The Death of Our Parents: How Old Are We When That Happens?

The Death of Our Parents: How Old Are We When That Happens?

The death of a parent can be devastating. For some, it means the loss of the home they grew up in. It could also mean the loss of rituals that have lasted a lifetime. It could spell the end of habits and practices that have lasted for decades (as, for example, for grown children who always called their mom on Sunday). Even the most basic ways of talking need to change references to your parents are now in the past tense, not present.

For the first time, a nationally representative survey in the U.S. (the Survey of Income and Program Participation) collected data on the age at which participants parents had died. The data that were analyzed were from 2014. The analyses assume one mother and one father and included only biological parents. Of course, in contemporary American society, there are many other possibilities.

Here are some of their key findings.

  1. The scariest time, for those dreading the loss of a parent, starts in the mid-forties. Among people between the ages of 35 and 44, only one-third of them (34%) have experienced the death of one or both parents. For people between 45 and 54, though, closer to two-thirds have (63%).
  2. Among people who have reached the age of 64, a very high percentage 88% — have lost one or both parents.
  3. In the same age group (55-64), more than half (54%) have lost both parents.
  4. Even at a very young age, between 20 and 24, nearly 10% have experienced the death of one or both parents.
  5. Typically, people experience the death of their father before their mother. For example, among people between the ages of 45 and 54, more than half have lost their father (52%) but only one-third (33%) have lost their mother.
  6. There are racial/ethnic differences in the age at which people experience the death of a parent. For example, among people between the ages of 25 and 34, 24% of blacks, 17% of Hispanics, and 15% of whites and Asians have lost at least one parent.
  7. We have long known about the dire implications of poverty for health, hunger, homelessness, and much more. The new data on parental mortality add another sad outcome. People living in poverty lose their parents at a younger age than everyone else. People with fewer financial resources, even if they are not impoverished, also experience the death of their parents at a younger age than those who are well-off.

The authors of a working paper about the findings, Zachary Scherer and Rose Kreider, offer this conclusion:

Having a living parent or parents plays a key role in the life of a child. The benefits of parental transfers often persist throughout the life course, even after the child has become an adult, with parents potentially offering financial, emotional, and practical support to their children

Ostensibly, individuals with lower income, lower educational attainment, and those from communities that experience lower life expectancy would benefit most from parental support. However, our findings indicate that those same groups are the ones that experience parental loss earlier in life, along with the psychological and material consequences that often accompany such an event.

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Death anxiety (psychology)

Death anxiety is anxiety caused by thoughts of one's own death it is also referred to as thanatophobia (fear of death). Death anxiety is different from necrophobia, the latter is the fear of others who are dead or dying, whereas the former concerns one's own death or dying. [1]

Popular psychotherapist Robert Langs proposed 3 different causes of death anxiety: Predatory, predator, and existential. In addition to his research, many theorists such as Sigmund Freud, Erik Erikson, Ernest Becker, and others have contemplated death and death anxiety and how it relates to human psychology.

Death anxiety has been found to affect people of differing demographic groups as well such as men versus women, young versus old, etc.

Additionally, there is anxiety caused by death-recent thought-content, [2] which might be classified within a clinical setting by a psychiatrist as morbid and/or abnormal. This classification pre-necessitates a degree of anxiety which is persistent and interferes with everyday functioning. [3] [4] Lower ego integrity, more physical problems and more psychological problems are predictive of higher levels of death anxiety in elderly people perceiving themselves close to death. [5]

Death anxiety can cause extreme timidness with a person's attitude towards discussing anything to do with death. [6]

Findings from one systematic review demonstrated that death anxiety features across several mental health conditions. [7]

One meta-analysis of psychological interventions targeting death anxiety showed that death anxiety can be reduced using cognitive behavior therapy. [8]

The Death of Our Parents: How Old Are We When That Happens? - Psychology

Bereavement refers to outward expressions of grief. Mourning and funeral rites are expressions of loss that reflect personal and cultural beliefs about the meaning of death and the afterlife. When asked what type of funeral they would like to have, students responded in a variety of ways each expressing both their personal beliefs and values and those of their culture.

I would like the service to be at a Baptist church, preferably my Uncle Ike’s small church. The service should be a celebration of life . . .I would like there to be hymns sung by my family members, including my favorite one, “It is Well With my Soul”. . .At the end, I would like the message of salvation to be given to the attendees and an alter call for anyone who would like to give their life to Christ. . .

I want a very inexpensive funeral-the bare minimum, only one vase of flowers, no viewing of the remains and no long period of mourning from my remaining family . . . funeral expenses are extremely overpriced and out of hand. . .

When I die, I would want my family members, friends, and other relatives to dress my body as it is usually done in my country, Ghana. Lay my dressed body in an open space in my house at the night prior to the funeral ceremony for my loved ones to walk around my body and mourn for me. . .

I would like to be buried right away after I die because I don’t want my family and friends to see my dead body and to be scared.

In my family we have always had the traditional ceremony-coffin, grave, tombstone, etc. But I have considered cremation and still ponder which method is more favorable. Unlike cremation, when you are ‘buried’ somewhere and family members have to make a special trip to visit, cremation is a little more personal because you can still be in the home with your loved ones . . .

I would like to have some of my favorite songs played . . .I will have a list made ahead of time. I want a peaceful and joyful ceremony and I want my family and close friends to gather to support one another. At the end of the celebration, I want everyone to go to the Thirsty Whale for a beer and Spang’s for pizza!

When I die, I want to be cremated . . . I want it the way we do it in our culture. I want to have a three day funeral and on the 4th day, it would be my burial/cremation day . . .I want everyone to wear white instead of black, which means they already let go of me. I also want to have a mass on my cremation day.

When I die, I would like to have a befitting burial ceremony as it is done in my Igbo customs. I chose this kind of funeral ceremony because that is what every average person wishes to have.

I want to be cremated . . . I want all attendees wearing their favorite color and I would like the song “Riders on the Storm” to be played . . .I truly hope all the attendees will appreciate the bass. At the end of this simple, short service, attendees will be given multi-colored helium filled balloons . . . released to signify my release from this earth. . .They will be invited back to the house for ice cream cones, cheese popcorn and a wide variety of other treats and much, much, much rock music . . .

I want to be cremated when I die. To me, it’s not just my culture to do so but it’s more peaceful to put my remains or ashes to the world. Let it free and not stuck in a casket.

Ceremonies provide survivors a sense of closure after a loss. These rites and ceremonies send the message that the death is real and allow friends and loved ones to express their love and duty to those who die. Under circumstances in which a person has been lost and presumed dead or when family members were unable to attend a funeral, there can continue to be a lack of closure that makes it difficult to grieve and to learn to live with loss. And although many people are still in shock when they attend funerals, the ceremony still provides a marker of the beginning of a new period of one’s life as a survivor.

Grief is the psychological, physical, and emotional experience of loss. The five stages of loss are experienced by those who are in grief (Kubler-Ross & Kessler, 2005). Grief reactions vary depending on whether a loss was anticipated or unexpected, (parents do not expect to lose their children, for example), and whether or not it occurred suddenly or after a long illness, and whether or not the survivor feels responsible for the death. Struggling with the question of responsibility is particularly felt by those who lose a loved one to suicide. There are numerous survivors for every suicide resulting in 4.5 million survivors of suicide in the United States (American Association of Suicidology, 2007). These survivors may torment themselves with endless “what ifs” in order to make sense of the loss and reduce feelings of guilt. And family members may also hold one another responsible for the loss. The same may be true for any sudden or unexpected death making conflict an added dimension to grief. Much of this laying of responsibility is an effort to think that we have some control over these losses the assumption being that if we do not repeat the same mistakes, we can control what happens in our life.

Anticipatory grief occurs when a death is expected and survivors have time to prepare to some extent before the loss. Anticipatory grief can include the same denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance experienced in loss. This can make adjustment after a loss somewhat easier, although the stages of loss will be experienced again after the death (Kubler-Ross & Kessler, 2005). A death after a long-term, painful illness may bring family members a sense of relief that the suffering is over. The exhausting process of caring for someone who is ill is over. Disenfranchised grief may be experienced by those who have to hide the circumstances of their loss or whose grief goes unrecognized by others. Loss of an ex-spouse, lover, or pet may be examples of disenfranchised grief.

Yet grief continues as long as there is a loss. It has been said that intense grief lasts about two years or less, but grief is felt throughout life. One loss triggers the feelings that surround another. People grieve with varied intensity throughout the remainder of their lives. It does not end. But it eventually becomes something that a person has learned to live with. As long as we experience loss, we experience grief (Kubler-Ross & Kessler, 2005).

There are layers of grief. Initial denial, marked by shock and disbelief in the weeks following a loss may become an expectation that the loved one will walk in the door. And anger directed toward those who could not save our loved one’s life, may become anger that life did not turn out as we expected. There is no right way to grieve. A bereavement counselor expressed it well by saying that grief touches us on the shoulder from time to time throughout life.

Grief and mixed emotions go hand in hand. A sense of relief is accompanied by regrets and periods of reminiscing about our loved ones are interspersed with feeling haunted by them in death. Our outward expressions of loss are also sometimes contradictory. We want to move on but at the same time are saddened by going through a loved one’s possessions and giving them away. We may no longer feel sexual arousal or we may want sex to feel connected and alive. We need others to befriend us but may get angry at their attempts to console us. These contradictions are normal and we need to allow ourselves and others to grieve in their own time and in their own ways.

The “death-denying, grief-dismissing world” is the modern world (Kubler-Ross & Kessler, 2005, p. 205). We are asked to grieve privately, quickly, and to medicate our suffering. Employers grant us 3 to 5 days for bereavement, if our loss is that of an immediate family member. And such leaves are sometimes limited to no more than one per year. Yet grief takes much longer and the bereaved are seldom ready to perform well on the job. Obviously life does have to continue. But Kubler-Ross and Kessler suggest that contemporary American society would do well to acknowledge and make more caring accommodations to those who are in grief. Listen to this story about Kubler-Ross and her life and work in the link below.

Death shakes us to the core

David’s cry is the cry of every grieving parent. Whether it is unexpected or predictable, death shakes us to the core. The pain is inescapable. Don’t feel guilty or embarrassed if you feel unprepared to face it. There’s no way to be ready for what you are going through.

Death was not part of God’s original plan. One reason death is so hard to accept and understand is that it’s completely out of step with the life God planned for this world. The apostle Paul calls death our “enemy” (1 Corinthians 15:25-26).

Death is the enemy of everything good and beautiful about life. It should make you morally sad and righteously angry. Death reminds us that we live in a world that is terribly broken it’s not functioning according to God’s original design, where life was meant to give way to life, on into eternity. It’s biblical to treat death as sad and unnatural.

God encourages you to mourn. Death was never meant to be. When you recognize this, you will hunger for a final restoration of all things. You will long to live in a place where the last enemy—death—has been defeated.

Want More on Preschoolers’ Development and Talking to Kids about Death?

A fascinating op-ed from the Times last year takes on kids and lying. Just as it’s normal for your 4-year-old to talk about death, it’s also perfectly normal for your preschooler to lie, and it may be a (completely infuriating) sign of intelligence.

Fatherly has an excellent roundup of kids’ TV shows that help explain death and dying to your small ones. My personal fave is the classic Mr. Rogers episode “Death of a Goldfish.”

Maria Russo, the Times children’s book editor, recommends “The Flat Rabbit,” which she called “a quietly profound” picture book that deals with the death of a stranger straight-on.

Death and The Spirit World: What Happens At The Moment Of Death?

At the moment of death, our soul rises out of its host body. If the soul is older and has experience from many former lives, it knows immediately it has been set free and is going home. These advanced souls need no one to greet them. However, most souls I work with are met by guides just outside Earth's astral plane. A young soul, or a child who has died, may be a little disoriented until someone comes closer to ground level for them. There are souls who choose to remain at the scene of their death for a while. Most wish to leave at once. Time has no meaning in the spirit world. Discarnates who choose to comfort someone who is grieving, or have other reasons to stay near the place of their death for a while, experience no sense of time loss. This becomes "now" time for the soul as opposed to linear time.

As they move further away from Earth, souls experience an increasingly brilliant light around them. Some will briefly see a grayish darkness and will sense passing through a tunnel or portal. The differences between these two phenomena depends upon the exit speed of the soul, which in turn relates to their experience. The pulling sensation from our guides may be gentle or forceful depending upon the soul's maturity and capacity for rapid change. In the early stages of their exit, all souls encounter a "wispy cloudiness" around them that soon becomes clear, enabling them to look off into a vast distance. This is the moment when the average soul sees a ghostly form of energy coming toward them. This figure may be a loving soulmate or two, but more often than not it is our guide.

In circumstances where we are met by a spouse or friend who has passed on before us, our guide is also close by so they can take over the transition process. In all my years of research, I have never had a single subject who was met by a major religious figure such as Jesus or Buddha. Still, the loving essence of the great teachers from Earth is within the personal guides who are assigned to us.

By the time souls become reoriented again to the place they call home, their earthliness has changed. They are no longer quite human in the way we think of a human being with a particular emotional, temperamental, and physical makeup. For instance, they don't grieve about their recent physical death in the way their loved ones will. It is our souls that make us human on Earth, but without our bodies we are no longer Homo Sapiens. The soul has such majesty that it is beyond description. I tend to think of souls as intelligent light forms of energy. Right after death, souls suddenly feel different because they are no longer encumbered by a temporary host body with a brain and central nervous system. Some take longer to adjust than others.

The energy of the soul is able to divide into identical parts, similar to a hologram. It may live parallel lives in other bodies although this is much less common than we read about. However, because of the dual capability of all souls, part of our light energy always remains behind in the spirit world. Thus, it is possible to see your mother upon returning from a life even though she may have died thirty Earth years before and reincarnated again.

Orientation periods with our guides, which take place before joining our cluster group, vary between souls and between different lives for the same soul. This is a quiet time for counseling, with the opportunity to vent any frustrations we have about the life just ended. Orientation is intended to be an initial debriefing session with gentle probing by perceptive, caring teacher-guides.

The meeting may be long or short depending upon the circumstances of what we did or did not accomplish with regard to our life contract. Special karmic issues are also reviewed, although they will be discussed later in minute detail within our soul cluster group. The returning energy of some souls will not be sent back into their soul group right away. These are the souls who were contaminated by their physical bodies and became involved with evil acts. There is a difference between wrongdoing with no premeditated desire to hurt someone and intentional evil. The degrees of harm to others from mischief to malevolence are carefully evaluated.

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Those souls who have been associated with evil are taken to special centers which some clients call "intensive care units". Here, I am told, their energy is remodeled to make it whole again. Depending upon the nature of their transgressions, these souls could be rather quickly returned to Earth. They might well choose to serve as the victims of other's evil acts in the next life. Still, if their actions were prolonged and especially cruel over a number of lives, this would denote a pattern of wrongful behavior. Such souls could spend a long while in a solitary spiritual existence, possibly over a thousand Earth years. A guiding principle in the spirit world is that wrongdoing, intentional or unintentional, on the part of all souls will need to be redressed in some form in a future life. This is not considered punishment or even penance as much as an opportunity for karmic growth. There is no hell for souls, except perhaps on Earth.

