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Retiree's parents health/welfare
Old 02-09-2020, 07:49 PM   #1
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Retiree's parents health/welfare

Lookong for insights regarding direct and indirect impacts in regards to retiree's physical, financial, mental wellbeing as a consequence of assisting their parent or parents.

Contextually I am presently taking point on my Mom's health care needs following a serious fall, managing her 'operating budger' on a regular basis and managing the 'decommission' of her condo in advance of listing.

General insights or specifics on related impacts will be appreciated. Thank you!

M.
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Old 02-09-2020, 08:13 PM   #2
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Some more info will help people comment. For example,
Are you an only child?
Is Dad out of the picture?
Does Mom have enough money or will she need family supplements?
Where will Mom live after condo is sold?
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Old 02-09-2020, 09:00 PM   #3
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Two older brothers, one lives several states away. The other provides unpredictable and varying degrees of engagement.

Mom is widower and she is fortunate to have the wherewithal to cover her own expenses at this point in time.


Following rehab, the desired outcome will be returning to senior retirement home ( with options for personal care; however no option for nursing care).

Interested in hearing about other's strategies for maximizing happiness for all, establishing realistic levels of engagement, etc.
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Old 02-09-2020, 09:11 PM   #4
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Having to handle such matters are much easier if the parent is very compliant and easy to get along with. My mother ended up in a CCRC for 2 years after being in a luxury apartment with help. Even as easy as she was to get along with, she was tough to handle until she got over the anxiety of moving and making new friends.

If a parent is at all hard to live with, we'll pray for you. They have to realize you're there to help them out, and that you're looking out for their best interests. And at one point, you've sometimes got to tell'em this is how things are and they need to get used to it.
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Old 02-09-2020, 09:51 PM   #5
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I'm sorry you are faced with this, and hope you can meet these challenges with more success than my family did. In my experience, clear communication and agreement on roles and responsibilities with siblings is a must.

For example, when I was in your situation my sister (a nurse living nearby) was identified as health care proxy. It was my DM's choice. Yet my brother (living 4 hrs away) did not always recognize/respect this. Thus, battles ensued regarding appointments, medicines, follow-up care, etc. Brother would take mother to doctor without informing sister, then not do follow-up visits - and not inform others of the need for follow-up. Borderline elder abuse IMO. One person needs to be in charge. Others can help, and need to help, but only one person can be in charge and keep track of all the medical needs. Of course that person needs to communicate the issues/plans/etc. A single google document and calendar could make this easier to manage. (I tried that, by brother would not use it).

It got worse. Financially, brother was in charge (per the trust documents). He didn't do that job well, would not accept help, nor would he communicate any information regarding the financial position of DM. Several times a year he would not pay rent on time, leaving sister to face the landlord. He let insurance lapse one year. This could have been resolved with 2 people as trustees, or having a professional trustee. Again, a simple shared google spreadsheet would have resolved this.

Selling the condo: All family needs to be involved and agree to the disposition of the stuff in the condo. You and your siblings need to agree on a timeline to get this done and then stick to it. In my case, timeline was agreed to, people flew in to do the job, and brother dragged his feet, claimed he never agreed to timeline (it was in writing via email), and generally made a difficult task even more stressful.

Friends and neighbors: You and your family will be doing what is best for your mother, knowing more about her and her condition than others. In my case, the decisions my family made were questioned quite rigorously by my aunts, uncles, and friends of the family. Many of these people were in denial of the issues my mother faced, and were actually quite rude in their questions. Be prepared for this, and give them some slack.

My DM lived in a senior housing unit. My sister visited nearly every day for coffee in the morning, or on her way home from work. It really helps to make DM feel at home and keep an eye on DM and understand changes that were happening (memory issues got worse quickly). It was crucial to keep DM on a schedule and make sure she got enough sleep. Hopefully, your mom does not have memory issues. If my DM's schedule got messed up (usually by my brother coming in from out of town, taking her on a whirlwind tour to see the neighbors, keeping her out too late, eating a large dinner at a fancy restaurant, etc.) then she would be out-of-whack for 4-5 days and my sister had to deal with it. The primary care giver needs to set rules and others need to respect them.

I hope I provided some issues to consider. It did not work out well for my family only because my brother was a jerk about the entire process. Best of luck to you.
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Old 02-09-2020, 10:15 PM   #6
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Harvey's

Thank you for the candid response. So many parallels within your post, either you are my sibling or these types of issues are more ubiquitous than I thought.

