Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 31

Thread: How to prioritize and anticipate aging parents' needs?

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Posts
    89

    How to prioritize and anticipate aging parents' needs?

    To those of you who have dealt with your parents' health and affairs during their final years, how ready were you and how much did you plan your own life around that period before it arrived? Did you prepare much? Or just let it happen?


    My parents are still healthy in their early 80s and seem pretty settled in their home. They say they are thinking about possibly moving to independent living or assisted living "when the time comes." But I'm not convinced that they are thinking too hard about it, much less planning for it. I sense that it's easier for them simply to enjoy their lives now than to ponder the inevitable. I don't blame them.


    Meanwhile, I feel a bit in limbo because I have my own life but want to be available to help them with whatever I can "when the time comes." I'm retired from full-time work now and have a lot of freedom, yet I feel hesitant to do anything big and bold, such as maybe living abroad for a while, or anything too committal, like buying a place and settling down for my own long haul. If I do the latter, would it be in my current town or in theirs nearly 100 miles away? Another dilemma.


    Part of my problem is I haven't decided what I want for myself. But it's hard to determine this when I have no idea what I might need or be able to do for them, or how I might need to adjust for it.


    My parents would tell me to live my own life and not worry about them, but I can't bring myself to do that. I'm the eldest child, and my only sibling is much father away and will not be nearly as available in the next decade or so (still raising kids and many years from retirement).


    About 20 years ago, an older guy who had just lost his parents advised me to spend as much time with mine as I could. Back then we were 3,000 miles apart and I took him seriously and moved closer. No regrets, but we still have very separate lives and respect each other's choices.

    I'm not unhappy where I am, renting a condo and enjoying friends and hobbies. But unlike my parents I like to get my ducks in a row. Maybe I'm the one who needs to relax and just live?

  2. #2
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Always logged in
    Posts
    20,666
    I just got back from a garden club meeting. Garden club is full of little old ladies and if they themselves are not ill then their husbands are. So we have three of them going through caretaking of Alzheimerís husbands right now, and perhaps a 4th. Most live in their 2000 ft.≤ plus multi acre places. One of them said two years ago that sheíd have to be looking for another place to live but she wasnít ready to do that and so sheís building an entirely new garden. To me this is not being realistic, but whatever.

    My plan is this: I will die first and DH his family will have to figure out what to do with him. Not my worry! If I do not die first or become incapacitated first, then we will sell our Hermann house because itís 1 acre on a hill and is not easy to maintain. Without DH I would probably move back to Iowa where my brother and my cousins are.

    My real worry is the likely reality that one of us doesnít drop dead but instead, becomes slowly incapacitated so that we canít keep up the place Or keep finances straight, but stubbornly will not deal with that reality. That is what I see on this board all the time.

    I have no desire to stay in my difficult-to- maintain property in Hermann without DH being fully able to take care of it. Itís a sort of place where we could hire mowing done for a year or two if something temporary would befall him, But itís not the sort of place where year after year we want to hire out mowing because the whole point of us have a 1 acre is to have active gardening space.

  3. #3
    Senior Member herbgeek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    2,585
    I can't answer your larger question, which sounds like "how much should I help my parents". Only you can answer that. But if you are looking for practical help, that I can offer. Help your parents to sort out and discard the stuff they aren't using, and help them streamline routines including perhaps outsourcing maintenance chores, sign up for meals on wheels, housekeeping services. Help them automate their finances, where possible. Help them distribute family heirlooms. Make sure they are getting regular medical care. Make it easier for them to stay in their house, as well as easier to move if they need to. Its a huge job to clean out a parents' home, its better if you aren't also crunched for time or overwhelmed with grief, and can take your time to deal with the emotional issues that may/will arise.

    I have a mother with vascular dementia, as well as I suspect some mental illness, who was in huge denial about her condition and refused to let us kids do anything to make life easier for her after dad died, so we are doing the clean out now that she's in assisted living (against her will). I wish she had been able to be more cooperative for us to help her (but she'd been that way my whole life, this wasn't the dementia talking).

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Posts
    89
    Quote Originally Posted by herbgeek View Post
    I can't answer your larger question, which sounds like "how much should I help my parents". Only you can answer that. But if you are looking for practical help, that I can offer. Help your parents to sort out and discard the stuff they aren't using, and help them streamline routines including perhaps outsourcing maintenance chores, sign up for meals on wheels, housekeeping services. Help them automate their finances, where possible. Help them distribute family heirlooms. Make sure they are getting regular medical care. Make it easier for them to stay in their house, as well as easier to move if they need to. Its a huge job to clean out a parents' home, its better if you aren't also crunched for time or overwhelmed with grief, and can take your time to deal with the emotional issues that may/will arise.
    Thanks, indeed these are the kinds of things I want to help with, if and when my parents want my help. But the time has not come yet. My larger question, I guess, is how much should I plan my own life now in anticipation of helping them later, to make it easier for me to be available. That's my quandary. Since I have no idea when they will need help, or how much, it's hard weighing a bunch of unknowns.