Some lives are so difficult that the soul arrives home very tired. Despite the energy rejuvenation process initiated by our guides who combine their energy with ours at the gateway, we may still have a depleted energy flow. In these cases, more rest and solitude may be called for rather than celebrations. Indeed, many souls who desire rest receive it before reunification with their groups. Our soul groups may be boisterous or subdued, but they are respectful of what we have gone through during an incarnation. All groups welcome back their friends in their own way with deep love and camaraderie.

Homecoming is a joyous interlude, especially following a physical life where there might not have been much karmic contact with our intimate soulmates. Most of my subjects tell me they are welcomed back with hugs, laughter, and much humor, which I find to be a hallmark of life in the spirit world. The really effusive groups who have planned elaborate celebrations for the returning soul may suspend all their other activities. One subject of mine had this to say about his homecoming welcome:

After my last life, my group organized one hell of a party with music, wine, dancing, and singing. They arranged everything to look like a classical Roman festival with marble halls, togas, and all the exotic furnishings prevalent in our many lives together in the ancient world. Melissa (a primary soulmate) was waiting for me right up front, re-creating the age that I remember her best and looking as radiant as ever.

Soul groups range between three and twenty-five members, with the average having about fifteen. There are times when souls from nearby cluster groups may want to connect with each other. Often this activity involves older souls who have made many friends from other groups with whom they have been associated over hundreds of past lives.

Some ten million viewers in the U.S. saw the TV show Sightings, produced by Paramount in 1995, which aired a segment about my work. Those who watched this show about life after death may remember one of my clients, by the name of Colleen, who spoke about a session we had together. She described returning to the spirit world after a former life to find a spectacular seventeenth-century full dress ball in progress. My subject saw over a hundred people who came to celebrate her return. A time and place she had loved was lavishly reproduced so Colleen could begin the process of renewal in style.

©2000, published by Llewellyn Publications

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Destiny of Souls: New Case Studies of Life Between Lives
by Michael Newton.

A pioneer in uncovering the secrets of life, internationally recognized spiritual hypnotherapist Dr. Michael Newton takes you once again into the heart of the spirit world. His groundbreaking research was first published in the bestselling Journey of Souls, the definitive study on the afterlife. Now, in Destiny of Souls, the saga continues with 70 case histories of real people who were regressed into their lives between lives. Dr. Newton answers the requests of the thousands of readers of the first book who wanted more details about various aspects of life on the other side. Destiny of Souls is also designed for the enjoyment of first-time readers who haven't read Journey of Souls.

We are All Living too Long

This will probably upset a lot of people but I need to get it out. People are just living too long. Our society spends the majority of health funds on the elderly. They are constantly at the doctors looking for a "cure" for simple old age.

Of course, medicare will pay for expensive procedures and operations that younger people are unable to obtain because medicare is "good insurance." Is it just me or are the depression era elders more entitled than the rest of us?? I cannot tell you the horrendous drivers that I see on the road and they are all in their eighties. They also have "good insurance" so when a car is crashed it is usually just replaced with another big car.

I struggle financially all the time. I was not in a generation that could buy a brand new house and a new car every year. I realize that generation suffered as children but do we have to suffer now. When I read of all the adult children taking care of their parents - who really are not that nice to them - it infuriates me.

That generation did not have to take care of their parents as they "passed on" when it was time and the medical field was not keeping them alive to suck out all the medicare benefits.

There will be no social security for workers today yet so much of my paycheck goes to keeping the elderly secure - even though they are much better off than myself. I love my parents but am not willing to give up my life for them.

Today, people who are sick can still live for another 15 years provided someone else gives up their independence and life to help them. Is that fair.

Comments for We are All Living too Long

My dear darling father is in a care home currently with the joy of vascular dementia having had his very unhealthy lifestyle prolonged by meds. As his dementia has advanced he has become aggressive and abusive.

He would be horrified if he could see how he behaves and talks to the wonderful care staff, it is just so upsetting to confront. He is now on anti-psychotics and subdued in a zombie state.

So yes, he no longer lobs cups of tea over other residents or tells the staff to 'F' off, but dear God, the cost to his dignity. I cry frequently because I cannot improve his quality of life for him. I don't want this future for myself.

Let others make their own choices but what right does anyone else on this planet have to impose this end on me? At least in the US you have options. Here is the UK we have nothing.

So how old should someone be until they are of no further use?

Just let people go. Don't try to prolong the agony, suffering,& above all, the indignity!of getting old. Modern medicine HAS NOT done anyone any favors by prolonging life! Medical types are in it for the $$,nothing else! QUALITY of life be damned.

I watched my mother live longer than she should with cancer. Never once during those days of AGONY did the doctor offer to let her die! My mother-in-law begged to come out of the nursing home she was in - I went there and it REEKED OF URINE AND FECES. I told my husband he'd better pour morphine down my throat before he puts me in a place like that. He expressed fear of getting locked up so I set medication aside for when I know I'm losing it. While I have 1 wit about me I'm going to swallow the meds.

You may be interested in knowing the globalists have a depopulation plan and are trying to get rid of the elderly and infirm. But that's beside the point.

I'm a millenial, helping my only child husband care for his boomer mother that is suffering from delayed onset dementia as a result of cancer treatment she had about 15 years ago. It's hard to admit that yes, her being alive is hard, but its so so hard.

I don't think I have the right to tell anyone they should just go and die, but when I think of the challenges my generation is facing (climate change, now two once in a lifetime recessions, an overburdened healthcare system), it's hard not to think that. we have too many people on this planet. And not just that, we have more and more people that are physically dependent than ever before. We are extending people's lives but not extending their health, and the burden to keep this every growing population alive is growing, too. It's going to be a bigger and bigger effort than ever before in human history.

Is this truly in the best interest of society to keep people alive well longer than was possible 50 years ago, just by throwing every new medical treatment we have at them? Should we maybe focus less on extending life, and focusing on making sure people have a good quality of life and don't suffer?

I agree that too many people are breathing for too long and are not really living. I have 3 92+ year olds in the family. They are not happy. They are resentful. I do not want to end that way. I believe society needs to have discussions about halting some health procedures and medications at certain ages.

'daughters and daughters-in-law do most of the care' damn right they do and why does this burden always seem to fall on women? My husband has nothing at all to do with his father, who is currently living it up in a care home.

Like another poster here he is one of those 'gentlemen' who thinks women were put on this earth to wait on them, boy does he love it! However, I do the absolute minimum that I can to support him.

When our children were born my in laws told us both that nobody helped them so they weren't going to help us and they didn't. I can count on one hand the times they stepped in to help and that was always done with reluctance. They phoned my husband when he was burying his best friend to demand we come back and collect the children because they wanted their tea.

They never once took my son to a park, not even for ten minutes. Now he sits in his home telling anyone who listens how much he misses his grandchildren and they never come and visit.

I am almost eighty caring for my husband with Alzheimer's. Except for one daughter everyone else has moved on without us. We were a close family. We are home bound. Our senior church is not social nor reach out other than church on Sunday.

My mom is turning 91 and is unable to do anything for herself from dressing herself, using the toilet to even eating with utensils.

We pay anywhere between $10,000 to $11,000 a month for her care. Sometimes she experiences delusions but her mind is clear at other times. She hears a little but not much.

It would be great if medical progress had given us another 20 or 30 years of youth but no, instead we have the specter of an extended period of old age looming over us.

I shudder when I read of these people who live to be 100 years plus the thought of spending over 40 years in old age is just ghastly. Although saying that, when you look in the Care Home directory produced by the council, all the happy smiley residents seem to be having the time of their lives.

Most likely who decides today is the medical community. If my Mother, in her right mind, had begged never to be in "one of those places" and just "let me go in peace" gets to the place where she cannot decide the doctors will take over.

Maybe there's no choice whether or not to be a caretaker - a lot of us are just STUCK between a rock and a hard place: not enough $ to put them somewhere & no one else to do it.

Talk about having to give up yr life: social, financial, etc. esp. when it's a demented/Alzheimer's patient who can NEVER be left alone. Some people shouldn't even comment if they aren't in that situation.

If you think meaning consists of the world being reduced to four rooms of a care home, deprived of liberty and fresh air, of being parked alongside other people not of your choosing, of being unable to function with the basic capacities that a human being is designed to exist: eating, taking care of your basic hygiene and toileting needs, communicating, moving, dressing, of being able to exercise choice and free will, then you are very lost.

How about we just put down all the people who haven’t had a job In a year? How about the people that have too many kids?

Just what criteria do we use to decide someone else’s life no longer has any meaning? Or is not contributing anything positive? Are old people allowed to live at least until their personal wealth is depleted? Maybe that’s too long.

Then their family will get nothing. Maybe, just maybe this is part of the reason everyone’s ready to get rid of all the old people. Maybe by taking care of others, we are the ones who get the gift. Maybe part of life is about learning compassion for others and to be more patient!

This is just downright revolting. Let these old people go. It is just the medical & associated industries trying to make a lot of money off the weak & the gullible who buy into it (like "Mom" is really going to live forever. )

Just back from a care home having moved my demented father-in-law elsewhere boy was it depressing. The folks in there might as well be chairs for all the genuine 'caring' that was going on.

Old men and women groaning, wandering around aimlessly asking when the next bus is coming, or why haven't their wages been paid, ripping off their huge incontinence pads in the corridor or getting up to urinate where they stood, it was beyond revolting to witness.

There was a carer pushing a trolley positively groaning under the weight of the medications they take to keep them in this state. All the anti-biotics they are pumped with at the first sign of a sniffle as the homes are so terrified of delerium cos God forbid they might decline and die!!

At a time when the WHO cites antibiotic resistance as one of the biggest threats to global health (that's yours and mine dear reader) this over prescription is completely irresponsible. I just cannot see the point of prolonging this existence and can any of the negative posters on here say they want this for themselves, or even worse for someone that they love?

Why the hell are we putting people through this?? There is a funeral director bang opposite the Care Home (very canny) - lets cut out the Care Home middle men who have a vested interested in keeping these unfortunate carcasses alive and send them across the road instead.

I work in orthopedics, frequently with the elderly, my wife works with CAMHS (children and adolescent mental health services). It is an unavoidable fact that from age 50 our bodies start to decline - some faster than others.

Even those of us who take care of our health will grow old and die. An 80 year old man costs the NHS 7K a year and this spend increases every year that he lives. Of course we are entitled to healthcare but it is a fact that if we are living well into our 80's and 90's, we are going to take more than we have given in taxation, especially if we have retired on juicy pensions at age 60 or often earlier.

Hence, it has to be paid for by someone ie current taxpayers. If you are old in this country your every health need will be taken care of. If you are young, well that is a different matter entirely.

We have a mental health crisis here due to chronic under funding of children's services. I'm not quite sure where the taxpayers of the future (the ones who are going to pay for our elderly) are going to come from 10 years down the line when so many of them will either be dead from suicide or unable to hold down jobs due to untreated ungoing mental health conditions.

These are the priorities we have settled for. The old come before the young. The past before the future. Some of my patients tell me they want to go, that they are sick of all the ailments and pain. Sometimes their relatives can't let go. But whatever the feelings, there is no choice. Us human beings have created a mess with this one.

My grandmother is "ancient" and my parents are already well into their 70s. I'm in my 40s. My mother wants everyone to worship grandmother and give up their mental and physical health keeping her alive, making sure she's entertained and goes out whenever she wants to despite her body basically being a "carcass".

I love them all, but health is a commodity and I'm not wealthy so I'm not going to use all of my health for them, when I'll need to take care of myself in the future. If this were weighted, my health, wealth and happiness should come first, while loving them and keeping them safe.

My parents have many good years but my grandmother is sucking it from everyone around her. Yes, someone can live too long. I love her, but it's okay if she either made her way to a good (and inexpensive) nursing home, or finished this 'mortal coil' soon.

I have a mother and mother in law that are in their 90s, one with good physical body but has severe dementia, one with excellent mental faculties but a badly failing body. Both require inordinate amounts of money and care both from medical professionals and direct care from us.

But on to the point: I'll wager that a lot of infirm elderly want to throw in the towel, but they have no means, are scared, or mentally incapable to carry it out themselves. If euthanasia was legal, who among us would sincerely drive our parent or partner's parent to be "put down"? It's a real bitch isn't it.

I believe where the problem lies is in the medical industry. They've all over-assumed the role they play - that is, they do everything they can to extend life for the elderly - drugs, constant care, emergency room for a stumped toe, etc.

I think doctors and others in the medical care industry are forced into this by fear of being sued if they don't do it. Therein lies the catch 22.

They are under legal pressure to do anything and everything to extend life regardless of the quality of that life, and we and our loved ones get stuck with the results, both financially (even if only via taxes) and directly via daily care.

None of us want to see our parent(s) in this degraded state and our parents certainly aren't enjoying all of the myriad aches, ailments, fatigue, etc. that they live with every second of every day, yet here is where we all are.

I wish everyone the best of fortune with their situation - if possible try to compartmentalize the time you spend with your loved one and enjoy your life. Try to realize (even with their "me me" attitudes in some cases) that they're caught in this loop too.

Try meditation and/or prayer. It does help.

Louise here from the UK. Can we be clear here that we are not talking about functioning elders but those who are walking the green mile(s).

We don't have the same insurance related issues here that you seem to have in the states but we certainly have huge generation inequality in this country that is going to look very ugly in a few years time if it is not addressed.

we have an ageing population here, the baby boomers are now coming into an age where they are going to need care and medical support the burden on the younger generation is going to be astronomical.

This in addition is a generation that will face the full brunt of environmental degradation due to the actions of those who have gone before, who are deprived of any job security or choice of good jobs,retiring at 60(or earlier!!) on gold plated pensions, affordable housing, and free further education.

Instead they have a lifetime of insecurity, debt, stress and working until they drop dead to look forward to unless they benefit from an inheritance (if it hasn't all gone on care home fees) Yet they will be expected to fork out for the geriatrics.

Yes we know you've paid your taxes but you've had it rather good compared to youngsters growing up now haven't you? Those martyrs on here who will lay down there lives for their parents, go ahead. But please don't expect my children to pay for it.

And those posting you'll be old one day, you'll regret what you say, are not listening, WE KNOW THAT and we should have the choice to opt out when our bodies say its time to go.

I'm from the UK and agree with the vast majority of comments on this page. My father-in-law had a heart attack at 60 and despite refusing to give up a cigarettes has been kept alive by statins and aspirin ever since.

He in now 75 and in a care home with vascular dementia like a pig in s**t, being waited on hand and foot by women, which is what he always had before and missed after his wife died he tried to burden me with that after she died, but I pushed back.

He has zero quality of life, is incontinent, doesn't know where he is or who we are yet still he is pumped full of anti-biotics at the first sign of a chest infection, despite still smoking.

He was a useless, unsupportive father to my husband who does not want to visit him as so many horrible memories of his childhood are resurfacing I support him fully in this decision. Human rights are meaningless when we cannot even decide when we want to die. There is no way on this earth that I want to burden my children in the way my father-in-law is a burden to us he is a millstone around our necks.