Yes- primary delegation of responsibilities, except when primary medical liaison is away for weeks at a clip.

Yes- flybys have a profound impact on moms normal schedule let alone recovery schedule. Generally she exerts all her energy putting on a splendid show, only to be exhausted for days following.

Condo transition, fell 95+ on my wife and my shoulders especially due to the unexpected hosp admission and rehab admission. From a guilt standpoint, I'm exonerated in the injuries were not directly or indirectly related to whirlwind of conto decommissioning activities.

Again, you personal experiences and observations have many parallels, others who are footsteps behind us on this forum have some provocative things to consider.

Check- POA, living will/healthcare proxy.

Check on finally selling auto, that was a huge milestone emotionally.
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Old 02-09-2020, 10:30 PM   #7
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We never told my mom what to do or forced her to do anything. Unless the person has dementia they are free to make their own choices even if it means being not completely safe. No regrets and I have told my kids I expect the same.
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Old 02-09-2020, 11:02 PM   #8
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All our family was on the same page as far as Mom & Dad, both Alzheimers patients. The "favored" couple went over to the house up to daily to check on them & make some meals. They were 35 minutes away so there was a big burden there. As they slid downhill their license got taken away (we called DMV). Which really isolated them. But the Golden Couple was there to fill in the gaps. The next Christmas we had The Talk. Assisted Living. They relunctantly went to tour. once Mom saw she didn't have to cook it was settled. The favored couple did all the medical/dental. We just tried to assist where we could. Touring other facilities as Mom & Dad's health declined. There were a couple hospitalizations for Mom. I would always go there but tried not to interfere. Just assist where i could. Finally both were moved to Memory care. The couple went most every day to eat meals with them. I tried to go once a week. I was an hour to 2 hours away.

The Golden Couple also were trustees of Mom & Dads trust. And kept the rest of the family informed with regular updates on the financial position. The whole thing was very disruptive to their lives. That's why i didn't beotch too much at all when SIL got cut in for a portion of the inheritance. I was dealing with my wifes ultimately fatal cancer Dx
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Old 02-09-2020, 11:15 PM   #9
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I have POA for Dad's health care, my brother has POA for his finances. We work great together. Dad's second wife passed 4 years ago and I moved him in with me. Within 2 months I got him diagnosed as Alzheimers. He wasn't willing to accept that, but it was honest and he needed serious help. My younger sister was milking him for every dime she could get her mitts on, including step mother's jewelry between the funeral and memorial service! By this time, all Dad had left was about $3,000 in the bank. That included his equity of his home he sold when he moved to independent living 2 years prior to second wife's death.
So, now Dad living with me and DW, diagnosed with Alzheimers, makes it 2 years before we have to get him some place safer. (he would get up in the middle of the night to let in his dog that died years ago. That sort of thing) That worked pretty well, but now Dad has been put on hospice two days ago. He's very frail, can't stand on his own. Tasks such as keeping him clean are pretty monumentous. I visit him every day now to be sure he's treated well and at least dry, fed/watered, has some entertainment, etc. I bring our dog along who adores him and visa versa. Maybe once I'm comfortable that hospice is treating Dad with the level of care and compassion I expect, I'll be able to back off daily visits, but then he's on hospice and I won't have him around forever....
I'd have to say this is the hardest thing I've ever done; assume the physical well being of my father. I'd also have to say it has gotten harder as he ages. I fear I'm not doing enough, making wrong choices, missing something I shouldn't, etc. Waking up at 4am fearing he's alone, old, scared and with dementia is really tough. I know I'm probably doing this more to myself than warrants, but how I feel about this is what it is.

I do hope that his time with hospice is peaceful and with as much comfort as possible and I will do what I can to make that happen.

To anyone who is the caregiver and has the responsibility for an elderly parent, God bless you. I know what you are going through.
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Old 02-10-2020, 05:52 AM   #10
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Like those before us, albeit at earlier ages and likely for shorter durations, our generation is facing many challenges in respectfully and honorably caring for aging relatives.

It would be helpful to learn what others are doing to get through these difficult periods without loosing their own sanity, diminishing their own financial means necessary for the future and staying healthy physically.

Because my mother is well insured and has a 'real' pension, I am fortunate to 'only' be exposed to the self imposed daily visits, sometimes multiple times a day; hours of administrative time to take care of bills, etc.

