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DawnM

My dad's visit (UPDATE 2/20)

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My dad has been here for over a week.  The weekdays he spent mostly at my aunt and uncle's (3 hours away, I had to drive him down and drive back and then again this weekend drive down to get him and back.). 

He is not the man he was even 5 years ago.  He can't hear, so we have to shout everything several times.  He is very loud......up several times per night, bangs around, turns on all the lights, wakes everyone up with his banging, etc....

And he has no sense of what life is like for the rest of us.  He would have understood it a few years ago.  He was always the kind to be super quiet, not ever want to put anyone out, the kind who wouldn't want you to be inconvenienced or go to any trouble for him.  

Now, he doesn't get it at all.  He didn't understand why I couldn't take him to my aunt and uncle's (3 hours EACH WAY) on a Wed.  I get off at 4:15 at the earliest, have a 45 min. commute, and the earliest we could have left would have been 5, and that would have hit heavy traffic anyway, so it would have been a 4 hour down and 3 hour back R/T drive.  I would have been home at midnight at the earliest.  I had to tell him we had to go on a weekend day.

His flight leaves at 7am Monday.  We have to be out the door by 5 at the earliest.  He will be up around 3:30 or 4 he says......oh joy.  He can't do anything quietly anymore.  

I think we have all been up since 5am this morning.  He has been banging around since about then.  

There is much more, but this is just a "woe is me" post and I am not trying to bash my father in any way.  I know he can't help it.  He is 85.  He has had 3 scary cancers, one which removed over half of his kidneys, and it is a miracle he is still with us.

I have NO desire to go to church this morning.  I am so so tired.  But my dad wouldn't hear of skipping church on the Lord's day.  

And I really think he needs far more care when he moves here, but he doesn't see it.  

UPDATE on 2/20, posted below but also here:

So.....this may be an answer to prayer.   My dad made it home to AZ on Monday.  Tuesday he had a very bad fall and ended up going to the hospital for 36 hours.  In the hospital he was told he cannot walk without a walker or wheelchair ever again.  His legs are too weak.  I have been begging him to use a walker, you should see him walk!  I even got him a used, but fancy one in good condition before he came to visit.  He refused.

I have emailed him and told him that staying at my friend's house is not the best solution, and that I would worry sick about him.  I told him I will be looking for an actual retirement community for him.  

I am hoping this will also give me a Segway into getting him to stop driving.

Edited by DawnM
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Hugs.  I was in this exact situation with my parents at Christmas.  My dad is 80 and has a brain injury.  I totally get it.  I have no advice, but lots of empathy.  

Hold on to your sense of humor.  It is the only thing that got me through when my dad got into a fight with the shower curtain in the middle of the night!  😊

Edited by Hadley
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I’d be worried about his housing situation when he moves too.  I’d maybe have some assisted living options on the back burner already vetted.  My grandmother’s health and social improved before her death with a good placement.  
 

Many hugs!

Edited by FuzzyCatz
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Going through much the same thing with someone we love. The details are a little different, but the changes, the stubbornness, the childishness are the same. It's absolutely heartbreaking. I'm so sorry. Hugs for you and prayers for strength and comfort.

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A few things...older people often have increased anxiety about being on time for flights, trains, etc. This usually means they cannot sleep and are therefore bustling around.

My grandmother was nearly deaf. People who have impaired hearing don't know how much noise they make. This may sound funny but so much of our behavior is gauged by what we are hearing. He probably has no clue how loud he is.

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5 hours ago, FuzzyCatz said:

I’d be worried about his housing situation when he moves too.  I’d maybe have some assisted living options on the back burner already vetted.  My grandmother’s health and social improved before her death with a good placement.  
 

Many hugs!

 

I have looked into retirement, graduated care, blah, blah, blah.  He won't even entertain it.

BUT, I did find a potential place this morning online that may be more of what he would be open to.  It is a Christian place, more ind. living, but offers some care, and is reasonably priced.  I have emailed the guy in charge.  They have buy in options and rental options.  I will see when I can go meet with someone and maybe get him on the rental wait list.  They have some to buy, but none to rent right now.

