Aging Parents

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Ms. I, Oct 24, 2014.

  1. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    My dad will be 86 on Sun, 10/26. He takes zero meds, except eye drops for his glaucoma & cataracts. He's beaten cancer & has been in remission since the mid-90s. He's in no kind of aches/pains. He's been diagnosed w/ Alzheimer's for a couple yrs now. His diet is good. He has a normal, healthy appetite. He has his good & bad days, but, overall, he's been in great health.

    However, I think that time eventually comes when everyone wonders how much longer their parent will live. My Mom, who I talk to daily, says that the last few days, he's been sleeping a lot. She was trying to mk an appt today to see the dr, but I don't think she was able to mk one today, so it's probably Mon.

    Anyone know what it means when very elderly people start sleeping more often? I know parents can't live to see everything, but I wish I was further along in life than what I am now. For ex, I can pretty much guarantee that he'll never feel what it's like to just even know that he'll be a GF. (Sigh) :mellow:
     
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I'm not an expert on aging by any means, but could his Alzheimer's be acting up?
     
  4. bros

    bros Phenom

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    It could be his alzheimers.

    My great-grandfather had dementia and he was usually sleepy/groggy for the last 5+ years of his life. In the end, he died of pneumonia because he only had one lung.
     
  5. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Could be something as minor as fighting a cold or virus, Ms. I. A doctor's visit is a good idea, however.

    It is challenging when your parents get older--my dad was only 73 when he died, but my MIL is 92 and the past couple of years have aged her. Cherish all the time you have with your dad--whether it be just a few years or many, many more.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Ms I..no oe knows when our time here on earth will end. Make the most of the time you have with your family.
     
  7. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Unless he's feeling bad, I wouldn't worry about it.
     
  8. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Thanks everyone. My mom wants me to come over there tomorrow to help her out. It's gotten more difficult for her to care for my dad's general needs by herself. Then, she wants me to go w/ them on Mon to his dr appt OR depending on how he is tomorrow, she said she might want me to take them to the ER tomorrow. She said he fell today, so she'll tell the ER dr that she wants him tested.
     
  9. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    There are some meds for Alzheimer's. I'd ask about options the next doctor visit. Nothing cures that but any delay in symptoms would be a blessing.
     
  10. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Yes, my mom had tried him on the Alzheimer's meds, but she didn't see anything it did whatsoever to help, so she took him off of those. I worry that I may have to start going over to my parents' a couple times a week, if not more. My mom says we'll tk each day at a time, which is really all we can do.
     
  11. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Many Alzheimer's patients become depressed. The sleeping could be a symptom of that. Please make sure that the patient is on the meds long enough to reach a steady level in the blood before deciding they aren't working. Many work by slowing the rate of decline, not making them better. Been there, done that. Caregiver burnout is high and common - I did that too. Please try to explain to mom that it can get much worse, so maintaining the current level is desirable. Encourage her to keep him on the Alzheimer's meds.
     
  12. ktdclark

    ktdclark Comrade

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    My 78 year old father has Alzheimers too--he does sleep a lot as well. He is in a care facility as I am the only family he has in the area (my brother lives in Europe). He is partly depressed (he was an active alcoholic up until April when he finally was hospitalized and I was able to move him into fulltime care...

    We did have homehelp going into his home previously as he was living in his house. This may be an option for your mother as well...gives her a break from the daily care...
     
  13. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    My mom had him on this Alzheimer's med & it really caused him to have hallucinations, so she took him off that. Then, I think there was another med (maybe not), but the dr said it's only effective for a year. Currently, she has him on some vitamins that she says he's doing pretty well on. (She's always had him taking vitamins, but especially these days.)

    I asked my mom what can the drs do for him in his condition at this point & she had to ask herself the same thing, so she's cancelling his appt for tomorrow. She may mk one for later in the wk or next wk, just to hv it on record, she says.

    I talk to my dad pretty often & he talks OK, but not perfectly w/o talking about something off the wall or off topic from what we were already talking about.
     
