Scared..does anyone have aging parents in poor health?

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Rianna
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 366
   Posted 12/10/2005 9:36 PM (GMT -7)   

I am feeling very frightened and anxious after seeing my Dad today.  He is 88, still works and in good health - even after two heart attacks, a triple by-pass six years ago and a six-bypass surgery four years ago. Today he came to visit from Florida and we had lunch together.  He said he feels like an old man now and has been weak for the past two years and can't travel like he used to.  He said he worries about me a lot and will not be around forever to take care of me when I get laid off my jobs or lose them with bills etc. I told him about my recent job disappointment at the Investment company and he was not happy about that.  He wants to see me with a stable job, I told him I was trying, but that times were tough for everyone, and unfortunately, jobs come and go and the economy is not good, many people are losing their jobs.  He worries as I don't have a nest egg, and have been unable to keep a job for any length of time.  I told him I would be okay, but not sure if I will be..I have no idea what I will do when he passes.  I keep thinking, when he goes, I will too, as I will not be able to take care of myself, rent, car payment, bills, school loans.  It is very hard to work with depression and anxiety problems, even on medication, as medication can stop working..and have to start all over again.

Well, sorry this letter was depressing, I am having an off day and was wondering if anyone goes through this when they visit their aging parents and have this kind of talk with them.  It is scary and I am feeling panicked and anxious.  Unfortunately, I have had to be financially dependent with my Dad, as there have been times I have been unable to pay rent, car payment or bills the times I have lost jobs.  This happens (anxiety and sadmess) everytime I see my Dad and I realize his health is starting to deteriorate.  I worry so much about what will become of me.  I am single, live on my own and no boyfriend or family other than my Dad.

Thanks for listening.


bevhea
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 240
   Posted 12/11/2005 12:06 AM (GMT -7)   
This one will be tough on you.

Your father went through the depression. I was born shortly afterwards--I grew up hearing about it and live cautiously, because of that upbringing. I do without to save, and even in retirement I wanted to save, so I cut back even farther. Odds are he's saving too--especially since he still works.

I'm sure he fears that you will squander anything he might leave you--and he'd like to find a way that doesn't happen, but he can't bring himself to do what he thinks he needs to do: protect any inheritance from you, for you.

He doesn't understand why you don't understand that an orderly life leads to financial financial stability. And financial stability represents having achieved being fully adult. That's what he wants for you, and he wants it before he dies.

His wish comes from his gut, his heart, his head. He knows he will not die in peace unless he feels he can leave knowing you are fully adult or at least on the road. For him, right now, it's not looking that way and he's sad.

He's telling you that he still believes in you, he's still hoping, and still hanging on, but time is drawing short. You've already figured out that you haven't arranged a good future for yourself. Hopefully you will turn that around soon.

It might also be time to compare job options where each of you live--and think about moving there. It will give you a place to stay, so you can save. Being with him during his remaining years, may also comfort both of you.

I think your father cares very much about your wellbeing. More than you realize.

bev

Nanse
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2005
Total Posts : 217
   Posted 12/11/2005 5:57 AM (GMT -7)   

Dear Rianna,

Life has ups and downs. Most of us experience both. Some get more of one than the other, but that's life. There are no guarantees. A good job may be great but there is no guarantee it will last.

Personally speaking, I've gone from financial security to barely making ends meet. I've had a house, cars, etc. Then the job disappeared, and it took everything I loved and worked so hard for right along with it. There just are no guarantees things will stay the same. The good news is that they can change for the better too!

I now live in a tiny apartment, my computer is my luxury, my world, my connection to most things and wonderful people. I have no car; I rent on a bus line and use the bus and my feet for all my transportation. I live in a city where I can do that.

Your aged father having to worry about your financial situation is unfair. The best thing you can do for him is to make things happen for yourself. Find a nice room or efficiency apartment you can afford; get rid of the car if you can and save the car payment and insurance money. Live without frills. Find your own cheap thrills: library books, second-hand clothes and household items, etc. Make it a fun project to see just how cheaply you can live. It gets to be fun to see that life can be simple and cheap. It's amazing how you can be happy with "good enough" as opposed to 'the best'.