    But your list is helpful, thanks. It makes me lean toward staying mobile and not roaming too far.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Teacher Terry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Nevada
    Posts
    11,979
    My dad was incapacitated by 59 and I helped my mom clean out the house over 2 years. At 63 they moved into a apartment. My mom put me on her bank account so I could pay bills if she couldnít. I moved away for my career right before my dad died and they were 73. One sibling was a hour away and one 6. Neither helped with my dadís 14 year illness. Until my mom died at 89 I flew home for her 3 bouts of cancer, stayed 2 weeks and went back to work. My siblings helped too. They were both retired by her terminal bout and a few times moved in with her for 2-4 weeks when it was needed.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    4,794
    I am sort of in the opposite train of thought. How do I arrange my life now in my 60s so that it works best for all as I get older and less able? I have an only child and I recall all too well what it was like to be caring for my ailing mother when I was in my 30s and raising a child without any help from my siblings. I probably shouldn't have moved 800 miles away, right? None of us older folk wish to be dependent on our kids to care for us but as in the case of my mother, a devastating stroke left her unable to figure things out even though she had many ducks in a row. I suppose if I were you that I would sit down with my parents and have a heart to heart about your feelings. Understand that your parent's demise can take much longer than you can imagine so it really is good to know what their plans/wishes are for eventual outcomes. I wouldn't stray too far but perhaps have some getaways now while it appears they are doing OK.

  7. #7
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Always logged in
    Posts
    20,666
    If your parents are in their 80s they are one slip and fall away from being incapacitated on a permanent basis.

    While that’s a bit strong, it is not unrealistic.

    I’ve said it many times before, but our friends in this neighborhood who are aging well are those who sold their big houses and moved to one story condos. They are now mid 80’s.

    Then, there’s another set of people my age who put down roots in our neighborhood but got rid of their giant houses and built something different. In one case a couple built a small carriage house and yes it has steps, but there’s also complete living quarters on the first floor. In another case a couple built a new house that’s multi story but it has everything on a first floor. In third case,the couple built a master suite on the first floor of their tall Victorian.

    I would say that no matter how good your parents seem in their early 80s, if they haven’t made one change, If they haven’t investigated assisted living places and have their name on a list for a place that they like, they’re not accepting reality.

    How do they currently take care of their house? Who does the yard work? Who does the cleaning? Do they have scads of stuff that has to be decluttered before they move?
    Last edited by iris lilies; 11-4-21 at 11:22pm.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    4,794
    I hope your parents are thinking about how they will get on if something happens to one or the other. I think about that a lot these days since I have been with DH since I was 20yo.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    9,113
    Help your parents to sort out and discard the stuff they aren't using, and help them streamline routines including perhaps outsourcing maintenance chores, sign up for meals on wheels, housekeeping services. Help them automate their finances, where possible.
    I can't even imagine a world in which parents would listen to me on this. Well my dad has passed on so I only have my mom. They have to ask for help first it seems, but with the strong wills involved well good luck with that.

    So that's why my philosophy toward things I can do nothing about is just: the future will take care of itself (but I am available).

    (I often liken family in my mind to climate change, though I may suffer from it, there isn't that much I can do about it)

    Whether one calls it living in reality or not, what difference does that make, it's just words. I have no more influence on my mom than I do on someone out there who is convinced the vaccine is a microchip from Bill Gates. They aren't living in reality for sure, but I'm not going to change their mind. All I can do is rarely offer something like my mom staying with me for a couple weeks after surgery.
    Trees don't grow on money

  10. #10
    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    7,571
    As Apatheticnomore has pointed out, and has been discussed in various other threads here over time, a lot of this depends on your parents. How open are they to offers of help/suggestions of how to prepare for a different future? If they are resistant there's probably not much you can do right now other than wait for the dreaded phone call that something terrible has happened and then deal with the chaos as best you can.

    My sister and I were fortunate that my father moved himself to an assisted living place 4 years before he died (and 4 years after our mother died). Then, over the remaining 4 years, he let my sister take over more of the day to day of his finances so that by the time he was in the hospital for the last time (which lasted 6 months) it was just a matter of her getting added to a couple more accounts so that when he finally died everything was organized to make the distribution of his assets pretty painless.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •