas ... took one day and went to Grand Canyon. Lots of hot, sand, rocks & not much green there. My part of the country is full of green trees and hills and flowers ... a big contrast.
                • Re: Retirement Concerns
                  Canoejh

                  Maur:

                  Doesn't sound like retirement.  Your family situation is a common and difficult one.  First question to  ask yourself is can you stick it out for two more years?  They go fast and the extra income always helps.  Alzheimers is a terrible disease and taking on full time care of someone with that disease is more that a stressful job,  Day care for the grandkids is an issue but you will have your hands more than full if your try to take on too much. Although we all love our kids taking on too much couldl affect your health too and so you need to weigh what is realistically possible and leave some time for yourself.  Parents are programmed to fix all family problems but one has to acknowledge the physical and mental  limitations one has before overcommitting.

                  John

                    • Re: Retirement Concerns
                      Maur

                      Thank you John. I've been thinking, rethinking and re-rethinking this. The last time through here's what I came up with:

                      I'll be taking care of the baby 3 days a week ... most likely M-W. That gives me Th & F. In my area there's a program called Passport ... they come in and help if needed.  I am allowed to have them up to 25 hrs a week. I plan on taking advantage of that and have them come in on Th & F while I get out for awhile. And I may very well try to find a job those two days which will get me out AND give me some income. I know jobs are hard to find right now, so that is if I can find one and if I can find one I enjoy. Also a woman at a local church has asked me to work at their food bank on Th's. I know that all you have said in your response is true and have been trying to figure out a balance that works for all of us.

                      What do you think of my plan? Workable ... maybe?

                      Maureen

                       

                      .

                       

                        • Re: Retirement Concerns
                          jkom51

                          I think your plan is workable for a while, but certainly not forever. Your mom will only continue to decline, and require more and more attention. Being the sole caregiver is a heavy burden, and you're very brave for accepting such a responsibility. Before volunteering, I'd spend some time investigating local resources and future resident care facilities - it takes time to do that kind of research, and your schedule sounds pretty full already.

                          I don't know if this will help, but I ran across this website today and perhaps you can find some useful info on it. I saved it for myself because my MIL lives with us and is beginning to show signs of mild dementia.

                          URL is: http://www.eldercareteam.com/

                            • Re: Retirement Concerns

                              You might check with your local county senior services office. This is mandated by the feds, and works with folks like you all the time - they have great resources and listening skills! 

                              We thought about retiring early, but decided to wait until 65 (9 months to go!) just for the health care and to not face the $1,000/month health insurance premiums.  We were both facing burnout as well, but worked with supervisors to tweak our jobs enough to bring some excitement and interest back in the day.

                              It was disappointing at times, but now we look to retirement with a much more secure financial situation and can help our parents without the stress.

                              • Re: Retirement Concerns
                                LSPotter

                                I completely agree as my husband has Alzheimer's and I keep him at home. At the moment I have 2 care in attendance that come for a total of 21 hours a week. It covers the basics at best but let me tell you that this is a full-time job. I can only get away when one of the 2 care attendants are here which is usually 5 hours on Monday and 4 hours each from Tuesday to Friday. I would not advise the babysitting or working on top of the care giving. Since the caregiving is a full-time job for you, have you thought of taking a short course to become a CNA or such. That way you do get reimbursed for the weekend hours taking care of your mother. I did not apply for this because I have sufficient funds coming in at the moment. That would be another way to get a little extra cash. Also, you deserve the Social Security your mother brings in to pay towards her keep. I hope this is helpful. Good luck to you.

                                Ethelle Lord

                                  • Re: Retirement Concerns
                                    Arnie

                                    My wife has been a resident at a dementia-care facility for nearly three years.  We did as much as we could ourselves with her at home with all kinds of caregivers and explored all kinds of flexible arrangements, but in the end it was necessary to relocate her.  I think when it becomes difficult to manage one's day (I work full time), everyone benefits from outside care.  It is not always, I think, the kindness one assumes for the patient to keep them at home.  Feelings of guilt cloud the issue to a point where often I have observed families deparately trying to cope, when their efforts are actually counterproductive and certainly contributing negatively to the comfort and stability of the patient's life.  I was fortunate to have arranged for long-term care insurance in our late 50s ... otherwise there is no way I could afford the $78,000 it costs a year here in SoCal.   I visit her 4-5 times a week; I am certain she is well cared for and never abused. 

                                    Arnie

                                     

                                    • Re: Retirement Concerns
                                      D1953
                                      I agree with the previous reply, and speak from personal experience.  Caring for an elderly parent with health problems is challenging enough without the responsibility of babysitting.  While the hours may not add up to full time, the emotional and physical strength required to care for your parent will be at least as difficult as full-time work.  You can easily experience the "burn-out" you describe from your current job, as well as the often unavoidable feelings of inadequacy and helplessness. 
                                      This is not healthy for you, your parent or your grandchild.
                                      Some suggestions:  Seek and take advantage of community senior support services (adult day care, etc.); Consider part-time work to maintain some income and add to your future social security benefit or cost of elder care; Inquire about possible elder care benefits through your current employer, as well as any benefits your daughter and/or her husband may have for grandparents; remember, it's not the worst scenario for young parents to work a second job to make ends meet.   I recall my own dad working 2 full time jobs during the 1950s to save for our family's first home while my mom cared for 4 children and her mother.  We often hesitate to "burden' our grown children, but you may be doing just that to yourself.  When you do what's best for your emotional and physical well-being you will be a better parent, grandparent and daughter and be better prepared for whatever the future brings.
                                      Best of luck with your mother - whether her care involves extended family or outside caregivers, you will know you did what was best for her.



                                    • Re: Retirement Concerns
                                      Maur

                                      Thanks. I put it in my favorites and will check it out.

                                      Thanks to everyone that responded. It does help to get others' veiws/suggestions.

                                • Re: Retirement Concerns
                                  TXretired

                                  Maur:

                                  It doesn't sound like you are really retiring.  You are trading a job that pays you in money for two jobs, one of babysitting and the other of caring for your mother, that won't pay you in money. 

                                  Keep working until at least 62, if not 66 or possibly 70.  Your pension should increase the longer you work, Social Security increases the longer you wait to start your benefits, and at 65 you will qualify for Medicare.  If you retire now on just your monthly pension, can you really enjoy your early retirement? 

                                  If you retire now, can you go back into the work market if you change your mind?  Probably not! With 10,000,000 now unemployed, going back to work later looks bleak, at best.

                                  Keep working!  Use a little of your income to help your daughter hire a babysitter.  Use your mother's Social Security and other funds to hire her helpers.  Take a vacation every six months to get away from work and your family. 

                                  The longer you can work now, the better off financially you should be later.  If you keep working, even a few more months or a year, and then retire, you should be more secure in your decision.  Retiring can be good or it can be not so good.  Retire for you, not your family.