Honestly, when we went to see the place he wants to live, I could see my friends' faces, they looked concerned that maybe he needs more care.  They asked how long he needed a place and my dad told them indefinitely.  I think I will let them know they don't have to have him long term if they are worried.  Their basement bedroom/bathroom is very private, away from the rest of the house pretty much, and I don't think he will wake them, but we will see.  I couldn't have him live with us.  He doesn't understand that I am not available every minute I am here, and he makes way too much noise.  We have got to SLEEP.

 

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And he truly needs a walker.  His shuffling has gotten so much worse.  He literally doesn't even walk a full foot length each step, it is more like 8 inches each step (or maybe I should say each STOMP) and he has his head looking at the ground so he doesn't fall, and he takes forever to walk anywhere.

I got him a walker, the doctor gave him a walker, nope, he won't use it. He won't use his cane either.   He will get wheelchair service in the airports, so at least he gets help there, but OY! 

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4 minutes ago, DawnM said:

And he truly needs a walker.  His shuffling has gotten so much worse.  He literally doesn't even walk a full foot length each step, it is more like 8 inches each step (or maybe I should say each STOMP) and he has his head looking at the ground so he doesn't fall, and he takes forever to walk anywhere.

I got him a walker, the doctor gave him a walker, nope, he won't use it. He won't use his cane either.   He will get wheelchair service in the airports, so at least he gets help there, but OY! 

So sorry, Dawn. Just the fact that he is shuffling makes me think he should not be living on his own. Shuffling is often a sign of early stage dementia, and it increases the risk of falling by a lot. That's what happened to my FIL - he fell and broke his hip, and then the dementia got much worse.

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So sorry.  Has he seen the audiologist to see if hearing aids would help?

I agree with the others that it sounds like he is in need of a higher level of care.  Has he seen his doctor recently for a full physical and blood work?  Sometimes things like vitamin levels, thyroid, anemia, etc. can cause symptoms to be more severe.

This is not easy.  I went through this with my grandmother and then with my in-laws.

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Getting hearing aids made an enormous difference for my dad.  He had no idea how loud he was, how much information he was missing, or how incoherent he sounded (because he was responding to what he thought he heard, rather than what others actually said).  All that resolved with the hearing aids.  That wouldn't take care of everything your dad is dealing with, but it might make a difference.

 

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1 hour ago, klmama said:

Getting hearing aids made an enormous difference for my dad.  He had no idea how loud he was, how much information he was missing, or how incoherent he sounded (because he was responding to what he thought he heard, rather than what others actually said).  All that resolved with the hearing aids.  That wouldn't take care of everything your dad is dealing with, but it might make a difference.

 

 

He has them.  And he wears them.  They aren't helping.

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1 hour ago, Ottakee said:

So sorry.  Has he seen the audiologist to see if hearing aids would help?

I agree with the others that it sounds like he is in need of a higher level of care.  Has he seen his doctor recently for a full physical and blood work?  Sometimes things like vitamin levels, thyroid, anemia, etc. can cause symptoms to be more severe.

This is not easy.  I went through this with my grandmother and then with my in-laws.

 

He has hearing aids.  Doesn't help.

It is hard to get him to go see a doctor unless there is something really wrong.  He is a doctor, and doctors often make the worst patients..  He told my mom for years, "The doctor says I don't need a hip replacement just yet."  What he failed to explain is that HE was the doctor who said he didn't need the hip replacement just yet.  ARGH!

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Oh well I wouldn’t be surprised if he hasn’t had his hearing aids adjusted and who knows maybe the batteries are dead, etc.   I would feel bad for the people he is living with if that is a private home and he isn’t walking well etc.  I think it’s a fair boundary not to let him live in your home.  If both of you are working full time he would probably enjoy the graduated care places much more.  And that is always what I mean by assisted living.  My grand had her own apartment.    When have a med chain twice a day.  She could cook or use their dining room. They had bus trips and events, etc.  she could char at people all day or go hide in her space.  

Edited by FuzzyCatz
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10 minutes ago, FuzzyCatz said:

Oh well I wouldn’t be surprised if he hasn’t had his hearing aids adjusted and who knows maybe the batteries are dead, etc.   I would feel bad for the people he is living with if that is a private home and he isn’t walking well etc.  I think it’s a fair boundary not to let him live in your home.  If both of you are working full time he would probably enjoy the graduated care places much more.  And that is always what I mean by assisted living.  My grand had her own apartment.    When have a med chain twice a day.  She could cook or use their dining room. They had bus trips and events, etc.  she could char at people all day or go hide in her space.  