Even though he is in a home I still have endless things to deal with relating to his care. I would say to anyone here that you do not have to justify to anyone else how you feel about your elderly parents or feel guilty that you would rather they die, then see out their final years doubly incontinent, parked in a care home, staring into space,unable to do a single thing for themselves or recognize their loved ones.

This is NOT living. I counsel clients at a hospice and some of the suffering that I get to hear of is heartbreaking if it was an animal it would be put out of its misery.

Thank you so much for your article! I can see most people have posted anonymously because this is one of those taboo issues we are not allowed to discuss.

I’m a gen Xer with older boomer siblings. My beautiful father always said to stick him in a nursing home and not ruin your life - he declined meds and opted to die in palliative care at 79 15 years ago.

My mother however is a different story. My psychologist has diagnosed her by proxy as a narcissist, and at 83 and being kept going with pills for high cholesterol high blood pressure and atrial fibrillation she is at her nastiest ever.

She creates drama and fights and is awful to my children, not to mention my husband and I. She has clearly had mini strokes where she would wake up with lack of limb movement, and appears to have had some vascular Dementia but she denies all and refuses to disclose doctors etc.

she hasn’t worked her entire adult life is wealthy due to my father and their inheritances from parents. She did noth8ng to help her elderly parents.

She wants me to look after her full time - leave job I need the money for and have kids to raise etc - refuses to pay for home cleaner or help, I should be doing it.

Kicked me out of home as a teenager because I wanted to get an education, tried to sabotage my marriage, abused my kids behind my back - now I know have paid thousands in counseling to get over all of this. Now she has a fancy man 20 years her junior and basically giving him wads of money! This man has been jailed for rape, driven drunk etc. he is not a good person.

My father would have not left her all the money if he had an inkling this was going to happen. A few decades ago there wouldn’t have been all these drugs to keep her alive and we would not have had to go through the hell we are in.

While we will be there to pick up the pieces when the fancy man has sucked her dry, I have very firm boundaries of what I will and won’t do. Psychologist really helpful here.

Apparently nice people with Dementia can turn into narcissists, and frankly that is what I am reading into her in a lot of posts. Narcissists turned old get even worse - if and when my mother goes into an aged care facility, I will be sure to have a private meeting with the managers to let them know how manipulative she can be, as her first task will be to get someone fired - it’s her way of feeling powerful. People who don’t have such parents don’t understand what vampires they are.

My mother isn’t after my best interests she is only after a chew toy to abuse and project her bad feelings on to.

I had a dream where my brother who died of cancer 8 years ago came to me and told me if I continued to pander to my mother I would end up dying from cancer like him. He said she shouldn’t.t be afraid of death she had a welcome waiting on the other side.

I’m a Gen X, not a Boomer. Looking at my 4th trip to the UK this summer in 4 years to help my mother, who is 81 and has had multiple strokes, a heart attack, arrhythmia. and doctors bring her back EVERY time so she can live in misery.

Same thing with my dad, except on top of all those conditions he comes with the added bonus of dementia.

It's difficult if not impossible to become jaded at the least having dependent parents. We all have to realize it's not their fault though.

I don't know if they'd "check out" if they could, but they don't have that option (most aren't capable or don't have the means, or simply scared of doing it. Some aren't ready to go). Still doesn't make the task any easier for those providing it.

Sometimes I think the medical industry is in the business of extending life so that more resource (wealth) can be extracted from them or the government to the industry.

​I wonder, (maybe there is no answer), if the parent was demanding, controlling and self centered before they developed dementia do they become worse patients after their dementia is fully active?

I've known my mother in law for about 8 years and she has always been controlling and needy. She never given a crap about anyone other than herself.

Maybe she was a better person as a young mother but I've only known as an elderly person. Now that her dementia is active she is much worse. It takes a great patience to be loving and kind since I really don't believe she deserves it.

Wow, thank you for this. I took care of my Dad who had dementia for years and he was such a loving and kind man, I had to watch him slowly deteriorate.

The whole time my Mother was outrageous acting like he was a pest and a burden when he took care of her for their 63 years of marriage. After he passed she continued to live with me and it was fine until she fell and broke her hip. It went downhill from there.

She is now almost 95 and has a tumor behind her right eye and blinded by it, walks with a walker but is still pretty mobile. Never learned how to drive, acts like she a Queen or something and is totally spoiled. I can't believe how spoiled she is and totally dependent on me.

I am divorced and 54. I work hard plus o.t., take care of the house, the yard, the bills, the worries etc.

I love my Mom but I agree about the pills and I can tell you I have been to the Hospital 17,000 times between the 2 of my parents. I can't go on vacation, she asks where I am going when I go out which is hardly ever.

She is demanding and told me the other day SHE feels trapped. I am so frustrated and angry and resentful but I NEVER talk back to her.

I WILL never burden my kids this way NEVER. For the people that think it's mean or tell me I am lucky to still have her I say this. Come over here and YOU take care of her.

We do not have the money for a care giver to come in and we can't afford to put her in a home and she wouldn't go anyway! I hate Doctors, we are just mere guinea pigs to them.

Found this purely by accident. Almost crying with relief that other people feel like me and my sister.Our mother 87 next week in care home her choice, just too lazy to look after herself and wanted to be waited on.

A lifetime of emotional neglect and abuse and she wonders why the family aren't "flocking"round.

You've lived your life, you've done whatever it is you set out to do. Now, just please go away. You are draining the life out of all those around you with endless needs & supplies & medical & personal assistance, etc.

why in all the world are we keeping these elderly sycophants going. No need, no use, just an expense and a burden.

The greed of the medical and pharmaceutical companies keeps many people alive past 80, which is past many people's mental and physical capabilities. Taking care of the extremely elderly is far more difficult than taking care of children. People are using oxygen, getting all kinds of surgeries, and nobody benefits from this.

The issue of the elderly living too long is a part of the human condition. In the old days, most old people were mercifully swept away in their 60s and 70s by diseases and conditions for which there were no cures. Now modern science can keep a certain percentage of people alive for additional decades! To what purpose?

So, I shared in the care of my mom with 3 other siblings. we split the care by months. We each had 2 months per year (mine were Feb and Oct). My mom passed away at 86 in 2012 after a brief stay in the hospital. I would give anything to have her back. I still had 2 kids at home during the time I cared for her.

I am 58 now and I think a lot about aging well as I don't have a daughter but 4 sons. Most older folks will agree that daughters and daughters in law do most of the care. I am doing everything I can to remain healthy so I am not a burden to anyone. My husband feels the same as I do.

However, I ask you to remember that your parents cared for you (most of you) until you were at least 18 so perhaps you do owe your parents a little something. My mother was a widow for many, many years as my father died over 25 years before her and she did pretty good on her own for most of that time.

If we need help at some point, we will sell all our assets (home, vehicles, & household items and liquidate any remaining retirement funds) and use that money as best we can to find an affordable assisted living arrangement. We will both also have social security as well.

This will mean we will leave our children nothing when we are gone but that is the price they will pay for not having been "bothered" by us. I am not saying our sons would feel that way. We do not want to give up our autonomy any sooner than absolutely necessary.

I don't believe that anyone wants to end up being taken care of by their children unless it's an end of life issue with a somewhat fixed time limit. Who doesn't want to pass this life surrounded by those they love?

So for those of you who look at your parents as a burden, please remember that they most likely do NOT want to ask for your help and it may be the hardest thing they ever have had to do.

I also hope that your children do not feel this way about you someday those of you who feel so put upon by the people who did their best to care for you. Parenting is a difficult job and no one does it perfectly.

One more thing, we baby boomers (we're on the tail end) have been paying into social security for over 30 years so we deserve to get that back. It is OUR money, not an entitlement.

If the government had invested that money in ANYTHING instead of spending it, no one would be talking about this as if we are LEECHES. It's pretty disgusting.

Logically, there are literally thousands upon thousands of folks who contributed to Social Security and DIED before retirement age and didn't collect a CENT. That should have easily covered anyone else had the government not mismanaged it.

This has been helpful to read.
Taking care of my parents almost destroyed my marriage two years ago.

Care taking is BEYOND difficult. Some are far worse than others that's for sure.
Even if you love your parents and have a great relationship with them your patience and tolerance with unreasonable and often childish requests will be tested. I'm 57 they are in their mid and upper 80s.
All I can add to this thread is the following.

STOP WITH THE GUILT. Your parents have lived a long life. If they are unreasonable, selfish or whatever do what you must to ensure their safety and care. Stop going the extra mile when it isn't necessary.
Do what must be done. And get extra care to come over. It's also good for them to talk to others. Stop catering to their demands! I heard it a lot. "I don't want anyone to help me but you" nonsense. Get them on outings and ignore their whines. You are the parent now. Act like it.

Set boundaries and stick to them! Learn to say NO or WAIT!

Take care of yourself! That is more important than anything for obvious reasons!
Of course there will be arguments, stress, ER visits, falls, doctor appts, meds, feeding, washing, toileting, crying, whining, food prep, shopping. so get help! My parents pay for it.
And most important make damn sure you are the POA and EX. Even if there isn't a dime left. You make the calls all of them (see their Living Trust before they pass.) They don't have a LT? Oiy! Get one done ASAP!
Don't allow them to let some other sibling who has never does anything for them have any say in their care or after! If they won't change their living trust. tell them to move to who has it. Believe worked!

I think that care for the elderly is an overwhelming burden and that people shouldn't have to give up their lives and potential to care for people who will never improve.

But I have noted my attitude depends on the people I have to care for. My parents were selfish useless people draining the life and joy and money from my siblings and myself for the last 10 years of their miserable lives.

The deaths of my father and mother are among the two happiest days of my life. But my husbands parents were in terrible health for almost 10 years, drained our savings just as much as my parents, but I was devastated by their deaths.

Because unlike my parents they were gracious loving people who deserved to be cared for. My parents were selfish and terrible my entire life and became more so with age. My husbands parents always gave the best of themselves their whole lives and had almost 10 times the number of people at their funerals that my parents did.

So I try to live my life like my husbands parents. Taking of them was an honor, not a burden. So maybe the level of care someone received in old age should be karma based.

My advice to anyone taking in a parent in your home, think twice.
Think of the length of time, care of your parent as they get older.
Most important is your spouse, how long will they put up with your
My experience is over 40 years of a pain living in my house. The
last 10 years has been hell. My in law father has been through cancer
treatments,2 hematoma on both sides of brain due to falling, Dementia
forgetting much too often. Yes we get help 3 times a week with a person
to care for him, but he is nasty to her in fact he has been nasty period.
We go way of our way to make him feel comfortable. He has two of our bedrooms,
his own personal bathroom, but use our shower due to his bathroom doesn't have
a walk in shower. Getting him to take a shower is like hell, yet he needs his
clothes bleach and very clean. He does not get it with the not the clean body
with his very clean clothes. I told him clean clothes will not matter if he
stinks. I try to do his bedding, forget that I try many times but he will not
let us. I haven't seen his bedding over 2 years maybe longer. He claims he
clean them, but for years he has lied to us many times.
I pray to God to release us from this, I felt many times to up and leave, but
I love my husband to much. Now I praying for us to get alone time.
So I am advising anyone thinking about taking in one of your parents, if
you want to go without any vacations, losing all your friends, losing that
time with your spouse don't do it. Put your parent in nursing home, better
care, more people to care for them.
I know this sound awful, but the continual annoying things he does and forgetfulness
is enough to drive a person to up and leave for good.

I have been caregiving and watching both my parents in their 90s do a slow decline towards death for the past several years. The aging and dying process is not pretty - but drawing it out over several years because the medical community pumps them full of pills that keep their bodies existing long past their time makes the end of life process that much more ugly, depressing and sordid.

No dignity or happiness for my parents - so much in-fighting amongst the siblings who disagree on decisions (because my parents are long past being able to make any) and are worn out and depressed as hell.

Not only does it rob my parents from any quality of life, but their children as well. We must start doing better as a society. Medically keeping folks alive just because we can, when all other aspects of their lives are deplorable is not acceptable.

Hello, I am 87 and take care of my husband 89. That is a lot of work. Can get help but that is a lot of money. We had a very blessed life, good kids etc. Now I am interested in euthanasia,

It felt like i was reading my own words as i read this piece.Sadly i work in a care-home for the elderly. My God, every word said was true. These old people are some of the most obnoxious, pathetic, ungrateful, needy and hopeless i have ever known.

The job is both back-breaking and soul-destroying.
All my job really entails is getting these people up out of bed, pushing them in a wheelchair to breakfast. Then taking them away from the table in the wheelchair and getting them into an armchair.

Then after ten minutes they will want to go to the toilet, so it's the task of getting them from the wheelchair to the toilet. They've probably wet themselves, so i will need to change their pad.
Then it's back to the armchair until lunchtime. then i will go through the whole bloody procedure again for lunch and for tea, and then supper.

They are filled with tablets three times a day,and some of these old people, in fact nearly all of them cannot do anything for themselves. Why?
I mean why do we keep these people alive, they are too old, have lived their lives and outlived their usefulness.

And all the money that is wasted on them. washing machines and tumble dryers on constantly in The Home. The central heating is on all the time, even when it's not needed. All the food that is wasted(as they eat nothing and yet the food still has to be prepared for them).

I have a hard time trying to understand why people want to hang on when their health fails. Some of us enjoyed life to the fullest as a young person and when life starts taking more than it gives maybe its time to call it quits.

Surviving the jungles of Vietnam was not as scary as the thought of being in a old folks home. Death is a friend that comes when you have used up your life.

I wrote this a long time ago:
I was walking to town and crossed a bridge where an old man sat, he asked me to sit and visit a while. I can't old man I am on my way to town to party with my friends, I am young and have lots to do.

He laughed and said look down at the water below, I looked and saw an old man looking back. That can't be me I cried, I am young. No said the old man you are old you have lived your life hard and partied and lived for yourself and now you are old and your life is over.

You're not alone feeling this way. My mother is 96 and I'm 54, still caring for her. I've been caring for her for decades. I'm exhausted. I never travel.

It's refreshing to read comments from those caring for elderly parents and know I am not alone in feeling depressed and resentful.

To those of you who berate us and try to make us feel guilty for feeling this way, you have no idea what it is like to look after those who have little quality of life and are kept alive with medication as their bodies continue to deteriorate.

My Mum can no longer walk, is incontinent and struggles to talk and feed herself. My Dad (in his 90s) lost the ability to talk 3 years ago after a speech and can only make it as far as the toilet and back.

They both cry daily (my Mum at least 3 or 4 times a day) as they don't want to be alive.

Caring for them is unrewarding and taken for granted. I am nearly 60 at my age, their own parents were long dead and they were traveling the world and enjoying early retirement.

I agree whole heartedly that people are living way too long. When adult children are expected to give up their life to care for both parents and their own children, as well as hold down a job, something in society has gone awry.

Especially when the quality of life for many of these people may be down to pretty much zero - multi-ailments that result in sleeping all day coupled with the inability to self-start even one thing (eating, drinking, getting dressed, using the bathroom, etc.).

Usually it is one child that takes on the brunt of this burden, causing irreparable rifts among the siblings. And there are no societal support systems in place to help those adult children suffering from guilt, anger, and depression.

