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BS: Go? Stay?

Ebbie 24 Mar 10 - 11:59 PM
Ebbie 25 Mar 10 - 12:02 AM
Alice 25 Mar 10 - 12:10 AM
Deckman 25 Mar 10 - 12:14 AM
olddude 25 Mar 10 - 12:34 AM
KT 25 Mar 10 - 12:53 AM
Ebbie 25 Mar 10 - 01:35 AM
katlaughing 25 Mar 10 - 02:43 AM
ragdall 25 Mar 10 - 03:19 AM
Janie 25 Mar 10 - 06:32 AM
Bobert 25 Mar 10 - 06:43 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 25 Mar 10 - 06:45 AM
catspaw49 25 Mar 10 - 07:39 AM
SINSULL 25 Mar 10 - 08:04 AM
John MacKenzie 25 Mar 10 - 08:20 AM
jacqui.c 25 Mar 10 - 08:33 AM
artbrooks 25 Mar 10 - 09:42 AM
Tinker 25 Mar 10 - 09:44 AM
SINSULL 25 Mar 10 - 09:46 AM
Amos 25 Mar 10 - 10:14 AM
Ebbie 25 Mar 10 - 01:10 PM
katlaughing 25 Mar 10 - 01:48 PM
Ebbie 25 Mar 10 - 02:00 PM
artbrooks 25 Mar 10 - 05:29 PM
jennbrooks 25 Mar 10 - 07:07 PM
Allan C. 26 Mar 10 - 10:10 AM
frogprince 26 Mar 10 - 10:37 AM
Ebbie 26 Mar 10 - 11:47 AM

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Subject: BS: Go? Stay?
From: Ebbie
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 11:59 PM

Go? Stay?

This is highly personal, but I need the perspective and advice of disinterested people.

I have lived in Juneau, Alaska, for almost 22 years. I love it. I love the people, the creative scene, the music (ah, the music!), the clear and cold water, the pure, chill air, the snow-capped mountains, the mossy trees, the sheer beauty of it all. About the only things I don't love better here than in Oregon from whence I hail, are Community Schools (Oregon has a Community College system) and that we don't have good produce.

However. I have an older sister (85)in Oregon who should not live by herself; she has had one hip replaced- and it was unsuccessful, displacing itself five times in these last six years. Because of its history she is extremely reluctant to have the other one done which it needs badly. At this point, even with the help of a walker she can no longer step up into her (rented) home without a strong arm to help, nor can she step down into her garage. That means she cannot do her own laundry.

A few months ago she gave her car to her daughter's family in ostensible trade for the assistance of her granddaughter, who was to do her laundry and brush up her home. This has been less than satisfactory; her daughter's family lives more than 20 miles away; they are a busy family and have less than a sense of urgency regarding my sis's situation.

They have suggested that she move into the home of a married granddaughter who lives on the same grounds as her daughter and her family; this would be a single room on the ground floor of a large house. Since my sister cannot ascend stairs she would be trapped on that level.

My sis is a sociable person and a woman who is still strongly attached to her own 'things'. She likes to entertain guests, she relishes her friendships. Not only would a single room be bad for her, she would much prefer a two or three bedroom home; she likes to have a room for overnight guests. She cannot afford the $2400-$3900 per month that assisted living places charge for a single room.

Last year this question came up and I said that I would come but then I changed my mind: she had formed a friendship with an eligible man and I deduced that if I moved in with her it might impact developments. But he has just discovered that he has advanced colon cancer, so the chance of marriage is remote, basically inconceivable.

Which is where I come in again. If I should return to Oregon and move in with my sis it would immediately resolve her situation. A couple of years ago, after she'd had a mitral valve replaced, I went down and cared for her for two months. We get along fine. I presume that if I did go down there, my sister's car would be returned to her; she has not come close to realizing the value of the car.

I am aware that if she died/remarried/moved in with her daughter my own situation would instantly change- I'd have lost my function there and be far from the place I love.

Discuss? Don't pull your punches- I'm fairly tough and resilient. Thanks in advance.


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Subject: RE: BS: Go? Stay?
From: Ebbie
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 12:02 AM

Just seeing this written out has already helped me: If she moved into a different rental that had everything on one floor she would find life easier.


