Anybody else caring for an aging parent?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by muttmeister, Oct 29, 2011.

  1. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    Finally got my difficult children grown. Older one has become a person I actually like and respect. Younger one still has problems but, at this point, he is married with 3 kids and I try not to let him make him my responsibility. I do keep his middle child on weeknights and do homework and get him to kindergarten each morning. He is a good kid; taking medications for ADHD at what I consider too early an age but his school experience has improved about 100% since he started the medications so who can argue with success? Anyway, my life is more peaceful than it's been since my difficult children were born.

    But now? I have the responsibility of taking care of my mother. She's 97; she's very good physically (for her age): sleeps well, eats well, has no aches or pains, has nothing "big" wrong with her....except she has either dementia or beginning Alzheimers and I am losing my mind. I am an only child so there is nobody else to look after her but me. She can't come live with me as all of my bedrooms are on the second floor (she is VERY unsteady on her feet) and I don't believe I could get her into or out of my bathtub. She lives in an apartment for the elderly..not really independent living but they do keep an eye on them. So far, she knows everybody, doesn't wander off and get lost, and is pretty much able to function where she is. I want to keep here there as long as possible as it is home to her and she is comfortable there. That means I have to take her her medications every day (it is a 15 mile drive, roundtrip), call her morning and night to remind her to take the medications, keep track of all of her apointments and get her to them, do her shopping and cleaning, do her laundry, do her financial business, etc. So far she is agreeable to whatever I suggest. She remembers to do things like turn off the stove but if you are talking to her she can't remember ANYTHING. Sometimes she asks a question and if it is a long answer she may ask the same question again before you've finished answering it the first time. She has always been almost anal about being clean and neat but now I have to remind her to bathe, make her change her clothes or she would wear the same thing for weeks at a time, take out her garbage, wash her dishes, etc. Because of finances, hiring somebody to help is not possible. Younger difficult child lives near and is good about going and checking if she doesn't answer her phone and things like that but he works full time and daughter-in-law has at least one kid there at all times and is not somebody that I could rely on to be there regularly.

    I guess I'm posting not so much to get advice as to have someplace to "let it out." I'm just wondering if there are any others here in similar situations. I could use "a safe place to land" for people with dependents on the other end of the age spectrum from what we usually deal with here.
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I am sure at least two or three members have been there done that and probably will have valuable input. My husband is showing increasing signs of forgetfulness etc. so I have been thinking about this issue. Have you contacted any groups or agencies to see what, if any, assistance is available? I may be very wrong but I "think" that assistance may be there for the elderly in a home setting. Due to budget cuts the help may have been phased out but I do know that locally HHA's were provided to help with basic cleaning and provide some company a few years ago. I also recall that the either the Dept for Elder affairs and/or the Alzheimer's organization had visitation services available with-o charge.

    Regarding her daily medications I'm assuming you are afraid to drop off weekly in a daily marked pill container? The cost of travel in gasoline alone should equal a few bucks that could be used to have someone in the apartment complex run them to her every day. Perhaps a Mgr. or one of the Mgr's helpers or teenage children?

    The wear and tear of daily trips probably is the most wearing part of your schedule. If you could get a handle on that part it likely would help you alot...and maybe she would enjoy have others visit her. Sending hugs. DDD
  3. keista

    keista New Member

    Tough situation, but DDD is right. The is assistance out there, even through medicare. In home help is cheaper than nursing home care. I would talk to her Dr about it and see what comes up. This could double as the conversation of her forgetfulness. If that continues, in home care may not be sufficient anymore and you may have to explore other options.

    I haven't had this situation exactly, but I did have mother in law live with me for 3 years. I had to run her to about 50% of her appointments - not easy. Most of the time here she was able to help me as much as I helped her, but when her pain management changed, her disposition changed. We moved her to assisted living ASAP.

  4. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    Yes, I can't leave a whole week of medications at a time with her...we did that for a long time but she finally got to the place where she didn't know what day it was so she might take 2 or 3 days medications in one day. Getting her medications to her isn't as serious as is sounds as I am probably in town 3 or 4 days a week anyway. With winter coming on, I have told difficult child 2 that he will have to take responsibility for getting them to her and he is OK with that.
    Her problem is complicated by the fact that, at one time, she had a fairly large amount of money. She spent it on difficult children (a whole other story) so now she lives mostly on her social security but because of the money she spent, she does not qualify, yet, for extra assistance. What a mess!
    We are coping right now and I certainly don't mind helping her. It's the future that I am worried about, but I guess, at 97, the future isn't really going to be a long time in any case.
  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Muttmeister, you can hire a svc to give her the medications, saving you the trip every day. Still, there will be days when you have to go there for one reason or another.
    by the way, bravo that she is 97 and doing so well!
    Visiting Angels doesn't admin medications, that I know of, but you can Google them.
    And Google svcs for the elderly, home visits, and you'll be on the right path.
    by the way, expect that your mother will fire the first 2 or 3 nurses ...
  6. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    We have just moved my 90 year old aunt into an apartment about 10 minutes from us. She never married or had kids and was a WAC. She has, for the first time, an aide a few hours a week. She wanted the aide to take her to the supermarket but we are doing the shopping and arranging for food delivery as I prefer to have the aide use her time to help her bathe. That is not a task I feel capable of taking on and although H could do it, it would violate my aunt's modesty and privacy. Her only health issues are high blood pressure and hypothyroid for which she takes her medications daily. She is able to cook and is totally mentally competent. She walks with a walker.