  14. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    My mom's at the point where she just can't do it all on her own. Today, she set it up w/ a hospice facility that for 5 days out of the month, they'll watch my Dad, so she can have a breather. She didn't want to really do it, but has no choice. They'll take him this coming Monday, so I guess he'll be there for Thanksgiving. So far, my mom's trying it for this month to see how it goes.

    My Dad's dr had mentioned hospice when he had his latest dr's appt. My mom says that just because hospice was brought up, that it doesn't have to mean the end is near. She said he could live for some more years still & she's right.

    This week hasn't been great for either of my parents. I came to watch my Dad Wed, so my mom could just get out of the house & have a few hours of relaxation. My mom doesn't feel great 1/2 of the time herself. A nurse came out today to check my Dad & thinks he might have had a very mild stroke. Since Wed, his legs can't straighten out & he wan't walk at all.

    If you believe in God, please help me pray for my Dad! I sure hope these aren't his final days.
     
  15. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Hospice isn't about dying. It's about the life left to live.

    My experience with hospice was as good as experience with a loved one dying can be. I recommend getting hospice involved sooner rather than later to my friends who are in need.

    Prayers for your family.
     
  16. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Thank you teacherintexas. Well, about an hour after my previous post at around 11:30p, my mom calls & says she thinks my Dad's dying & he feels like he has a temperature. She tried taking his temp, but he kept biting the thermometer. I drove over there & his hands are all clenched tightly around the side bars of his hospital bed my mom had set up downstairs. The hospice nurse came over to check him out. She sent me to the 24-hr CVS to get extra strength Tylenol because he had a low grade fever. When I got back several min later, he looked a lot better & seemed like he'd sleep nicely. I left & got back home at about 1:15a. His dr he's had for 20+ yrs will probably make the 1st house call ever in the morning.
     
  17. MrsC

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    Hugs and prayers, Ms. I.
     
  18. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Ms. I, with Alzheimer's the body slowly (or very quickly in some cases) forgets how to do the basics of life. I am talking about swallowing, eating, and eventually breathing. This makes these patients more prone to pneumonia and the debilitation that comes from poor nutrition. If your family hasn't had some of the agonizing but necessary conversations about what kind of heroic measures you do or do not want for your father, now is the time to start. This is going to include, at some point, IV's, feeding tubes, ventilators, and resuscitation. I was very lucky that my FIL had made his wishes known long before he was so sick, and put them in a living will. He didn't want any of the above if there was no chance for him to be returned to a normal and meaningful existence. When the unit he was on received those instructions from his lawyer, he was still treated with love, compassion, and made comfortable, but the heroic measures were off the table. This saved me and my MIL from having to make decisions that are almost too horrible to consider, and it was his final act of kindness to us. I urge you to have this conversation with all relevant family members sooner rather than later. Your mom is overwhelmed and exhausted, she needs consensus on what will and will not be done going forward and it needs to be put in writing for his caretakers. At some point she will not be able to handle your dad's care at home, and everyone needs to be on-board with that. If the family hasn't considered a long-term Alzheimer's unit, you should. They aren't fun to look for, and after finding one you like better than another, you may find there is a waiting list. I also urge you to reach out to people/lawyers who specialize in elder care, to make sure that all of your options are known to you. If there is long term health insurance that covers home health care workers, that is a blessing, but few of us have the coverage for that which we really could use. Mom needs help, she needs to embrace the fact that she can't do this alone, not even with your help, and she needs to understand that this is the disease, not her effort that we are talking about. Spouses have great guilt for the times they simply wish that they could have some normalcy back in their lives.

    I have no idea of your family situation, whether there are siblings, etc., but this is something that needs everyone OK with the course of action going forward. The cruelest thing that this disease will do is have the patient occasionally have an absolutely lucid perfect day, conversation, or few hours, only to have the patient revert to someone who hasn't a clue who you are in a split second reversal. Please do these hard things now, and it will make things better when dad gets worse. Trust me, I have been where you are. Do enjoy the good times, find humor in the sometimes funny behaviors that will arise without mocking, accept that sometimes the best you can hope for is that dad will simply know he loves you, even if he can't remember your name. This disease lowers the thresholds for all emotions, so expect that he may have what appears to be unreasonable anger, obstinence, and even violence on occasion. It is just the disease, not your dad, so keep it in perspective.