I am not into exercising nor do I participate in formal religious activities, unless one may count subscribing to this site as a religious experience.

To each of you that has responded, thank you and I wish you the absolute best outcome possible.
M
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Old 02-10-2020, 06:38 AM   #11
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I'm sorry you are facing this. It's hard. I am the oldest and in town. Mom will turn 80 this year and Dad has dementia/Alz. and is 83. Mom is taking care of him at home so far and we pitch in. It becomes a part of your daily life if you are close enough to be involved. You have to come up with a way to communicate with siblings if that is a factor. Otherwise, I have found the most helpful thing is to spend time over there with them to see what needs to be done. Mom does not like to ask for help. Best wishes to you.
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Old 02-10-2020, 09:41 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iloveyoga View Post
You have to come up with a way to communicate with siblings if that is a factor.

I agree. I mentioned my brother handles finances and I medical. I live closer to Dad, 30 minutes each way, than my brother, hour each way. He's still working part time and are now involved with raising a teen grand child. His MIL is also needing care and rapidly approaching a time she won't be able to live in her home.

The communication we have has several pluses. For example, I know his personal situation so I don't resent that I spend much more time with Dad than he's able. He trusts I'm not padding or wasting Dad's funds but I send him invoices every 2 months detailing items and costs; stuff like prescription and OTC meds, clothing, food and drink preferences outside those provided where he lives, dining out money, gifts he wants to buy others, etc.

We send e-mails outlining visits with Dad to each other. It's a bit arduous, but saves a lot of time and confusion when the big events happen; like a fall for example. If I've conveyed that Dad's blood pressure is dropping upon standing, his eye sight is worse, he's gaining or loosing weight, etc. then my brother is aware of the increase of risk for falls.

We have a calendar on Dad's wall we mark when we visit, who visited, how long and if for a special event. For example; I may mark down I visited and took him to a dental appointment, out to lunch, shopping for Christmas gifts. Even if it's just for BINGO or other group in-home activities. We both feel much more connected to Dad knowing what the other has observed and their experiences. We are able to confirm we both observe the same increase in memory loss, room cleanliness, meal quality, even his personal grooming and bathing.
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Old 02-10-2020, 10:49 AM   #13
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My dad had a big stroke at 59. We had 3 kids and bought the house Nextdoor. I helped my mom care for him for 14 years. She helped with my kids so I could go to college. By the time my mom needed help I had moved across the country for a job. I would fly home to help. My sister was a hour away and my brother 6. By the time she needed more help they were retired. They did more for her but no one lifted a finger to help with my dad.
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Retiree's parents health/welfare
Old 02-11-2020, 06:31 AM   #14
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Retiree's parents health/welfare

90 yo MIL has the beginning of dementia. She lives alone and canít remember what she did yesterday. DW and I live 10 minutes away. DWís siblings live 2 and 7 hours away. DW and I help her mom out - taking her shopping, Dr visits, etc.

She recently wrecked her car, and spent 3 days in the hospital undergoing tests to determine what caused the accident. She may have passed out at the wheel, but there isnít much medical evidence to prove it. She canít remember anything in the minutes leading up to the accident. We have told her that her driving days are over, and sheís ok with that so far.

She now wears a heart monitor to see what her heart is doing. And she fiddles with it, her phone, tv, stereo, and her hearing aids to the point where we need to go to her place daily to restart some device.

We have some trips coming up. DWís sister will take on care giving duties while we are gone.

MILís physical health is good. I canít imagine what some care givers are going through when you add physical health issues to the mix.
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Old 02-11-2020, 07:20 AM   #15
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I made up a google site for parental care, which ended up never being needed, so I don't know how it might have worked.

But surely there are templates online for parental case management. Has anyone found any?
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Old 02-11-2020, 07:26 AM   #16
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Re-looking at this post and decided I would weigh in. Original post seems to inquire mainly about impact on the caregivers. I'd say that's all over the place depending on the level of care needed, the mental state of the caree, and the relationship of the caregivers; both as a couple/siblings and to the caree.

