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Old 03-02-2008, 05:07 PM   #1
Okie Guy
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When you become your parents parent

How many people on here are their parents parent?

I recently had to put most of my life on hold to start helping take care of dad. We almost lost him but he is a strong ol coot. I told him he couldn't kick over until we do a few more things at the farm.
The farm is an ongoing joke between the two of us because I always tease him about getting things done at the farm. He will ask me to come up and help him do something out there. We arrive and before we can start to work on the initial task we have to do 5 other things to get stuff cleaned up or moved to even start working. The amount of time this takes to rearrange ends up taking all the time we have to work on the project we started out to accomplish. We usually have to go home and he calls me the next weekend to do the same thing which starts the process all over.

This weekend we had to sit down and have the "Big Talk." You know the one about living wills, trusts and financial affairs. All of us kids are getting together to buy mom and dad a house which will be better for them to live in and just give them a better life in their final years. It isn't anything fancy just a two bedroom brick home. They have worked so hard to give us everything they could when we were growing up and now it is our turn to take care of them.

Bless their hearts. Mom with a double mastectomy and now dads near death experience in less than six months. Some how the topic of family furniture passed down since it came over from Germany in the 1800's and who should get what. I have always loved the buffet in the kitchen of the farm house. Dad has 4 antique buffets but there is one which I have always loved that has been in the same spot since the 1940's in the farm house. Dad has known this. When he would go check on the house I would ask him how my buffet was doing. When he asked me what I wanted from the farm I think my reply broke his heart. I simply stated if there was anything I wanted which he had at the farm I usually went to an antique shop to find one just like it to purchase or for furniture I would take a picture and have a wood shop build it for me. I quickly realized what I had done and told him if he wanted me to have anything just put it in your will and also requested a cookie jar so I could make sure I hadn't really hurt his feelings. I hope that cookie jar has some meaning so I haven't offended him.

I keep forgetting he is thinking about what to leave behind and us kids keep thinking about how to make sure to take care of them as best we can and give them a good life in their final years. It is really a strange place to be. While we are questioning their health and what the doctors say about their health they are thinking about what they are going to do for us like they owe us something. It is a very fine line to walk to not offend them and talk to them about it in a way that shows we are trying to do something to give them a good life in the golden years.

If I still have your attention thanks for reading. I am not looking for sympathy or cudos. I just needed to vent off some steam. This is a very strange territpry I have never traveled before. I can't believe none of my friends have been through this yet. They have no idea what it is like or what they are going to be going through in a few years. If any of you are going through this same thing I would like to hear from you. I have been keeping a diary of sorts to try and put together a guide for middle aged people who have to take care of their family as well as their parents.

Thanks for reading!
Phil The Okie Guy
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Old 03-02-2008, 05:45 PM   #2
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yep Phil it is a strange place to be. Yes I've been there. There are some great memmories just about to happen. Enjoy this time as it will be gone all too soon. Even this time is a blessing compared to them being gone.
It all works out.
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Old 03-02-2008, 06:23 PM   #3
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I guess I've been there but in a little different sense.
After my Mother passed away my Father moved into my home...he did not want to live alone. During his time in my home he went from a very independent man, to being like my child. He suffered from renal failure, which he needed to go to dialysis three days a week. Then he suffered through stomach cancer. After five years he passed away.

It was hard, we could not really plan to leave home for more then a few days....then not at all. Through the hard times we also had a lot of good moments. My young adult son, quit work and became my father's care person during the day, while my husband and I went to work.
(naturally my son was paid a salary ) then my sister who lives in town, her and her family would help when ever we needed, appointments, advice, errands, company, or just to give "breaks".

Yes it was hard, but I owuld not do it any differently. I feel it is more important for the aging parent to live with family oppose to a "convalescent/rehab home".

As far as the will.....yes it is best to get a "living trust" set up. Probate court is so expensive.

