Hello, I am hoping someone out there can give me some good advice! My father has deteriorated rapidly in the past few months and is now in a nursing home. His condition keeps going up and down, but he seems to be "better" lately, as in, more "with it." Unfortunately, it means that he seems to realize how bad he is. My visit with him today was heartbreaking for me. He doesn't remember my visits, which is normal, but I don't know how to calm him. He kept saying over and over that he "just wants his girls." I tell him that even if he can't remember, my sister and I visit and just know that. Later, he started talking about how he wished he were dead and the nursing home ruined his life. It breaks my heart because he pretty much realizes he can't go back to his old life. I know to try and change the subject, but it didn't work so well. He wasn't even listening to me and kept saying the same things, like, "I want my girls." I can't calm him; I can't spend our entire visit by saying the same things over and over again. Or, I don't know, maybe I have to? I literally don't know what to say to him and it's SUCH a struggle to not cry when he cries because I don't want him to see me upset. I have no idea how to entertain him, or keep him happy. I thought about bringing him some small toys or something, but I don't think he'd pick them up. I know this is a loosing battle, I just hope someone might have some good advice for me. I appreciate any help!
i so know what you are going through. i try to make my mother laugh as much as i can. i do listen to her complaints and i can change the subject, but she will go back within 5 min. bring pictues, stuffed animals, magazines etc. try to get him to engage in any activity they offer. dont cry in front of him because it only makes things worse. try to get his mind focused if you can on whats going on in our county or other people. it sometimes works and sometimes it really doesnt. can you bring him his favorite food? i am new to this so i mite not be correct in my answers. post again
Does he have a CD player? YOu can bring him someof his favorite music. Does he like to be outside? You may be able to take him for a walk outdoors. Food is always good. Some aftershave, and then tell him how good he smells? Pictures of earlier times? something he can do for you ... like fold his wash, even if it was already folded .. mess it up and ask him to please fold it?
Anything that makes him feel normal and useful .. keep trying, you'll get the hang of it.
What your father realizes is that life is not like his head tells him it should be. There are times Dad talks about his girls, but they are no in their 50's. They are children he needs to take care of. We have to be careful when he talks about Mom to determine if it is our mother or his mother. It is not the place that is the problem...
Mom is the one that sounds more like your Dad. Always wanting to go home, swears there is nothing wrong with her but the place she is in. She does repeat the same thing over and over... the same story, the same questions, the same comments. If that is where they are you just answer it until they are satisfied. It is what they need.
I do try to be cheerful when I am there. They do pick up on your emotions. I always bring some "gift". Dad loves cookies and Mom is a sucker for those little key lime pies. Mom adores flowers and thinks it is just grand when I bring her a new shirt or sweater. Underware for both even worked on one visit. There is a jigsaw puzzle on a card table. Mom's not very good at putting it together but it's a conversation piece when company is there. She will sit and finger the pieces while we put it together. When we are down to one or two pieces... we leave those out. Mom will put them in an proclaim that she did the entire puzzle
Music is wonderful. I have even gotten my Dad to dance with me a few times. We tease him about his singing and he sings louder. Sometimes I can get them interested in a story on TV or a newpaper article. You keep trying into you find something the spurs his interest.
And sometimes nothing works. On those down days when Mom is aggitated and Dad is aggitated at her there is not much joy..... during those times I affirm her feelings. It is difficult to be taken out of the life you have always know. I will say.... I know you are not happy today and for that I am sorry. Then ask her if she will take a walk with me. Perhaps some sunshine will make the day a little brighter. Yes, I can repeat something similar just as often as she can repeat her woes. Each is a new conversation for her.
It will get easier as time goes on. You will figure out what works and what doesn't. A question..... is he on any medication for depression? It might be helpful at least in the interim until he becomes more adjusted to his new surroundings.
Sorry you needed to find up but glad you did. Drag up a tall cold drink and stay a while This is a great place for experiences, empathy, sympathy, and understanding. We are all there, been there, or going there.....
I'm sorry your dad is having such a hard time of it. It's a common side effect, but even so I would speak to his doctor about it. If he isn't on something for his depression-and that is what it sounds like he has-I would ask the doctor to prescribe something for it. There are several mild meds out that will give you your daddy back. It is common for the elderly to suffer from depression when they are in homes or when they suffer from this dreaded disease. But please ask the doctor about it. There is no reason for him not to have something to lift his spirits so he isn't so miserable.
Thank you all for your advice and support! I so appreciate it...I think the key is for me to talk about my childhood. I didn't think about it yesterday and my mom suggested it. I do try to talk about what's happening with the family. Unfortunately, even before his sharp decline, he stopped watching TV, which is all he did. He'd stare at it, but I knew nothing was registering. So, TV, magazines, etc. are out. I don't even think he could register looking at an old family picture. But, music is a good idea...maybe we can get him a mp3 player he won't break and will play constantly. He really can't do anything. We're excited that he can finally pick up a cup and feed himself something to drink! That's about all he can do...He is confined to a wheelchair and cannot go outside. The medications are constantly being changed- he was in the hospital for 3 months to regulate them before he moved to the nursing home. I know he was on an anti-depressant....but- great ideas here. I bring my dog sometimes and they are very close! I didn't bring her yesterday, but maybe I always should. I thought about bringing him a stuffed dog- he has always loved animals. Thank you all so much and if anyone has any other suggestions, please share!