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It Started With Joe

Suggest Edits. It is the mission of Minding Our Elder, founded by Carol Bradley Bursack, to shine a light on the isolation often felt by caregivers and seniors and to give them a voice. Author, longtime columnist, writer, blogger, consultant, and speaker on senior and boomer issues, caregiver support, ageism. Voice of family caregiver.

Interview with Carol Bradley Bursack

I will say that at 90 most people will require some assistance and you have been patient. Still, you say that your mom is mentally sharp, willingly gave up driving and seems to enjoy her life.

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I've told this story before but it best illustrates my thoughts. My neighbor Joe lived independently with just me to check on him. I knew him well enough to understand that the only way he could thrive as he aged was to remain in his home.

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That was his personality. Yes, he died at 88 after a bad fall, but he enjoyed his life up to the end. I have no doubt that changing his living situation earlier would have caused him to give up. He knew and accepted the risks. You can force your mom into a care facility of some type and many people would advise that.

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Maybe that's the right choice. You'll have to decide. However, my advice is to negotiate with her. I don't want to get so that I hate visiting Dad or taking care of his needs, but I know that this is possible if I'm not careful. What can I do so that this doesn't happen? Dear OP: You are fortunate in that your dad has this background and understands the stress involved with long-term caregiving, so this is the perfect time for you to set up some rules for yourself knowing that he'll support you.


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While I'll provide some basics, it's important for you to consider your unique needs so that you can tweak these to fit your life. Set boundaries. Setting boundaries as early as possible will make the rest of your caregiving easier in the long run.

Your dad knows that he'll probably require more help over time. Since he has the money to hire assistance, maybe you can sit down together and draw up a list of what you think you can do and what you may need to hire done as time goes on.

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Do not, under any circumstances, stop taking care of your depression or any other health issues that you have. The time could come when you must limit your caregiving to being an advocate rather than providing hands-on care. You'll need to accept that without guilt. Perhaps, for now, your dad simply needs you to check on him daily and handle his medications, but that could change. Make a plan, with his involvement, so that you are both aware of your limits.

Understand that you are human.