Great Blog! My parents had 9 children. My mother an alcoholic snd my father non-existent. The abuse us kids went through on so many levels has left a few of us with major psychiatric disorders not to mention zero confidence.

My mother is in an assisted living facility as I could not bring myself to have her in my home and neither could my other siblings.

It is hard to not rehash memories of the past as she persistently puts us down and is very demanding of my time. I have primary care over her and find it difficult to even take her to lunch. She is pushing 80 and had triple brain aneurysms and survived.

This year I drew boundaries and only stop by once a month to pay her bill. I psychologically cannot handle even looking at her or hearing about my dad who did absolutely nothing for us kids. I have forgiven, but haven’t forgotten.

There is so much I will never understand. I am worn out from just growing up. My siblings are a mess with depression and addiction. My mother tells me on my voicemail that she is doing all kinds of healthy things to stay alive longer along with persistent guilt of why I won’t have her in my home.

Asleep most of the time, incoherent the rest, bedridden, can't even feed oneself. No quality of life, already dead in most ways would describe the everyday lives of too many old folks.

But doctors keep them going long as possible, draining a family's inheritances for their own profit, even saying it's "in God's hands." What a load of crap.

I think of younger people cut down before their lives are finished, maybe couldn't afford to be pampered and given everything by the medical community so they died and I'm that much more disgusted. I have already let my kids know I DON'T want that.

Some day, each person writing a comment here will be old. I hope they have printed out a copy of their posting to save and read at that time.

Its unnatural for a child to say they would give their life for a parent. Its sick. And it would likewise be unnatural for any parent to ever want that. Just false bravado from a person who’s prob cocked and ready to suck the life out of the system AND family until they go kicking and screaming into the grave.

Funny how its mostly the people who don’t have that burden of caregiver who are so quick to "scold" those who do. Give it a try! All it does is slowly suck away their joy, and their own life and family time. I could see some of these selfish old turkeys outliving their own kids for what they’re putting them through. And they think they’re entitled to that, which they’re not. Its been said for the ages, no parent should ever outlive their child. Its ass backwards and sick.

Lastly, yes i agree its all about these doctors and insurance cos and big pharma RAKING IT IN.

I am a loving person but I think of the future for myself when there will be no government funding to pay to assist me or my children because we are spending so much on elders.

My mother who is 88 OUTRIGHT REFUSED to take care of herself and would not go to a doctor now she has rung up $100,000's in medical bills and she has no idea still how she got ill. (Medicaid picked up 97% of the tab)

Elder native Indians would walk out into the forest and Eskimos floated away on an ice flow with the understanding that they had a pleasant life and to release a severe burden on the next generation.

I'm so glad I found this blog. I'm sorry to hear that so many people are in the same situation as me.

First of all we have feel guilty that some of us resent the fact that we have to care for our elderly parents or elderly in-laws. I suspect though there are plenty of elderly folks who are easy to live with.

I tell all young folks now, put 1/4 your salary way for long term and retirement because you will need it. You do not want to be a burden to your children.

My mother is in her middle 90s and would never have wanted her life now. What the medical community cheerfully prolongs. She can hardly see, make sense of things, has to be fed by caretakers, is in diapers, and bedridden in hospice care.

I am so glad I found this blog. I am in a similar situation with my husband's father.

Nearly three years ago the elderly man, then 86, had a mild stroke, which affected his memory. He was admitted to hospital and then discharged.

He seemed to be improving for a while, but then started having panicky type episodes and was taken to A&E Dept by ambulance at least once a week, over the course of several months, only to be sent home again because there was nothing physically wrong with him.

Ultimately he was diagnosed with Dementia.

Unfortunately for me I worked at the very hospital where he was taken to, so spent every day surrounded by doctors and nurses, so the stress started to affect me. Also HR decided that they must follow the Sickness policy to the letter, so I was told that I couldn't have any more sick leave - I was only having a few days.

That made the stress even worse, so I had no choice to leave my job.

Father in Law continued his 'I'm so ill' behaviour until the Warden at his flats told him that if he continued in this way he would have to go into a care home. Amazingly, he recovered overnight and has not had to go to A&E since, for over two years! It's obvious that he didn't have Dementia at all, but was attention seeking. But I'm now out of work.

Between myself and my husband, and my brother in law, he has a son visit him twice a day. He has his washing done, and his food shopping done, and I cook him lunch on Saturday for him. He loves it, and has actually said on more one occasion, "I love Saturdays, you wait on me." I hate it as he's not even my father! He is getting more frail, and has difficulty walking, but he can still do things for himself.

We arranged for a carer to visit him every day, when he was apparently so ill. But she isn't really needed, as he can wash and dress himself and make his own breakfast. So she makes him a cup of tea, then leaves. It is a waste of her time.

Also he feels he must have company, and when there isn't someone with him all the time he complains that he hasn't seen anybody and is lonely. But he won't walk a few feet to visit the person in the next-door flat. He says it is raining, but all the flats are in one building, so the roof must leak terribly!

It is true the elderly are being kept alive artificially. He is on lots of tablets, to reduce the risk of heart attacks or anything else that would finish him off. I think we are very fed up with it. He had nothing to do with his own mother when she became old, yet he expects first class care from his own kids.

It is ridiculous how the elderly are kept alive like this. The NHS is in crisis. The hospitals are at Black Alert, which means they are full to capacity, all the year round, instead of just during Winter flu season for a couple of weeks like they were a few years ago. A doctor that I asked about it said, at our hospital at least, it was because of the elderly.

So the hospital is full of old people, and younger people are having their operations cancelled because there isn't a bed for them. It's very wrong. Hospital doctors are actually dying young because of over work, or committing suicide because of the stress.

It is so so wrong that so many people who got to enjoy their long lives and retirements, are now living too long and stealing that from their own children. Its horrific.

There should be more emphasis on palliative care. As long as the surgeon can bill medicare they will do operations on the demented, the bed bound etc.

I’m 61, my mother passed from the horrible effects of Parkinson’s and my father passed a year ago at 90. They were married 66 years, and all my dad wanted was to be with with her.

I read through what many of you have said, it’s very understandable to feel the way you do, but never would I have wished my parents to pass. I sat on my moms grave and cried and asked her to talk to God, she had more pull then me, and to ask God to take daddy, he missed her so, it was 4 weeks later and he was gone.

If you don’t want to take care of them then put them in a facility, there are good ones, my daddy was in one for 6 months.
But know this, if you have children, I wonder if they’ll feel like a lot of you do on this site.

My fiancé takes care of his father and has for close to 2 years, at times he’s very depressed, but we will make it through this, his father is 95 years old. such a kind man, WWII veteran silver star for saving many lives in Germany, maybe some of your relatives.

Be kind and keep those thoughts to yourself, for we will all be old one day.

Wow you guys have seen it all. We have a 103 year old living on because someone has sacrificed there life to keep them going and they are 70 and 80 year old respectively.

However do not forget the bleeding 30 year olds that still what the tittie at home . So we the weed heads, the yuppies , the peace people are getting it literally from both ends.

This is just too hard and unfair. Every day is a pitiful, absurdist tragedy that never ends. Taking care of a person who deteriorates for 16 years is more than a person can bear. It is not fair.

To the person who started this blog post: Thank you.

My mother had me when she was 15. . I was raised in a house by a resentful mother and an abusive alcoholic grandmother. My grandmother would tell lies on me if I didn’t do what she wanted when she wanted.

If I didn’t get her beer or go buy her a pack of cigarettes she would lie and tell my mom I had been sassy and I would get beat. I grew up miserable with zero self worth. I would hear my mother say if I hadn’t had you l could would have done this and that with my life.

I helped her rehab after two surgeries, gave up my job as day care provider so she could take it over. She refused to get up and look for a job. I lent her $10,000 which she took her sweet time paying back.

She waited until I was in the ER on morphine with complications after major surgery to ask for the loan. I didn’t even remember saying yes.

Two years ago she had a hip replacement. She refused to go to a rehab facility and expected me to take time off from my job and take care. All the while claiming she didn’t want me to use my sick time and vacation time for her. mmmkay.

After less than two months of not working her sly hints about running out of money started. Did I mention that the brother she hates and is jealous of paid her rent for two months? She was always prying and trying find out how much money I have saved because I owe her.

I had to take her to the emergency room a week of so after she was released from the hospital. I had to get her down 43 stairs into a cab then a wheel chair. She is about 75 pound over weight. I hurt my back and my knee which two years later is still isn't 100% and she loved every minute of having me wait on her hand and foot.

That’s when I realized that she really expected this to be my life wasting my 40’s and 50’s taking care of her.

She thinks that I owe her something because in her words "she has done too much for me". She did the bare minimum for me and did it with anger and resentment. She made me feel like nothing my entire life.

She emotionally, verbally and physically abused me and turned me into an emotional disaster and truly believes that she owed something.

When her hip problems began I had just started a new relationship. He is an amazing man and truly the love of my life. She hates him because she thinks I choose him over her and you know what she is absolutely right. I did choose him over her. If she had her way she would financially and emotionally suck me dry like a parasite with no shame or guilt.

Being parent is a choice and a gift. Children don’t ask to be born and they don’t own their parents anything least of all their happiness and sanity.

People are living beyond their natural expiration date becoming financial and emotional parasites on their kids. Keeping old people alive is a billion dollar business. Old people are the bread and butter of pharmaceuticals companies.

I have a dear friend who is slowly going crazy taking care of two old parents. His dad is in his 90’s and regularly shits on hisself and is a demanding ungrateful old goat.

I agree. Mom worked from ten years old to eighty. Now she needs long term care. Medicare won't pay for that. So now she has to on Medi Cal. That's a nightmare so far. Medicare will pay hundreds of thousands for tests and operations, but not for room and board.

However, if you snuck in to this country, and you have a wife and three daughters that are all pregnant, you can immediately get on a government program that will give you and your whole family medical care, housing, food stamps, schooling, and whatever else is going nowadays.

I repeat, for people in this country illegally. How is this possible? I see HOMELESS VETERANS with missing limbs sitting under a freeway overpass. How does that happen when illegal aliens are treated like heroes now. Yes heroes. Have you watched the news lately. Our politician can't bring up the term undocumented without also saying Rhodes Scholar, never even had a traffic ticket, straight A student, little child, ad nausea. So each and every illegal is BETTER than all of the rest of us.

They commit less crimes, work harder, study harder, take better care of their children (Including putting them on top of trains to get here). In general they are simply better people than the folks born here. Just ask a progressive politician. California has put away Ten Million Dollars for a legal fund to keep Illegals from being deported. Yes, people that snuck in to the U.S. Illegally.

But Mom can't get money so she can be here at home where she is comfortable. Would it really cost that much more to have nurses come here and do what they do at the care facility? I'm thinking it could be much less.

If someone broke into your home, would you take food and care away from your children so that you could afford to give it to the people that broke in to your home? I don't think so.

So why do our politicians take money away from their "Children"? Meaning us. Isn't a country the same thing as a home? Don't we a right to lock our doors at night? Why do we have to support the law breakers when we can't afford to take support the people that were here their entire lives?

I totally agree, we are 86 and 88, feel tired and want to sleep all the time we had a good life. Now i would like to ask my doctor for euthanasia help.

He probably is unable to do so..

I work in healthcare and feel your pain. The older generation (same faces) in the surgery every day. Me me me. Most ungrateful entitled people.

I see the caregivers struggling (older looking that the patients) they are clogging up the health system with silly ailments because it's all free. the a&he in hospitals clogged up with a simple cold.

They get a taste for hospital and love all the attention. So they pretend to be ill because they are bored and it's their hobby. 50/60/70 old children looking after elderly parents. Giving up their whole lives , missing out on their own children, siblings fighting with stress, to selfishness of old people with no grace.

I agree with anyone here on this forum that is worn out from being the caretaker of an elderly parent.

I have taken care of my widowed mother for 14 years now, she is 94 and I am 65. So I have seen the "younger" years of my older age eroded away by the ongoing and unappreciated caretaking that I provide to my mother.

It is very difficult not to be bitter and resentful, although I know that all that really does is work against me psychologically. My 4 siblings offer nothing and actually have no contact with her because her lifelong attitude and general ugly behavior have alienated all of them as well as her grandchildren.

Although I realize some elderly people evolve into being hard to get along with, this is not the case with her. Her physical body is a wreck but she is healthy as a horse and battles right through any infections like a champ.

Mom's 90 year old heart is strong which is good for her but the rest of her body is a wreck which is bad for me. By default I have become her care giver for the last ten years which has become a source of anger and sadness for me.

I doubt she paid much into medicare in the 10 years she was employed. She has had an ongoing series of operations and medical procedures that been going on and on and on.

Tax payers have spent millions of dollars on her medical bills. She thinks if she keeps trying ever procedure available that some doctor will cure her from old age. The doctors love her - they are sucking medicare for every penny they can.

Against my advice she recently underwent elective eye surgery and ended up three weeks in hospital because she failed to hold still during the procedure I am the one that ends up paying the price as I spend all my days in hospitals and doctor offices.

I enjoy reading the comments here, its about all I have to do anymore. I have noticed how people handle the end of life stuff. Myself I am at peace and thankful I have a good memory, after all when we get old our memories are about all we have left.

Life was good,I mean there were some tough but all in all it was a blast. I hope young people try and live as good as they can because it will end for every one someday. I see young folks fight and raise hell with each other over things that in a few months won't matter. I think heaven is here on earth and we should all enjoy each day like its the last one because it will be someday.

That's all I can say. I'm a boomer. When I was young, Social Security and Medicare were always at risk of being killed off. But they're still here.

I rarely needed medical treatment when I was young, and I do not now need it. I looked after my elderly mother for years with multiple ailments and accidents, she finally passed on. Before you know it, you'll be old, by your standards today.

Dad has worked to stay around for our Mom's sake. Dad has beaten cancer multiple times.

Mom has the beginning of Dementia and loves to go to doctor appointments. She is impulsive and at times can be difficult and gets hurt easily. She is also going blind little by little and will most likely not be able to see within five years.

We have organized online shopping. Lawn and fertilizer service for their yard. A driving served when siblings are at work. A couple of us grown kids send them bonus check money. the other grown kids can't afford to do that and it isn't expected. We send them clothing and greeting cards by mail so they can avoid stores. We do all this to try and let them stay in their house.

I tell my kids that when I am old don't worry about me- I can go to a nursing home and will be happy anywhere. they need to live their life.

I have several siblings. some of us live in town and most of us live out of state. The ones that live in town resent the ones that live out of state. All understandable.

Mom goes to tests that are beyond her age and to the point were techs look at me like I am crazy when I bring her in for the tests. Often she doesn't understand what the test is for.

Mom had stroke 7 years ago-- pacemaker prevented a natural passing 3 years ago. Parents disabilities have Consumed every vacation day I've had from work since.

Recently Dad passed, I inherited mom full time. Full care. Manipulative. Randomly will go limp on transfers if doesn't feel like doing something. Screams when she wants attention even when all needs met regularly. you know my pain.

I've worked FT, done community service, raised kids. always traveling to see folks who moved away to their dream.

