My dad will be 82 in August and has always been a strong, healthy, man. On Father's Day he became very ill and had to be taken to the hospital. He had major surgury to remove part of his intestines, which had twisted and blocked. During the surgury, he suffered a mild stroke. Physically, he's come a long way, from being critical, to being well enough to be discharged from the hospital, and admitted to re-hab, where the therapists and nursing staff are wonderful...But, there's a problem. He's refusing to cooperate. He won't eat his meals, he won't drink, which is causing him to become dehydrated, he argues with the nurses about going to physical therapy, taking a shower, taking his meds, etc. etc. I have no idea what to do. We have a family meeting tomorrow, our first, since he's only been in re-hab for a few days, and I just have a feeling that they will tell us that if he refuses help, he will have to leave. I've tried talking to him about it, but he gets very arguementative. He's convinced he's right. This is his personality, magnified 100 times over, because of the stroke, I'm sure. This stroke hasn't affected him physically, he is equally strong on each side, is up walking with a walker, only a couple of weeks after major surgery, but the mental part will be his downfall. I'm terrified of what will happen if we are forced to take him out of re-hab before he is physically strong enough to help himself. He is a big man, 6'4, 290 lbs., and there is no way I can physically help him. I also wonder if he will be mentally clear enough to live alone, as he has for the last 3 years since my mom died. I know he would never come and live with me. I've tentively brought it up, and he flat out said "no". I guess I'm just looking for some suggestions, or maybe a little reassurance. I know things like this happen to people all the time. I wish I knew what to do. Thank you for any thoughts or suggestions.
Talk to the doctor, there are many meds available to help people be a little more calm. I do not believe in sedating people, but, sometimes a little something will help a person cope better.
Your dad will need to regain all his strength and his mental clear up before he can live alone.
Think long and hard about taking him home with you. It is not easy to take care of someone like your dad. He probably will need constant supervision which means you will be chained to the house. I have been there, done that and lost my health as a result. Thought I was doing the right thing to take care of my sweet mother-in-law but it does not always work out like you think it will. They end up taking their frustrations out on those the closest to them.
Thanks, Misty, for your reply. We have our first family meeting this morning, and I will certainly ask the doctors about possible medications that may help my dad. I also thought seriously about what you said concerning taking my dad in to live with me. I guess I was only concerned about doing the right thing for him, and not really considering what I would be doing to myself. I work full time, and really can't afford to quit my job. I would have to pay someone to stay with my dad during the day, which would kind of defeat the purpose of my working, since caregivers are so expensive. I've also talked to others who are taking care of aging parents, and they have all advised against it. I feel horrible because it just seems like what we are "supposed" to do, but if I were the aging parent, I wouldn't want to be a burden on anyone. Everyone who has had a parent/older person move in with them has said pretty much what you just did. That you become chained to the house. They've also told me that they, themselves, have become very depressed. I'm now trying to find other options as to his care. I've heard of assisted living programs, where individuals come in and live with the patient, but I have no idea where to begin to look. Thank you again for your response. You've certainly given me a different outlook on my situation.