You can give your Dad the gift of him not having to worry about you by becoming more independent. It will be a gift to you too!

Nanse


Rianna
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 366
   Posted 12/11/2005 10:25 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks to the both of you for the kind replies. Unfortunately, I don't see myself getting rid of my car - as I need it to get back and forth to work - most of the time where I work..it is not on the bus line..I also need it to get to the grocery store. I have a bad back and can't lug groceries to the bus or walk home with groceries in hand. I live in the Midwest and it can get very cold and snowy here. I am thinking of getting a one bedroom apartment or something in the 400's price range instead of the mid 600's I pay now for rent. Only as a last resort, would I give up my car or live in a room somewhere. I have two cats and an efficiency or a room would be pretty crowded. I live as cheaply as I can..no frills..but sometimes that is not enough. Even living in an efficiency or a room, I would still worry if I lost my job..and having to be out on the streets. Thanks again for responding.

bevhea
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 240
   Posted 12/11/2005 1:04 PM (GMT -7)   
Well, if you thought my reply was kind, maybe I should go ahead and send a copy of it to my daughter. She works steady and spends even better--I bailed her out at the rate of about $3000 a year for 8 years--then cut her off three years ago.

The things I wrote are my thoughts about her, projected to your father. Watching her tears me apart. On one hand I see this absolutely great girl, who is a thousand times better than I was at her age, but who is under a compulsion that keeps her stuck. I've been stuck and I know what hitting the wall is like when stuck doesn't work anymore. I want so much more for her. I'm sure if your father could speak about his feelings, it would be very similar. He just wants more for you than you get for yourself.

Your need for your car makes sense, but later on buying a different one instead of repairing this one doesn't. An old friends husband died last year. She said, I don't know how I will be able to pay the rent and car payment. I asked about the car. A few months before her husband died, not unexpectedly, her son bought her a $15,000 car in his name and she makes the payments to him. I drive a car I bought 15 years ago for $1000 cash--and because I've had the money to keep it in good repair, it is. My car annual car cost--everything, preventive maintenance, repairs, insurance, and even gas and oil come to less than the kids at work made in 3 months of payments. They laughed at my old car--and I used their laughter to talk to them about being financially responsible.

Finding an apartment in the $400 range is prudent. That would allow you to save $2400 a year--and in a year that would give you 6 months of $400 a month rent--probably about half that counting everything else. I would certainly do that and tell your father that you thought about what he said and that's what made you decide to take action. It will make him happy.

However, the key comes back to finding a job you can stick to long term. You've identified your needs, so go for it.

bev

Rianna
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 366
   Posted 12/11/2005 3:55 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks - I hope by writing this letter I am not being judged or thought of as a "mooch" or "lazy" as that is certainly not the case. I feel a bit of being judged and looked down in in these replies, or perhaps it is just me. I have only asked my Father for help when absolutely necessary..I used the money for bills, rent, etc and nothing else. I have worked hard my entire life and have received two college degrees while working and having clinical depression. I guess it doesn't matter what anyone thinks, as none of you have met me, and don't know what kind of person I am, other than words on the page. I know I am a good person who is doing my best, and that is good enough. Thanks again for your time.

bevhea
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 240
   Posted 12/11/2005 5:29 PM (GMT -7)   
Oh, so sorry. I don't think that at all. I lived 3 years for free in an old house, by the grace of someone kind. I didn't even work during that time, because I just couldn't. I got $50 a month from my soon to be ex, who ignored court orders and who made $50,000 a year and was spending $1,200 a month on his place. I used the $50 for utilities--and I learned every trick in the book to hold costs to that--including heating with kerosene and hanging blankets over windows. I didn't qualify for welfare, because of property my husband and I owned. I was on food stamps for part of that time and used the food stamp money to buy seeds and starter plants. I learned how to figure costs, so with a couple trips to the store, I had enough change back to buy toilet paper.

