AGING PARENTS

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Any of you graying ILXors dealing with this? I am the sibling living closest to my 87 year old mother so I spend part of almost every day running errands with or for her and also taking her to doctor appointments. I have to keep track of all her medical issues because she can't remember anything. Not Alzheimer's—just severe short-term memory losses. My sister and I convinced her not to drive, which she resents mightily on account of being in complete denial about all her aging issues (Hearing loss, poor vision, the memory thing, heart condition, late-onset asthma). I'd love to play along with the "I'm fine" delusion, but not if it means letting her drive! I would have to live with the guilt if she hurt someone!
She also insists that she is capable of traveling alone on a bus, and believe me, she is not! I have been to the ER with her too many times for one reason or another. No way am I sending her off on a bus! When she goes to visit relatives we line up a driver, or drive her ourselves.
The whole thing has me mildly depressed.

Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Monday, 21 August 2006 17:44 (fourteen years ago) link

Any of you graying ILXors dealing with this?

It's a ways yet for me -- my folks are in their sixties and in good health still. But my dad is starting to slow down a touch -- kinda good that he's retired, officially -- and more than once I've wondered a bit about what the not-so-far-away-now future will mean.

Certainly I salute your patience with this all -- I'm not sure how I would react.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Monday, 21 August 2006 17:52 (fourteen years ago) link

But I'm not patient at all! That's the problem. It's hard to convince myself that her behavior isn't deliberate cussedness, because she has a cussed streak! But her brain is obviously changing.

Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Monday, 21 August 2006 17:56 (fourteen years ago) link

Had to deal with this with my mother in law some, recently. Gave me a preview of how it might be with my own parents, and it was absolutely fucking exhausting. She's not intentionally cussed, but stubborn nonetheless.

The patience is key, but it's really hard to keep it up. Can other siblings/capable family members come to visit to spell you for a bit?

patita (patita), Monday, 21 August 2006 18:43 (fourteen years ago) link

Any of you graying ILXors dealing with this?

If by 'graying', you mean 'balding', then yes, to some extent I am such a one.

At the moment the brunt of the responsibility has fallen to an older sister who lives much closer to my 81 year old mother than myself or my other siblings. She takes on the 'dutiful child' role, while the rest of us come in and put in a burst of assistance whenever the tide of troubles rises above a certain level, so my sister doesn't burn out.

My father died two years ago. During his last year and during the year immediately following his death, I drove the 75 mile round trip to see the two of them (later, just my mother) very often. There was so much that needed tending to.

My father, too, suffered from severe short term memory loss toward the end of his life, reducing him to a small shadow of the man he had been - because he became literally unable to encompass any activity that could not be completed within the two minutes or so that he was able to form and hold a single thought. He, too, was inclined to minimize or dismiss the severity of his problems. I finally realized that he understood very well the extent of his diminished capacity, but facing it was too great a threat to his sense of worth and happiness. Denial was how he held depression at bay.

Now that he has passed on, my mother has grasped the nettle of losing her companion and mainstay of 57 years with surprising firmness. I spent 8 months visiting her almost weekly during that transition. It helped a lot, I think, to have family members to talk to and grieve with, and help her form plans and carry them out.

I wish both you and your mother the best, but, as you no doubt know in your bones, even the best possible outcomes available to you and her are still damned difficult to embrace. The cost of love can be pretty steep sometimes, and the bills fall due with increasing frequency at this time. Good luck.

Aimless (Aimless), Monday, 21 August 2006 19:10 (fourteen years ago) link

I'm dealing with this with my grandparents and (sooner or later) my parents.

I just moved all of my (paternal) grandfather's stuff in with his, uh, 'friend' because he couldn't afford his truck payment and townhome rent and medicines and everything else at once. And since he's still part of the family cosntruction business I spend much of my day ensuring that he isn't overworking (or just screwing things up - he gets frustrated easily that his muscles and joints don't work like they used to).

My grandmother (maternal) has Alzheimer's (early-mid stage), and drove me kind of nuts before it was full-blown. Neither of my uncles, none of my ten cousins and my brother don't do shit. Anything not handled by my parents falls directly to me. The extent of the agonies here (some her fault, some not, mostly involving my useless uncles and their brood) is too long to list.

With both I'm always on-call to fix something or help out or figure out why the TV isn't working or why this bill didn't get paid. I can't say no, even when I want to, and the occasional feeling of being put-upon hasn't helped my relationship with my grandmother. (And, theoretically, I'd like to move north when my finances are sorted and my degree is finished - but I can't knowing that I'd leave anyone in the lurch.)

