This is an interesting thread!
I love MickeyD's family's solution - if we all could get our families to be so cooperative!!
Nords- Thanks for the memory of your grandfather - that's really cool. My Grandma was a pip in her last years. Used to tell my aunt all about how she (my aunt) was out carrousing when she was really just sitting right there with her! My aunt used to agree with grandma and say "yeah, that Fran sure is a wild one!" Too funny! Unfortunately my MIL really has no/very little speech ability - lost it years ago. She has different issues than the "normal" alzheimer patients. My husband says we can walk her in circles and she still thinks she is going somewhere! We just enjoy being able to visit with her and make sure her needs are being met. FIL visits frequently and she knows him, but we don't think she knows us anymore. Hard on my DH, but I think he feels good that he is at least able to watch over her.
Justin- I think mikew hit it on the head with the "follow THEIR lead" and stay back out of the scene. You can always quietly subsidize the parents on the side later if need be. Also, I think you will find that you will be able to handle it better later on than you think - it all works out over time - more time, more money, more WISDOM! It comes with age and grey hair!
Wishing you good luck!