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

  1. #11
    Senior Member herbgeek's Avatar
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    I can't even imagine a world in which parents would listen to me on this.
    Me either! I wrote this list based on all the stuff I /wished/ we could have done for my folks. But Dad was proud and Mom is stubborn, as well as possessing a pathologic need to be perfect at all times, so any suggestion of help was rejected because she was perfect and there was nothing wrong to help. If Mom had gone first, my Dad would have allowed us to do some sorting/downsizing, perhaps signing him up for a meal service, but would have rejected anything that sounded to him that we were treating him like an invalid.

  2. #12
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ApatheticNoMore View Post
    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)
    I like your philosophy. That's how I feel.

    I lost my parents a long time ago, so I can't relate to the "child" part, but a) I do hope my kids care as much about me as you guys care about your parents, and b) I also hope my kids intercede only when medically necessary, or when I ask for help. I wouldn't appreciate being treated like a child by my children.

    That's why I'm tempted to say to the OP, leave it alone for now.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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  3. #13
    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    I feel like I should have lots of useful advice, but I'm too much in the thick of the trees to be able to see the forest, or something like that. Like Pinkytoe, I'm also trying to use this opportunity to look forward and make good decisions for DH & me, especially since we don't have any children to provide assistance. Herbgeek gave some good guidance, and I would add to make sure the necessary legal documents have been completed, such as power of attorney, living will, etc.
    One of the things that I really regret is not having been more forward-thinking about housing. Mom has a fully-paid home, but it isn't conducive to multi-generational living (3 bedrooms and one bath, all upstairs, very limited parking). DH & I have a fully-paid home, but our tiny one bedroom, one bath cottage (bedroom upstairs and bathroom downstairs) is even less conducive to multi-generational living than Mom's house. So we have all this home equity, but not a house that would work for us to live together. I figure we'll be lucky if Mom can manager another two years living alone, but of course, who really knows what the future will bring or how long she will be around.
    I am definitely someone who likes to plan and have my ducks in a row, but I would have to give myself a failing grade thus far on this big picture stuff.
    I should also add that when I retired in late 2017, my 82-year-old mother was the strong, independent and capable woman I had always known. By late 2018, she had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and at this point, she can barely be considered a functioning human being, so things can change pretty quickly. If your parents in their early eighties want to be at all proactive about the future, the time has come!

  4. #14
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by catherine View Post
    I like your philosophy. That's how I feel.

    I lost my parents a long time ago, so I can't relate to the "child" part, but a) I do hope my kids care as much about me as you guys care about your parents, and b) I also hope my kids intercede only when medically necessary, or when I ask for help. I wouldn't appreciate being treated like a child by my children.

    That's why I'm tempted to say to the OP, leave it alone for now.
    I agree with all of this post. Stay in regular touch to monitor each other - parents ensuring all is well with kids and kids ensuring all is well with parents. Love in action.
    As Cicero said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”

  5. #15
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    So many great posts here. Being in the thick of this right now myself, I really can't give much good advice, except to say that my husband and I are using this current disaster to plan so that we don't have the same disaster, and I would urge you strongly to live your own life fully and worry about their lives later, rather than trying to prioritize them and not living your best life now. Cannot say this strongly enough. We put off our lives to care for them, even to where we live, and what a mistake.

    Your mom can move near you in the future if she needs your help. Make your life full and rich right now--that is your job. She is on her own path, and you must invest in your own life.

  6. #16
    Senior Member flowerseverywhere's Avatar
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    Houses can be made much more friendly to accommodate them in their home. We did it to our own home when we suddenly were hospitalized within a few days of each other. It was a long climb back to wellness. we also have helped MIL do the same.
    first remove throw rugs and other tripping hazards. Remove ladders from the home. A sturdy steps tool with sturdy railings might be OK.
    examine the house for low light areas. Outdoor lighting as well as indoor needs to have a clear path.

    if there are inside stairs is there a secure railing?

    are outside stairs and paths have sturdy railings and well maintained.