Enjoy these times now that you can have with your parents. Times change so fast and unexpectedly.
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Old 03-03-2008, 12:31 AM   #4
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Sooner or later we all get to this place with our parents. It is not easy but in looking back, (both my parents passed away in 2001), you can feel blessed that you had this oportunity to spend quality time with your parents during the last stages of their life. My mom had kidney failure and was on dialysis for some time. She also had dementia and sometimes it was hard to remember when we really lost her. She wasn't really with us in mind and that was very difficult to except as she had been a very vibrant person.

Your father sounds a lot like my dad. He didn't know the meaning of sitting back and relaxing. And, we didn't get to relax around him either. He died of prostate cancer, which is very painful (affects bones). He died in October, but managed to get his garden harvested, canning and freezing vegetables, making pickles etc. My sister and I couldn't understand why this was so important to him, but she has some of her best memories making pickles with him just 1 month before he passed. He built a house 3 years before he died. This was so that they could live close to the hospital where my mother received her dialysis treatments. Previously they lived at a lakehouse 45 min. away from hospitals.

The man was unbelieveable and he will never be forgotten. I'll never forget the day he asked me to come over and he went over his affairs with me as I was his Power of Attorney and Executrix to his estate. I felt such a sense of saddness on that day. We all know we can't have them here forever, so we just have to make the best of things. Enjoy the times you have together. You will be surprised how many things you will remember even years later.
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Old 03-03-2008, 02:37 AM   #5
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One of the hardest things to have to do is the "role reversal" thing. At least it sounds like all of your brothers and sisters are on the same page--that makes it much easier. You also have to remind your parents that you don't want or need their money--it is their's to spend and use to make their life comfortable.
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Old 03-03-2008, 03:22 AM   #6
stiles watson
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As a professional counselor, I ran a seminar on "Caring for Mom and Pop". It ran about 10 weeks and then recycle. I would have experts from several pertinent fields come in to inform folks about important issues needing to be addressed along the trek.

Topics included legal issues such as, wills, living wills, and durable powers of attorney; domicile issues like the old homestead, and transition to the different stages of living assistance; family relationships such as "playing old tapes", power plays, and role transitions; and money management when the child is running the finances.

A big effort was made to help transition with dignity for all. We would have about 45 minutes of seminar and then reserve an hour for opportunities for the participants to debrief and share experiences.

Participants included children who needed to care for their parents and and parents wanting to learn how to help their children take care of them. This support was beneficial to all who came.