Only 20 years 'til my parents are in their late-70s...

milo z (mlp), Monday, 21 August 2006 19:22 (fourteen years ago) link

Yes, although my particular issues are different. My father has had one major stroke and probably innumerable little ones. The first one forced him to retire. Although, in the grand scale of things, he recovered, he definitely has problems remembering things (e.g., the Rolling Stones came out as "the one with the lips" after about five minutes) and isn't too steady on his feet. He's been in three car accidents in the last two years -- not hurt, but totalled two cars. A certain degree of bad luck, but the end result of it all is that he doesn't really leave the house, so he mostly just lays on the couch, watches television, and is grumpy and depressed. Thankfully, my mother's in pretty good health. But none of us really have any idea how to deal with the situation, and it falls to me to say "no" and/or make any "unpleasant" decisions. Meanwhile the two of them of managed to complete bungle their finances: they are possibly the only household in America who have managed avoid ANY capital appreciation on their real estate over the last 20 years (although they have done a wonderful job accumulating credit card debt). Sigh. I am already worried enough about my own finances, but it has now become apparent that I am unlikely to ever own my own home, as any extra money I have will be needed to keep them afloat.

i'll mitya halfway (mitya), Monday, 21 August 2006 20:17 (fourteen years ago) link

My parents are both in their late 50s, so not really aging as such, though my mother has a sort of rare foot problem, which affects nerve endings in her feet, and the implications of this and the way she has dealt with it thus far have caused considerable strain in the family.

It's a tricky situation as for whatever reason, mostly a weird sort of shame or embarassment, she is loathe to talk about her problems with my Dad or myself, or anyone really, my sister whom she is very close to can sometimes get a little discussion about it.

It's terrible because she grieves for her feet as things worsen, quite slowly, though the condition may one day lead to her being in a wheelchair. She grieves yet she never seems to get past the denial stage, she can't accept or discuss the problem.

So she will often cry kind of uncontrollably, it's awful to hear, but worse is that she won't allow you to help or even talk, my Dad sometimes just says to me "I have no idea what to do", which is also quite weird, it all feels kind of dysfunctional.

So I relate to the "denial" thing you mention Beth, my mother is much younger and this is a problem. I can only imagine what she'd think if she knew I was discussing this on a messageboard...I just wish I had some productive advice rather than just empathy...

Ronan (Ronan), Monday, 21 August 2006 20:31 (fourteen years ago) link

Empathy is just the ticket, thank you all. I don't think there are any easy solutions. People say "you have to hire someone," but that would entail such a huge loss-of-face for my mother. Suddenly she'd be this person for whom people have to be hired. I'd like to put that off as long as I can. Which means extra strain on my nerves, but I have to feel like I'm doing right by her, as long as it doesn't turn me into a total bitch. Which it could do. When I'm the slightest bit sharp with her she'll say "don't get mad at me all the time," which is manipulative crap because I DON'T get mad at her all the time. But she loves the sacharrine niceness of hospital nurses. She wants that from everyone, all the time, and sorry, I just can't do it.
Yikes, Ronan. Your poor mom! But maybe it's good that she's weeping like that. Sounds like a little window of non-denial.

Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Monday, 21 August 2006 23:43 (fourteen years ago) link

Argh, that pride and independence is hard to deal with. It had my grandmother living alone until she was 102, and my mother, aunt and uncle running around at her beck and call constantly for 8-10 years before that.

Good luck Beth, and everyone else posting here. I've been really lucky so far, but the day isn't far off -- my mother will be 74 next month and my dad is 77. But my dad, Jesus, he heals quicker than Wolverine. He planted his garden this year, went in for quintuple bypass surgery, and was recovered enough to bring in the harvest himself.

Danny Aioli (Rock Hardy), Monday, 21 August 2006 23:58 (fourteen years ago) link

I've told you before and I'll tell you again, Rock Hardy. You come from excellent stock!

Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 00:04 (fourteen years ago) link

My father's 77, suffers from dementia and psychoses due to alcoholism which the psychiatrists think was in part due to early onset alzheimers as well as his being extremely depressed. He's in a home, a wreck of a man and his family barely talk to him and none of his old friends come near thanks to the treatment he metted out to everyone. My mum watches out for him and takes care of him. It's quite horrible, he doesn't recognise me.
I'm just saying I hope you appreciate good people in ill health as well as good health. It's a massive burden and can be very upsetting. My eldest brother refuses to aknowledge my father's situation in anyway which is horribly awkward because he's the legal next of kin. (Which is another thing to be wary of when you have to take care of your parents, your status in law). Don't be ashamed to look for help if you can. But if you do make sure that they're treated well, homes and nurses aren't necessarily good, abuse of the elderly is more common than is often aknowledged and pretty horrible.
Anyways I hope all your parents always have plenty to smile about whatever their troubles.

Major Alfonso (Major Alfonso), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 00:14 (fourteen years ago) link

xpost --
I think about death a lot, but haphazardly -- impressionistically, I guess -- because I haven't had to face it up close. I don't really want to live as long as my grandmother. There was a big reunion of my father's clan a couple of years ago and just by chance, a couple of days earlier there had been a story about an 80-year-old guy who played golf with his buddies and had died of a heart attack right after finishing. I was telling one of my aunts about this, and how awesome it was. "That's how I want to go, 80 good years, then lay down for a nap and drift away." My aunt was a bit pissed off at this. "I'm 80 years old, do you think it's time for me to lay down and die?" Holy fuck, ultimate foot in mouth.

