Longterm care of elderly parents and the toll on personal health

Posted by sueborfl @sueborfl, Oct 29 9:55am

I am the wife of an established financial advisor, insurance whole life sales agent and various insurance coverages for annuities, and securities. Yet we still remained in a middle income bracket due to rising chronic medical personal care. It was while taking care of my elderly/aging parents in place, I noticed a distinct difference in my ability to accomplish usual and customary day to day personal chores. It was he who brought up the actuary tables and told me it “costs” an average health care worker either family or outside help – a decline of 12 years for the dedicated healthy care giver. After they passed, both at age 93, I noticed a distinct inability to jump right back in and have any real keen ability, interest or energy in simple things. I’ve had Lyme disease for over 35 years (undiagnosed earlier for 13 yrs) and am 76. It is a lack of social interest in this flailing and failing country to train and reach out by our health administrators to simply do some numbers and ask the doctors some statistics so they can reach out to personal caregivers to support a reasonable program to take over and AGAIN have it minorly free of charge or at least reasonable fees. I was told it was my job either to be independent or pay huge fees for adequate care. I would have gladly paid for washing, car services, cooking and simple chores. It is the middle man or woman who must again support the full load. I went to social services, private services, and ended up using mostly all of my parents hard earned savings, save for a few dollars to bury them because I had no help except to pay exorbitant costs in the state of NY as they needed hands on care, & at one time both were in rehab facilities and to support all this, my husband and I did the best we could. Now we have a generation of grandchildren who feel it’s not their job. I just read we now have a crisis in this country of people who don’t want to work any longer.
We are in a sorry debilitating national state of affairs and I don’t have a real good answer! Anyone who cares to weigh in…pls do. Clearwater Florida.

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I understand! I am caring for my Mom. My only sibling passed away from cancer in 1998 at age of 30 and my Dad was murdered in 1992. I have two children who are grown, however they don't really help. My Daughter does help me with my Mom's doctors appointments when she can. I understand she has a family of her own and they are always busy. It is difficult. I sold my home and moved in with my Mom to help care for her. I unfortunately am not married now and am the only one that could do this for her. So at the age of 54, I don't have a life. I work and take Mom and myself to doctors appointments and that is it. I would go nuts if I didn't have my two dogs. I have two Australian Shepherds that are like kids to me. My Mom just spent Thanksgiving inpatient with diverticulitis near the opening of her colostomy. She also has polycythemia vera with JAK2 mutation. So, it was just me and Mom for Thanksgiving so we just didn't have it. I too feel we are in for a sad state of affairs with our youth not having the same empathy and sense of responsibility to care for their elders.


@sueborfl I am so sorry that your post totally got past me. Your situation sounds so difficult. I, too wish there was a better way to help the average person find and afford caregivers. You and @sherriusher have described reality that so many members are dealing with.
Have either of you come up with any ideas?


I was a caregiver for my parents for the last 12 years of their lives (4 for my dad and 12 for my mom). My mom died at 96 two years ago, when I was 73. The best thing I did early on was to learn to take care of myself first (this is the opposite of selfishness). I realized if I didn't do that, I could not adequately care for my declining parents. It worked and I was able to go thru that time with my health intact. Everyone's circumstances are different and I judge no one. I am now 75 and am soon to begin my own declining years. I try to be realistic ( the golden mean between black pessimism and unfounded optimism) Sometimes, when I face the music, I find that I can dance to it. And yes, you hit the nail on the head; the state of eldercare in our country is sad.

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