 

The people he is renting from aren't caring for him, it really will be independent living.  

She had her own apt in the assisted living place?  

 

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2 hours ago, DawnM said:

And he truly needs a walker.  His shuffling has gotten so much worse.  He literally doesn't even walk a full foot length each step, it is more like 8 inches each step (or maybe I should say each STOMP) and he has his head looking at the ground so he doesn't fall, and he takes forever to walk anywhere.

I got him a walker, the doctor gave him a walker, nope, he won't use it. He won't use his cane either.   He will get wheelchair service in the airports, so at least he gets help there, but OY! 

My mother refused to use a stick until the second time she fell in the street. She was lucky not to break anything, but she was very bruised and sore. The canny nurse praised her strength but said the cane would help with her balance. Mum submitted.

45 minutes ago, DawnM said:

 

He has them.  And he wears them.  They aren't helping.

FWIW my mother had to pay for expensive hearing aids (£3,000) before the technology worked for her. The standard hearing aids didn't help at all.

Best wishes as you work all this out.

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12 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

I am so sorry Dawn.  I know this is so rough on you.  When is he moving to where you are?

 

Late spring probably.  After my mother's THIRD funeral.  ACK.  Don't get me started.

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1 hour ago, DawnM said:

 

Late spring probably.  After my mother's THIRD funeral.  ACK.  Don't get me started.

I was already feeling bad that your dad’s impending move is stressing you out, but when you mentioned THIRD funeral...oh I’m so sorry!

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7 hours ago, Annie G said:

I was already feeling bad that your dad’s impending move is stressing you out, but when you mentioned THIRD funeral...oh I’m so sorry!

 

Yeah, my mom is originally from South Carolina and my dad is from Oregon.  That means we have people on each side of the country.   And then some lovely people gifted my parents burial plots for free in Iowa.  Nope, we know no one from Iowa.  But gosh darn it if I didn't drive 17 hours each way to help my dad bury my mom (he flew in.). So, Iowa was #1, South Carolina, #2, and then West Coast in the Spring.  I grew up in Kenya, I am just happy they aren't adding an Africa funeral on to the list at this point!

I told my dad that not even heads of state get more than 2 funerals!!!!!

Although I do have to tel you something funny.  Not sure if I have posted this yet or not.

I called a caterer for the SC funeral.  I called around the 3rd week of January.  I explained that it was a funeral and we would need food for about 50 people.  He gave me all the prices, etc....and then said, "This is for Saturday, right?"  I replied, "Yes, Saturday, Feb. 15th."   He got really quiet for a moment and then said, "Ma'am????? That is pretty far out.  How do you know this person will be dead by then?"

🤣🤣🤣

I laugh every time I think about it.

We ended up not using the caterer because the ladies in the church volunteered to make and serve the food.  We were surprised. This is a church some of my relatives attend, and many have met my parents when they have visited, but we had no idea they would offer to do that for us.

Edited by DawnM
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UPDATE:

So.....this may be an answer to prayer.   My dad made it home to AZ on Monday.  Tuesday he had a very bad fall and ended up going to the hospital for 36 hours.  In the hospital he was told he cannot walk without a walker or wheelchair ever again.  His legs are too weak.  I have been begging him to use a walker, you should see him walk!  I even got him a used, but fancy one in good condition before he came to visit.  He refused.

I have emailed him and told him that staying at my friend's house is not the best solution, and that I would worry sick about him.  I told him I will be looking for an actual retirement community for him.  

I am hoping this will also give me a Segway into getting him to stop driving.

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4 minutes ago, DawnM said:

UPDATE:

So.....this may be an answer to prayer.   My dad made it home to AZ on Monday.  Tuesday he had a very bad fall and ended up going to the hospital for 36 hours.  In the hospital he was told he cannot walk without a walker or wheelchair ever again.  His legs are too weak.  I have been begging him to use a walker, you should see him walk!  I even got him a used, but fancy one in good condition before he came to visit.  He refused.

