Author Topic: Question for those with elderly parents . . .  (Read 1993 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Outdoor Girl

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 13665
Re: Question for those with elderly parents . . .
« Reply #15 on: December 26, 2013, 11:11:42 PM »
My Dad will be 80 next year, as well.  Mom has been gone for 10 years.  Dad is still living in the house I grew up in but it is getting to be too much for him.  His fabulous neighbours (I call the wife his third kid) will be moving away by the fall of 2015.  So we have been talking, with my brother, about where Dad is going to go.  He has talked about moving in with me but we are going to do renovations if that happens.  Adding a shower to the half bath, expanding the spare bedroom into a bed/sitting room, adding back an electric baseboard heater with thermostat because my basement is cold - which is where the spare room is.

But the more we talked about it, the more I think it is the wrong move.  Dad is still driving; he volunteers with Meals on Wheels, he does nature slide shows once a month at three different care facilities in town, he belongs to a couple of groups and has quite a few friends in his town.  If he moves in with me or with my brother, he'll stop driving because he won't want to learn a new city and he won't be doing all the things he enjoys doing.  So I'm trying to convince him to get an apartment in town until he is ready to give up driving.  At that point, we can figure out whether or not he is going to move in with me or with my brother or if he is going to find a care facility.  I'm OK with looking after the cooking and the laundry; I'm not OK with having to deal with personal care.  We could hire someone to come in and look after that part, though.  But if he needs a lot of physical help with in and out of bed, up and down to the toilet, that kind of thing, there is no way I can help.  I have fibromyalgia and I never know if it is going to be a good day or not.  I'd be worried about running out of spoons every day.  Which uses extra spoons, just on its own.

So I think you need to talk to your Mom to find out what she wants to do and what makes sense for both of you.  Maybe she secretly hates living out in the country but moved there because that was what your father really wanted.  Maybe she'd go nuts if you were living with her 24/7 (I know my Mom and I couldn't have lived together).  All things to think about before any permanent decisions are made.
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
Ontario

lkdrymom

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 998
Re: Question for those with elderly parents . . .
« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2013, 07:16:15 AM »
I get exactly what your father is saying.  Is your mom the type who can't/won't learn 'a man's job'?  Seriously once my boss did not make it into work because her husband did not scrap the ice of her car.

My mom taught me to be self sufficient.  My dad was the one who could not do things without her help. When she was terminally ill he had to learn fast how to cook, clean and work the microwave. He still won't do his own taxes, I have to do that but he managed the rest of the stuff.  And sewing, I do that for him still.

The other thing I found with my father is that the more I help him the more helpless he acts.

Elfmama

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6090
Re: Question for those with elderly parents . . .
« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2013, 06:56:45 PM »
I get exactly what your father is saying.  Is your mom the type who can't/won't learn 'a man's job'?  Seriously once my boss did not make it into work because her husband did not scrap the ice of her car.

My mom taught me to be self sufficient.  My dad was the one who could not do things without her help. When she was terminally ill he had to learn fast how to cook, clean and work the microwave. He still won't do his own taxes, I have to do that but he managed the rest of the stuff.  And sewing, I do that for him still.

The other thing I found with my father is that the more I help him the more helpless he acts.   
It's called 'learned helplessness.'  "If I say I can't or don't know how to do this unpleasant/boring task, someone else will do it.  If they insist, I'll make such a mess of it that they'll take over.  If I'm lucky, I'll be able to say 'If you don't like the way I do things, just do it yourself!' Yeah, that sounds like a plan." Sometimes this is a conscious decision.  Sometimes it's purely unconscious.  Sometimes it's because the person has been told their whole life that they'll make a mess of Job A because of their gender or because they're too stupid or clumsy, so they "just know" that they'd better not try Job B or C, either. 

