Mr FD and I took some food over to his parents on Saturday afternoon. His father, aged 93, is not eating, and has lost a lot of weight, so we tried to tempt him with a few nice treats.

It was not quite the success we had anticipated as he sat and chewed each mouthful, and then after awhile of chewing he would spit out each mouthful onto his plate. So by the end of his meal his plate was circled with small chewed spit balls of what was once food. It is as though he is just taking the flavour and the juices from the food, but no solids.

We discussed getting protein drinks for him, but MrFD’s mother will hear none of it. He has a drink of sustagen at night and in her opinion that is quite adequate for him. We will ignore her and investigate the protein drinks anyway. I checked the fridge and many of their meals from Meals On Wheels which get delivered to them during the week are sitting uneaten in the fridge. Mother Dearest looks as though she has lost weight as well. She is 88.

She is almost as bad as the old man. When she eats she has started clicking her teeth together so there is this incredible clunking noise as she chews her meal. He is chewing and spitting and she is chewing and clicking and we sit in the middle waiting for the minutes to tick by so that we can flee.

It is time for them to go into care, well past the time, but they are yet to sign the papers. Doesn’t matter how much of a burden they are to their children, they think it is their right to demand constant servitude. The burden is mostly upon Mr FD’s sister, mostly due to her own efforts many years ago, when she intervened when we almost had them in care, so letting her stew is her due in some ways, but not to this degree.

One can live too long, for one’s own sake, and the sake of the family.

There, I said it.

7 thoughts on “

  1. The decision to put ones parent into assisted living or a nursing home is difficult when more than one child is involved. As an only child, It was easy for me. My husband and his sister had trouble coming to terms over his mother and his sister eventually took her into their home. Her decision completely because my mother in law had made them promise they would never put her in a home. That is a promise I would never extract from my kids.

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    • No, I would never put that burden on my family either. It has partly led to the breakdown of SIL’s marriage, and now she is becoming exhausted and angry with their demands. We of course are expected to act as back up, which we try to do, but we were never consulted about any decisions, and to me that means that we are not duty bound to sacrifice ourselves for them. I would never see them in need, but I am not going to run to their every whim as we were not part of their plans ever.
      I would understand if they were poor, but they aren’t. They could afford a very good level of care, but instead feed like parasites off their children.

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  2. Don’t feel bad about how you are feeling FD. My mother took on her mother when I was about 11. My mother was about 39 at the time and had just had my baby sister. She still had five children of her own at home and then added her mother with Alzheimer’s to the mix. I watched my mother age tremendously during that time. She lived with my mom for twelve years and it was not pretty. I really believe that when my mom found out she had cancer, she willed herself to die much faster than she might have because she didn’t want to be the burden to us that her mother had been to her. I would never want my children to have to take care of me should I live too long. I know that there are some situations where families take on their elderly parents, but once they get to a certain age and their health and general well being are not in tact, they should be in a home that is designed for that sort of care.

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    • Mum and my sister cared for my Dad while he descended into dementia, and I think it just about killed both of them. In the end, I intervened and found care for him. He died 3 months later, and sometimes I blame myself for that – maybe he would have lived longer at home. Then I know in my heart, that Dad would have hated being the way he was if he had understood, and I might not have a Mum or a sister today if he had stayed home longer. As Kenny Rogers sings “got to know when to fold’em!”

      Modern medicine does keep people alive too long these days. Quantity is nothing without quality.

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  3. Sounds like a very difficult situation. Is there a doctor to whom you can speak? Is your father-in-law endangering his health/life by not eating? Can an argument be made along these lines? Elders can be very difficult, particularly when they start to decline not only physically, but mentally.

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  4. What a difficult predicament. It sounds like getting them into assisted care would really take the burden off of Mr. FD’s sister and you. I hope that they will be willing to get into the assisted living sooner rather than later. I can imagine this is hard on all involved.

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