Danny Aioli (Rock Hardy), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 00:17 (fourteen years ago) link

Oops!

Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 00:19 (fourteen years ago) link

I blame my dad's wine.

Danny Aioli (Rock Hardy), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 00:25 (fourteen years ago) link

If wine was the key to longevity we'd be a family of the undead!
My parents used to get mailings from the Hemlock Society, but when it came right down to it, my father couldn't do it. He had Alzheimers, too, so if there was ever a case for offing yourself... I think in a case like that you just have to pick a day to do it and stick to your plan. My father was a terrible difficult person—I wrote upthread about the difficulty in believing that my mother's dotty behavior isn't deliberate—somehow manipulative. With my father it was the same, if not more so. Even though I knew his brain was being turned into a rotten hunk of plaque I still felt like the resulting behavior was just more of the same shit we'd been putting up with our whole lives.

The child unable to believe that the parent has lost power?

Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 00:31 (fourteen years ago) link

terribLY difficult. Sheesh!

Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 00:34 (fourteen years ago) link

haaa, no, I blame my dad's wine for being thoughtless enough to tell some old people I wanted to die when I got their age. (Which is not exactly what I was saying, but I'm sure it sounded like that.)

Danny Aioli (Rock Hardy), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 00:51 (fourteen years ago) link

Too bad you didn't say quickly enough, "Oh, I figure I'd have to live at least to 90 in order to get in that many good years!"

Aimless (Aimless), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 01:09 (fourteen years ago) link

Good one!

My mother (89) has had alzheimers for about 8 years. Her body has served her well, but her brain slowly went to bits shortly after my stepfather died. Unable to manage her house anymore, my brother and I moved her to an independent living center that guaranteed access to its nursing home if and when the time came. It came about two years after the move. I live 3 hours away, but my brother lives within walking distance and visits her several times a week and we included her in family events until about a year ago when she just became unable to feel comfortable outside of her nursing home environment.

She's now almost totally deaf and has never used a hearing aid which makes any serious communication impossible. I visited last week and found her doing a crossword puzzle. We did the puzzle together for a while, but her mind kept drifting all over the place.

My wife's father (82) has Parkinson's and fell down the stairs recently. Compression fractures of three vertebrae was the diagnosis. Surgeons injected some kind of cement in his spine and he was getting about with a walker after only a few days. My wife plans to care for him in his home in the near future. He suffers from dimentia, too, but is on so many meds that I think that may be a contributing factor. This guy was an infantryman in world war II, a radio and tv personality and has had a very good life. He is loved by many people and has had countless visitors at the hospital. He is very frail now and has told me, and I'm sure others, that he knows his life is at the very end.

These are two of the coolest people that I have ever known, both with precious little time left. One knows it and one doesn't seem to. They are both receiving the best care available, but y'know sometimes that don't mean a thing. My thoughts are with all of you.

jim wentworth (wench), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 01:27 (fourteen years ago) link

five years pass...

This. Heavy shit, huh?

(✿◠‿◠) (ENBB), Monday, 20 August 2012 17:34 (eight years ago) link

yep

curmudgeon, Monday, 20 August 2012 18:31 (eight years ago) link

In darker moments, I look at my folks now (esp. my Pa who is 75 this week) and feel like the wave of their good years is just on the cusp of breaking. Not really ready for it, not at all.

that mustardless plate (Bill A), Monday, 20 August 2012 18:44 (eight years ago) link

My mothers good years are most definitely past. This has become very evident as she's staying with me for a couple days and it's totally heart breaking. Also, there's some memory loss/disorientation stuff happening that's scaring the crap out of me.

(✿◠‿◠) (ENBB), Monday, 20 August 2012 18:54 (eight years ago) link

so heavy i can't really talk about it

these albatrosses have no fear of man (La Lechera), Monday, 20 August 2012 19:00 (eight years ago) link

Yeah. I started trying to talk about it with someone at work and couldn't really hold myself together. This is really tough. :/

(✿◠‿◠) (ENBB), Monday, 20 August 2012 23:12 (eight years ago) link

Good luck Erica... luckily my parents are still mostly 'together' and my dad's problems are a result of his alcoholism rather than real mental deterioration, but it's still awful to have to deal with this stuff.

one dis leads to another (ian), Monday, 20 August 2012 23:31 (eight years ago) link

yeah i'm going through this too. all the best, E x

jed_, Monday, 20 August 2012 23:36 (eight years ago) link

and everyone else :/

jed_, Monday, 20 August 2012 23:36 (eight years ago) link

This took up took up over 10 years of my life (from 1994 - 2008 in fact). Both my parents got ill in their early to mid-seventies, and both had dementia and a pretty terrible end in a nursing home in their late seventies.

I spend most of this period visiting at weekends, and other times - and in that rather mad space where you seem cut off from the concerns of normal life, unable to relax for a minute, and living a kind of nightmare existence that no-one else around you realises. (Nothing like the horrific life of a full-time career - but bad enough).