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Subject: RE: BS: Go? Stay?
From: Alice
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 12:10 AM

Yes, making her life easier with one floor living where she is would go a long way to help the situation.


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Subject: RE: BS: Go? Stay?
From: Deckman
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 12:14 AM

I just read this briefly ... I'll ponder on it and get back to you soon. bob


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Subject: RE: BS: Go? Stay?
From: olddude
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 12:34 AM

EBBIE
I would go visit help her arrange a situation so she will get the help she needs and you can stay back in alaska where you love to be


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Subject: RE: BS: Go? Stay?
From: KT
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 12:53 AM

ahem......


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Subject: RE: BS: Go? Stay?
From: Ebbie
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 01:35 AM

I know, KT. I know...


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Subject: RE: BS: Go? Stay?
From: katlaughing
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 02:43 AM

What would it cost you? Would you have to give up everything you have there, i.e. your home, your stuff, etc. OR, would it be a temporary thing to get her through another surgery? I cannot see dumping all that you love and where you have been for over 22 years for an indefinite amount of time, unless you really feel ready for that change. It sounds as though a move to a one level place would be better for her and, as Dan says, your going to help her with that could be a good thing. I am convinced that moving, after a certain age, can be very depressing and detrimental to one's health, esp., if one has to go to reduced circumstances as you've noted for your sister. It also sounds as though she is very social and as active as possible, i.e. NOT ready for an assisted living, one room situation and as you say they are expensive.

Does she have medicare or something which would pay for an aide to come in a few times during the week to help out? Night Owl has had her 100 yr old mum living with her, now, for three years. It has been very difficult, partly because her mum is very negative and trying BUT the one thing which has really helped is 2-3 aides who come in at different times of the week to help her mum bathe, wash and set her hair, and shop for groceries, as well as help her cook up a batch of meals for the week. It has been as important for Night Owl to have that support as it has been for her mom. Your sis sounds like a completely different type of person, but still I would recommend aides, even if you go down.

It's a hard thing to learn, sometimes, but, as I am learning once again,w e have to be sure to take care of ourselves, FIRST, before we can care for others. What does your deep down heart/soul *feel* when you contemplate leaving all you have known and built up over the past 22 years?

A wise friend once told me, there is always a third or fourth etc. way. It is never just This or That, Go or Stay...there are some alternatives which may work out...may you feel one of them to be right and go for it! You are a Wise Woman and will figure it out, I know.

luvyakat

FWIW, sometimes I think siblings can be better caregivers/helpers than children, but it depends.:-) Our society still doesn't teach the value of elders, esp. for grandchildren.


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Subject: RE: BS: Go? Stay?
From: ragdall
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 03:19 AM

Ebbie,
Can you afford to go to Oregon for a visit to assess the situation? You could check out the possibility of finding another house that is more suitable for your sister with her current limitations. You could also determine if it is important that she stay in the same neighbourhood or if a house on a single floor nearer her children and grandchildren might allow her to be independent and also to get some assistance from nearby family members when needed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Go? Stay?
From: Janie
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 06:32 AM

Sounds like you have perhaps figured it out, Eb. From what you have posted, it sounds like the most sensible solution is for your sister to move to a one floor apartment and moved closer to one of the grandchildren so they could more easily offer what assistance she would still need.

If you completely uproot yourself so that your sister does not have to make any changes at all, chances are good you are going to end up regretting it. In addition, I'm guessing your sister is old enough that you do not know how long she is going to be able to function with the minimal assistance you indicate she now needs. You could very soon find yourself unable to provide the level of care she ends up needing.

Another alternative you did not mention is for her to move to Juneau, and the two of you find a one floor apartment or house there.


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Subject: RE: BS: Go? Stay?
From: Bobert
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 06:43 AM

Do perhaps both, Eb...

Go to Oregon and help sis get situated in a one floor home/condo/apartment that meets here needs... Then decide if you want to stay or go... You'll know then better than trying to see what God has in mind for ya'll...

