I think to communicate with your brother on what he wants you to do to help. Let your fingers do the walking, there are many state programs that help out seniors. If you can help set up some of those programs for your parents, that may take some of the stress off your brother. Dont know what state they are in, but you can start by calling the chamber of commernce or the state. Nebraska has something called enoa Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging that has wonderful program information respite care for seniors and so on.
It is unusual for a sibling who lives at a distance to feel guilty about this. I have to give you lots of credit for that. From my own experience and most of the stories I've heard, distant siblings are just relieved to have the excuse.
Believe what your brother is telling you. This can be a horrible life-destroying ordeal. He probably needs your help even more than he says.
There are no good solutions to this kind of problem, when money is short. But you took at step in the right direction by feeling guilty. That means you have a sense of responsibility and compassion.
Things might get tense between you and your brother. It's easy to get into a big fight and use that as an excuse to write him off. Don't do that.
If your brother were not there helping your parents, what would you have done? That is a question that should always be asked.
We just bought a bigger house and moved my 90 year-old Dad in after he lived two years in assisted living. He has been here a month and it is a big adjustment. I am pretty much babysitting, cooking, doing laundry, and taking care of him 24/7. He does not have Alzheimer's, but had a very major stroke two years ago. He only talks about being in WWII and living on the farm when he was a kid. He is aware of things going on around him, but gets confused a lot. He can't remember the names of things and that is frustating for him although he had therapy for two years. He is as good as he is going to get but still keeps talking about when he gets better.
My problem is I feel resentful having him here and hearing the same stories over and over. He always complains about some health issue (itchy scalp or skin, constipation) and we take care of those problems, but he forgets that we did and starts complaining again. I do have a husband who is not home a lot but does pitch in when he can. My 20 year-old college student daughter lives at home but is busy and really hates having to help with Grandpa. She does help though but I don't feel I should count on her - she needs to live her life. He has a home-health aid three days a week to shower him and she is wonderful.
As you can tell, I am frustrated, feeling guilty, and wishing he were back in assisted living where I visited him at my convenience and had others doing all the work I am now doing. Assisted living got expensive ($4500 a month), and even though he does have the money, he may need it in the future for medical bills, etc. His social security checks are helping us out, but we are wondering if it is worth it to have him here.
I would appreciate any advice. I am almost 60 and did not foresee this as part of my life. I am an only child and my mother is gone. Luckily I work at home, but am so busy with Dad that I have little or no time to put into my job. That is not a good thing. I have no social life and can't work on my art career or spend any time with my daughter, other kids, or my granddaughter. HELP!
I feel your pain! My mother-in-law lives with us and she is 86. She has lived with us for that past 8 years and every year her health gets a bit worse. Although not as bad as your father, she does show the classic signs of dementia, can't remember conversations she had 2 minutes ago, constantly talks of the past and of people we have never met. Forgets the names of friends that she has known for many years. On top of that she has high cholesterol, colitis and has lost sight in her left eye. She also has little or no sense of smell and has become a sugarholic! Loves her sweets. It is very trying on my wife having to take care of her plus our house sometimes smells like a nursing home because she has become incontinent and wears depends but doesn't always put them in the outside garbage can. Her sense of smell is pretty much gone so she doesn't smell it at all. We have to tell her to take a shower because she smells of urine at times. I keep telling my wife that there's saint hood after this! LOL.
We know it can be tough on us being the "sandwich generation" having to take care of elderly parents and raising a family of our own. It can be a bit overwhelming at times too! It's hard seeing your parents health fail them and you feel guilty about wishing that you hadn't taken on this responsibility or hoping that you parent would pass on before it gets any worse for them or for you. My advice is to see if there is any senior or elder care in you community that may be able to help in some way, do the best you can and do a lot of praying for strength, patience and compassion for you too may some day be in his shoes! Good luck and just try to do the best you can and above all take care of yourself. You need "me" time as well!
Take care and God Bless!
I agree completely!
My 86-year old mother refuses to leave her home despite a variety of health problems. I was concerned because I live about 2 hours away, and over the past few years she has lost all friends through their deaths or moving away to be with family. The professional caregiving service has become an important part of mom's care. We are using the companion option and the caregiving companion comes in every 2 weeks for an afternoon of social activites that get mom out of the house. She is now able to get to parts of town she couldn't find or that have traffic that is too dangerous. She goes out to eat and to movies. Last fall she even requested a visit to the circus and had an entertaining afternoon reflecting on how the circus was so different when she was younger.
We felt by beginning with the companion service, transitioning to more care would be an easier adjustment when it became necessary. We also have the option of scheduling more social visits or even adding in a doctor's visit when I can't accompany mom. The caregiver goes in with her and takes notes so we all know what the doctor said.
I have felt less overwhelmed since we began in August 09. Now I know there is a backup for what I am unable to do.
Have you talked to your parents? They may be creaky but they are still people and deserve to have some say in their future. Speaking as an aging parent ( age 85) I would appreciate more conversation with my children about my needs now and in the future.
Of course, there has to be a balance between what your parents want and what you can do. But first and foremost they must be treated as individuals not as a problem.
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