    We also oversee my mother in law's care. She is 87 and lives in her home, about 25 minutes away, with my useless sister-in-law. She was just diagnosed with diabetes and has CHF. She is also completely mentally competent (H and I feel hopeful for our futures!) but not as mobile as my aunt because she has orthopedic issues.

    Both women have Visiting Nurse Services. My mother in law needs weekly blood testing for her heart medications and they do it at home. My mother in law has had an aide for several years, aunt just got one when she moved to our town. She likes her aide and we are going to pay her on the side for a few extra hours when the Medicare allotment runs out. Both women are able to take their own medications and feed themselves.

    My aunt was convinced at first that we were going to put her into a home. I finally told her that I'm Jewish and would never spend that kind of money - the apartment is much cheaper! It worked. H and I have promised them both that they will not go into a home. We joke that we will evict useless sister in law and move them in together first.
  7. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I did that with mother in law for years. For most of it my kids were still home and young. But for the really declining years, mine were grown and it made that part easier. (if it can be easier)

    It's quite frankly, exhausting. Mentally, physically, and somewhat emotionally. You need to make sure you're taking care of your needs too to keep yourself up to the challenge. It's also a good idea to have someone to switch off with if you can. You take so many other days, other person take so many days. Maybe not for the bills or whatever, but the running to do the medications or the upkeep on the house and personal hygiene.

    You may ask if a home health nurse can come and help with medications. I'm not sure if they'll do it everyday.....but I do know they'll help and SS will cover it. A home health aide could come and help her with personal hygiene too, again SS should cover it considering her advanced age. Is there a grandchild who could do her cleaning (I'm sure it's fairly light if she's like mother in law) for a small fee or just because they love their grandma? sister in law did mother in law's yard work for the several years before she passed so she didn't have to pay anyone. mother in law had a housekeeper that came in twice a month and would even do her laundry and I'm pretty sure she didn't charge her very much.

    Try to delegate as much of the responsibility as you can to services or other family that can help. Because you're only one person and if you get down and out there will be no one in place to pick up the slack.

  8. keista

    keista New Member

  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well I have been down this road two times so its not unfamiliar territory. As far as the medications, I believe there is a piece of technology out there that might help that is computerized and opens at a certain time on a weekly medication container but I will have to search the internet for it. I know I saw it somewhere when I was looking for something else. That would be perfect for you.

    I think you can get help for what is known as home health which would be the services that would come in and bathe her, wash her hair, and maybe do light housekeeping for her. Do you have a meals on wheels program there?

    How is her apartment set up? Does she have a walk in shower instead of a tub? At this point she needs a shower where they can put the chair so she can sit on that and just use a handheld shower head. Im at that point now.

    Dept. of Aging, Dept of the Elderly, Alzheimer's Association, Health Dept, Churches. get her doctor to rx her a wheelchair at this point because it will make getting her around much easier on you guys. I realize you said she is not all that physically unwell but she is 97. Also get the handicapped placard. She cannot walk that far at her age for heavens sake.
  10. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    SO's mom moved in a few weeks ago. She still has her mental facilities, but lots of medical problems, type 2 diabeties, congestive heart failure, fibromialgia, a tumor in her brain, plus she is in a wheelchair - she can take a few steps but few is it - enough for me to get her to the bathroom, into shower, into bed - not to mention my house is a one story. I had to remodel one of the bathrooms to be handicapped accessable - no way could I get her into a bathtub.

    Her doctor is setting up for a nurse to come in once or twice a week - am not sure what she is going to do yet, but anything we need, we just give him a call and he gets it done. Its a bit easier for me since I work at home to take care of her. At one time, and I have to check again, Ca paid in home caregivers in order to keep them from going into a home on their dime. Maybe with budget cuts that has been axed.

    I would definately be getting her a "Life Alert" necklace at her age. Also,the website has a lot of helpful information on taking care of elderly parents. At one point, my mother was supposed to come and live with us - she decided we may fight, and stayed where she was. Since she was really developing dementia at a rapid pace, I don't think I could have handled her.

  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    You are extremely fortunate that she is open to help.
    I've got two parents and two in-laws... all getting up there, one of each with health issues... and its always "everything is just fine, we don't need help thank-you"... and all we can do is watch them go downhill... With teenaged difficult children, I really don't need difficult child parents. So, I'm not putting up a fight, but it IS a worry.