questionshave you become a parent to your parents?

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I am a bit worried about this as my mom has started showing signs of Alzheimer's. It (effectively) killed my grandmother and my great-grandmother. It is the boogie man hiding in my own closet. I don't have any kids to become parents to me. But for now I have a deal with my sister, who lives in the same apartment complex, to take care of her and I will make the money happen. I don't know how I am going to do that-- probably more through my experience in dealing with public services than actual financial support. But my sister has health problems of her own so I don't know whether we can make that arrangement stick. I may have to move my mom here (I live 600 miles away) where I know there are resources for her. It's a troubling matter to contemplate.

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Moving in that direction. Doing more to help out - at 500 miles I'm the closest. As their health deteriorates, which it is actively doing, it's going to be more & more frequent.

Currently trying to figure out if tri-weekly weekend trips are feasible.

One has been told to expect no more than a year of living. Relatively young, too.

Not that I wish this on anyone, but it helps to know others are out there experiencing similar things.

Never expected the sandwich generation thing to kick in before my kids got to 1st grade.

@moondrake We've talked about that (moving them), but for now uprooting them from their friends and the life & home they've had for the last 35 years seems like the worse choice. At some point that will probably change. Or, I may wind up moving back to an area of the country from which I have been constantly moving further away from for the last 20 years.

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No - not yet might be more accurate - but I have a friend that I know his parents and I see it. His dad has Alzheimer's and that certainly makes it that much rougher.

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I haven't yet. My parents are still in great health and very independent. I do worry about them some. They recently moved into a new house (that they had built, it's beautiful) on a ridge in the mountains of North Carolina. If they get lots of snow or any ice, they're going to be stuck in their neighborhood until it melts (which, fortunately, won't be more than a few days in most cases). But they know it's an issue, have a propane tank, generator and keep enough food on hand to last at least a week. I'd feel a bit better if Dad stocked a bit more water, but overall, they're good.

I do forsee a time when they may need more help with their care. My sister lives about two hours away and I'm a couple of states away, so that could become problematic. But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Mom worked as an occupational therapist and did some work with older patients, so she's aware of the issues. Hopefully that will make any tough transitions at least a little easier.

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As @75grandville said, it is, not sure if the is the correct way to put it, comforting to know there are others going through the same thing. My father was only in his 60's when he passed. My Mom is now in her early 70's and still going quite strong, but has various health issues I try to stay on top of. I guess the advantage I have is she lives right around the corner from me, so it is very easy for me to do things for her.

I am the youngest of 5, 2 others live within 5 - 10 minutes away, and I am the only one who checks on her and does things for her. The others are too engrossed in their own lives and only call/stop in occassionally plus holidays. I guess they just take me for granted and know I'm going to do it.

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@75grandville: I took care of my dad for the last five years of his life as he descended into alzheimers. He never would admit to any problems, and it was really pretty tough to get the car away (eventuallY) and move him to assisted living. However, it was the best thing for him really - he was watched and safe. When it got so bad that he could not live in assisted living with a general aging population, it was necessary to place him in a facility that specialized in dementia.

However, if you can, bear in mind that if a person is cooperative and in command of most of their senses, there is always the option of hiring caretakers from agencies that specialize in just that type of thing - taking a parent for medical treatments, being sure they are eating correctly, keeping track of medications, and so forth.

It is indeed heartbreaking to see one's parent(s) and in my case my husband also become helpless. There are some options available however depending upon the circumstances.

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This is an interesting question. One of the women on my team is in the situation of taking full-time care of her mother in law while simultaneously working from home. How she keeps it all together is beyond me.

For my situation, time will tell, but it's a future on which I can't give any good prediction. Though I had assumed that I would be the only one to end up taking care of my mom as she aged (sister too far away and estranged, and a brother who seemed to be too engrossed in his own life to provide care), my mother cut ties with me a little over a year ago because I expressed my concern over her apparent depression. Now, only my brother has any direct contact with her, and it's not a lot. Looks like care will default to him, unless he, too, tries to help her help herself with her mental issues.

Thanks for this post. Enjoy your loved ones while you have them with you.

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I have become a parent to my grandpa who suffers from dementia. I stay with him most every night.

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@klozitshoper: I weep for you. Your husband? That is so sad. Hope you're mending. So very sorry. Parents? Yes, we take care of them when needed. One doesn't think of your spouse. Even though it's 'til death do you part'.

I was a 'parent' to my mother. She was vibrant & active until her death at 92. No regrets.

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@gmwhit: Thank you. My husband had a brain disease - not alzheimers per se - but it is the catch-all phrase everyone understands. His problems usually affects younger people and it does progress pretty fast - for him it was 7 years. For the last three years of his life, he did not know me or anyone else for that matter. Sadly he disappeared into himself, stopped talking, and did not recognize dangerous situations. It was necessary for him to live away from home. It was a horrible journey for me - for him and how aware he was, I just don't know.

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@klozitshoper: Cannot express how sorry I am for what you have been through. Have a friend (50+ years) who had a very similar situation to the one you have experienced. His love was simply not 'there' for 6+ years. Had to be placed in a full care facility...eventually could not speak, walk, etc. So sad. PM me if you wish.

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@klozitshoper: I too am very sorry for the experience that you have had. It is almost impossible to imagine what you have been through. I remember reading a story about a couple where the husband was diagnosed with such a disease, I believe it had come on in 30's. Such a tragedy for anyone who has had to live though such.

My Grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimers when I was a teen and we took care of her until it was not longer an option and she was then moved to a facility. For over 12 years she lived there, in perfect health except other than her mind being gone. I remember how hard it was for my Father when we would go visit her, with her not knowing who he was. I still remember the day he called me to tell me she had passed away, I could tell in his voice he was upset to lose his Mom, but almost relieved to know she was not living like that anymore.

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@moondrake: Good luck with your situation, I truly sympathize with what you are going through. When my Grandmother started showing symptoms, we moved her in with us, but my Mom did not work at the time and was able to stay home with her. I always gave my Mom credit for that since it was her mother-in-law, and my Dad's sister (who was quite wealthy) never stepped up to the plate. Eventually we had to move her out. I remember my Dad struggling for years over the guilt of putting him Mom in a home but he finally realized it was the best place for her to get the care she needed. And it was close to home, so we could visit frequently.

I guess too that what goes around comes around. My Dad's sister now has Alzheimer's herself. She is deep in the stages and in a home. Seems like it maybe runs in the family. I just hope it skips me. My Dad didn't show any signs up until his death at 67, and by that age my Aunt had already had it for a few years.