The only thing you can say about it is that it passes, and you realise that what felt like an endless enduring period was in the end just another temporary era.

Bob Six, Monday, 20 August 2012 23:43 (eight years ago) link

Siblings help -- if you're lucky.

a regina spektor is haunting europe (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 20 August 2012 23:46 (eight years ago) link

I'm an only child. This is the only time I've ever wished I had siblings tbh.

Thanks, guys. Things are OK and we had a really nice evening. She's staying with me until she flys back to FL on Wed. Ian - alcoholism is a factor here too in addition to a lot of other things. I guess I just really feel for my dad and am really saddened by realizing that it's only going to get worse from here and I'm afraid it's going to do so pretty quickly.

(✿◠‿◠) (ENBB), Tuesday, 21 August 2012 00:10 (eight years ago) link

I feel for you, ENBB. I'm an only child too; my mom's 84 this year but still drives, takes care of her own stuff, is still sharp as ever (dad died in 2000). But I dread so deeply the coming of the signs. I can't even model it in my mind. Hugs.

Lewis Apparition (Jon Lewis), Tuesday, 21 August 2012 00:37 (eight years ago) link

my mom's 84 this year but still drives, takes care of her own stuff, is still sharp as ever

That's fantastic, good for her! Mine is 74 this year but she's an old 74 and hasn't driven in at least 5 years. Anyway, like I said, we had a lovely day today. It's just a really difficult process to watch and I worry about what will happen down the line.

(✿◠‿◠) (ENBB), Tuesday, 21 August 2012 00:53 (eight years ago) link

pullin for you E - us only children gotta stick together. this terrifies me too - and is a big part of what motivates me to do what I do now - but hopefully there will be a good, long time before anything really happens.

jack chick-fil-A (dayo), Tuesday, 21 August 2012 00:58 (eight years ago) link

You know you have my support as another only, but I'm too much of a weakling to talk about this stuff
In earnest
In public
Beyond this

But you know where to find me offboard if you wanna talk!!

these albatrosses have no fear of man (La Lechera), Tuesday, 21 August 2012 01:57 (eight years ago) link

i will say that my mom is pretty damn sharp in mind, but whenever i visit, i insist on driving EVERYWHERE. her driving scares the bejesus out of me, don't understand how she hasn't had her license taken away. and it only gets worse as she gets older.

for reasons of sass (the table is the table), Tuesday, 21 August 2012 05:28 (eight years ago) link

yeah driving is often the "tipping point" of aging parents decline. really hard to give up.

my heart goes out to enbb,la lechera, ian and everybody facing this. all my middle-aged friends have ailing/aging parents right now, you guys are confronting it early like i did. these days my father in law is essentially dying, i was going to post this on the fuck cancer thread but it fits here too. he's 84, until a couple years ago was robust mentally and physically, the picture of how you'd hope to age. so it's shocking to see his rapid decline not just bodily but he's become very confused and withdrawn, barely a shell of his former self. chemotherapy is keeping him alive but at what cost? we just had our annual visit and my wife, her mom (who's a rock) and her two siblings are stressed out and struggling. not much else to say. but it's good to talk about it, in fact it's important for your - our - own mental health to let it out.

(REAL NAME) (m coleman), Tuesday, 21 August 2012 09:39 (eight years ago) link

My dad had the driving decision taken out of his hands as he went blind in one eye at the start of the year, but he was getting to be quite a dangerous driver before than (he's 80) so we're really quite glad about it.

ailsa, Tuesday, 21 August 2012 09:54 (eight years ago) link

even though she knows she needs them, my mom refuses to get glasses because she thinks that they make her face look weird
she lives in fear of having her driver's license taken away from her because she is a very independent person and likes her alone time
:(

these albatrosses have no fear of man (La Lechera), Tuesday, 21 August 2012 13:24 (eight years ago) link

My mother-in-law has had quite serious dementia for the past six years or so. This started when she was in her early-to-mid 60s - one of the first events that really got us thinking that something was up was when she drove her car the wrong way round a large roundabout into oncoming traffic. At the moment she lives in a nursing home as is pretty much just a shell of her former self - she doesn't even know who her children are any more when they come to visit, but thankfully she does still appreciate the company which at least is one small positive that you can take away. Totally depressing though, so for anyone out there who is dealing with this right now, I can totally sympathise.

mod night at the oasis (NickB), Tuesday, 21 August 2012 13:35 (eight years ago) link

My mom, turning 80 next month, has been fighting the decline, bless her. Joined the hospital wellness center, has been selling and giving away decades' worth of my dad's accumulated packratcrap, still gets out there and mows her own lawn, etc. Next week she, my daughter and probably my wife are heading off to Biloxi to the casinos. But the decline is there...bad knees, bad feet, diabetes... My sympathies to everyone having a tough go of it these days.