She only worked a few years.. retired early with dad in a beautiful community living the life of no responsibilities.. traveled the world--- didn't take her parents in when ill. spent money now not available for her care.. thinks her occasional babysitting for a week a year is equal to what we do--like she is entitled. she has no clue.

I will NOT do this to my kids. Death is not the enemy, I know where I am going, I will not tarry on the backs of my kids. No cholesterol Medications, anti hypertensives, or Coumadin--for me once disabled, living will written.. I'm in health care and see the nonsense consumption of seniors -- going to doctors like a sporting event-- me me me..

Medicare gives health care to older people who have had full lives. These people have enjoyed, suffered or lived through their decisions. They are prone to illnesses that are normal for older people.

The irony is that we're all enabling the extension of their lives via our efforts and government provided healthcare. I have a mother in her mid 90's who still lives in her house.

It takes a lot of time and care to enable her to live in her own house. Multiple doctor visits per month, food preparation, wellness checks, house cleaning & maintenance, yard maintenance, laundry - that's just the routine stuff.

When she gets ill for some reason (which happens often as you might expect), then the care requirement intensifies. It is all-consuming and leaves little time for our already busy lives.

Despite her having enough resource to live in an assisted living community, she persists in not being willing to leave her home.

Although I understand and identify with her feelings & need for what she perceives as independence, I am frustrated that she has no concept of the effort & resource required to support it. It is all taken for granted.

It would be counterproductive to try and
explain this to her as it would only serve to make our lives more difficult as it would result in behavior that would intensify the care requirement.

So here we are, complaining on this site. It's nice to be able to vent though. The bottom line is that these are situations for which there is no solution. We'll continue to try to encourage an interest in an assisted living situation or perhaps daily in-home help, options which are currently rejected outright.

I am in my early fifties and have been taking care of my parents for 7 years, along with my sister. We have given up so much of our lives to keep them in their home. They are 88 and 96 and on the verge of running out of money . We are exhausted.

Neither of them will talk about death and my father still sees about 5 specialists for his health. He is very controlling and manipulative and has no respect for our time.

I have lived a good long life, I am in my late 60's and up to a few weeks ago I was healthy. My doctor found a severe illness in me and said if I didn't seek treatment I would not make it.

I asked how it would end and he said very quick if the artery burst. I declined treatment and he and his staff were shocked.

I explained I am alone in the world and have few regrets and don't fear death. Sure I might change my life if I could relive it, but that is not how it works. I have outlived my friends and had some super times in life.

I recently started working for a Home Healthcare Agency (non-medical).
I am so flipping depressed and so many of the clients I go see just need to stop being fed and worried over so much and let nature take it's course. open the windows. let fresh air in. if someone gets pneumonia and dies. so be it.

Thanks for this. I feel a little bit less guilty now that I've found others who are suffering and are willing to talk about it.

I don't blame very old people for not wanting to die. (By very old I mean 95 plus). However, I do resent having to live out my own elderly years either pandering to their whims or feeling anxious/bad for no longer jumping every single time they say jump.

I used to jump all the time, but my bones ache and I don't jump as well as I used to :)

For me, another ten or fifteen years will be more than enough. That would take me past what used to be the expected life span, into my late seventies or early eighties. My life has had its good points and its not so good.

I didn't anticipate there would be more demands as I got older, but those are the breaks. I just hope I get a few years where my parent, their sibling and my sibling situation will be such that I can enjoy some golden years of my own. I'm not all that optimistic but then, life wasn't meant to be fair.

Seniors will disagree, in this society people want to love forever, but it is true that seniors cost the most in our economy, seniors will argue that they paid taxes so they deserve to live well into there 100s.

In a way this is true, however seniors in there young days paid very little tax compared to the new generation. Economics teaches us in order to achieve one thing, we must give up another.

I personally believe seniors over 70 should take one for the team. Why spend billions on seniors who are gonna die anyways. They'd rather live in pain for an additional 20 years or so then help the economy and allow the younger generations to thrive.

Healthcare is of equal blame. Some seniors don't want to continue life, but when they drop to the floor the hospitals will do all they can to revive, leaving the senior thinking " I'm in pain everyday, thanks for bringing me back!".

Anon of UK has expressed adequately the issue of decision's made for elders. When it comes to the elderly, they have no value.

First I would like to make point that there are many "good" nursing facilities. I come from a place of knowledge because health care was my work life for 25 years in many different capacities.

This is an example of a facility a friend of mine works at in Portland, Oregon. I make example of this place because I can verify facts.

Recently, admits have included drug addicts and alcoholics. These people are interspersed with elders. One alcoholic resident went to a Plaid Pantry down the street (with no sign out) and was found by a caregiver who went to store. The resident was on ground grossly drunk.

To make a long story short no paperwork was done on this incident and the resident's Dr.and family not notified. Med errors are not noted, skin breakdowns are not addressed.

I am not going to go through all atrocities..there are point on this is employees need to be brave and report to the State Board of Nursing when they witness such sad events.

Those with alcohol/drug issues should not be housed with the elderly. The addicts steal from the elderly, take rings off their fingers on and on.

I think the people taking offence at the idea of euthanasia, are missing the point. Nobody argues that people who are elderly, but still reasonably able, mentally and physically should be shuffled off.

But here in the UK, it is all so screwed-up. A relative of mine, who has advanced Alzheimer's, as well as a myriad of agonising physical complaints has been in hospital for 3 months.

Every time he gets an infection, they pump him with antibiotics and he "recovers". Now he has a broken hip, from falling out of bed, can't have an operation , cos he is too frail, and instead is being pumped with morphine.

They wanted to tube feed him at one point, but thankfully the doctors agreed not to. How much longer does he and his family have to endure this unnecessary suffering?

I hear constant stories like this, where people who are very elderly, and basically hanging on by a thread, sit there all day telling anyone who will listen that they want to go, yet they are always in and out of hospital with infections-this, at a time when the NHS is at crisis point.

Doctors are scared of litigation. It is moral cowardice not to allow these people to go, in peace and dignity, not to mention economic madness. You face interrogation here, even if you try and get hold of drugs to end your own suffering.

My god . the last bastion of a contravention of human rights must be that you don't even have the right to decide for yourself, when it's time for you to go.

My parents are both still alive and are in their 80's. We almost lost my dad 2 years ago after open heart surgery and he was in ICU for 2 months. He went to Long Term Care and survived it all.

I worked so hard to keep him alive and he appreciated it at the time very much. I was exhausted overseeing his care and ensuring he would live. My Mom appreciated everything and they were never so kind to me in my life. Fast forward 2 years to present day.

My parents are very well off and continue to receive large pensions while spending very little money. I have a child in college and they helped a little bit with his first year of college.

Now, I have asked for some help in his second year of college and they refuse to help. I am never allowed to mention that I basically saved my father's life and am pretty much treated like a 12 year old child.

Their entire estate will go to me when they pass. However, both are quite healthy. They are mean and miserable to me constantly. I gave up months of my life to ensure he would continue to live and I am treated like crap. I find myself hanging up the phone daily and wishing they were gone forever.

Longevity is in the family and I fear they will both live into their 90's. The thought of having them around for many years to come is dreadful to me.

When they finally die (if I make it that long) there will no mourning but relief. It is too bad because they were wonderful to me during my childhood. As an adult, they have been abusive and mean. My memories will not be good ones.

Father had advanced dementia. The doctors put another pacemaker in. Now we had too put him in assisted living and it's not enough . . He's 95 . He calls 20 times a day for little things like candy and when he's bored and TV is not doing it!

Everyday he yells, screams and threatens us with his will which is broke and barley enough to cover his expenses? What can we do?! This second pacemaker was too much.

I'm trying to sue the doctor for health expenses to care for this unhappy man. Why does the doctors do this when it's end stage dementia.

Growing old really sucks, I always thought I would die young but something went wrong. I am healthy enough but have outlived all my friends and feel sad a lot.

I go and watch people playing but they are younger and full of life. Life for me has reached a point where it takes more than it gives.

I am scared of old folks homes and sit and think of what lays ahead for me. I have no family that I know of and have always been a loner.

I have read just about all of the scores of comments for this particular posting, and have mostly been confirmed in my belief that, Yes Virginia, there really is an ongoing crisis of many decrepit old people who are wasting away with Alzheimer's/Dementia.

My grandmother is one of them, and I have even posted my dismay on this site about it, to the point of becoming jaded.

Grandma wasn't a very nice person in her life (to put it too, too kindly). She beat, and was mentally abusive to, her husband and children.

She acted entitled, was waited on, and was most likely an alcoholic manic-depressive. But since her abuses occurred mostly in the unenlightened 1960s, and kept on through 1970s, even to the 1990s before she became mentally pickled, she was never properly diagnosed, and refused to be anyway.

So she lived out her life as a tyrant to her family. Her actions have caused repercussions to the very day I write this. She is 88 and "wasting away" at a dementia facility. She has broken her hip, had breast cancer, bronchial pneumonia, and has survived it all in the last five years.

To the person who wrote in the comments titled "The Greatest Vampire Generation" I would like to say, "you're damned right. These old folks who were abusive and got their way really are pieces of work!" And they won't die as they should, but seem to go on living, for what?

No other purpose than to be spiteful and clinging, or to beg adamantly for a cigarette when they're in rehab and can't smoke? It is, in my grandma's case, her natural selfish temperament.

The "Greatest Generation" doesn't mean these people should live until they are zombies in diapers, being kept alive by medical artifice simply for life's sake. Can I hear a W.T.F, anybody?

I may be young and have my life before me, but I can tell you that I don't want to end on such a horribly sour note like what I have seen happen. And I don't want this to happen to my mother, either!

Thank heavens my grandfather was sensible enough to die with reasonable grace, and not end up in a petrified condition having his diapers changed, and slumped in a wheelchair all day.

He wouldn't have wanted that nobody who is sane really would. Yet, I realize that granny is completely unaware of her abject condition, which is why Alzheimer's or dementia is such a cruel disease, even for a cruel person. If she did know how bad off she is, then she probably would feel that it is long long overdue for her to go.

You made a hard but humane decision to not have the feeding tube placed. Why prolong the torture that you and your Father were being subjected to.

One of the most heartbreaking moments that I observed in the hospital was when a G-tube (that is a tube that is inserted directly into the stomach for nutrition and hydration) was placed when the woman had clearly stated she did not want one and was ready to die.

When my father was stricken with Alzheimer's I struggled to do what I could to help him live the best possible life to the end. I had only an inkling of what we would go through.

Mercifully it was only a couple of years from the time we moved him to a memory care facility near my home to when he passed. I was a single mom with two young children.

Even though he was in a care facility I spent a few days a week there with him at first, to make sure he had what he needed, that he was well cared for, to take him on errands, to the dentist, the barber shop, to get his beloved dog to the groomers, etc.

As he deteriorated he had more frequent violent outbursts and I was leaving my children at home alone so they would not have to witness this.

I began to dread visiting him, not knowing if it would be a 'good' day or a day when he would lash out at me for leaving him in the care facility. I suffered so much guilt that I wasn't doing enough for my father, or for my own children. Oddly I never felt guilty that I wasn't doing enough to take care of myself.

Eventually I began to see my father as like a drowning man, I was going to go down with him if I didn't let go and take care of my kids and myself. He was heavily medicated to control his outbursts, and eventually stopped speaking and eating.

I was called at work to be told that he would not survive unless a feeding tube was placed in him, and did I want to consent to that? I had no hesitation in telling them no. I know he would not have wanted that as well, it would have meant restraining him so that he wouldn't pull it out.

A week or so later he died, I was able to be at his side when he passed. The entire experience of what we went through was the most profound of my life. Ultimately I did the best I could for him because I loved him, but also I was raised to feel that I rarely met my parents' expectations of me. I guess I thought I could be superwoman and manage his life, my kids' lives, my job and my household alone.

I came out of this experience feeling like I had PTSD. Ten years later, I am now having to deal with another elderly relative who has dementia. My resolution, and I have voiced this more than once to my now grown children, is that if/when I become seriously ill I DO NOT WANT TO BE A BURDEN ON ANYONE.

If my mind is gone or my body won't function without tubes or machinery I want to be allowed to go on to the other side without medical intervention other than pain relief.

I don't want my own children to feel they must give up any part of their lives to care for me and come to resent me. I don't want some underpaid nurse's aide having to change my diapers. I don't want to take up resources better spent on someone with a future.

It has been several years since I wrote this post but I always read the comments. At first I received a lot of negative comments - which I understand - as it was a controversial subject matter.

As time went on I saw that others shared my view. These are probably the same people who have experienced how difficult it is to take care of an elderly person who has no quality of life yet the medical community keeps them going.

Multiple trips to the ER to get pumped full of antibiotics to keep them alive and keep the medicare payment rolling in. When big business can determine the quality of our lives there is going to be problems. Since when did quantity become more valuable than quality?

Depends on how good your insurance is.

There are young people who cannot afford to go to the doctor, who may have long and productive lives, yet so many of our resources medically are reserved for the elderly. Why? Because the doctors and hospital know they are going to get paid.

Why use medical cutting technology on the people who have no quality of life? Because of $$. Those youngsters who could actually benefit - no since you do not have good enough insurance. I know how it feels to watch someone you love deeply losing their mental abilities and becoming just a body that has to be taken care of and it terrifies me that I will be next.

You hit the nail on the head. I can say that if an elderly person is still spunky, getting around, having fun, seeing friends, going out to movies or dinner, great!

But when they have dementia, keep getting sick, consume all our time and money staying alive but truly out of it, what is the purpose of this?

You are absolutely correct - at least from my perspective. My wife's mother is 90 years old and has consumed (. ) our lives since her husband died a year ago.

I won't go into all of the "stuff" comprising that statement but suffice it to say that I'm nearly at my wit's end with it. My wife's mother has dementia and has been put into a memory care unit at a retirement community near our home.

Now we have to host her family on a regular basis at our house so that they can visit her mother that doesn't remember that they've even been there.

Living too long sucks, I have outlived everybody I knew and I have watched the world change so much. Being old is not fun, I still get around good and don't rely on anyone but each day I wake up and think "damn another day".

I lived a great life had a lot of fun, met some great people and planned on starting my own family but the years just flew by and like the movie "life" my friends just fell to the wayside.

My work career was in different phases of nursing home facilities. I learned a lot about aging and it's affect on the aging person and families. I am the aged parent now and although I am still independent my philosophy still holds firm.

Pharmaceutical company's keep bodies alive way past the time a body says I'm tired now, time to go.. I will refuse all medications when my natural time to go arrives

My father is 90. I am in my late 40's. My mother died when I was young. I have come to terms with my father's faults (and there are many) and don't harbor ill will against him.

At the same time, I don't understand why he persists to live when all his peers have died. He has been very unhealthy for almost 20 years. I am concerned his thirst for immortality will start to kill off his children who are burdened with watching out after him.

While he is in nursing care, there is constant need for adult children with children and grandchildren to drop everything and attend to his on going health care management. I have been by his deathbed about 10 times. Each time he somehow recovers due to a new medication to address his new ailment.