    I wish you the best going forward, and wish I could give you more upbeat advice, but getting ready for what will come will be a gift you give yourself and your mother in the future. Know that there is support out there, and please make sure you use as much of it as possible to save yourselves and your sanity. As far as Thanksgiving, be thankful for the good days, thankful that dad has a family that loves him, and thankful that you can always remember the "old dad" who was your rock. Hang on to those good memories and feelings. Alzheimer's has the effect of reverse aging, or capabilities, so it is hard to watch a person go from respected adult to increasingly child like behaviors. Some are endearing, but others are vexing. We see the adult we used to know, not the devolving child within.

    Please encourage mom to step back and take some time for herself. Remind her that she is no use to anyone if she pushes herself past the breaking point. Make sure she knows there is no guilt in realizing that at times she is out of her comfort zone, and that others can make decisions she can't, simply because they get to go home at the end of the day while this seems to be her all day, every day reality.

    I wish your family the best. I wish you love for one another, no matter what may come. Remember that you always have a place to share, ask, and vent, as necessary. :hugs:
     
  19. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    lynettstoy--that was a heart-wrenching post. I've saved it, hoping that I never need it, but I'm grateful that you posted it.
     
  20. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Thank you - the kindest thing that a survivor can do is preview the dark days ahead, while finding some solace in the small bright things that arise. My FIL was not good at sharing or showing emotion, but the Alzheimer's changed that, and I took great comfort and pleasure in getting to know and love this other form of the man. It made the hard days more bearable, gave me memories to cherish, and helped me find the humor in the darkest times. I hope that Ms. I will not find this as a post of doom.

    On the night my FIL died, we had come from a concert at school with our son. I went to bed, only to rise an hour later with the unmistakable conviction that Dad needed me, as if he had said my name in the room. I left my family asleep and drove to the facility, knowing that I could sit with him and tell him about the concert, without looking to silly. I arrived and the nurses were surprised to see me, since they were preparing to call - Dad was failing fast. I had a few brief minutes with him before his heart gave out. He was not alone, mom was spared from making a mad dash only to have him gone when she arrived, and I was able to take care of everything that needed to be done that night, as everyone else slept. I believe that Dad knew I was there, from his breathing pattern, and he knew on some level he was loved and not alone. I haven't told many people about that night, since it kind of makes me sound crazy. Dad and I had not always been close the first 20 years we knew each other, but the last 10 years no one could have loved him more. I am grateful for that reversal every day of my life. I was in the right place at the right time - the emotional Dad that I loved was so different from the man his family had known for so long that he and I became so close, loving, and inseparable. My son benefited from having a grandfather who was totally devoted to him, and who had all the time in the world to share with him. The disease is terrible, but I appreciate the gifts that if gave to my family, the loving man I can remember so well. I hope you never have to deal with the disease with a family member, but I would appreciate you taking the positive from the post - find the little jewels in any adversity and cling to them when all else seems bleak and dark. And remember, not all tears are tears of sorrow.
     
  21. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Thank you very much guys, those that PM'd me, & lynettstoy, I greatly appreciate you taking the time to say all those heartfelt & sincere words! My parents have things in order regarding wills, funeral/burial arrangements, etc. I'm their only child.

    This coming Mon through Sat, my Dad will be at this facility in which they'll pick him up from the house & drop him back off. It's just a coincidence that it happened to fall on the week of Thanksgiving. This will be the first break my Mom will have from tending to him. Although, he's been in a rehab facility for several days in the past, she visited him daily in which she'd sit w/ him all day long. I think she knows this is going to be different...it's for her to relax & get a break away. She'll still visit him once about halfway through the time he's there though.

    My Mom & I have not been able to just do something just the two of us in about 2.5 yrs. I'm sure one day next week, we will get to, not that we'll have fun like it's a girls' day due to having Dad on ours minds, but hopefully I can help comfort my her somewhat.