Romney's Kitchen Nightmares (WmC), Tuesday, 21 August 2012 13:45 (eight years ago) link

My mum (68) has been dealing with my gran (88) for a long time; my gran has alzheimers. About six months ago she finally got her moved to a nursing home in the same town (200 miles from where my gran was before). Only now is she at the point where she can see any humour in the situation, which results in Facebook messages like this from my mum:

Today's visit to your gran!

G. (after a bit of mumbling and searching for words) Are you my daughter?

Me. Yes.

Gr. Are you really my daughter?

Me. Yes.

Gr. I can't remember. Am I your mother?

Me. Yes.

Gr. Where did we live?

So I started giving her a potted history of our life.

GR. How do you know you're my daughter?

A bit later on....

Gr, Haven't I got nice legs!

She thought it was quite funny that she couldn't remember things; seemed very happy and settled. The staff bore this out.

Sick Mouthy (Scik Mouthy), Tuesday, 21 August 2012 14:11 (eight years ago) link

three months pass...

My mom and grandma live together with mom's "girlfriend", and I moved to be closer to them and my terminally ill Dad (they were separated). Grandma is sharp as a tack and well into her 90s. Of course I love Grandma, but mom is making seeing Grandma a miserable experience.

Like I said elsewhere she is getting into that old people thing of being passive-aggressive. I know I called her a "fascist" I didn't mean it, it's that her emotional state is kind of fascist.

It's her stupid family. She wasn't raised by her own mother, she was raised by her abusive and creepy grandmother and aunt and it really shows in how she deals with stuff like death and adult responsibilities.

If anything difficult happens in her life - death or whatever - she just escapes mentally. Her mom's family had a lot of money and stuff was handled for her all her life!! She doesn't understand why other people don't have it as easy. Because of her family, she feels she has a lot of power and I can't ever suspect her of having mental problems EVER.

six months pass...

My mom gave up driving last month. Kinda shocked, but pleased that she came to the decision herself. She's 88 and is in reasonably good health for her age - despite the piles of crap that she's hoarded (ongoing issue for her entire life). Sister is gone for several weeks so I'm on mom duty... it's extra frustrating because her hearing is so bad that she leaves the televisions on with the sound maxed-out and she can't hear the phone.

Vexing problem of the moment... Her sense of time and calendar dates are slipping, so making plans becomes a comedy of errors ("stop by this week" *does so* "what are you doing here, I said to come by next week") ad infinitum ad nauseum

Elvis Telecom, Monday, 1 July 2013 23:40 (seven years ago) link

wow, that sounds like a serious challenge. i'm sorry. i have this thread bookmarked and it popped up just as my parents arrived yesterday for their first visit in 3 years. they are aging. my mom is in great shape (in spite of some health issues this year) but my dad keeps looking and acting less like himself, which is thrown into stark relief when we look at old pictures together.

hmph.

free your spirit pig (La Lechera), Tuesday, 2 July 2013 14:15 (seven years ago) link

I am going to visit my parents this weekend and I think that I'm actually going to have to ask them point blank what they want me to do for them if they ever get dementia or need care etc. My mom is in bad shape and her memory is already slipping and my biggest fear is that my dad dies first (though this is prob unlikely you never know) and I'm left to make decisions for/about her. I want to know now and while I know she's not going to want to talk about this I'm going to make them because I'm an only child and they have no other relatives here to help and I can't handle the stress and weight of this alone without knowing what they want.

Airwrecka Bliptrap Blapmantis (ENBB), Tuesday, 2 July 2013 14:19 (seven years ago) link

Just to share my own personal woes on this thread --

My father nearly died last week; he collapsed on his way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. The ambulance came and got him to a hospital and it turned out he had two massive ulcers in his stomach and large intestine. This comes about 6 weeks after a surgery to biopsy a growth in his spinal cord.

Yesterday morning, recovering from the emergency surgery to stitch up the ulcers, he had a major heart attack and is in the hospital with a breathing tube, heavily sedated etc. On our way up to Rhode Island yesterday our van broke down on the Triboro Bridge -- shocks gave out and started to rub against the front tires, causing lots of burnt rubber smoke. We got it towed back to your neighborhood (luckily we weren't halfway through connecticut) and it's going to be repaired this afternoon, $800 later. I'm incredibly worried about my dad. The doctors are not sure how to treat him; they can't give him the usual blood thinners and medications because of the ulcers and recent surgery. I wish so badly I was there. And now I'm worried about the drive up, even though the car is getting fixed, I have a strong distrust of automobiles... Just don't know what to do. It's bad when my aunt is telling me to go straight to the hospital and bring his 'paperwork' (read: living will.)

So scared :\

i guess i'd just rather listen to canned heat? (ian), Tuesday, 2 July 2013 17:06 (seven years ago) link

I'm sorry to hear all of that.

