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I Want My Family to Take Care of Me


"I am an 85-year-old woman with five children, most living within a one hour drive.  I live in my own home with some assistance from my children.  I plan to stay in this home until they carry me out or until something happens.  I am getting some resistance from my children right now about staying here, which I do not appreciate.  After all, I cared for them when they were small.  How do I tell them to back off and let me do what I want to do?"


Those are some loaded statements you are making, statements I have heard many times before from strong, independent individuals.  I am going to guess that you have heard the expression, “Our strengths can be our weaknesses."  Consider that statement as I give you some things to contemplate.

You say that you have some assistance from your children.  Take a close look at what your children are doing for you to help you live in your home.  In fact, write down for a month every little thing they do and the time it takes for them to do it, including their drive time to and from your house.  Do not skip anything and avoid minimizing the importance of the contribution.  Raising a family, while caring for an elderly parent, is exhausting for almost everyone that is doing it or has done it. 

Once you have completed that month of recording, total the hours and evaluate whether or not what you are expecting is reasonable.  Look at your children’s lives.  If your children are working full time and your needs are daily, they may not be able to sustain the support of your lifestyle and needs for very long.  To care for a parent daily at the parent’s home would be extremely difficult for any working adult.

Next look at what type of help you require.  If you need assistance walking, bathing, toileting, preparing food, taking medication, and all household chores, living alone with some assistance from children is likely not going to work.  You either need someone to move in or bring in outside help.  Your care needs are round-the-clock. 

If you require assistance with yard work, cleaning, shopping, and errands, your need is intermittent and a little easier for your children to assist you with than what I previously described.  Though, if you are contacting them daily and demanding that those tasks be at times that are difficult for them, your support need then is beyond what is reasonable.

A good barometer to know if your children are being pushed beyond their ability is how they are reacting to the help they are providing you.  If they look tired, are a little bit short in responses, or seem to be struggling to meet your needs; it may be time to hire some help.  Doggedly insisting that you deserve help is not going to end well.  I suspect that you may drive them away.

Another thought for you to consider:  Do you really want someone else deciding where you live when something happens?  I would think that planning now gives you control.

I wish you the best.

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