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Old 10-29-2007, 06:43 AM   #1
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open_the_door HB User
Aging Parents

I saw my father-in-law yesterday for the first time as a really old, old man. I helped take care of him, and it just hit me. He is still married to my mother-in-law, and has been very independent. Lately his health has been going down hill, and he has always taken care of everything and done everything(his wife is very helpless at times)I myself have children and am very busy, and husband is away due to the "War in Iraq". Does anyone here have aging parents that they take care of, or are in a current situation as mine.

I hope and pray that is current situation gets better. I feel helpless because I have so much to do myself.

 
Old 11-21-2007, 09:49 PM   #2
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annas479 HB User
Exclamation Re: Aging Parents

I think I can relate to what you're feeling. My husband and I take care of my mother-in-law, who is 90 years old and still lives alone. All her life, she's been very independent and sharp-witted. She's been a widow for the past 15+ years and in reasonably good health, considering. She has a pacemaker and asthma, which is well-controlled with medications. She broke her tailbone 5 yrs. ago, but it's healed up well and gives her no trouble.

She became 'visually impaired' 3 years ago, forcing her to stop driving. Ever since, I've been her chauffer everywhere she goes. I don't mind, because it saves us a lot of worry about her driving around. Understandably, she has declined steadily in her mental status & memory for the past few years. I manage her medications & dr. appts., but because she insists on living alone and trying to do some things for herself, she has made some dangerous mistakes - like mixing up her meds, too much self-medication, etc. As you can imagine, it scares the heck out of us. I also do all her shopping, manage her financial affairs, etc. We live 10 miles from her, in the next town. We can't move closer to her because of my husband's illness/disabilities. And she refuses to let anyone else help her - paid help or otherwise.

We're well aware that she also falls sometimes, and has other problems that she will not admit. She always has an explanation for bruises, scrapes. Since the broken tailbone 5 yrs. ago, she won't call us when she needs us. I've spoken to her dr. about all of this, and he asked her if any of it is true. Naturally, she denied it all. So he just dropped the subject and doesn't seem a bit concerned!

I know she's afraid we'll "stick her in the nursing home", despite all the reassurances we've given her that we will NOT do that to her. She's financially well-off, can easily afford a nice assisted-living facility, or at least some good paid staff. I think she's just afraid that someone, anyone, will see that she is no longer able to live alone. On the other hand, there are more & more days that she says to us, "I don't understand why I'm still here. Why doesn't the Lord just take me home?" She's outlived ALL her family, except her only son, (my husband) and grandchildren.

I can only imagine how hard it must be for anyone to admit to themselves that they need help for simple tasks and daily functioning. But we're scared to death that one day we'll arrive to find her on the floor, out cold. We see her everyday, she has LifeAlert, but that's not always enough.

You didn't say how old your father-in-law is. Has he been dx'd with Alzheimer's, or anything? Not that it matters - there doesn't have to be a diagnosis for there to be something wrong. Especially plain old aging.

Wish I had some answers, but all I can offer is "I can relate - been there, done that, still there." LOL
Hang in there and just know that you're doing the best you can to care for your loved ones, and it's all you can do. If you get any good advice, please pass it on!

Good luck!
Anna

 
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Old 11-22-2007, 08:56 AM   #3
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xpax HB User
Cool Re: Aging Parents

Dear open_the_door, annas479:

I have been taking care of my elderly mother for about a decade now, and I find that there are two personal lines of defense for the caregiver against overload.

1. Love.
2. Take physical and mental care of yourself first, and the cared-for will be better taken care of.

Myself, I find my biggest problem is my spine. I have a chronically slipping second vertebrae, and it used to give me the most horrific, incapacitating classic migraines I've ever heard of.
Then my M.D. came up with Sibelium, an old drug (and so is cheap) after trying many others, and it is the best preventative for me medically.
Physically, I still have the slipping disc in my neck (where no doctor will weld). For that I go to my Chiropractor as often as I can.
Between the two, my bodily health is up to taking care of Mother.

I now find that I have neglected my back, and have become irritable and intolerant lately. My sleep has gone from a solid 8 hours to frequent wake-ups with pain during the night.
The two are being fixed now. I am seeing my Chiro again, and I have a great sleeping pill from my psych.

Now I am rested and healthy, and very much more able to look after Mother quite lovingly.

I hope that is of help or interest, xpax

Last edited by xpax; 11-22-2007 at 09:02 AM. Reason: names

 
Old 08-25-2008, 07:10 AM   #4
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open_the_door HB User
Re: Aging Parents

I haven't posted here in quite some time. My father-in-law is doing alot better. When he wasn't doing so well, it was due to a bad bladder infection. He is in his mid seventies, my husband got back from the Middle East due to military obligations, and we have been very busy getting our lives back on track. I still worry about him because I think that he does have Alzheimers. He is slowing down with alot of things. My mother-in-law is in her mid 60's and he has pretty much done everything for her since they have been married almost half a century. My husband is their only child, and they still talk and treat him like a little kid. I can't relate to it. I have patience and I know that is how they have always done things, and my husband doesn't want to change things, because it still helps them feel needed, and important. I can understand it, and I don't get involved. I'm just scared when FIL does die and mother-in-law totally flips out. I just don't know how it is going to pan out. I have so much to do with my four kids, and one having CP diplegia.

 
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