Tottenham Heelspur (in orbit), Tuesday, 2 July 2013 17:37 (seven years ago) link

me too. suerte, ian.

free your spirit pig (La Lechera), Tuesday, 2 July 2013 18:41 (seven years ago) link

mookie I help ppl navigate stuff like this ^^^ for a living so feel free to hit me up.

unlikely she will be admitted into hospital. possibly a shot at a rehab stay.

mom tossed in kimchee (quincie), Thursday, 7 May 2020 22:25 (eight months ago) link

two months pass...

moving this off the Covid 19 thread, but:

My parents are fascinating in the age of Covid. Dismissing / minimizing the pandemic is a point of pride for them, even though they're clearly terrified of it (when they remember it exists).

They are old New England Quakers, and emotionally/physically closed off in the Robert Frost mode They do not have friends. They do not have a TV, and probably can't get on the internet Their parents all stayed healthy until their 90s, or dropped off suddenly due to rapid illness, and so my mom/dad have no idea what normal aging looks like. Each ailment and infirmity is Just An Unbearable Tragedy to them, and perpetually unexpected. My dad bought five new cell phones last year 'because all the earpieces are too quiet.' Each time, I pointed out that the phone was fine and he couldn't hear well any more. I kept suggesting the audiologist. After returning phone number six, dad became really teary/upset and said he wondered if there was something wrong with his ears. One night he undertook an exploration with a q-tip that required an urgent care visit and antibiotics, and ... then had a very teary breakdown about how Awful Old Age Is, and Out of Nowhere He's Deaf. (He's not deaf. He's got age-related hearing loss, and he doesn't like most of what people around him say, so he ignores it).

So what's a coronavirus to them?

rb (soda), Wednesday, 22 July 2020 18:24 (six months ago) link

I think I'm finally ready to bite the bullet and coerce my mom into moving into a retirement home. Worse period ever to do this, I know, but she's been in and out of ERs for the last 6 months because she's basically unfit to live on her own (although she has someone coming most days to check in on her). Now, given how lost she is mentally, I figure I could somehow lie to her and pretend I'm stationing her into a "hotel" for a while, while i look for a new house for her. A bit shitty but oh well

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Thursday, 30 July 2020 17:26 (five months ago) link

My dad bought five new cell phones last year 'because all the earpieces are too quiet.'

My mum went through God knows how many phones she couldn't hear - not cell phones, she never worked out how to use them.

Sonny Shamrock (Tom D.), Thursday, 30 July 2020 18:17 (five months ago) link

Having now seen many people age and die, there is generally a goodly lag time between losing an ability and starting to see oneself as someone who has lost that ability. I expect I will not be much different. Like most old people, I'll complain that nothing is as good as it used to be and then blame externalities for it.

the unappreciated charisma of cows (Aimless), Thursday, 30 July 2020 19:03 (five months ago) link

Is it true of most old people? I don't know. When my hairline started to go, I didn't attempt a comb-over. I shaved it, and cut it short, and said 'well, hell, that was the part of my life where I had hair. I enjoyed it.' i think it has to do with attitude and comfort with change and, inevitably, death... i'm pretty cool with it.

rb (soda), Thursday, 30 July 2020 19:24 (five months ago) link

Currently, nothing is as good as it used to be, so make hay.

Steppin' RZA (sic), Thursday, 30 July 2020 19:34 (five months ago) link

three weeks pass...

I have been redo-ing my will and trust, worried about covid-19. I have been thinking about my parents, who are both now dead, and about who I want as my heirs and about my eventual death and burial

My parents were so much older than me that they almost felt like grandparents. When I graduated from catholic grade school they wouldn’t allow me go to the catholic high school I so wanted to attend to be with my best friend, but insisted that I attend the local public high school instead. I guess in retrospect that was a good decision.

Dan S, Wednesday, 26 August 2020 01:15 (four months ago) link

Although all of my other siblings went to a local state university I selfishly demanded that they allow me to attend the college of my choice despite the financial burden it was for them. They acquiesced. I know how much of a sacrifice they made to allow me to do it

Dan S, Wednesday, 26 August 2020 01:22 (four months ago) link

My parents had big dreams for me but they never pushed me, they just showed their love and were happy for my accomplishments. When I think about that I am so forever grateful.

Dan S, Wednesday, 26 August 2020 01:23 (four months ago) link

My mother died of Alzheimers after 10 years of decline. She was mute for most of the last several years of her life. When she died it was hard for me not to visualize her as an Alzheimers patient.

In the years since though that has faded away and I have come to remember her as she was, the person I loved the most in my life

Dan S, Wednesday, 26 August 2020 02:00 (four months ago) link

Same. Although she is still alive and we have fallen out and probably won't be alive for long, which is a problem.

Thanks for those posts. Say as much as you want to. I don't know what to say or ask yet. All the best, Dan.

Gerneten-flüken cake (jed_), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 02:20 (four months ago) link

I had big issues with my mother over my being gay and she being a hardcore catholic, but recommend that everyone reconciles with their mother before she dies

Dan S, Wednesday, 26 August 2020 02:35 (four months ago) link

three months pass...