Bobert (not excatly a disinteresrted poster)


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Subject: RE: BS: Go? Stay?
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 06:45 AM

Whatever you decide, know that we who care about you are holding you in our hearts and knowing you will make the right decision. It looks as though you are getting some perspective and that you are moving towards knowledge now!
Much love,
Allison


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Subject: RE: BS: Go? Stay?
From: catspaw49
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 07:39 AM

Move to Saba. Beautiful mountain island in the Netherland Antilles. Change your name to Frieda and let folks call you Freddie.

Okay, that's ridiculous but doncha' just want to disappear sometimes? Sometimes Karen and I take a 15 minute fantasy break and plan our escape from reality. In the end we know the what to do as we always did and we're more ready to take it on.

This is YOUR fantasy break. Enjoy!   Then go get your Sis resettled and go back to home to the place you love.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Go? Stay?
From: SINSULL
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 08:04 AM

Ebbie,
I put myself mentally in your position and immediately started having a panic attack. Leaving my home? Living with someone else? Someone who is ill and needs care?
I can't offer advice. I can say that I wouldn't do it.
I am with Spaw on this one. Resettle your sister so she is safe and looked after - and get the rest of the family to participate - and stay with KT in Alaska.
Mary, relaxing on Saba.


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Subject: RE: BS: Go? Stay?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 08:20 AM

I have had both hips replaced, and I have had no problems with either.
OK, maybe I'm lucky, but I think it's more that your sis has been unlucky, very unlucky.
Problems with hip replacements are very rare, and what's more, it is possible to rectify the original one, both my mother and my aunt had hip joints re-done.
She should go ahead and get the second one done, and you can go visit, to help her convalesce.
Oh, and another thing, tell her to ask for her car back, sounds like she's being taken advantage of there.


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Subject: RE: BS: Go? Stay?
From: jacqui.c
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 08:33 AM

Ebbie - no advice to offer as I cannot think what I would do in such circumstances. To be torn between caring for family and leaving the home you love is such a hard one to deal with.

Here's hoping that you find a good compromise.


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Subject: RE: BS: Go? Stay?
From: artbrooks
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 09:42 AM

Sounds like your mother is a social person who also needs her own time and space. We went through that with my mother when my father died a few years ago - my sister and her spouse remodeled their basement (ok, it needed it anyway) into a studio apartment apartment with a shared bathroom with the two teenaged girls. Too much company too much of the time. She ended up moving home to north Florida where she has all her "stuff". If your sister is at all like her, a room in somebody else's house would be a bad solution.

I'd agree that getting her to move into other digs, either closer to other family members or in Juneau would be a better solution. It also sounds to me like she is a prospect for a bad fall, living alone or not. I'd encourage her to check into the Lifeline System.


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Subject: RE: BS: Go? Stay?
From: Tinker
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 09:44 AM

Ebbie, as I looked at the clear sight with which you portrayed your sister's situation I found myself wanting to hear your situation written the same way.

My sis is a sociable person and a woman who is still strongly attached to her own 'things'. She likes to entertain guests, she relishes her friendships. Not only would a single room be bad for her, she would much prefer a two or three bedroom home; she likes to have a room for overnight guests.

I find myself circling around the fact that perhaps you are taking on what you want to prevent for her .... How would your life be impacted once you got there.... You probably will need to go down to assist in finding solutions... but keep looking until there is a bit of sure clarity.

There is always a ripple effect and sometimes it can be bigger than expected. BG....


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Subject: RE: BS: Go? Stay?
From: SINSULL
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 09:46 AM

What does your sister want, Ebbie? Has she said?


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Subject: RE: BS: Go? Stay?
From: Amos
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 10:14 AM

I definitely think a visit to size up possibilities would be a reasonable gradient. You may find you can return home with things sorted out without having to engage in such a level of effort.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Go? Stay?
From: Ebbie
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 01:10 PM

Thanks for the thoughtful replies. I am 'internalizing' them.

What does my sister want? Ideally, she would be married. Her husband died -ironically, of colon cancer - 15 years ago. What she wants today, I think, is her own home with her own things, close to the people she loves, and to feel that she is important to them. She knows that her daughter and grandchildren love her but it crushes her to feel that she is a problem for them.