ETA this is why so many people say they can't cook or sew or do crafts. It's "too haaaard!" and has to be left to professionals.  When my MIL's dementia progressed to the point that she could no longer cook, they ate every meal out.   FIL thought it was "too hard" to learn to cook, or even heat things up in the microwave with instructions printed right on the box.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2013, 07:01:40 PM by Elfmama »
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
It's true. Money can't buy happiness.  You have to turn it
into books first.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

lkdrymom

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 998
Re: Question for those with elderly parents . . .
« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2013, 07:18:39 PM »
Sometimes I think my relatives must think I am 'cold' to my father. I have to take a hard line with him. There are just not enough hours in my day to do things for him that he is perfectly capable of doing himself.  When my mom was alive he was afraid of the microwave. Now he loves it.

kherbert05

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 10282
    • Trees downed in my yard by Ike and the clean up
Re: Question for those with elderly parents . . .
« Reply #19 on: December 27, 2013, 08:45:50 PM »
I'm going to be blunt - caring for an elderly parent is probably harder than raising a child. The child is gaining independence. The parent is often losing their independence and resents it. If you are dealing with dementia - you can easily cross into physically dangerous areas. My Mom once sucker punched me in the jaw because she was convinced sis and I were trying to kill her. Not 10 minutes earlier the nurses had seen the three of us talking and laughing. It was a combination of a sedative they had given her and the sundowners (My bizzare reactions to sedatives might be inherrited Mom had her share). I got out of the way. Sis and the nurses had training on how to keep Mom from hurting them or herself. I let them handle it. I'm also thankful we were in the hospital when this episode happened.


I take great comfort in the fact my parents planned for their own care. My Aunt and Uncle did the same, which comforts my cousins. Things don't always go smoothly.


If your Dad is struggling like this now, it might be time to consider some in home help for your Mom. It helped for my Mom, and for my Aunt and Uncle. Not only did it insure they got proper care, beyond what we could do. It also preserved their dignity. There are some personal care requirements that people do not want their kids doing. Also the home health aids were trained ot look for certain things and alerted us to potential problems that were handled in a more timely fashion than they would have been with out the home health aids.
Don't Teach Them For Your Past. Teach Them For Their Future

Sharnita

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 21387
Re: Question for those with elderly parents . . .
« Reply #20 on: December 28, 2013, 09:52:41 AM »
Some thoughts about a parent living with you (or even you with them) from somebody who has experienced it with multiple grandparents.

Stairs and joint issues don't generally go together.  A knee replacement and the basement probably wouldn't work long term. If there are stairs at the farm they could become problematic too.

Even the most dedicated caretaker needs respite.  If you have a spouse or kids who will share some of the responsibility it can help. Another sibling who helps can also make a difference. That being said,  one person shoulders more of the load than the rest. Over time that becomes really difficult.  It can take a toll on your health.

Don't promise that your parent will never go into a nursing home.

gramma dishes

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8060
Re: Question for those with elderly parents . . .
« Reply #21 on: December 28, 2013, 10:56:09 AM »
...,  one person shoulders more of the load than the rest. Over time that becomes really difficult.  It can take a toll on your health.   ...


It can also take a toll on family relationships

GratefulMaria

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 551
Re: Question for those with elderly parents . . .
« Reply #22 on: December 28, 2013, 11:01:10 AM »
My mother moved in with us at the end of this past summer.  She had a  single-family home -- we're in the same city, fortunately -- with a yard and all its associated care, all of which she did on her own.  She's 83 and quietly busy and active but very uncomfortable socially (self-defined).  The hospitalization that led to her move was a result of a UTI and seizures, multiple-day coma, and several weeks of rehab.

The most important thing for my family was defining what she wanted from the situation and being clear about what I / we could provide. 

We've been able to decide the practical aspects very harmoniously:  driving, cooking, self-care, housework, administrative errands, health and medical decisions, financial details.  That has all gone well and is an enormous blessing.

The emotional expectations are a bit more challenging.  My mother is lonely, I'm an only child, and she's an extrovert to my introvert.  Couple that with her stated discomfort with people outside her immediate family (that is, me), and I'm responsible for her well-being.  She wants, I believe, more companionship from this situation than I can or will give her, and I've been finding civil ways to convey my availability or lack of it.  I don't have an outside job, so I'm also working against the possible impression that she can have access to me all the time.