    My more than likely, fiance-to-be hasn't seen my Dad in about 2.5 yrs & I told him how my Dad is & we both wanted him to see my Dad at least one more time. My BF wants to bring him/my parents something, especially since it's almost Christmas, but what do you give someone whose final days might be near? :(

    Not that I want this, but thinking realistically, my Dad probably won't live to see me get married, buy a home, & definitely have kids of my own. At least he saw me graduate twice from college.
     
  22. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    As much as you look forward to this time with your mom, realize that you might want to capitalize on these times with your dad...he's not at the best that you'd want, but ts what you've got and on some level he might knw you are aking the effort. Don't miss te opportunity. :hugs:
     
  23. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Thinking of you through this difficult time, Ms. I. A friend of mine is a Hospice Volunteer coordinator and those people really help a lot and are very caring.
     
  24. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    The last few years with my grandmother I stopped praying for her to live, and started praying for her to np be at peace. Sitting in that hospital room, counting the seconds between breaths, having her her look at me like I was a stranger...truly some of the hardest times of my life. However, I was with her the night before she passed. I crawled into bed with her and she hummed to me. For a few minutes I could see Gram again. My oldest cousin was with her the next day when she passed peacefully. As hard as those times were, I don't regret a second of them. I feel blessed to have that time with her. Treasure every minute you get with your dad. I will be keeping y'all in my prayers
     
  25. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    Ms. I....my mom is also in hospice and on a very quick decline. I understand how heart wrenching it is to watch someone you love become so fragile. Losing a parent is difficult. The best gift you and your BF can give your dad is YOU. Before my dad died, I was able to spend two days talking to him and remembering my joys of being his daughter (family memories). I know how much that meant to both of us.You are in my thoughts and prayers.
     
  26. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Thank you to the rest of you for your thoughts & prayers.

    TeacherNY, yes, those hospice people are very nice, which I'm glad they are since they're dealing w/ people at difficult, sad, fragile times in their lives. But my mom & I have definitely been gracious to them.
     
  27. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    The best gift you and your boyfriend can give your dad is time together. If your BF hasn't seen your dad in 2.5 years and you are thinking of getting married, if would be a wonderful gift for him to go and visit your dad and talk with him about your plans. Sharing his love for you and his commitment to taking care of you and making you happy will mean the world to your dad. If you feel that the visit could be a little uncomfortable, take some photos and mementos of happier times, a basket of your dad's favourite treats, and plan to spend the day with him.
     
  28. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Was there a problem that prevented your bf from seeing your dad? Do you think it would be confusing for your dad to see him now? I'm sure your mom will find it comforting to know you are in a committed relationship...she might have thoughts on how to. Best 're-introduce' your bf to dad.

    In any case, the best gift is the gift of time.
     
  29. Ms. I

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    Good advice MrsC & czacza. If my Dad was more in a right frame of mind, I'd seriously think of having my BF ask for my Dad's blessing to marry me, but I don't want it to be awkward & confusing for him. Well, there's a more delicate, subtle way we'll approach it. I have no idea if my Dad even figures or remembers that I'll probably marry my BF, but it will be interesting to see how he reacts to seeing my BF after all this time though.

    No, there was really no particular reason why my BF hasn't seen my Dad in that long. I just never brought him over the house when I'd visit. My parents haven't visited me at my apt, except once a year since I moved out, which I'm perfectly fine w/. Now I guess my Dad will never see my apt again since it's on the 2nd floor & there's no elevators here.
     
  30. Bella2010

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    Big hugs, Ms. I. I'll keep you and your family in my thoughts in prayers. :(

    Beth
     
  31. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Thank you very much Bella.

    My Dad likes guitar music, so I should play some guitar music from when I bought him past CDs. He likes the 3 Stooges & the movie My Cousin Vinny. I have the DVDs for those, so I think my Mom & I will try to play those movies because he hasn't seen those in a long time!