His quality of life is poor. Physically, he can only watch TV and eat. Everything else must be done for him. I will continue to provide care management and visit. He wants to keep living this way and it is not my place to decide his fate.

All I can do is think about my own future. I have a living will and do not want to be revived. I think as a society we over-idealize longevity and see it as some kind of victory over nature.

I am focusing on my quality of life now. I am prudent with money, but always look for at least one adventure a year that I can afford knowing my days are limited.

I am relatively young by today's standards.

My 90 year old father selfishly abandoned my brother, sister and me 45 years ago.

Foolishly, my husband and I found him and started to get to know him. It seemed okay, then his wife died. Almost immediately afterwards we could see he couldn't live on his own. We moved him in with us for a year.

What a nasty, conniving, self righteous, ingrate he turned out to be.

I've put him in an assisted living home. A nice one just for my sanity. My husband and I just retired and are working harder to care for him.

He's verbally abusive to the staff, in fact toward anyone who won't give him his way.

He is certainly getting better than he gave.

You are right, that generation feels entitled. Medicine has kept them alive far past their expiration date. They are the health care system's meal ticket.

I'm to the point that the only peace for me will be my death.

. where we cannot function on our own or lose our mind, it's probably best to get right with God and just call it life well lived.

I live in severe pain every day, but have a good and quick mind about me. Some days are much worse than others. Just got to thinking, maybe I have lived too long.

FANTASTIC Article and screw the people who have an issue with it!

NO ONE can judge another even if they are caring for their own parent or grandparent as every person and every situation is different.

While I feel for posters like the one who unexpectedly lost their father while he was only in his late 50's it is easy to say you wish you had the chance.

Just the other day when my mother was worn out she said to my father (her ex-husband) that she was physically and emotionally drained and he told her she should feel lucky to have this time with her mother as he would do anything to spend more time with his (now departed) mother. PUHLEEZE!

He took care of her one summer for 2.5 months, complained bitterly the whole time about her shitting and pissing herself and having to bathe her but now that she's gone a few years he wishes he could have her back. BALDERDASH

Someone mentioned that people shouldn't have a problem looking after their parents for a "few" years. Well can 18 be considered a few because that is how long my grandmother has been ill and I would surpass the 10,000 character limit of this post if I went through EVERY single that has gone wrong with her.

On top of all of this she never driven so every doctor's appointment, every trip to the grocery store, every trip to the beauty salon, every shopping trip, every trip to chemo was done by my mother.

If my mother isn't working or taking care of her grandchildren my grandmother expects her to be with her and not have a conversation mind you as she is deaf as a door nail, oh no my mother is just supposed to sit there and listen to the same stories over and over and over again.

As she has gotten really bad (over the last 4 - 5 years of her life) my uncle who lives with her has done more - makes sure she has breakfast, lunch and dinner - makes sure her laundry is done - cleans up when she shits or pisses all over the house.

Oh, did I mention that she has always had a gift for being nasty which has only gotten worse over the years? She shows ZERO gratitude and complains about EVERYTHING and EVERYONE. No one is EVER doing enough for her. How much verbal abuse are people supposed to take when they are essentially sacrificing their lives and sanity for her?

My mother works 5 days a week and her off hours and days are spent with Grandma.

Meanwhile when my sister and I were born one of the first things she said to my mother was that she was not a "built in babysitter" and she would babysit us but only occasionally.

After she retired she has a great life: traveling, going out with friends, etc. without a care in the world - all of the things her daughter and son can not do without agonizing over schedules as she cannot be left alone.

My grandmother constantly complains I don't come visit her enough yet I run my own business, am my only employee and work 14-16 hours a day - 7 days a week. There was once a miscommunication about when I was supposed to come over and have dinner with her and when I called before I left she started ranting at me that she was sitting waiting for me for 3 hours and that I was a selfish, spoiled kid and not to bother coming.

Meanwhile, the reason I am working 16 hours a day is so my mother will have a child with some money (as she does with my uncle) to pay for all of her medications, her food, etc.) to care for her so she doesn't have to worry about money as she ages.

The people who cared for her the most (my uncle and my mother) now are full of resentment toward her as am I for seeing how she treats my mother.

FINALLY, about a month ago she went into the hospital and my mother and uncle said they had had enough and went to rehab and when she is done with that she will move to their nursing floor.

The home is about 45 minute drive and she expects everyone to come see her every day and she is so nasty to the women that work there I am mortified to visit. I would like to blame her nastiness on old age but I can’t . . . One of the last time I went I had to change her shirt and then she told to hurry and grab the bed pan and her her get her pants off.

I ran out in the hall to find someone to help me as she is dead weight and can’t me moved easily by just one person but the staff was busy with other patients she snapped I was too late and to get tissues and shove them into her "crack" - I almost fainted.

She wants to go home, she can’t walk, can’t move but my uncle is supposed to be on watch 24/7, empty her bed pants, change her diapers and my mother is supposed to continue to spend every non-working moment with her? NO

The other day my mother was there and she wanted to get in bed, my mother told her she had to wait because she needed help she couldn’t get her from the wheelchair into bed.

The aides said she needed to wait a bit because she had only been up a few hours and they were afraid she was gonna get bed sores. So my grandmother ignored everyone and threw herself out of the wheelchair as best she could.

Of course she didn’t make it to the bed and my mother killed her back trying to stop her from falling. My mother is now in excruciating pain and when she didn’t go see her the next day my uncle told her why she wasn’t there - she was laid up with her back and couldn’t move. Of course grandma denies it ever happened.

I am almost glad she is in that place and my uncle refuses to let her back in the house - FINALLY consequences for nastily treating her son and daughter like slaves to her every whim for the last decade plus.

She has repeated over the years she wants to die - I think when she first started saying that it was to get sympathy and for people to say: "oh, no we don’t want you to die." But now when she says it I believe it. Other states must get on board with states like Oregon and bring assisted suicide to the whole country.

DO NOT EVER LET ANYONE MAKE YOU FEEL GUILTY for how you feel or what goes on with your parents.

I agree with the comments on here. In the West we exploit modern technology and advances in medicine to the detriment of people's well being.

It's an abomination to oppose nature to the extent we have during the past century and our health experts should take a step back and re-examine their objectives and values.

In nature things happen to people that cause death before we get old - falls, heart problems, you can really feel the physical decline once you reach 40 and in history a lot of people died around 40 - 60.

Thank you for sharing the emotions that dealing with elderly and incapacitated family members brings up. Most people are ashamed to discuss these matters so openly.

Why are we living too long? I think these 3 things are the biggest contributors to why people are lasting so long and refusing to let nature take its course:

[1] Big Pharma and the Health Complex = $$

[2] Political Power of the Senior Citizen / Boomers who refuse to let their benefits be modified.

[3] Fear of Death= our society does not embrace this natural aspect of life.

People live too long BECAUSE they are excessively cared for. I speak from experience and I did every silly thing a caretaker does at the beginning of caretaking.

I too agreed with my husband that his mother was too old to care for herself (true) and that we should give up our home to move in with her so as to provide 24/7 assistance because this was the right thing to do (wrong).

Almost 8 years have gone by since and the old lady is living on and on and on. Why? Because we stupidly help her. If she was left to live on her own, she would be dead by now. She is not an invalid (yet).

She manages to eat, drink, bathe and dress herself. Her memory is a train wreck and she has a heart problem that almost killed her several times and that made her fall another number of times.

What would have happened if we weren't so stupid as to feel responsible for her care? She would have forgotten to take her pills. She would have not eaten right. She would have to go out and buy groceries and she would very early on have had a heart failure and died.

Or she would have gotten the flu and died. Or she would have forgotten to eat (because she is never hungry anymore) and died. Nature sure tries to do her job, but it is the carers that stand in the way of a good death.

People should just live their lives and we should have no laws forcing children to take care of their parents. Let them live their own way until they can no longer take care of themselves.

This is precisely the way that every other living being dies: it no longer can provide for itself.

Excellent. I feel the same way. I have been uninsured for years. My 79 year old mother passed away, unfortunately my hateful, miserable step father is still alive and not one bit grateful for one of his blessings notably the 1,000,000.00 dollars he has of my mothers. He is 82 and is so healthy he will probably out live me.

He does nothing but complain about everything. In his mind the government and Wall Street has screwed him as so has the rest of the world.

At 55 I am exhausted and really don't have much to be glad about, yet I try every day to be glad for my blessings and share what I have with others. I am ready to go back to where I was before I was born.

Some of us just keep on living. My memory is sharp and I remember many things, like being on a bus going off to the army December 1967 hearing Tony Joe White sing Poke Salad Annie.

Today, I walk a lot and listen to old music. A sad thing happened today at the bank, this nice young teller told me Mr. xxx you have no P.O.D. on your account or your CD's you need to put someone on them in case something happens to you.

My friend, I couldn't agree more. This living until 90, while his kid ruins his life for a parent who is incapable is wrong.

I have responded to this site before. I wish it could be a TV show there is SO much to share from both sides.

Much education for future generations. No matter which side you favor getting/being old is a tough journey to ride.

Those who are blessed with good health as they age are fortunate most fall in categories of illness in physical or mental deterioration or both.

The nursing homes house them and nursing homes are a business. Of course there are many good people who work in these facilities but the majority only think of it as a paycheck.

How do I know,well I worked in one for over 40 years. There is much I could share but maybe another time.

I lived my life during the greatest time of all, growing up in the 50's and hearing the great music of the 60's.

I lived life like I stole it, I traveled, dated some super nice women enjoyed some of the finest things life had to offer.

Now I am old, still in decent health, but too old to get the most out of life. I don't think young people should have to spend their life trying to care for me, I have taken care of myself all my life, even as a young child.

It seems that society has less use for us old ones each day, they look at us like we are in the way.

The homes that wait for a lot of us are worse that Hell itself, we would be better off taking a pill and going on to the other side.

If you think life is wasting away sitting in a chair in your own crap waiting to die is life that must take a very weird mind. I hope to go to sleep and never wake up and the sooner the better my only fear is ending up having to be taken care of in a home.

There are lots of ways to be tired, I have out lived everyone I cared for. I lived a great life and enjoyed travel , money and life in general.

I made some stupid moves in life by chasing the dollar. Like they say "we grow old way too early and smart way too late". The world I loved and understood has gone by, my friends have all gone on and I just can't let them go.

This is my 3rd entry to this subject. I'm so impressed with this blog and certainly to the people who contribute to it.

I wish this could erupt into a TV series to open the eyes of all Americans. The reason I titled this page "Common Sense" was to respond to those who defend the lucky elders who have good health and get to enjoy life as one should.

A walk in the sunshine, maybe garden or can still swing a golf club. No one is silly enough to put such elders in the same category as the sick and feeble mentally and physically.

Think hard and clear to what some term one is living with Quality of Life.

A lot of us have lived too long, my useful years have all gone. I still get around good and have no real medical problems, just seem to always be in the way.

Death is something I do not fear, often I awake in the morning and know I am here for a while longer.

Since I first left a comment sharing my input on our elders I have been forced to react in a different way. I am even more at a loss to see a across the table solution.

What struck me most was children of elders who don't want in way to care for a parent who mistreated them as children.

Can we as outsiders judge?

So many dynamics enter this subject of what to do with the sick, dementia riddled human we must feed and then clean up the poo. Watch for pressure sores that can easily become stage 3 or 4.

When we are old are we just a lump of flesh with hearts that refuse to stop beating? If one has lived life and now not needed automatically be disposed of in what would be a "humane and dignified" way?

"There is nothing sadder than going to a Nursing Home, entering the building and seeing men and women in wheel chairs with drained, helpless faces."

I disagree. I know something sadder than that. Which would be traveling back 40 years or so to witness some of these people abusing their children.

I have no doubt my parents will end up in a nursing home, all alone, spinning their sad sob stories for the staff. The reality is that they beat and humiliated their own children for fun.

They forced us to kill kittens for their pleasure. They held us at gunpoint and threatened to murder us. They made us use the bathroom with no door in full view of guests just to humiliate us and pleasure their guests.

But their nurses won't know any of that. Oh no, they'll just "know" that we're evil, hateful, cruel children who threw our parents away. Never mind that we were the ones disowned when we stopped taking the abuse and refused to allow them to do it to our children.

I just spent time with a group of delightful elders youngest 85 eldest 91. The reason I am reading this blog is I wondered if once you reach a certain age you start to live longer if that makes any sense.

In other words, is our medical world keeping these people alive longer than say they did 10 years ago? It appears to me the answer is yes but that is based on all the 85 to 101 year old people I am either acquainted with or related to.

They are not all lively and active. There are several who get rid of their bank accounts in one way or another to become eligible for Medicaid thus requiring my money to continue to receive the health care, visiting health personnel etc. etc.

We are required to provide constant caretakers for some who don't really have any quality of life. Why? I don't know what the answer is but it appears to be going in the wrong direction with all the (I am one) baby boomers moving into this age group.

I have worked in Healthcare in one way or another for many years. I'm 70 now and still a full time worker. My personal opinions are strong.

There is NO dignity, "quality of life", or happiness in being old, sick and totally in need of 1:1 help to eat and poop..NONE.

Over the years I see our elders with hardly any visitors but then when "the end" is near they come in! Where were you when Mom/Dad were still able to converse and recognize them to enjoy being with them. To me its cruel! For me I want or plan to end my own life when I start to fail.

My daughter is in Healthcare and we have talked about this. I pray for things to have changed when my family members are elders.

Hello all,
I am the original poster of this comment and want to thank all the open minded individuals who have responded to this post.

At first I was greeted with a lot of hostility, probably from guilt ridden family members, about my opinion. I have been a nurse watching a full code on someone who was 93 years old. Could hear her ribs cracking as we worked on her.

Why - because her guilt ridden son who was living in Hawaii threatened a law suit if his Mom died when he was not at the bedside. So we were supposed to work on this poor body while he jumped on a plane.

I work as a nurse, I see a lot of operations/ procedures being done on the elderly(over 80), for what?, so that they can slowly die in hospital. Makes a truck load of money for the Doctor. Horrible for the family to watch, waste of tax payers money.

The government keeps saying we need to cut down on health dollars, how about letting people die.

Just because we can do an operation does,not mean we should. This belief now of must keep people alive no matter what, is stupid and we can't afford it as a society.

I work in a Long Term Care Facility. 90% of residents are on Medicaid.
80% are over 85 years old with dementia. The doctor is right, the families are NUTS. Keep them alive at all cost.

I wonder if THEY where paying, would they're tune change? Full code for a 95 year old.

Seeing all this, I know I do not want to be a burden on my family, society, and country. Our country will not be able to sustain the cost of extended care. We need to be realistic. We are all going to die.

I'm going through it now and I agree 100,000%.

I'm the caretaker because my other siblings "have lives". I lucked out (sarcasm) because my father, who didn't take care of my sick mother correctly and caused her years of unnecessary suffering, survived after her death.

For years he had lied to us about their condition. Every time anyone visited he drove them away claiming everything was "fine" and he had everything under control.

I had some financial difficulties and had to move in with him while my mother was in a nursing home (about 2 months later she died). When I actually got into the house I uncovered 30 years of unbelievable neglect and filth. There were leaks in the walls, the roof, gas leaks in the stove and furnace, mold in the rooms that couldn't be seen if you weren't allowed to tour the house and just stopped by for an hour or two.

