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Old 05-21-2014, 11:20 PM   #1
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Any wisdom on aged parents??

Do any of you have aged parents?? I live in Utah--retired there after 29 years in military...my parents are aged, and have dementia. I'm the guardian and provider....they live in Florida.

Wife and I are just getting into the RV lifestyle thinking a temp move to FL to oversee parents.

Do any of you...or did any of you face a similar situation?? I'm looking for advice, specifically, advice on quitting a good paying job to move to FL and live the life, care for parents, and just get out of the rat race!

Anything?? All advice considered......

Thanks in advance

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Old 05-22-2014, 12:07 AM   #2
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I feel your pain through your words. Caring for dementia patients is exhausting and very stressful. My Dad died with dementia, had it for 10 years but the last 3 required the entire immediate families cooperation and work. It broke my heart when I admitted to myself he had to go to a special nursing home for dementia/Alzheimer patients.
Looking back on events and daily struggles, he was much better cared-for in nursing homes because they knew how and when he required special attention and care. What made it so bad for everyone was, my Dad became violent at times and disconnected mentally. This combination made it dangerous to be around him at times. He passed 10 years ago, and I still miss him tremendously nearly every day. Mom is alive and 92 Memorial Day, she told DW and I to enjoy our MH and travel as much as we wished; saying if we stayed home to care for her we would quickly get too old to travel and enjoy our remaining time together. She and Dad had traveled all over the world together, and wanted that for my sister and me too.
I don't think I have offered any suggestions, but that's my story anyway. Good luck and best wishes.

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Old 05-22-2014, 12:12 AM   #3
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Once your parents are gone, you will ask yourself, did I do everything I could to make their life as good as it could be for them? They will be difficult and unreasonable, even ungrateful at times. It will require a serious commitment from you, but do you really want to put them in a home?

For me, that was not an option, my mother was the world to me, and I just couldn't just dump her off in a home like so many do. But you are very tied down unless you have others that can relieve you and share the burden. Fortunately for me, I had a younger brother who did a lot. My mother became very dependent and fearful so she needed the reassurement of her sons being there for her. I felt it was my duty to care for her.

The strain that you place upon your wife can also add aggro unless she is fully onboard with what's in store.

You can hire a caregiver to make a daily visit to your home and give you a chance to do things, or even a full time live in caretaker.

It also depends on the severity of the dementia. Can they still bathe and use the toilet? Can you cope with giving your parents a bath just like they were children? Will they start cooking and then forget, an elderly woman neighbor did just that and tragically set her home on fire. My friends father had a bad habit of wandering off, sometimes getting on the bus leading to a frantic manhunt. Changing your parents diapers is a sad reality check. Will I end my days the same way?

There may come a time that they will require more than you can give. They may need 24 hour a day care. But until it reaches that stage what are you to do?

It truly is a labor of love. And it can be very trying at times.

But it was worth it. Now that my mother is gone I still feel I could have done more, but I am at peace with the fact that she lived out her life in the company of her sons and the security of her home.
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Old 05-22-2014, 12:59 AM   #4
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Not sure I have any advice as far as quitting and moving to FL goes, but I do feel your pain. My mom passed away almost 20 years ago and I've taken on responsibility for my grandparents, both of whom turn 98 next month. They're in Florida, I'm in Oregon.

She's been in a nursing home, pretty much flat on her back, for the last 4-5 years. She had a couple of surgeries and pretty much decided not to participate in the therapy that would have given her mobility back. Kudos to the folks at the home as she's healthy overall and mostly lucid. Just can't get around on her own and she's not willing to work on it. :(

He only went in about 18 months ago. He'd been driving, paying the bills, checking in on her, etc., but it was all taking a toll; each time I flew down he looked more bent and tired than the last time. We suspect he may have fallen at some point, as well. Dad (not his son, btw) had flown down to help him out, but needed to go home to Maine as my step-mom was having surgery. Day after I got there my grandfather ended up in the hospital (thought he was having a heart attack). Dehydration and some cracked ribs (maybe a vertebra too). After a week there he went into the same nursing home as my grandmother for rehab, recovered well, transferred to the long-term end and he's thrived. He can't live on his own, but he is able to get around without a walker or wheelchair all the time. They have separate, rooms, though, which is good because he can escape when she gets too feisty.

Biggest issue I've had lately is with Dept of Children & Families (DCF). They changed the patient liability (what I pay the nursing home from their retirement/ss) and I spent 3.5 hours on the phone with 5 agencies trying to find out why. Finally found out that they've switched to a new system and somehow lost track of the fact that I pay $400/mo for their dental insurance. ::eek Hopefully that will get cleared up soon. At least being in Florida you might get to talk to a real person.

If your parents are still in their own home (not clear from your post) don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it. In-home nursing, etc., is available under (medicare?). There are state agencies that can help with that, and despite my 5 agency run-around, I talked to some very nice people who really wanted to help.

Also, if they're still in their own home and you think you're going to have to put them in a facility at some point, with medicare, medicaid and all the rest, find a good lawyer who specializes in medicare/medicaid. I can recommend one in the Sanford area if that's near your folks. We spent about $2,500 and it was worth every penny. There were no questions or delays getting his paperwork handled as he transitioned out of rehab and into long term care; that would not have been the case if I'd have had to figure it all out myself, believe me.

A final word of advice, from a guy who's probably a bit younger than you. Don't forget to take care of yourselves. Caring for your (grand)parents is mentally exhausting, doing so in person will be physically exhausting. Don't let it ruin your health or your marriage.
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