My daughter's Christmas presents came out of the dump one year. Another year someone I'd know for a long time brought her a few presents that were intended for indian kids. And a third year someone left a bag of new clothes for her--never did find out who. And some one else gave me $100--just in time too, because my utilities were about to be shut off in freezing weather. And if all that wasn't enough, my ex was cheating on taxes and the IRS was threatening to put me in jail.

The first thing I did after I went back to work was start giving $100 to someone needy every christmas--without them knowing where it comes from. Our lives were barely improved that first christmas, so I asked my daughter if she minded. She was all for it. I do it to this day, and just yesterday found out that she is also doing it. She remembers what being broke was like from a little girl's point of view. I remember how scared I was.

My daughter is irresponsible with money--that's a different thing than what I went through or what you have gone through. You are not being judged. Stuff (and you know what I mean) happens, and no one knows that better than me.

I just wanted you to know how scary it can be for a parent to see their child having problems.

bev

Nanse
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2005
Total Posts : 217
   Posted 12/13/2005 4:18 AM (GMT -7)   
'morning!
 
I am not judging you or thinking you a mooch or lazy at all. I've had lots of help myself. I've also seen people get into a place where they think they aren't relying on someone else or aren't actually 'asking' for help because they've learned how to get it without actually asking. It's not a concious behavior and sometimes when it's realized it's something a person would like to change.
I saw in your post a wish to put your Dad at ease and to assure him you are okay financially, and I think that is very admirable.
 
Good for you for looking for ways to help yourself save money. I think every single person would benefit emotionally from cutting down, cutting back, and simplifying their lives; it is peaceful to have fewer worries and responsibilities! Few do it though. We are so caught up in having "stuff".
 
You are so lucky to still have your Dad! Enjoy every day with him! Happy Holidays to you both!
 
Nanse

Rianna
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 366
   Posted 12/13/2005 5:27 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks to everyone who responded.  This is a good thread!  I just feel bad that at age 43, I am still asking for financial help at times from my Father, and I know that my family looks down on me for that.  I will never forget a comic that they made about my Dad, and he has it placed on the wall of his office.  It is a great comic and everyone in the family is on there in a positive light..except for me.  They (my brothers who did the art work) put my name on the very bottom of the comic in a check register saying that the check was from my Dad payable to me regarding a "NSF"..because in my twenties, I had a couple of overdrafts that my Dad helped me with and I guess they passed by his desk and saw that.  I thought that was pretty rotten, but I laughed it off at the time (this was done twenty years ago) and to this day, they do not know that it bothers me. I feel I would be stooping to their level if I let them know that that bothers me.
 
I have never told my Dad how belittled I felt with that comic that everyone sees hanging on his wall when they go in the office, and that I am put in such a negative light.  Ironically, the person who looks down on me the most, has never had to go to an office or feel the stress of a commute a single day in her life - (she raised kids at home and works at her home at times as an artist).  Thanks again to everyone who replied.

james73
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 200
   Posted 12/14/2005 8:39 PM (GMT -7)   
Dont ever eel like you are a mooch or whatever ...if your dad wants to help you it obviously shows that he loves you very much and has the extra money to help you out..you are so lucky to have your dad still I am 32 and my dad passed 2 years ago at 67 and I never had time to tell him I loved him or just do alot of father son stuff that I missed out on ...He would always give me the shirt off his back if I needed ..I didnt take much from him but he certainly helped me out of a few jams ..so Rianna all I can say is dont ever worry what others think of you and cherish the time you have left with your dad I didnt and have regretted it ever since..make suer you tell him you love him before you cant if you already havent... take care
J

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.


Rianna
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 366
   Posted 12/15/2005 9:15 AM (GMT -7)   
James73 - thanks for the response. I am sorry to hear about your father passing. My Mother also passed and it is tough to lose a parent. I am thankful that I still have my Dad. After he passes, I won't have much in the way of family, and that is a sad and scary thought..that I will be all alone. Thanks again for responding.

james73
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 200
   Posted 12/15/2005 1:15 PM (GMT -7)   
you will always have all of us here...consider us all your extended family
J

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

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