My father was a master at stuffing things into closets and making the house appear to be OK on the surface. We discovered he was a very clever and compulsive hoarder and we're still dealing with the mess 2 years in.

He's in his early 90's and his behavior and total contempt for other human beings is not something I can entirely blame on age or dementia. Many times he's crystal clear on what he's doing.

A lot of this "greatest generation", particularly the men, need a lesson in ethics, hygiene and basic manners. I know for a fact that a person like him in today's society would not be able to hold down a job. He couldn't pass the most basic psychological test for any retail job. If he were to go to school, they'd probably whisk him off to a guidance counselor.

Apparently, this bad behavior was tolerated in his day and age. As adults, we children don't know what to make of him. I am amazed at how my mother and his family seemed to think his actions and speech were perfectly acceptable. We didn't know better when we were kids, we had nothing to compare it to.

Every time he gets incredibly sick, he bounces right back. Nobody knows what to make of it. He claims his reason for living is to "bust our chops".

These folks from the early 20th Century are a delightful bunch, real pieces of work.

It is very easy to get burned out when you are a caregiver who is responsible for someone 24/7.

Please don't criticize someone who is experiencing this if you have never cared for someone in this way yourself.Remember that everyone needs a break. See if your community has senior daycare facilities. Ask people to help you (this is especially difficult for women). Take time to take care of yourself.

Some people find it a labor of love to care for an ill spouse or parent. Others are more reluctant caregivers. How truly good to tend to the needs of an aged person who you have never had a relationship with. Please set boundaries and ask for help.

Also remember that all of us grow older. Some of us were never very pleasant to begin with. I can imagine how frustrating it is to take care of someone who has never been kind to you or even abusive toward you.

Your comments are my thoughts exactly.I could not have said it better myself. One of the reasons this country and our world is extremely overpopulated is that people are living too long.

I read everyone's stories and in many ways I can relate.

What I do know for certain is this -

1.) Seniors that have abused their children (now adults) are less likely to get the care from their family,

2.) The seniors that have not saved for their healthcare needs (sorry, Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security is not enough $ to pay for elderly care), are less likely to get the care they need,

3.) The kids (now adults) who say they love their parents later regret putting so much time and money into helping because they never expected the long life would outlive the family funds.

Bottom line, if you have been spoiled as a child, expect to spoil your parents back when they are old. I hope you have enough money saved.

If you believe they are deserving of Medicare because they fought in WWII, please consider the future generation that also fought in wars.

And let's not forget the low-income employees that clean the toilets in the hospitals, pick the strawberries that we buy at the store, or the low paid caregivers who deal with violent reactions from seniors who refuse to take their medication according to doctors advice.

I'm a doctor and take care of a lot of very elderly people. For the most part my very old patients aren't the ones who are driving all the health care expenditure. It's their crazy children.

I've had family members upset and angry that their 93 year old parent is sick and dying and threatening law suits if all heroic measures are not done (and you know some crazy jury will side with them because the evil doctor and his "death panel" refused to do open heart surgery on a 93 year old with kidney and liver failure and severe dementia.)

Even after we've agreed on a DNR, beware of the guilt ridden estranged daughter flying in from California who demands 5 second opinions.

My message to children of the extreme elderly is this. we are all mortal and will die. Stop torturing your parents by forcing the doctors to do every last thing to keep them alive for a few months longer.

I've always loved my mother. However, after she suffered a stroke five years ago,I have visited her at her assisted living facility once a week. She cannot speak because do the stroke and every visit is depressing. I come home depressed which isn't fair to mt wife.

Now we are ready for retirement and want to relocate to Florida, but can't because I still feel responsible for my mother. What about MY life? I am getting older too and want to enjoy myself while I am relatively healthy.

I too agree that when you are too ill to care for yourself, because of old age, why burden others.

Just how I feel about myself aging. I feel that if I am losing my mind am feeble and weak, unable to care for myself.

I totally agree with this article. I know a woman who is in her 60's. She used to have more intelligence and contributed a lot to her family.

Now, she is in the final stages of CFIDS and all she does is sleep all day and watch baseball when she's awake. She spends all of her disability money on CD's and DVD's and collectible toys. Her 10 year old son and her 25 year old son are forced to take care of her and a lot of the time she is so whacked out on her medication she doesn't know what she is doing.

There are also times where she purposely uses her medication to get high and forces her children to pick up the pieces.

She gets to enjoy a kind of life where there is absolutely no responsibility on her part whereas her son has sacrificed so much that he will never be able to live the same kind of life that she does when he reaches the same age.

Our quality of life would be so much better if we used the same money to take care of the children that need it. After all, she no longer has nothing to contribute to society.

It's tough caring for aging parents. My folks are in their 90's. I just lost another week of work while my dad passed through another medical crisis.

Each time that medicine pulls them through they get a little more fragile and debilitated. I'm 66, in good health, have a great husband and wonderful grandchildren and I'm seeing my life eaten away by the ever-increasing needs of my parents.

Once I would have seen this as shameful but you have to walk a mile in someone's shoes. I have great empathy for people who have a functional family and their parents die young.

I cared for my grandmother for 7 years after she was dumped with me at her house by her husband who had enough of her lies. She was 89. I then gained custody of my granddaughter while I was living with her who was 2 at the time she is now 8.

My grandmother decided that the money she gave my father was a loan. It was for a prostate cancer operation to save his life. My stepmother was then diagnosed with cancer and died and my father has a new partner and my grandmother didn't like that at all despite the fact that she had been married three times and divorced at 90.

The doctor knew the truth about all of this and sent her off for an evaluation for dementia and mental health. She got really mad about that so she went to Seniors Legal and got help to pursue this case, all government funded. I wouldn't support her so she evicted me and my 7 year old granddaughter with threats. Then she tried to take out a protection order on me which was also false and failed in court.

She is now 97 still terrorizing everyone. changed doctors so she has a new person to lie to.

So, I am slowly getting things back to normal. I knew she could be a pain but I had not crossed her before and I still would not lie for anyone but it caused me to lose my job and a lot more so if anyone wants a grandmother like that feel free to apply.

I personally find this a very shameful post. I am 20 and have lost my wonderful father at the
young age of 58 to a heart attack. We used to laugh about how me and my brother would build a granny annexe for my parents when they were older.

I would never has complained had I had to look after an elderly parent. God knows it is a far better alternative to losing such a wonderful person so young. Someone who put 110% into his children's upbringing and all of his energy. So as to this post all I can say is shame on you.

By the time the baby boomers are old enough to need extra care, the younger generation will see what we went through and have us euthanized.

Someone uploaded a picture of a woman who was 116 years old. All I could think of was which one of her children didn't get to have a life. The human body was only meant to go so long, after that, it is just one chronic illness after another one.

Older people do become like children, becoming self-absorbed and self-preservation kicks in--they don't care about anyone else but themselves. People can tolerate a little baby and the mishaps of a toddler because you know that person has a future. But will a geriatric, you know it will only get worse and worse and worse.

And if you are a geriatric and don't like this, well guess what? There is something known as compassion fatigue. We aren't good enough actors to act sad every stinking time you get sick because it is every other month. We are only human.

It is not that we don't have a heart, but you have been like a black hole and have sucked the life and compassion from us. Yes, we will be relieved when you die. Is that horrible? Think about it. When you were in your middle age, did you have to spend all your time taking care of someone who is rarely grateful?

My life has been turned upside down. I'm 31 and having to take care of my 88 year old grandmother. My father and two uncles have passed and I'm the only grandchild. The burden of responsibility for her care falls upon me.

I want to thank all the open minded individuals who responded with kindness to my original post. For the United States to be putting themselves in jeopardy to take care of the eldest of Americans is just STUPID.

How can we live with ourselves when there are children who need health care and are unable to obtain decent care because of insurance companies. Are the insurance companies now deciding who will live and who will not - regardless of age or quality of life?

There was a time, when medicare was first started, that the elderly were the poorest class of people. No longer able to work, and with inadequate or no savings, the elderly lived in abject poverty.

Over the years, that was over-corrected to the point that now, the elderly are the wealthiest age class in America and the most impoverished Americans are very young. The US is well behind other industrialized countries in support of children, working class healthcare, schools, higher education, and women in the workplace - instead we have decided to lavish our spending on, and leech from, all other members of society on. The elderly?

How come the elderly have the best healthcare - it make no sense. How come our country feels more comfortable saying "no" to and robbing our future generation of opportunity and health? Children die everyday due to a lack of healthcare and it is selfish of the elderly to demand more tax breaks, and more benefits in their old age.

My mother in law with Alzheimer's lives with us now. Not only does she prefer this to a nursing home, she simply does not have enough money to go to one until she is closer to death. She is quite literally living too long.

There will be a point when she is too demented to safely stay in our home and then she will have to go. The real issue is her behavior and personality before all the dementia. Had we really loved her before this point, it would be different. She has gotten easier to be around as her mind has gone and she stopped talking and dominating all our interactions so much - but it is hard to forget years of her self-centered, complaining, anxious, hypochondria, belittling, controlling, domineering ways and her put-downs.

The only reason we do it now, is because it is the right thing to do. Had she been an adored parent, it would be SO MUCH easier to shoulder the burden of caring for her now. We should all think hard about how we behave and how we are treating our children.

I posted this originally over 5 months ago. I was surprised at the amount of negative comments about myself that I received with the first couple of postings. Just wanted to thank the people who have taken the time to show that they understand where I am coming from with regard to the elderly.

I am now staying with my Mother who is 89. She believes that I am doing this because I have no where else to go.(Hardly the case.)I am here because she is a danger to herself and those around her because of her memory. I live daily with the frustrations of taking care of her.

I love my Mother very much but it is the attitude of that generation that I am finding so appalling. I really do not want to hear about "the house that you built from stone" while you pillaged our money from our paychecks. Sorry but that is how I feel. How did your parents survive without Social Security? They managed and did not feel like America owed them because of their service in WW 2.

How about the Viet Nam Veterans and the boys returning from the middle east. I would rather my dollars go to people who have some life to live instead of keeping alive the elderly. When I think that our young veterans get less than proper care but if you are in your 80s you can get all the medical care you want (not necessarily need) it infuriates me.

I am in my fifties and my elderly parents are always having surgeries and draining everyone around them. I am willing to be euthanized at the age society decides a human has lived long enough.

I found the comment section interesting as I'm 89 with 4 children and 9 grand children. I have a 62 year old child living with us. We send money to 3 baby boomers who made good money during the good pay years and they lived way beyond their means and now find themselves paying for their high living standards through the use of easy credit.

My wife and I built our house of stone and are self sufficient financially. We paid into Medicare for over 70 years and now receive 80% of our medical bills paid, but not our legal drugs.

We also are stuck with helping our grandchildren with college expenses.

We still live a comfortable and modest life.Those suffering a few years in life must look at the cost and psychological pain your parents have suffered in raising you.

Does anyone know of a website that offers the elderly perspective? Not all of them are dotting with dementia. Some may be able to work a computer. Would be interesting to hear from the other side. Perhaps it could be the beginning of communication and understanding.

As caretakers, we feel unheard and misunderstood. No one is listening to us and no one cares. As the caretaker, it's my problem. It's our elderly parents who listen to us the least. I know when I try to tell my side of the story to my mom, she goes into the extreme invalid mode, and says "I don't want to bother you anymore" (mom! I'm at your beck and call everyday) "I want to always remain independent" (mom! you told me you needed me because you could no longer live alone). Once even putting her hands over her ears and shaking her head in misery like I was torturing her by even talking.

She has her needs and they all come first and if my needs require me to have a partner in my life and my own home, she just doesn't want to hear. Period. End of discussion.

So I wonder, what exactly is she going through that makes it impossible for her to grant me a life? or to even understand that I need something of my own. Is she that scared and lonely? Or does she require total control to feel safe?

I agree in many respects. Middle age should be a time to savor and enjoy, but the huge burden of caring for frail elderly parents is wrecking what could be a lovely period of freedom for their children.

My boyfriend let his mother with Alzheimer's move in with us to take care of her and I am totally pissed. It's been 3 years of hell. Our relationship is really not a relationship anymore. I am stressed and miserable in my own home.

She is 80, let some one else take care of her, it is ruining my life. I am 47 and don't want to spend any more time wasting with this situation. I am ready to Bounce!

The health care industry's agenda is to keep people alive (longer than they really need to be) to make money off them. Plain and simple. It all comes down to money.

I agree with most of what you wrote in your post. You're NOT the only one out there who has these concerns.

Blah - blah - blah. So elderly drivers cause wrecks--what's your point? So do drivers of all ages.

Don't know what your belief system is - spiritual, religious, vodoo, wican, etc. But KARMA or whatever you want to call it can be rough.

Next time I'm driving down the middle of a country road in my big old lady Buick, nod off to sleep, careen through a fence and end up in a jackass pasture, I'll know your Karma has come!

Wow - guess I really did hit a nerve with my comments about people living too long. There is a possibility that all the people who died at the Farmers Market a few years ago might agree with me about elderly drivers.

Regarding Judy's comment about the negative responses coming from those who expect their children to care for them: I am one of the previous bloggers, and I have no children!

Through careful financial planning, I will be able to pay for the majority of my elderly care. Will still apply for Medicare as I have earned that right by working all my life. As far as Judy's characterization of anyone stating they would die for a loved one (regardless of age!) as merely false bravado--there actually are people in this world who put others before themselves, and then there are Judy and others with their opinions.

The blog absolutely struck a nerve with me as it is unsettling to hear adult children generalize their negative parental experiences to the entire geriatric community and to those who feel caring for their parents is a blessing rather than a burden. Just another perspective.

The response to your blog has been extremely negative. I just want you to know that I can empathize with what you are saying.

My mother-in-law actually lives with my husband and me. It's no picnic. Those who say that the elderly is "owed" this care are most likely the type who intend to use this emotional blackmail on their own unfortunate children.

I for one did not have a child in order to have my own personal slave in my later years. My child has been informed that when I am no longer able to care for myself, she is not permitted to feel any guilt in anything that happens with me. In case anyone thinks that I am young and I'll change my mind when it's "my turn", I'm 49.

WOW -don't even know where to start--how about with the driving comments. It is true that reflexes and so forth decrease as we age. However, how many "younger" adults speed, tailgate, lane switch, call and text on cells, apply makeup--the list goes on and on.

You make it sound like anyone over a certain age of YOUR determination should be "let out to pasture" and stripped of all human rights the most precious being their right to be alive and breath the same air as you. And I can't even stay angry at your bitterness because you are obviously a depressed, repressed, angry, immature, and self-absorbed individual to be pitied.

Your disrespectful comments would be extremely hurtful to those geriatric family members who were loving givers and providers all their lives and now find themselves in the unenviable and fearful position of being what they consider to be a "burden" to their families.

You sound resentful. Are you actually caring for parents right now or just complaining about the threat of it (you weren't clear). My thoughts are, instead of being resentful, perhaps you should think about all of the things that your parents sacrificed to take care of YOU.