RIP Dad. My father had a massive heart attack Saturday at 90. He was mentally sharp to the end, using Venmo, ordering groceries for he and Mom online, following jazz and other music ( and discussing it with me as well as sometimes reminiscing about his days in NYC jazz clubs in the late 49s and 50s plus his days working in his dad’s NYC deli). He was very happy to see Biden win, and donated to various causes like HIAS ( who helped his Dad immigrate to America). He also helped my Mom. I miss him so

https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/washingtonpost/obituary.aspx?n=victor-kiviat&pid=197155285&fhid=2205

curmudgeon, Friday, 27 November 2020 11:32 (one month ago) link

I’m so sorry curmudgeon.

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Friday, 27 November 2020 11:42 (one month ago) link

I'm sorry for your loss, Curm. The obituary reads like he had a fully lived life, something to be very proud of.

A Scampo Darkly (Le Bateau Ivre), Friday, 27 November 2020 11:44 (one month ago) link

So sorry to hear that, my friend, my condolences. Sounds like your dad was a great guy, I loved reading about him (I am assuming you wrote that.)

Robert Gotopieces (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 27 November 2020 11:51 (one month ago) link

Love to you and yours, curmudgeon!

healthy cocaine off perfect butts (the table is the table), Friday, 27 November 2020 12:18 (one month ago) link

Adding to the best wishes and sympathy for all. Clearly a remarkable man.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 27 November 2020 13:41 (one month ago) link

Thanks for the kind words. I wrote the obituary with some help from my mom, plus my siblings and our respective spouses.

curmudgeon, Friday, 27 November 2020 14:03 (one month ago) link

I'm sorry for your loss, curmudgeon.

Brad C., Friday, 27 November 2020 16:41 (one month ago) link

May his memory be for a blessing

is right unfortunately (silby), Friday, 27 November 2020 16:51 (one month ago) link

Amen to all of that!

dow, Friday, 27 November 2020 17:03 (one month ago) link

My sincere condolences, curmudgeon.

pomenitul, Friday, 27 November 2020 20:40 (one month ago) link

Sorry to hear, curmudgeon.

a certain derecho (brownie), Friday, 27 November 2020 22:24 (one month ago) link

Best wishes for you and your family, curmudgeon

Lover of Nixon (or LON for short) (Neanderthal), Friday, 27 November 2020 22:40 (one month ago) link

I have sympathy for you. I hope you will be OK.

Christine Green Leafy Dragon Indigo, Saturday, 28 November 2020 02:54 (one month ago) link

very sorry man. it's rough as hell

mookieproof, Saturday, 28 November 2020 02:57 (one month ago) link

very sorry curmudgeon. it's a lovely obit. sounds like it would have been great to chat w/your dad about music or basketball or any number of topics.

call all destroyer, Saturday, 28 November 2020 03:22 (one month ago) link

Love to you, curmudgeon. Your father sounds like my kinda guy x

Gerneten-flüken cake (jed_), Saturday, 28 November 2020 03:40 (one month ago) link

Thanks to all of you for the kind words

curmudgeon, Saturday, 28 November 2020 05:35 (one month ago) link

so sorry curmudgeon, thinking of you and yours x

boxedjoy, Saturday, 28 November 2020 08:34 (one month ago) link

My deepest condolences. Sending love and strength. He sounds like a wonderful Dad.

SQUIRREL MEAT!! (Capitaine Jay Vee), Saturday, 28 November 2020 10:03 (one month ago) link

Sorry for your loss, curmudgeon

Clean-up on ILX (onimo), Saturday, 28 November 2020 10:07 (one month ago) link

my condolences, curmudgeon. sending you strength to cope with your loss.

Running up that hill but fleeting (a deal with Gop) (breastcrawl), Saturday, 28 November 2020 14:47 (one month ago) link

So sorry, curm

kinder, Saturday, 28 November 2020 18:30 (one month ago) link

one month passes...

how can you tell how serious an ailment is when the person ailing can barely speak?

Dad fell the other day (as I mentioned in the other thread), and we finally have a wheelchair due this week. since then, yesterday, he has vaguely complained of pain around the sternum, but when asked has said it's not 'chest pain'. originally he said "2" when we asked on scale of 1-10, but last night seemed to be worse. might be related to fall - I've had muscle strains in that area before.

he has a PCP appointment next week anyway, but mom and I are thinking of taking him to another doc a few days earlier if it doesn't get better. we're wary of running to the ER every time he has anything wrong. could also be related to the hernia, perhaps?

we've tried framing questions he can reply "yes or no" to to get an idea of pain severity but the problem is that's us framing it and he also lies sometimes.

live-in nurse has to be around the corner, well obv not 'live-in' due to COVID, more like 24-hour nurse services.

i'm just mentally drained - I feel like any time I leave the house to do anything I'm always worried about what happens when I'm gone. I know i'm just one person and that's foolish but given this last year I'm superstitious as hell. every time I leave town I usually tell my brother and/or my best friend in case they can be 'on call' if something happens, though both have their own lives too.