    QUESTION TO ANYONE WHO KNOWS: My Dad was diagnosed w/ Alzheimer's about 2-3 yrs ago. I know everyone's different, but how long does a person have it before it gets pretty much to the end?
     
  32. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    My great-uncle lived ten years after his diagnosis. Everyone is different so talk to Dad's doctor.
     
  33. bros

    bros Phenom

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    My great-grandfather had Alzheimers in his final years. He lived around 10-15 years from initial diagnosis to the pneumonia that killed him (due to only having one lung)
     
  34. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Ms. I, sometimes the diagnosis comes long after everyone around the patient was aware that something was definitely wrong. My MIL was in denial about my FIL, so when the diagnosis was finally made, everyone said he went fast. I had noticed the changes 6-7 years before the formal diagnosis, so to me it seemed as if he had lived with the disease for a long time. Only you can know which scenario might be closer to your own.
     
  35. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    I so appreciate these latest comments! My mom's decided to cancel the service of having him sent to a facility for 5 days. She said she'd only worry & stress about how he's doing there. Instead, a home health aide will come daily M-F. The aide already came yesterday (Sun.) & showed my mom some tricks to help make her life easier w/ caretaking. I don't know if this will be an everyday thing every week from now on or what.

    I moved out of my parents' house just about 2.5 yrs ago. It seems that since I moved out, he's kind of really aged/gone downhill. Right before I moved out, my Dad was walking slowly, not even really needing his cane 1/2 of the time, going up & down the stairs still on his own, etc. He also talked really well & you can have a regular conversation. It may be just a coincidence, but the timing seems about when I moved out.

    I'm my parents' only child. I know that if it was up to him, that I'd stay living with them forever, so maybe in his mind & emotionally, it really affected him. Also, my dog, who I had since day 1 at 8 wks of course came w/ me when I moved out. So for about 6 yrs when my dog was still living w/ my parents too of course, my dad loved holding him quite often. Then, my dog died in 2013, so, a lot has changed in the last 2.5 yrs.
     
  36. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    What you are describing is normal progression. Most likely it had little to do with your moving out. Someone can go from having slight problems to moderate/severe rather quickly. We often get used to the slight problems so it seems more normal and natural. So, when the relatives do start to slip faster, it seems surprising when the big thresholds are crossed such as mobility or ability to carry on a conversation. The other thing you saw more once you moved out is how the decline seemed more drastic to you because you didn't see him every day much like when you haven't seen a relative's young child for a while, the growth is astonishing.

    Do not place blame on yourself for moving out or taking the dog.
     
  37. Ms. I

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    Oh, the hospice nurse believes that my dad had a very mild stroke last week when he had that fever...don't know if I mentioned that in any of my posts.

    My mom's facing the fact that he's dying. I'm thinking of maybe having my BF visit w/ me this coming Sun, but we'll see how our schedules go.

    Thank you a2z.
     
  38. TeacherNY

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    I hope you have a nice visit. Your mom seems to be extremely dedicated but hopefully she won't take on more than she can handle for her own health's sake.
     
  39. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Hugs Ms. I....
    My parents are still young in 60s.... but have watched all my gparents go through aging... my oldest gpa lived to be past 100.
    It is hard, I think, especially a man (my gpa's), grow so weak & confused because they were always so big, strong & confident. My gma's seemed to pass, but it was what seemed to be more quickly, so the process seemed to fit...I hope that makes sense.
    Just be there for your parents & know nothing you did or could do...just the process....
     
  40. Ms. I

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    I was wrong before. My dad actually has dementia. The last time I visited my parents was yesterday (Sun., 11/30) & I couldn't believe the seemingly rapid deterioration since I last saw my dad just a wk & a 1/2 prior to my yesterday visit. His face looked different in that short time frame. He was the most fragile I've ever seen. I actually shed some tears...not in his presence, but to myself.

    One of his sisters & her husband who we haven't seen since 2006 are coming to visit him this week.

    Thank you for everyone's continued prayers! :hugs:
     
  41. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Dec 1, 2014

    Hugs to you.
     

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