Perhaps think about the money they poured into your hobbies, education, clothing, dental care, and other things that might not be "necessities" (my sister never had braces and has a happy, fulfilling life even if her teeth are crooked, so no, $3000 worth of braces isn't a "necessity". Did you have vacations? How about birthday parties? Bicycles? Pool memberships?

Your parents undoubtedly spent a small fortune raising you, in order to give you a decent start in life, and yet you are complaining about them. That is so sad. I had none of the material advantages that most children have yet I am very grateful to my parents for their love, their care, for doing the best they could for us.

My parents are 90 and 88. Both are WWII veterans and are financially independent because they worked hard and saved their money. And they are the primary caregivers, along with me, for my totally handicapped, quadriplegic, brain injured sister (59).

Although their health is failing, they do their best to be totally independent in every way, as much as they can. I help them and my sister, without much help from my three other siblings.

If my mom and dad and others like them are tapping into the health care system, you can thank them for fighting Hitler and his Nazis, okay?

You are slamming Medicare which cares for the elderly, many of whom have served our country, lived within their means, and worked many jobs to care for their families?

You might want to think about the obscene financial burden on this country created by Medicaid rather than Medicare recipients. Many of those getting Medicaid and related benefits are receiving free medical care (including running to the ER for every little sniffle when responsible working people don't have that luxury.) They also receive food stamps, free birth control (not that its used) since they are rewarded with a check for every irresponsible decision made to have babies they cannot afford. Seems as if your disdain is misplaced.

As an aging baby boomer, I will soon be one of those about which you so disgustingly speak. Remember - you will be one of them one day if you live long enough. But perhaps you will be willing to shorten your life to ease the taxpayers burden?

Giving up on life can lead to actual death in less than a month

It’s a dark area of psychology, exploring death’s grip on a person who feels totally defeated by life. But as scientists learn more about the phenomenon, they’re finding it impacts people in five distinct stages.

The clinical name for this is psychogenic death. And if left untreated, a new study in the journal Medical Hypothesis shows, the five stages can run their course in as little as three weeks.

“Psychogenic death is real,” says University of Portsmouth researcher John Leach in a related statement. “It isn’t suicide, it isn’t linked to depression, but the act of giving up on life and dying usually within days, is a very real condition often linked to severe trauma.”

The condition may have everything to do with the inner workings of the brain, particularly changes that occur within a person’s anterior cingulate circuit, which is the area that controls motivation. When a person struggles to feel motivation, coping with life becomes more difficult and apathy can set in. If a person experiences severe trauma, it’s entirely possible that the event could trigger a malfunction in that circuit.

Once the malfunction occurs, Leach explains, five distinct stages typically precede death:

  1. Social withdrawal. When someone experiences severe trauma, one of the first signs is that they show a lack of emotion, and a listlessness that indicates an indifference toward life. This is actually a coping mechanism, an attempt to pull back from outward emotional engagement as a means to realign emotion stability. But if left unchecked, it can morph into full-on withdrawal. This has been seen in prisoners of war, who have described this state as feeling vegetative and passive.
  2. Apathy. In some ways, apathy is symbolic death. It’s a deep sense of melancholy that can indicate a person no longer strives for self-preservation. For people in this stage, Leach says, the smallest tasks can feel like the mightiest of efforts.
  3. Aboulia. This is the stage where physical activity starts to drop off. A person might stop cleaning themselves or even speaking to others. They withdraw even deeper into themselves. People who have recovered from this stage have described feeling as though their mind was made of mush. Essentially, the brain switches to standby mode and a person loses any motivation whatsoever.
  4. Psychic akinesia. Even extreme pain is difficult to feel in this stage, which is marked by further loss of motivation. In some cases, a person won’t flinch if they are threatened physically. As Leach describes it, one woman in this stage went to the beach and walked away with second degree burns. She was so apathetic toward the pain that she didn’t bother removing herself from the heat.
  5. Psychogenic death. This final stage is marked by the disintegration of a person. As described by Leach, “It’s when someone then gives up. They might be lying in their own excreta and nothing—no warning, no beating, no pleading can make them want to live.” In some cases the time between stage four and five can be as little as three or four days.

Of course, when someone is experiencing these stages, it is possible to revive them. Death isn’t inevitable. Common interventions include physical activity or introducing a person to a situation that they recognize as one they can truly control. That experience can release critically important dopamine into the brain, which brings them back to a state of life they previously experienced.

Reversing the slide toward death, Leach notes, “tends to come when a survivor finds or recovers a sense of choice, of having some control, and tends to be accompanied by that person licking their wounds and taking a renewed interest in life.”

The last six months of life for patients with congestive heart failure

Objective: To characterize the experiences of patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) during their last 6 months of life.

Design: A retrospective analysis of data from a prospective cohort study.

Setting: Five geographically diverse tertiary care academic medical centers.

Participants: A total of 1404 patients enrolled in the Study to Understand Prognoses and Preferences for Outcomes and Risks of Treatments (SUPPORT) with a diagnosis of an acute exacerbation of CHF, of whom 539 patients died within 1 year of their index hospitalization.

Methods: Data from interviews with patients or their surrogates were collected and chart abstractions performed at several time points in SUPPORT. To describe progression to death, we constructed four observational windows backward in time, beginning with patients' dates of death and ending with their date of entry into the SUPPORT project or 6 months before death, whichever came first. For each outcome, patients contributed information to all windows for which they had data collected. We describe frequency distributions for each outcome over time and report tests for trend.

Outcome measures: Outcomes examined over time included: percentage of days spent in a hospital model-based prognostic estimates of 6-month survival functional status occurrence of severe physical and emotional symptoms, including pain, depression and anxiety patients' preferences for care and the financial impact of patients' illnesses on their families.

Results: As death approached, patients' prognoses became poorer and illnesses more severe. Median Acute Physiology Scores for hospitalized patients rose from 33 in the interval 6 months to 3 months before death, to 44 within 3 days of death. However, the median model-based estimate of 6-month survival was 54% even within 3 days of death. Number of functional impairments, median depression scores and percent of patients reporting severe pain or dyspnea increased as death approached, with 41% of patient surrogates reporting that the patient was in severe pain and 63% reporting that the patient was severely short of breath during the 3 days before death. Perceived quality of life did not change appreciably, with 29 to 58 % of patients reporting good to excellent quality of life in all intervals before death. As death approached, patients were more likely to prefer Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) status, with the percent of patients preferring DNR rising from 33% at 6 months to 3 months before death to 47% at 1 month to 3 days before death (P < .05). The frequency with which DNR orders were written for hospitalized patients also increased as death approached. The patients' illnesses had marked financial impact on their families, with 23 % of patients' families reporting the loss of most or all of family savings at the time of the patient's death.

Conclusions: As death approaches during the last 6 months of life in CHF, illness becomes more severe, disability and the experience of certain symptoms more frequent, and patient preference not to be resuscitated more common. However, there is no significant decrement in quality of life as death approaches. Reflecting the unpredictable course of CHF during the last month of life, many patients have good median model-based 6-month prognoses and enjoy good to excellent quality of life.

Why Some People Don't Grieve

George Bonanno is an assistant professor of psychology and education at Columbia University. He received his Ph.D. from Yale University. His areas of research interest include stream of consciousness, repressive personality style, emotional avoidance, and the processes of grief and mourning.

In "Resilience to Loss and Chronic Grief: A Prospective Study From Pre-loss to 18 months Post-Loss," an empirical study to be published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Dr. Bonanno and his colleagues detail their research into patterns of bereavement following death.

The study examines a common, but perhaps misunderstood, trait — the lack of grief.

Discovery Health Online spoke to Dr. Bonanno about why some people don't grieve, along with other aspects of resilience that he has found in his research.

Q: Dr. Bonanno, your study dealt with patterns of grief following the loss of a loved one. What can you tell us about these patterns?

A: There are clear outcome patterns, but they vary with different people. There are generally three outcome patterns: chronic grief, common grief, and resilience or absent grief. Chronic grief is someone who has a dramatic, high level of depression and grief after a loss, and they don't get better for several years. The common grief pattern is usually people who show an elevation of symptoms — depression, distress, difficulty concentrating, etc., and somewhere within a year or two, they return to normal. And the third type are those who don't show any disruption in their normal functioning. And that last pattern is very common, sometimes up to half the people will show that.

Q: Is there a distinction between chronic grief and chronic depression?

A: In this study, I think we're the first study to ever do this, we also measure chronic depression. You have to be able to have data before the loss, and that's not easy to do. You can't really ask people that question after a loss because it's well known, it's well established, that depressed people tend to remember more negative events — it's called the depressive memory bias. When you're feeling sad, you remember sad things because memory works by cues. So we know that memory works that way, and we've been arguing that you can't really say that these people were depressed beforehand because they said they were, because you don't know. We measured depression beforehand and we separated out people who were chronically depressed from people who were not depressed and then became depressed after the loss. One of the things that we found in that study is that we had fewer people who really showed chronic grief, and one reason is because most everyone died of natural causes. When people are anticipating the loss, or the person dies of natural causes, it seems that that helps. The people who tend to have the most chronic grief, the most painful bereavement, are people who lose loved ones through sudden, violent death. If you know the loved one is dying, I think there's a chance to say goodbye to them, a chance to talk with them, to be with them and, for lack of a better word, process the fact that they're going to die. When people die sudden, violent deaths, it seems that the bereaved people, the survivors, replay it over and over in their minds because it has a traumatic flavor to it.

Q: Why do certain people not exhibit any grief patterns?

A: Up until recently, it hasn't really been known. Most investigators in the field, I think, would say that people who don't show grief have something wrong with them — they either are defensive, or cold, or they never cared about the person to begin with, or they weren't attached. I had argued no, maybe they're just healthy people. We followed a group of people in Michigan over six years in a bereavement study where we knew a lot about the people before the loss occurred. We showed that about half the sample showed no symptoms at any point in the study. They just were not depressed before or after the loss, and we found that they were healthy people. They had fine relationships. The interviewers did not find them cold or aloof, and they did not score high on a measure we had of avoidant attachment. That doesn't mean that a healthy person won't grief also, but it seemed that they [a person who feels no grief] might feel sad, they might miss the person, but they keep functioning. We know that the people who don't show grief, it's fair to say, are healthy people.

Q: What signs may indicate that someone is not coping, more or less, normally?

A: There are some signs. One we found in our research is that there is acute grief — people who are grieving so severely initially. Ten years ago we may have thought that they're grieving terribly, but they'll get over it. We know now that when people grieve very acutely that does not bode well for their getting better, because it's really hard to recover from that. I've been arguing recently that people who cannot get it off their minds at all, those are the people who are not likely to do well. We find that the people who do well over time are able to regulate themselves a little bit, they're able to put it out of their minds at least for some of the time. We have chores in life, historically, for the last couple of hundred years the two main chores in life are to work and to love — to accomplish things and to be close to other people. So regardless of one's roles, whether they're a housewife or a business executive, we have one of those two tasks to do. We have to be close to people, take care of people, or produce and be able to concentrate and be productive. If people can't do those things, that's a bad sign. What happens is this kind of cascading loss. People often feel like they've lost a part of themselves. If they can work, if they can be close to their children or friends or parents, they can still have other parts of themselves. When people really struggle, they're unable to concentrate, they become distant and do not find much pleasure in the people that they are close to. This means that they are not doing well, and it tends to expand the loss in a way because it comes to be more than the loss of loved one. It becomes a loss of your life in a sense.

Q: What characteristics define acute grief?

A: There are two sets of things — depression and trauma symptoms. Trauma symptoms only seem to occur when people have lost a loved one through violent death. Trauma symptoms include also having thoughts about the death and about the person that are constantly dominating your mind — you can't get them off your mind, you can't control it. Anxiety doesn't seem as common.

Q: What do you suggest to those coping with a loss?

A: I would suggest three different sets of things. People who are not showing grief symptoms, don't do anything — they're fine. In fact, they can be harmed by intruding on their lives. They don't need to talk about it, but I think in this culture we have this sense that people need to talk about it — if they don't talk about it, something is wrong — no, leave those people alone. In people who are showing moderate levels of grief symptoms, it is sometimes a matter of getting used to the pain, which passes with time. What I've noticed is that people who show the common grief pattern sort of gradually regain their life by getting involved in new activities and rethinking who they are and what their life means. Rather than focusing on the loss, focus on who they are and where they're going to go next — more concrete goals. Focusing on what the change has meant in their life, rather than focusing on how they feel about it. They're developing a new identity to some extent, so they would appreciate support from their friends, and if they're seeing a therapist or any kind of mental health professional, they might benefit from help in that end of their life. Also, in cases when people lose a spouse, they often have to start thinking about getting involved with another person. Now, men do that more quickly than women. There's a lot of evidence for that.

Q: Is there a reason for that?

A: Men show more grief initially, men grieve more severely. I don't think any of the ideas have held up well, but a few people early on argued that a woman had more social support network and men concentrated their social support in their wife. When their wife died, they grieved more because they lost their support, so they would go find someone else to fill that void. I don't think that's held up really, but it's not easy to measure these things. I'm cautious in making that statement because I don't really know if that's true or not. It may be culture bound.

Q: You have studied bereavement both in the United States and in China. Are there any notable cultural differences you've found in terms of grieving?

A: Americans grieve the loss of a child very severely they grieve much more profoundly when they lose a child than when they lose a spouse. That's been shown in a few studies and we found that in our study, but the Chinese didn't do that. They grieved the loss of the spouse and the loss of a child the same. So there are cultural differences.

Q: What would you suggest to a friend trying to support someone who is grieving?

A: What I suggest is to be available to them socially. People who lose a loved one often have to find new things to do. They, to some extent, look for new pieces of identity. Often when we lose someone close, we lose a large part of our social world.

Q: What about talking to friends about their loss?

A: I think it's very important to let the person talk about the loss at their own pace if they don't want to, you don't need to bring it up. And I feel very strongly about this based on our research. We've published a couple of the only papers done on laughter during bereavement, and we found that people laugh and smile a lot when they talk about their losses, early on even. We are able to measure genuine laughter from polite laughter because we measure facial expressions — these muscles around the eyes will only contract when we have genuine positive emotion, and it's very difficult to do that voluntarily. We found that people did it a lot, and that it had enormous social benefits. People who laughed more had better relations with people. We showed films to observers, and they felt better about the bereaved people when they laughed. From this, we kind of speculated a bit, but it's OK to laugh, it's OK to forget and just have fun. We have this cultural idea that somehow we're not supposed to be doing that. I think that's what friends can do — get out and have fun, get a break and allow the luxury of talking about it when they want to. We did a questionnaire where we asked people to tell us how much they think about their loss, express their pain, and think about it in three different contexts. We found that they did the least grief work with friends, and I think this really speaks to this issue. Good friends are people you might want to talk about things with, but you also want to be with them because they're alive — they're people you're still connected to. So you don't want that relationship to be heavy and tense all the time. I think most people feel they need to be serious around bereaved people, but bereaved people report actually that that's not really helpful to them.

Watch the video: Μπαμπά θα με σταματήσεις επιτέλους; ΑΠΛΑ ΣΥΓΚΛΟΝΙΣΤΙΚΟ.. (January 2022).