    We have done all these things because we don’t want to be a burden.

    Change shower heads to ones you can move around with a hose type connection. We have a teak shower bench in our bathroom that looks nice and can be used in the actual shower. We have used it a few times.

    get rid of excess furniture and stuff. Much easier to navigate and prevent falls.

    are their affairs in order? Make sure wills and beneficiaries are up to date as well as power of attorney and their burial wishes. We have prepaid funeral expenses

    ada approved grab bars in showers, toilets and so on.

  7. #17
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    I asked DH to put grab bars in the upstairs bathroom I’ll be using in Hermann. He is not putting grab bars in HIS bathroom but that’s up to him.

    The funniest thing about this Herman house is that it had handles everywhere—Along the basement steps, along the wall of outdoor steps, etc. A man and woman who were probably in their 70s when they sold it had installed regular 4 inch handles, not grab bars, everywhere. But what was “funny” is that they put shiny ceramic tile on the front porch and all over the back deck. That is slick as snot when wet and I do not understand their thinking.

    We have ripped out all of that shiny, slippery ceramic tile.

    For the downstairs bathroom we got one of those ugly molded showers and we talked about a seat in it, but I didn’t want to commit to that, and I told DH later we could just add a plastic chair if need be.

    this week we had a talk with the staircase lady, the owner of a store that provides staircase parts. She told us what the code is for staircases and we plan to follow it even though I’m not certain that inspector in Hermann will be that picky. Also in order to meet code I’m having to forgo the railing I would prefer for aesthetic purposes. Code requires that it be easy to grip and it defines how wide it can be. I would prefer a handrail that is wider.

  8. #18
    Senior Member Teacher Terry's Avatar
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    I definitely don’t understand the ceramic tile as that’s very slippery. My bathtub is very low and I put a non slip mat inside it. I don’t have any trip hazards either.

  9. #19
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    It's hard to figure out what to do.

    DW's mom (89) made it easy. A couple of years ago, after maybe the fourth time the fire department had to get into her house to pick her up off the floor after she fell, DMiL decided she didn't want to live independently any more. So into assisted living, which lasted a few months until she fell enough there that they sent her to a nursing home. However, she loves it where she is: home care is no longer overwhelming, she has her own little place, she has social outlets, etc. She can put her energy into be-ing.

    My mom (87) still can function largely independently though we're seeing a few cognitive issues and her housekeeping has deteriorated considerably. She is, as someone else wrote (IL?) that she's one good fall away from not being able to live in the house I rent to her. She cannot move in with us. There is the space but not the temperament (hers or ours) .Fortunately, for the extremely minimal planning my mother has done to prepare for her own future, moving in with us does not seem to be part of that plan. So I guess we'll have to keep watching and wait until she can no longer live on her own -- or her body just gives out. In the meantime, she's nominally happy with being largely housebound and things just kind of work. We've given up on the idea of my mother doing any more planning around her own passing and agreed that major changes to the house will come once it's empty and cleaned up for sale. She will not be able to do it. Roll up a dumpster; we'll take care of it when she's gone. It's just not worth the turmoil those discussions cause.

    There are no other parents to worry about. Fortunately, we are not snowbirds and don't intend to be, and we have no plans to move from where we live now unless it is not physically possible to adapt the house to whatever one of us needs. And we're both retired now so it's easier to attend care conferences and get mom to the doctor and help out with the occasional household task. Sometimes retirement feels a little bit like limbo because we feel we should be doing something more concrete with our time. But we've become very close/confidantes to two other older couples and we want to be available for them, too. So I suppose this is what we feel we should be doing now. Good enough for now.
    Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. - Booker T. Washington

  10. #20
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    We know the house we are currently in is not good for growing old - tri-level with no bedroom or bath on the main level but...the present real estate situation is making it next to impossible to find anything better suited. I know that I will be in my late 70s when DD is dealing with teenagers and she surely won't need the stress of an aging mom. I hate the thought of 55+ places but that may be how it goes.

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