I have emailed him and told him that staying at my friend's house is not the best solution, and that I would worry sick about him.  I told him I will be looking for an actual retirement community for him.  

I am hoping this will also give me a Segway into getting him to stop driving.

These crises, whilst distressing, can give everyone the space to make better choices.  Best wishes.

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1 minute ago, Laura Corin said:

These crises, whilst distressing, can give everyone the space to make better choices.  Best wishes.


I am so thankful actually, a fall, but no broken bones, just bad bruising, and others (who he respects) telling him to stop walking!  He won't listen to family.  A blessing.

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DawnM the Update of 2/20 is a blessing in disguise. He must not live alone and that includes living in your friends house. He must be somewhere where there is at least one person who can help him.

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On 2/16/2020 at 6:15 AM, DawnM said:

 

UPDATE on 2/20, posted below but also here:

So.....this may be an answer to prayer.   My dad made it home to AZ on Monday.  Tuesday he had a very bad fall and ended up going to the hospital for 36 hours.  In the hospital he was told he cannot walk without a walker or wheelchair ever again.  His legs are too weak.  I have been begging him to use a walker, you should see him walk!  I even got him a used, but fancy one in good condition before he came to visit.  He refused.

I have emailed him and told him that staying at my friend's house is not the best solution, and that I would worry sick about him.  I told him I will be looking for an actual retirement community for him.  

I am hoping this will also give me a Segway into getting him to stop driving.

OH, I'm so sorry he fell.  I bet he was extra tired from travel too. But I am glad he will be able to transition directly somewhere with more hands on care.  That will be so much better for everyone I think and it will make it so he really just transitions directly to that living situation.  Those places often have good transportation options too.  ❤️  

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I'm sorry that your father fell, but I'm glad they gave him good advice and that it gave you a reason to tell him that he needs to be in a retirement community.

I understand how you feel about his reluctance to use his walker and give up driving. My 86 year old dad has neuropathy in his legs and feet and has almost no feeling there. But he still refuses to use the walker, leaves his cane behind half of the time, still drives. Even though he had three falls with injuries last year. He lives alone in a condo/apartment and still works (accountant; my brother runs the office). I want him to be as independent as possible, but still!!!! Use the cane!! Use the walker!!! Get an emergency alert bracelet!!!

It's frustrating.

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On February 16, 2020 at 7:15 AM, DawnM said:

 I told him I will be looking for an actual retirement community for him.  

I'm sorry he fell, but it does sound like moving into assisted living would be his correct level of care. Are you his health care power of attorney or did he sign release forms for the hospital to talk with you? They should have a social worker who can help you through this, understanding what his next placement should be. We moved my dad into assisted living a few years ago and his health actually *improved* which I was not expecting. There can be great social, consistent food, activities, etc. The problem we've seen is the turnover. It was a smaller company, and they've been bought out multiple times, seemingly once a year. And sometimes the new owners did well and sometimes they didn't. The other challenge is to make sure they can provide his looming care needs. It's not just his walking, but dressing independently, laundry, medications, driving for errands, etc. Some will allow pets and have a concierge, etc. It's also $$. 

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3 hours ago, DawnM said:

UPDATE:

So.....this may be an answer to prayer.   My dad made it home to AZ on Monday.  Tuesday he had a very bad fall and ended up going to the hospital for 36 hours.  In the hospital he was told he cannot walk without a walker or wheelchair ever again.  His legs are too weak.  I have been begging him to use a walker, you should see him walk!  I even got him a used, but fancy one in good condition before he came to visit.  He refused.

I have emailed him and told him that staying at my friend's house is not the best solution, and that I would worry sick about him.  I told him I will be looking for an actual retirement community for him.  

I am hoping this will also give me a Segway into getting him to stop driving.

 

Yes, it is the proper time to engage your ability to deny him things he definitely can’t do. 

People tend to think of caregiving as feeding, bathing, transporting, medicating... but truly a large part of caregiving is exercising good judgement and making decisions on behalf of those who can no longer do so for themselves. 

I’m sorry your dad got hurt, Dawn, but I agree it opens the door for necessary intervention. Many social workers along the way told me that it almost always comes down to this - that some significant damage (to body or property) happens before an elder can have help forced upon them. 