She has tried in the past to live with them and that didn't work out well. They ensconced her in the 'granny' apartment facing the back garden. She wasn't able to see any life from her apartment and her friends tended to stay away because they had to parade through the house proper to get to her.

She had sold her very large mobile home when she moved over there, thinking the move was a permanent solution. She has regretted selling it; it was in a mobile community where she had many friends, there she had four bedrooms and even a small apartment to the side for the day when she'd need a caregiver.

So far as I know, she didn't seek advice from anyone. Frankly, I am continually surprised at how passive she can be.

I will address the other comments later but I do need to make clear that I have no clout in this matter. Her family would love for me to take over in the sense of moving in with sis (They have told me that and it worked very well after her heart surgery) but I have no decision-making power.


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Subject: RE: BS: Go? Stay?
From: katlaughing
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 01:48 PM

...I have no decision-making power except when it comes to YOU, I hope!?


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Subject: RE: BS: Go? Stay?
From: Ebbie
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 02:00 PM

gulp


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Subject: RE: BS: Go? Stay?
From: artbrooks
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 05:29 PM

Ebbie, Jenn says she'll send you a PM addressing some issues from her perspective as an occupational therapist who works with this patient population regularly.


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Subject: RE: BS: Go? Stay?
From: jennbrooks
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 07:07 PM

Dear Ebbie, I'm with all of the people who suggest that you help her move to a more accessible place closer to her family in Oregon. This is Art's wife, Jenn.

A couple of things I wanted to mention from my perspective as an OT who has helped rehab people with hip replacements: Does she have equipment in her home to help her deal with the not-too-great hip joints, like a high toilet seat, a bench to let her slide over the bath tub for her shower, and long handled gadgetry to keep her from straining the joints when putting clothes over her feet?

I'll bet this next one will be a little sensitive, but. In New Mexico, there's a program to get a stipend for a family member to assist a person with a disability. Do you think an arrangement like that would improve the situation of her needing dependable help? If she were to stay in her current home, could the step entrances be ramped?

I hope this can be resolved without your having to leave the life you love in Alaska. Good wishes to you, and to her.


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Subject: RE: BS: Go? Stay?
From: Allan C.
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 10:10 AM

A few years ago I recognized that my Mom needed help. Dad had died and Mom was alone with the house and the farm (the latter was now leased). At first I visited every other weekend, checking on things, mowing the lawn, etc.. Usually I would cook up something that she could eat over the next few days without a need to do a lot of cooking for herself. Eventually I discovered upon a return visit that none of the food I had left had been eaten. It appeared that she had been living off little more than toast and coffee. A few days later she drove to town to a dentist appointment and got lost on the way home. Fortunately, a kindly stranger piloted her back to her home. It was at this point that I knew she could no longer fend for herself.

I gave notice at work, packed a few things and moved from Virginia to the farm in West Virginia. I spent the next two years looking after Mom, cooking and cleaning, taking her to appointments, seeing to the upkeep of the house, etc.. When her needs became too great for my abilities, despite the training I had as a nursing assistant, the decision had to be made to place her into an assisted care facility.

Yes, this was a terrible disruption to my life. I had abandoned my career, my retirement, and even certain aspects of my love life. But I can say without hesitation that I would not have traded those two years for anything. It was a privilege to give Mom those "extra" years at the farm, surrounded by familiar surroundings and the things she treasured. I was always certain that to have done otherwise would have shortened her life.

It was a very special and intimate time. Mom shared many memories and family stories with me that I might have otherwise never known. (Her long term memory remained pretty well intact for the most part.) As we watched in horror the events of 9-11, Mom relived the emotions and events of her experiences at Pearl Harbor and expressed them to me.

Ah, but I digress.

The point is that doing this service for your sister will likely be of tremendous value to BOTH of you. It is a difficult decision, I know. I wish you and your sister the very best.


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Subject: RE: BS: Go? Stay?
From: frogprince
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 10:37 AM

No wise counsel to offer on this, Ebbie; just know that one more is thinking about your difficult decision and hoping this works out well for all concerned.
                           Dean


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Subject: RE: BS: Go? Stay?
From: Ebbie
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 11:47 AM

Thank you.


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