MIL passed away 5 years ago; lived with us for 8 until we could no longer deal with the repeated falls and failure to follow directions. Looking back we have no regrets at all, but the challenges at times were more than frustrating. If we could change anything I'd say her attitude. Had she shown a bit of gratitude and acceptance of her plight, it could have been much less stressful. It had little if any impact on our marriage, and the financial impact was relatively minor (now have a $40k addition I built). So for us, the "impact" was not lasting and we can take some satisfaction in having provided care for someone who had nothing other than about $1200 a month in SS after having worked until 80. And, she was DW's mother after all.
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Old 02-11-2020, 11:11 AM   #17
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Financially, my folks did fine. Siblings and I shared care/emotional/physical duties for Dad after Mom passed. He was in and out of hospitals and rehab for the last few years, but lived in his own home. Luckily, we all lived within 30 minutes of each other and him. We kept a calendar and diary, along with getting together 1- 2 times a month, made sure someone was with him every day and shared a meal, along with house cleaning and shopping. Oldest two siblings had POA and trustee and handled assisting with financial aspects as well, being an RN, I handled all of the medical appointments, etc. He was on hospice at home at the end, and we cared for him around the clock for his last few days.

None of us were retired yet, so it was not easy caring for him and dealing with our own lives. But it was worth it, and luckily we all get along well and live close.
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Old 02-11-2020, 03:13 PM   #18
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One lesson I hope to learn as we near the "decommissioning" of Mom's condo is to parse through our own accumulated, seemingly, invaluable STUFF. As my DW tells me often, I can not part with a single extra screw or nut that remains after assembling anything. Instead of OMY syndrome with retirement planning it OMD until I need that certain and specific screw. Yet as my neighbor points out, it's faster to drive both ways to home Depot to buy a new scew then the parse through the endless collection of artifacts in hope of finding a match. Therefore, tonight and every night until my collection of loose screws is gone, I plan to discard one a day. I hope you can see that humor is one of my vehicles to get through the journey. And yes, I have a loose scew, or two :-)
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Old 02-12-2020, 04:51 AM   #19
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My mom is 75 and has Dementia, but is otherwise healthy and still gets around fine, IF she wants to. Her mental decline has been rapid over these past few years. It’s so weird because some days I talk with her and she seems lucid and holds a conversation, the next you can tell the lights are on, but nobody is home. If you ask here where dad is, she won't even know my dad is napping in the recliner across from her. But it’s bad enough that we need a family intervention in order to plan for the years ahead. It’s going to be a stressful conversation no doubt, but it is long overdue.

My dad is almost 82 and in excellent health, but this is taking a major toll on him and we can see his decline. He could easily live into his nineties, but the stress of my moms decline will be the death of him after 55 years of marriage. They are not struggling financially and can cover nursing or memory care expenses if needed. It’s more about the willingness to make some changes that are going to be a challenge, like selling their main home and rentals, downsizing 55 years of marriage and moving close to us or maybe “initially” move in with us when we move back stateside in a couple years. Until that time, my sister will just have to pull the weight. My dad is open to anything, he is just sweet and so easy to deal with. My mom…well that might end up being a bit of a challenge because change is becoming more difficult for her.

My sweet (stubborn) MIL is almost 85, deeply southern and very private about her finances. We don't really know much at all, but assume she lives on very little SS & some modest savings. This is very frustrating to us and even if we deposit $ into her bank account, she writes us a check and mails it back to us. So we have to find alternative ways to help like sending pre-packed food from QVC, meat boxes and other stuff to the house as "gifts" which she will accept. Thankfully she still has her faculties about her, just seems frail and has been having way more “dizzy spells” lately, but refuses to go to the doctor to find out why. Last time we were home, we notice her mobility is starting to decline and she won’t agree to go out many places, because her back is so bad.

The challenge we face is respecting her southern traditions, with regard to her finances, but still knowing where she stands so as we enter retirement in a couple years ourselves, we are not blindsided by a situation we had no idea existed. Regardless, we will be able to help if needed, just would put our mind to ease knowing she isn't struggling in silence, if she doesn't have to. We are very fortunate that my BIL lives with her, so we do have someone there 24/7 to keep an eye on her. They are just both REALLY tight lipped about letting us know what’s going on, because they “don’t want to stress us” living so far away. Well news flash, being 8,000 miles away and not knowing anything is way more stressful!

We just want the best for them. Our intentions are nothing but honest and only wish for our parents to live the remainder of their lives with dignity; making sure they get excellent care and have the quality of life they deserve.
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Old 02-12-2020, 06:18 AM   #20
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"We just want the best for them. Our intentions are nothing but honest and only wish for our parents to live the remainder of their lives with dignity; making sure they get excellent care and have the quality of life they deserve. "


Beautifully stated. Thank you.
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