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Caregiver stress
Old 05-20-2014, 05:52 PM   #1
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Caregiver stress

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/poll-...are-spouse-mom

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You promise "in sickness and in health," but a new poll shows becoming a caregiver to a frail spouse causes more stress than having to care for mom, dad or even the in-laws.

Americans 40 and older say they count on their families to care for them as they age, with good reason: Half of them already have been caregivers to relatives or friends, the poll found.

But neither the graying population nor the loved ones who expect to help them are doing much planning for long-term care. In fact, people are far more likely to disclose their funeral plans to friends and family than reveal their preferences for assistance with day-to-day living as they get older,
The rest of the article covers the realities of caregiving, and some statistics about the likelyhood of requiring care as we age...

While most of our discussions here on ER have had to do with the financial planning for continuing care, the truth is that most of the care comes not from nursing homes or paid home caregivers, but from the immediate family, especially the spouse.

Look for the spread between expectations and reality. Money isn't always the solution.
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Old 05-20-2014, 06:02 PM   #2
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I saw that article and we (DW and I) were talking about it today. We can see it coming with several relatives who have made no plans or are simply ignoring the reality that eventually and (almost) inevitably they will become old and frail. Unless one suddenly gets The Big Ache and drops, people are going to have to deal with it.

Having recently been through that grinder with looking after FIL for several years is why we're planning on moving to a CCRC in the next five to eight years.
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Old 05-21-2014, 05:53 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Walt34 View Post
Having recently been through that grinder with looking after FIL for several years is why we're planning on moving to a CCRC in the next five to eight years.
There is no better way to prep for this than being a caregiver, and having been one, it's probably difficult to explain your choice to others without that experience.

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Look for the spread between expectations and reality. Money isn't always the solution.
Money may not be the solution but the lack of money sure pushes most options out of reach.
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Old 05-21-2014, 01:50 PM   #4
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Our family went through the care giving with my mom (she died in 2013). My dad did an incredible job holding his part of "in SICKNESS and in health", but really took a took its toll on him. We saw my mom everyday, but, and helped in anyway we could. She was able bodied till 3 weeks before she died. I can honestly say, we were not prepared to care for her in the last 3 weeks when she couldnt even roll over in bed. It took 2 caretakers to change her, and we had no clue where to start.

I give a stand up applause for all in the caregiver business, or the family caregivers helping their loved ones. It is not an easy job!
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Old 05-21-2014, 05:10 PM   #5
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My sister was under a lot of stress caring for my mother even when she lived in her own apartment and during the last 2 months when she was in a nursing home. She worried about her all the time and always felt like she should be doing more. Now she is concerned that her longtime partner will become a burden on her - he is more than 10 years older than her and increasingly in pain from serious back pain.

DH is disabled (MS, as was the case with several folks in the story) and although currently 95% independent, we know that won't last much longer. I'm not looking forward to it but fortunately he has LTC from his old employer and between that and savings, financially I'll be able to get whatever help we decide is best. Even with that I know it will be very stressful.
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Old 05-21-2014, 09:45 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by MBAustin View Post
.

DH is disabled (MS, as was the case with several folks in the story) and although currently 95% independent, we know that won't last much longer. I'm not looking forward to it but fortunately he has LTC from his old employer and between that and savings, financially I'll be able to get whatever help we decide is best. Even with that I know it will be very stressful.
Thank you for posting this. Please accept my sincere appreciation, concern and hopefully, some understanding of what you are facing. The cited article was directed at this, specifically as the difference between spouse... as a "now and forever", 24/7 year round promise... and the more subtle "family" responsibilities, to care for relatives.

Either way, heartbreak, sadness, memories... and a "where do we go from here?"

Dad, mom, sister or brother... and the dearest of friends... watching them suffer and become less and less able to be what you've always known.... and along with that... the realization that it will never be the same...

Yes... we've learned to grow up with that... knowing and accepting that decline, and eventual death. We do our best, personally, financially, and intellectually... to find a path to ease the pain. A struggle to make the best of sadness and to ease the suffering.

Still, there's another level, of which it's hard to describe. A spouse.