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@DawnM You are about to be living my life 😞 !!!  I've got to get the kids to the dentist, but will be back later to give you any tips I can.  Seriously, from going downhill pretty fast, to short term memory issues, to not wanting to use the walker, to falling 5 times in the past year, to big battles over his ability to drive (he is not anymore), to not hearing and getting hearing aids.  So sorry!  I I feel very blessed that my dad is still here with me, but boy, this last year and a half has been LIFE CHANGING!!!  And...he won't ever live with me either.  My mental health would be at stake and I wouldn't be able to help anyone.  Seriously.  And...there is a lot of guilt for me that comes with that.  But...I am it for him and I've gotta do what I've gotta do.

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Agreeing with the others, and so relieved it happened before he moved.

My best advice is to find a facility that has assisted living, nursing home, skilled nursing, and rehab all in one place. Every shift in facility for care will cause at least a temporary decline. You want to minimize future changes as much as you can by finding some place that has in house PT/OT etc. Bouncing from assisted living to hospital after fall to rehab and back to “home” really is stressful.

Edited by prairiewindmomma
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30 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

Agreeing with the others, and so relieved it happened before he moved.

My best advice is to find a facility that has assisted living, nursing home, skilled nursing, and rehab all in one place. Every shift in facility for care will cause at least a temporary decline. You want to minimize future changes as much as you can by finding some place that has in house PT/OT etc. Bouncing from assisted living to hospital after fall to rehab and back to “home” really is stressful.

 

DH and I talked very briefly this morning after I found out.  He was needing to get out the door to work and I was needing to get ready for work.

But the good (temporary) news, is that dad says he can't get packed up and moved by March as he had hoped, so that gives us time.  I am going to push for late July/early Aug to give us time to go out, maybe hitup  friends in CA and Disneyland, etc....and help dad get packed and moved OR convince him to stay where he is and let us visit every few months.  

The place he is in is a graduated care facility, but it is 2000 miles away.  They bought in when the cost was lower and moving is most likely going to triple the cost.   He is worried about that too.  UGH.

 

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6 hours ago, DawnM said:

   I am hoping this will also give me a Segway  

Just don't give him a Segway 😄

4 hours ago, Storygirl said:

I want him to be as independent as possible, but still!!!! Use the cane!! Use the walker!!! Get an emergency alert bracelet!!!

Right! The cane/walker/alert systems ADD to your independence. 

1 hour ago, mlktwins said:

 And...he won't ever live with me either.  My mental health would be at stake and I wouldn't be able to help anyone.  Seriously.  And...there is a lot of guilt for me that comes with that.  

Long before it was ever a possible need, I informed everyone concerned that neither of our dads would ever be living with us, lol. It's definitely best for all of us. Never feel guilty about the way you help people; you are still helping them. 

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I just got back from my dad's place and the boys' dental appts.  We took groceries and lunch to eat with my dad.  I walk in and his walker is parked in its usual spot out of the way until he has to leave his apartment.  I remind him, yet again, that he has fallen 5 times in the last year.  That he fell on Christmas morning (I raced over there at 7 am when the neighbors below him called me to tell me he fell and he wouldn't answer his phone or door) and then again the next night (he broke his big toe and scraped his head).  I told him he HAD to use his walker in his place because the next time he might not be so lucky.  Anyway, today when I told him he fell at Christmas, he said, "Well, I haven't fallen recently!"  I'm like, "Yeah, until the next time!"  Told him he might end up in assisted living after his stay in a hospital and/or rehab if he has a bad enough fall.  Feel like a broken record and I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop.  He doesn't really care though and says he knows he is going to fall.  He doesn't realize how wobbly he is and I've even taken video of him to show him.  Oh well -- LOL!!!  Can really only control myself...  

Edited by mlktwins
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I live a couple of hours away from Dad, but my siblings live in our hometown, so they see him often. When he was falling so often last year, Sis would say, "Are you tired of falling yet? Because there are things you could do differently."

Dad would respond, "It's not the falling that hurts."  Always the joker. Sigh.

But he did take a friend's suggestion to keep his walker by his recliner, since he is more unstable when he is first getting up. It's annoying that  he listens to a friend but not his children. And I'm not sure if he is actually still following that advice.

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