Looking for Cape Penis house (Neanderthal), Monday, 4 January 2021 15:29 (three weeks ago) link

My very elderly parents (93 & 83) in England have just been booked for their first Covid vaccine dose on Saturday.

Ward Fowler, Monday, 4 January 2021 15:32 (three weeks ago) link

that's fantastic! glad to hear that.

Looking for Cape Penis house (Neanderthal), Monday, 4 January 2021 15:34 (three weeks ago) link

Thanks Neanderthal, and best of luck with your father.

Ward Fowler, Monday, 4 January 2021 15:35 (three weeks ago) link

Hope it goes well, Ward and Neanderthal.

xyzzzz__, Monday, 4 January 2021 15:41 (three weeks ago) link

Mom back in hospital for the second time in less than a month due to what is now being called a Klebsiella pneumoniae infection in her urinary tract.

She's immunocompromised, has a permanent ileostomy, probably drinks too much, and only takes baths rather than showers. Perfect storm... More worried about her being in hospital than getting over this infection, tbh.

"Bi" Dong A Ban He Try (the table is the table), Monday, 4 January 2021 16:23 (three weeks ago) link

how can you tell how serious an ailment is when the person ailing can barely speak?

^ This is the story of half of my life. All you can do is try. For pain, the best non-verbal clues are facial expressions and reflex actions. They don't lie.

Respectfully Yours, (Aimless), Monday, 4 January 2021 19:08 (three weeks ago) link

Yea he winced last night as dead giveaway.

Looking for Cape Penis house (Neanderthal), Monday, 4 January 2021 19:45 (three weeks ago) link

how can you tell how serious an ailment is when the person ailing can barely speak?

In hospice we used PAINAD: https://geriatricpain.org/assessment/cognitively-impaired/pain-assessment-advanced-dementia-painad-instructions

mom tossed in kimchee (quincie), Monday, 4 January 2021 20:56 (three weeks ago) link

thanks!

Looking for Cape Penis house (Neanderthal), Monday, 4 January 2021 20:57 (three weeks ago) link

^this turned out to be nothing. thanks again for link.

kinda feel like we're at a crossroads. my mother has plantar fasciitis in her foot that isn't improving, and a bad neck and back. I have a worsening back, though mine's better than my mother's. lifting dad from a sitting position if needed is easy, but the last time he fell, I hurt my back lifting him and it didn't feel well for days (it's back to normal now).

i'm not good w/ wet nurse type functions, but can help him onto and off of the toilet, and do just about everything else. but she doesn't let me - half the time I start doing things like helping my dad up, she tries to join and I have to shoo her away - "LET ME DO THIS!". not just because i don't want her hurting herself, but because it's a lot harder for me to help dad up if someone else is trying to grab hold of him as well.

we have Home Health Care coming starting again tomorrow, though I'm not sure what for (bathing? physical therapy?), and apparently we're looking into additional support, but I'm not sure what. but I don't know how long we can try to do it without more frequent nurse support or....assisted living. which is both expensive and also not something we want to do with our beloved paps.

one of you told me to take time for myself in another thread. Lord I'm tryyying. occasionally succeeding. but I just feel guilty any time I'm doing anything as simple as sitting on the couch watching tv.

people always ask where my brother is in all this, well, I've been lenient with him because a) he lives with his girlfriend, and b) works full-time and is about 20+ miles away, and c) works at a theme park so until they're fully vaxxed, kind of a risk. beginning to think I am going to ask him to try and show up once a week. the problem is....he gets mom stressed out, he tries to help but ultimately seems to want more to tell her how to do things rather than trying to help offer support with what she's alraedy doing. so I'd have to set ground rules because him getting her upset is a deal breaker. he doesn't do it on purpose, he's just....the type of needly person that sometimes frustrates his folks.

idk - I'm not MEGA stressed out about it or anything , just trying to think aloud.

Looking for Cape Penis house (Neanderthal), Wednesday, 13 January 2021 17:33 (one week ago) link

sorry to hear. I think now is the time to be looking at your options though because I've known so many people struggle doing it themselves for far too long. Your brother should be contributing to this process too imo - if you start off with you researching and making all the decisions he'll carry on leaving it up to you I suspect.

kinder, Wednesday, 13 January 2021 19:05 (one week ago) link

yeah plus honestly he's just like that in general. i'm gonna talk to him this week and see what we maybe can work out.

Looking for Cape Penis house (Neanderthal), Wednesday, 13 January 2021 19:17 (one week ago) link

we're getting some temporary help in the form of physical, speech, and occupational therapists coming by the house, as well as a nurse to come help bathe dad.

his vitals still are just fine. his oxygen's great, blood pressure is the lowest in the entire family. he also still laughs at dirty jokes.

looked at cost of assisted living. holy fuck....i do well but not well enough to afford that. so this bandaid solution will do for a while.

still, glad to have this help for my mother!

Looking for Cape Penis house (Neanderthal), Monday, 18 January 2021 17:19 (one week ago) link


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