The one who reminds you to put your seat belt on... The one who puts a hand on your arm and says... "that's enough". The one who kept silent, and passed comment on that stupid thing you said. The one who worried with you, when the job wasn't going well or who took the lead, when your child got into trouble at school... The one who made you go to the doctor, when you didn't want to.

Yeah... and the one who sat at the kitchen table with you and worried with you through to that final agreement on the big crisis.

When something happens, and you become caregiver... there may well be a difference. In a close marriage/relationship it's more... A different kind of closeness. Not just a doctor... a nursing home, a respite center or a person of the cloth...

The kind of a thing that ... When you get there... You know it.
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Old 05-22-2014, 11:15 AM   #7
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I've been with FIL for 3 years prior to his passing, Daytime hours. Night time hours was spent with my mother. Since his passing, I've been with Mom 24/7 in her home and last two years she has been bedridden. Last 4 months my wife has assisting me in her toileting. Last 4 years we have taken Mom to our home for bathing (ADA bathroom).

Two months ago, I decided to hire some daytime help. I knew I was becoming insufferable and was kindly tolerated by DW. Started at 10hr/wk, and this week now 15hrs/wk. It is truly amazing to feel some weight lifted off my shoulders.

We have personal LTCI for these 13 years. I expect we could have LTCI another 20+ years into our 90's before we will use it. DW is concerned about my health and never wants to care for me-I understand it will be difficult for her in our very senior years.
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Old 05-22-2014, 01:08 PM   #8
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Still, there's another level, of which it's hard to describe. A spouse.

The one who reminds you to put your seat belt on... The one who puts a hand on your arm and says... "that's enough". The one who kept silent, and passed comment on that stupid thing you said. The one who worried with you, when the job wasn't going well or who took the lead, when your child got into trouble at school... The one who made you go to the doctor, when you didn't want to.

Yeah... and the one who sat at the kitchen table with you and worried with you through to that final agreement on the big crisis.

When something happens, and you become caregiver... there may well be a difference. In a close marriage/relationship it's more... A different kind of closeness. Not just a doctor... a nursing home, a respite center or a person of the cloth...

The kind of a thing that ... When you get there... You know it.
I watched my parents go through this. Mom's Dementia got bad when she hit her mid 80s. She was very happy, but her sphere of knowledge slowly went away. Eventually there was just a few of lifes memories, she never lost those.

My Dad, who never could cook, clean, or figure out a vacuum cleaner, suddenly stepped up. They got some part time help, but DF figured out how to clean, get groceries, make simple meals, and how to vacuum. They were living independently, nearest family 1500 miles away. When Mom was 91 she fell, the hospital called in a social worker, DM was to afraid to try walking, had to go to nursing home. Dad was distraught, until one day he saw her playing and having fun with a group of women. He realized she was still happy.

When she passed at 92, I remember the conversation with him after her service. 'Well son my last goal is complete, I commited to seeing your mother through to her end. I'm ready to go join her now.' The family didn't realize it untill last year, DF had been hiding his own Dementia for many years. I believe so he could protect Mom.
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Old 05-22-2014, 04:44 PM   #9
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Caregiving. Blessed are those who do it, and rarely are they appreciated in my opinion. We built addition for MIL and after 3 hospitalizing falls since Christmas decided after 8 years of servitude that was enough and moved her into a nice AL facility. We feel good about what we did, even if she holds great resentment towards us now that we've taken away her nice paid for pad with servants. I won't go on.

We did hospice in our hope for both my parents, so have been a part in this process with several flavors. I will say my parents appreciated all we did. I guess I"m sort of hung up on that given that MIL never understood what we were missing nor did her son help much. Anyway, I'm digressing!

We're well self insured but the thought of one of us becoming caregiver even in title is very unappealing, perhaps especially because of our experiences. The article mentions how folks can talk about funeral plans (well, that's an unavoidable event!) but can't talk much about caregiving and LTC. I think that's because a lot of us deny the possibility; if we eat right and stay fit, we will be the quintessential lovable yet annoying old person! I've seen too many linger on in states of extreme low quality of life and I don't want that for either of us. All the advances in healthcare can sometimes look like somewhat of a curse I'm afraid.

Anyway, best of luck to all involved in this.
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