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Thread: Those who deal with aging parent issues. Please help me.

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    #1

    Help Those who deal with aging parent issues. Please help me.

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    I'm sorry, I know I don't post on here a whole lot. I'm more of a stalker. Its hard for me to fit in with groups. But I very much enjoy reading the threads.

    I also want to apologize now because this is going to be a little long. But any advise is going to be appreciated. Or maybe just hugs. Here goes....

    My grandad is 80. He raised me when my dad was absent, so he was more of a dad than my own dad. He's lived with my mom for years and as time has gone by he's needed more and more care from her. Nothing unmanageable, we just made sure he took his meds on time, that he went to his doctors appointments, mom managed his finances, made sure he showered and had clean clothes.

    About two weeks ago he fell while shopping at home depot and hit his head. A CT revealed that he had a significant brain bleed. It did not require surgery, but long story short it's left him in a state of what I would compare to moderate alzheimers. He can no longer walk, feed himself, stay awake for long periods of time, or remember anyone by name.

    We now have him in a skilled nursing facility which is similar to a nursing home, but they provide occupational and physical therapy. We are hoping that he may regain some cognitive skills.

    We visit every day. We read to him, bring him pastries from panera, help him drink a cup of coffee. Some days he wakes up enough for the short visit, other days he snoozes in his wheelchair and we just sit with him. But every day we must leave him there. Every day we have to look in his eyes and see how sad and defeated he looks. Pale blue eyes the color of the blue sky, once so full of laughter and love, now look sad and lonely. It breaks me every single time. I cry myself to sleep most every night. Most every day I feel like I've failed him in some way. Did we love him enough? Does he know how much we love him?

    Even if he regains some level of what he once was, we will never be able to bring him home. We will not be able to provide the level of care he will need. Nor can we afford a live in nurse. But we know that in a nursing home he will wither away. Without his beautiful gardens, without his cat, without his greenhouse, without all the little projects he did throughout the day.....he will die of misery.

    We all feel so lost. Has anyone been through anything similar to this? What were your ways of coping? How did you make the hard decisions?

    Thank you so much for any words of wisdom.
    Last edited by Whe24; 04-29-2012 at 04:06 PM. Reason: speeling
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    #2


    That's our fear about my Gramma as well. Right now she's still mobile but it's difficult for my aunt and I because she's not herself anymore. The worst times are when she is herself and she realizes that things are different.

    My aunt plans to continue taking care of her at home as long as possible. It's really difficult and I don't think everyone realizes how lucky we are that she is willing and able to do so. It's an immense amount of work and she doesn't get enough sleep.

    I didn't understand the part about moving him home. Can you afford an at-home caretaker? They are expensive, from what I hear.
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    thank you for the hugs.

    No, we cannot afford an in home nurse. There just isn't money for that. There is a small sum of money of his that we are trying to be very careful with how we spend.

    My mother travels for work, and I work ridiculous night hours at the hospital. And even if we COULD work out a schedule between us to take care of him, I just don't think we are mentally capable of handling some of the things he will need done.
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    #4
    Try to accept that you have done what is in his best interest. More than likely he doesn't realize exactly where he is and you are just feeling your own guilt. Think back to the wonderful memories you share and ask yourself " would he want me to be tearing myself apart because of something I had no control over?" if he loved you as much as you love him, I highly doubt he would tell you anything other than " thank you for all the years/memories/love we shared. This was not your fault. I love you and thank you for caring".

    Give yourself a break. You've done what you are capable of.

    Have you taken photos albums or made a collage of photos to hang in his room? Sometimes that brings comfort to those with short term memory loss.
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    It takes strength to acknowledge the truth of the situation. You're looking out for the best for your family, and sometimes that isn't clear cut.

    Does the care home allow you to take him on excursions?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayo View Post
    Try to accept that you have done what is in his best interest. More than likely he doesn't realize exactly where he is and you are just feeling your own guilt. Think back to the wonderful memories you share and ask yourself " would he want me to be tearing myself apart because of something I had no control over?" if he loved you as much as you love him, I highly doubt he would tell you anything other than " thank you for all the years/memories/love we shared. This was not your fault. I love you and thank you for caring".

    Give yourself a break. You've done what you are capable of.

    Have you taken photos albums or made a collage of photos to hang in his room? Sometimes that brings comfort to those with short term memory loss.
    Thank you, and you're right I think. I think he would want me to remember all the great things we did together and not dwell on all the sadness we are dealing with today.

    We have brought up a few pictures and hung them on the tack board in his room. But that's a really good idea about making a book with photos. Maybe it could trigger an old memory and it would get him talking a little. He's so quite. Even when he's awake, he doesn't say much.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lychee View Post


    It takes strength to acknowledge the truth of the situation. You're looking out for the best for your family, and sometimes that isn't clear cut.

    Does the care home allow you to take him on excursions?
    Thank you. Nope, no excursions. At least not right now. Maybe down the road we could look more into that. He LOVED going to Panera everyday. they knew him by name there. And its right around the corner from where he's staying. It might be nice just to be able to take him out for an hour just to get a little snack at his favorite place.
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    #7
    "You will never completely be at home again because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of knowing and loving people in more than one place."

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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Redchicken View Post
    Thank you!
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    #9
    I worked in a memory care unit and for our residents we had memory boxes and when they would look through them it would make their day. Pictures and happy memories do make a difference! Just like Jayo suggested a collage, they are great

    Lots and lots of and prayers for you and your family.

    Is there any way the state can help? I am a private caregiver and the state helps out a lot of our clients.
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    #10
    I just want to say that your post made me cry, in a good way, if that's possible. I'm dealing with something similar right now. For my mom and I, it's my dad. The last few weeks have changed our lives a lot. Watching my dad's stature lessen so quickly, so prematurely...has been breaking my heart daily. My friends used to joke with me that my dad had a "Darth Vador" voice because it was so deep and loud. His laugh would seemingly PHYSICALLY fill up a room. Now, he spends much of his time sleeping, weak and dizzy. His spirit has not recovered from his (now 5) hospital stays this year.

    TBH, I don't try to stop the grieving process. I turn to music. I turn to laughter. I try to lift him up whenever we visit, and remind him that this is not his time to go. I can't fight for him, so I just try to encourage him to fight. My dad is 59.

    PM me anytime!
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