She's said things about feeling unwelcome here that stem from my not interacting at a level that would make her happy.  I knew her well enough to be ready for that -- she already had a similar attitude before moving in with us, just tweak the details that caused dissatisfaction.  I spent the days before she came here deciding how to preserve what I needed of my home and the days I spend in it, what I was willing to do for her and myself and what I wasn't, and how to navigate the result of her not getting what she wanted in this area.

I guess my bottom line about having a parent move in is, as much as possible, walk yourself through what a day in that situation actually feels like, try to anticipate what you'll need, what will be asked of you, and make a plan to advocate as kindly as possible for your own equanimity.

Minmom3

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2412
Re: Question for those with elderly parents . . .
« Reply #23 on: December 29, 2013, 10:04:13 PM »
Get a DNR booklet (Do Not Resuscitate) and go through it with both parents.  The one we got from Kaiser Permanente had various forms in it for a) Medical Power Of Attorney, b) various levels of authority given by parent to person/child(me).  The medical POA means I can talk to the doctors and THEY can talk TO ME, which is a big hairy deal that has gotten bigger as Mom progresses downhill.  Medical care is an ongoing collaboration between the head nurse at her facility, the shift nurses, Mom's doctors, and me.  Due to experience with my MIL where the DNR was ignored because it wasn't posted, and the Nurse (specific title with specific department for helping out patients with dementia, etc Social Worker?) Mom's DNR is filled out and posted on her fridge.  So if anything DOES happen, any EMT's who come up to the unit will see the thing in all its neon pink glory, front and central.  We filled it out after Mom's dementia had started to really register, and it took about 3 visits to get through the entire thing, due to the several technical questions involved.  I'm glad I did it then, because now she couldn't give 'real' answers of her own, and NOW it's DONE and out there.

I took over Mom's (no Dad in this picture) bills and bank account about 5 years ago, after she broke her 2nd hip.  My takeover happened in stages - I got the checkbook because her handwriting and mental state had deteriorated to the point that she just could not keep track of stuff.  I got the debit card about 18 months later, after she paid for an overseas cruise and archeological trip that was well beyond her abilities, and then bounced her rent check to the residential care facility.  She has NO money control now, and can't find her wallet (I'd have to strip her apartment to find it) and I take her anywhere she needs to spend money, and I pay all her bills online.  Luckily, I've got her medical number memorized, and I have an old driver's license that has her picture, and that gets us what we need at doctor visits.

The learned helplessness thing - Mom has that in spades, with a side of "you'd do this for me if you really loved me".  It was highly irritating in the 10-15 years before we knew about the dementia, but now she's honestly deteriorated to the point where she can't do things anymore.  She can barely get herself dressed some days.  I took her Christmas shopping, and she forgot what she'd bought and didn't wrap any of it, so I had to do it last minute after DD drove her to our house.  Last year she was able to see the things she bought, and remember and wrap them, although she lost the gift cards she bought.  This year she's worse.

I put Mom in a small residential care facility the first year after her second hip broke.  She got a lot of attention there, and got spoiled, but she was bored because there wasn't much going on, and not enough people who were still 'compos mentis' for her to talk to.  When I moved her, I had to find a place where a) she could take her cat, and b) had about 100 people in it, and c) she could still have a private room that she could be in or choose to go into the main downstairs dining hall or event room to hang out.  She's much happier in the larger facility, even though it costs a LOT more than the smaller home.  The larger facilities both also have an independent living set of people, who are there to gain 3 meals a day, housework help (to whatever level they need it) and no outdoor maintenance chores any longer, but who take themselves to the store, the doctor, the theater, etc.  Mom can't do that anymore, but she likes to interact with the people who can do that.

My next step is to talk to her facility and find out what our options are when her money runs out.  I'm hoping her body quits on her before that, truthfully.  I live 1.5 hours away, I can't move her closer without changing her doctors (which I really don't want to do), and I work full time, and have a husband who is physically ailing. I don't have TIME to go see Mom multiple times a week, and I've heard too many horror stories about the facilities for people who only have Social Security to pay for things.
Mother to children and fuzz butts....