Guilty but caring

ginnierAugust 20, 2006

I feel so guilty leaving my folks in their independent living apt.! I feel like I should still travel the 45 min. to see them and take them out and about a little. But they really have just about everything they need except their lil darlin' to hover over them...LOL Help me! My friend tells me I'm in denial (I originally thought she was talking about them and all their issues, but now I wonder if she wasn't being a bit more... subtle).

My folks' health is such that they cannot do more than lunch out and a very teensy bit of shopping, so their BODIES are better off staying in that apt. and just going down to meals in the dining room. It's all they can do to walk the 100' to the washers and dryers a couple times, just to do one load!!!

But I feel like I'm IT. I'm the sparkle in their lives...and that's not really true, they have a few once a month friends that make the rare phone call or visit. Should I slow down my visiting and just go on one day a week??? They like to go to church (but I really think it's somewhere to go and they would probably not truly miss the service/communion) but I think they know it's important to me to go to MY church, so they bank of my wanting them to hear God's word and have a chance to worship in their lifelong church. I do not know how to slowly back out of these visits, I feel guilty not showing up once or twice a week. Sometimes it feels pretty hollow going home afterwards; why have I done all this driving?

Anybody going thru this??

I have accomplished this move from their home to independent living. I have gotten almost all of their financial affairs in the right hands in case anything should happen to them. I have their car; they cannot sit behind the wheel!!! All this feels good!

But there's no end to it, is there...:(

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No, there really is no end, sorry to say, but you can at least manage your own life now. Think in terms of schedules. Make dates. Say "I'll be there on Thursday (or whatever), and we'll go to lunch and I'll run some errands for you or run your laundry for you, so start keeping a list of what you want to do on that day." Twice a week is ok. But make sure that you don't feel like a dope-on-a-rope every time they call. You know, drop everything to go over and help (obviously, I have been down that road myself!) Of course, you are always available for emergencies, just make them

Take care of your own life, and put things into perspective for them. And don't feel guilty about it! But I do encourage you to work towards some sort of schedule or system.

You are doing a great job, and what you feel is completely natural. No one ever said this would be an easy job, did they?

;-) Hugs to you!


    Bookmark   August 20, 2006 at 8:57PM
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It's not easy doing what's best for our parents. I have to ask though? is 45 minutes away, the best place you could find for them? Was there an adequate facility closer? I know, in July, my aunt was in a rehab facility that was about 7 miles (about 20-30 minutes, with traffic, though) away. My sister and I started to take turns, visiting on alternate days, because with families, work, etc, it was really hard to be there every single day.

Both my aunt and mom live in senior citizen apts. Not assisted living. I think, sometimes, we can do too much for them. Sometimes, in some cases, it's really better if we step back a little, let them settle in, make new friends, find out what activities, social life, etc, the place offers. Sometimes, if we're as attentive as we feel we should be, they rely too much on our visits for their entertainment, and they don't bother to make friends, or do the things offered by the facility.

Whatever you decide, think it through, find a compromise that seems the best for them and for you, and don't feel guilty at all for doing the right thing for your parents. Much as we might like to, and sometimes feel guilty if we cannot--not all of us are able to take on the care of an elderly relative. I know I'm not trained in the skills needed, nor do I have the temperament to make life pleasant for my older relatives. They're far better seeing me a couple of times a week, than if I were their full-time caregiver, or even an everyday visitor.

Can you help them make the transition? Can you get them interested in the social life at the facility? Maybe help them meet and make new friends? Enlist the aid of the staff to make sure your parents are getting out and getting involved. How about contacting their church, their old friends, neighbors--and seeing if some of them might not be willing to visit to break up the day for them, and give them something to look forward to. And how about doing different things for your parents--visit some days, other days send them a little note or postcard, or call on the phone. Mix it up a bit, so they have more stimulation, and their days aren't so humdrum.

Good luck--do the best you can, and don't worry that you cannot do more. We're all human, and have to realize our limitations or we'd be no good to anyone, least of all ourselves.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2006 at 9:37PM
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You have to think about another thing....if they are waiting on you to come, how does affect their chance to socialize with others? would waiting interfer with get-togethers for bridge or teas? It may seem harsh to think about, but if they place a visit from you FIRST, then it may interrupt that getting to know the others better.

I think telling them that you will be there at a certain time at a certain day will encourage them to seek out other social contacts. Check with the management to see if there are regularly scheduled things at certain times so that you won't interfer with that sort of thing.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2006 at 10:03PM
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hi everyone! although i am not inthis position, allyouhave to do is go back and read some of the past posts that you have written, andyou will see what a wonderful daughter you are! you have nothing to be guilty about. i agree with everyone elses advice. your parents are truly blessed!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2006 at 12:53PM
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