Dianna and I were also in the midst of it all at the time. Both of us had proud dignified and sometimes very stubborn parents to deal with. Neither of us had help from siblings. Dianna lost her mom at 88 and I lost dad at 93. We can sure empathize with your coming path.
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Old 03-03-2008, 03:22 AM   #7
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Yes, we have been there. We both lost our Dads in 1990 - 2 months apart. They were both capable of taking care of themselves and our Moms were pretty good then. My Dad also died of prostate and bone cancer. However, as the years passed both of our Moms became more dependent on us. Ed's Mom died in 97. She was 85. My Mom lived until 2 years ago, she was 88. Still very sound in mind but beginning to fail. It was hard to tell her we HAD to do something as we are not use to giving our parents orders. She was a woman of great faith and was ready to "go live with the Lord". That made her passing a bit easier. Be thankful for your siblings, I had to go through this alone as I lost my only sister many years ago. We will keep you and others in our prayers and thoughts. Write down the stories and where things came from. When the passing time comes, you will be amazed at what you forget.
Hppy trails........................
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Old 03-03-2008, 03:32 AM   #8
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We also dealt with a lot of the same issues you all had. My wife is an only child and when her mother started to fail,she was there for her and her dad. We went thru almost 8 years of ups and downs with her mother until she passed, then her father started that same downhill fall. In 2000 he ended up in a nursing home due to multiple problems, we could not care for him at home. he was also a small farmer (grapes) and managed to work into his 80's which we were all thankfull for. As her father was failing,my mother went in for rehab,couldn't walk any more and never left there for 6 years. Until she passed,just 2 weeks ago. During the time she was there,my dad,also started to go downhill real fast. Prostate and stomache cancer. I had one sister,so we would go and do as much as possible for him at home,he would'nt leave his house to stay with us. This went on for about 2 years and one morning he was gone. As we say, they are in a BETTER place now, no more suffering and pain.
We agree,our friends also have not been thru this and they really do not understand what it is about,caring for your parents as they fail. But somehow we manage to get thru it. My wife said she didn't know how she managed to spend every night with her father and still get everything done at home and work. But somehow we do.We will never regret or forget the times we spent with all of our parents, it is all the good memories that we share and the grandchildren will have stories and memories they will never forget.
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Old 03-03-2008, 06:33 AM   #9
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As the main caregiver for the last ten years for my mother age 86, I know I will not have any regrets when she passes on. I manage her finaces, take her to her doctors(at least one a week), shop for her, etc. She lived with us for 8 years, but now lives in an assisted living community. She has lots of activities and is not lonely when we are out of town. We found out we could not leave her for more than 5 or 6 hours, so that is when she made the decision to have an apartment in assisted living, rather than hire caregivers. We have so many happy memories and it was hard for her and me when she had to give up managing her finances, have the roles reversed, etc. (although, my parents established living trusts and wills over 30 years ago) Sometimes when I am having a hard time with it all, I think about all she has done for me and know I will remember all of this later and be so grateful for all the time we've had together.
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Old 03-03-2008, 07:50 AM   #10
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Yes we did for both sets of parents.For the first few years of our lives we are completely dependent on our parents for our very survival.They made every sacrifice imaginable to insure we survived. We could do no less for the last few years of their lives. I had two wonderful sisters and we worked together each of us doing what we were best at to insure our parents quality of life.My Dad was a businessman and approached things like a businessman. Attorneys office, Transfer of assets, etc. We managed their affairs till the last day of their lives. Our Mother took great care in making sure that the kids and grand kids got possessions that she thought we should have..Made a long list and inserted it in the will.It got to be very funny at times as we tried to figure out why in the world she thought a particular kid or grand kid should get a particular item. It meant something to her and it was priceless to us... It will be the most difficult time you have ever experienced and also the most rewarding.

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Old 03-03-2008, 04:00 PM   #11
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"As far as the will.....yes it is best to get a "living trust" set up. Probate court is so expensive."

No it is not "best" to get a living trust set up. Most people don't need them and they are often way more expensive than probate. In most states probate is not a big deal. The important thing is that one size does not fit all. Every state has different codes. The best advice is to consult with the family lawyer. If you don't have one, get one.

The only people that usually make out on living trusts are insurance people and financial advisers. Why do you suppose they are always inviting you to a free lunch?
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Old 03-04-2008, 12:36 AM   #12
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As our parents became more and more unable to care for themselves or make rational decisions(our Dad had Alzheimer's) and our mother severe dementia towards the end.. We actually went to court and got legal guardianship over both of them.That was many years after they had transfered all assets to myself and my sisters. Guardianship strips them of all legal rights to do anything..they are truly as minor children again but at that stage the best thing to do. We learned that aduts even though they many be unable to care for themselves or make rational decisions..have rights that can not be over ruled.The law(Elder law) is designed to "protect" the elder and indeed it does in many cases .. The State will of course be happy to determine what is best for your parents.It is prudent to take the nesessary legal steps..no matter how difficult they may be,to protect and insure your parents quality of life. It is you make the decisions or the State will////
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Old 03-04-2008, 02:31 PM   #13
Okie Guy
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Thanks Guys and Gals. It is nice to hear from some others who have dealt with some of the same issues. Every minute to be treasured during these days.
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Old 03-04-2008, 05:06 PM   #14
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Hang in there Okie Guy, most of us have been, are, or will be in your shoes at some point or time in our lives. I wouldn't trade any of the time I spent taking care of my Papaw in his final days. Steve and I had only been married 6 weeks. I left Montana and went back home to the "creek" and waited on him hand and foot for months. I've NEVER regretted a minute of it. In the end, it was one of the most beautiful, saddest, joyful, painful, tender, and loving times of my life. That time also made me realize my true calling in life. After he passed, I returned home, changed my major to Nursing, and never looked back!
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