Please help!

declansmomJanuary 10, 2009

My husband and I are in the process of deciding whether or not we can survive if we have his father come live with us. He is 81 years old, and lives alone in Florida. We are in NY. My husband and I are very concerned about him. Lately, he has had to go to the hospital twice because he took the wrong medication which caused complications. He is not a difficult man to live with.

We live in a TINY home. He would have his own room and bathroom, but we would have to share all the rest of the house with him.

My husband lost his job, so he would be home with his father every day. Obviously, since we are the only people he has, he would have to come here or stay where he is. He would never consider AL accomodations.

My question do you make that final decision that will alter your life from here on in? Even though it is the right thing to do, we are very scared that his being here would cause alot of stress.

We have not said anything to him yet, because we are trying to cover all the questions we have before we present it to him.

Thanks for listening, and I would truly appreciate any ideas you have.

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One thing that concerns me is that few people his age would do well with as big a change in temperature as that from Florida to New York. You would also have the problem of finding a doctor that would take him. Not all doctors will take Medicare patients anymore.

You need to go by what he wants. After the trips to the hospital, he may be reconsidering an AL room. I think that's what you should be trying to talk him into. Perhaps you could contact his doctor and see if he can urge him into an AL. Maybe you could lie a little and pretend it's only for a short time.

I know your husband will be wanting to go back to work, but if he does, your FIL would be by himself again during the day. But this time, in a strange place away from friends, with icy sidewalks and snow. I doubt if he even has the kind of clothing that he would need to make such a drastic move.

It's a bad decision to have to make. I wish you luck. But I think that he is not going to want to move, and there is no way you can make him except by having the courts declare him incompetent.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 4:15PM
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I agree the weather change would be very hard where he probably wouldn't go outside. You mentioned you have a tiny home. Does he have a home or an apt? Can you combine the two by selling and get a larger home where he is?
With your husband losing his job, he could look for one there. I grew up in the midwest with lots of snow and I sure don't miss the mess, now living in the south.
If you both work, and he's OK except for the medicine, you control when and what he gets. If some is while you are gone to take with lunch, set it on the table where he'll be eating. You might get him involved in a daycare. Then too find someone to stay for an hour or two on certain days to keep him company or take him where he needs to go.
When we get old, why do we have to give everything up? We get moved to places we don't want to go. We feel useless and unwanted. I saw my mother go through this when my brother put her in a nursing home.
If anyway to resolve where everyone is "OK" with the plan, then do it. It's not easy by any means.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 5:50PM
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Honestly, if you are his entire family, you will find yourselves going down to Florida often to take care of emergencies.

My Dad passed away in 99, when Mother was 89. By 2002, I was driving down to Scottsdale (725 miles each way) about once a month to take care of things for her. (Never mind that I had a brother who lived about 2 miles away, but that's a whole 'nuther story.) I found a senior apt complex, rented her an apartment, then went down and BEGGED her to move up close to me.

Yeah, she hated our cool coastal weather, and she didn't know anyone, but we made do.

If I were in your shoes, I'd move him up to where you are, and see about renting him an apt of his own close to you, perhaps in a senior complex that offers activities. Yes, the weather isn't ideal. Yes, he may need some new clothes. But even if he lives with you, you have him there close to you.

There is nothing worse than emergency phone calls and last-minute flights to go take care of him. I speak from experience.

The last 3-1/2 years of mother's life, we talked on the phone every day, had lunch once and often twice a week, I could go to all her medical appointments, and help her in other ways. We enjoyed our time together, and it was a most rewarding time of my life. Trying, yes, but rewarding.

She refused to live with us (lots of stairs and several large dogs), and she was fortunate to have the income to rent her own apartment. The last 6 months of her life, she did have assistance, and it would have been a nightmare had she not been close at hand.

You can see what my vote is! Move him up to NY.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 6:27PM
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When was the last time you saw him? How is he other than messing up meds? Does he have friends in FL that could help him?

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 8:16PM
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Hi,I posted at the other forum. But I wanted to add, there is help out there but it takes time and some energy but it good to have. I have become an advocate for care here and I got alot of my information from the local Salvation Army and senior groups. The library was a help and also the churches. Please keep us posted on what you decide and how he responds. renie

    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 10:57AM
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We are in a very similar situation with my mom and I've posted infrequently on this forum to get help.

I think the first step would be for your husband to fly down to Florida and check out the AL situation down here. I believe most places allow for a few days or week-long visits. Your FIL may be pleasantly surprised at how nice the AL's are down here (and $$$ of course).
Florida is just amazingly accommodating to seniors compared to other states that I've lived in. But you have to be aggressive to find it if you're new here.
My grandfather-in-law also never, ever would move anywhere outside his home until my MIL took him to visit a lovely place in Oregon, near his home, where he could move with his wife, small dog, and keep a small patio garden, all things he loved. (It was my MIL's brother, afraid of losing his inheritance, that convinced him that it was a crummy place to live and that he should stay home - but that's another story...).

Then, even if you find a perfect place and your FIL desiring to move there, you might find it impractical from the medical perspective. I've come to realize that my mother should have had a medical advocate for probably the past 15 years. I had to read 2 binders full of medical records that I've obtained from a dozen different doctors back in California. She does not tell doctors the right story and doesn't ask the right questions. For example, she insists that she's not allergic to any medications yet her lifelong doctor (1 whole binder) back in San Diego has a laundry-list of meds that she's had bad reactions to. And if you say "side effects" she freaks out and stops taking meds, whether or not she has any or if they are detrimental or not. And yes, even though it's Florida, I really had a heck of a time finding a doctor to take Medicare/Medicaid. I had hoped my family doctor would, but they don't.

It continues to be difficult for my mom to adjust to Florida after living in California for 40 yesterday. No friends, no Japanese culture (can't get the foods she's used to). Anytime anything is different from what she's used to, she comments on how Florida is so different (i.e. because I didn't give the postman a Christmas tip, which I argued is illegal because he's a federal employee, "In California, everyone tips the postmen" - argghhh) Everything is different, from the way you get lottery tickets (apparently you buy them from automated machines in California but you have to pay a cashier in person here), to the bus system, drivers (of course), the cars people drive, the weather (she's always freezing, except for the height of the summer), etc.

I think you'll need to spend some time laying out the pros and cons, but I'd at least check out the AL situation before you completely discount that. It might just be an interim thing for even a year or two, but that'll give you more time to work out your options.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2009 at 2:59PM
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Thank you, everyone, for your great ideas and support.
We told my FIL yesterday of our thoughts, and he initially sounded like he would love to come live with us, but we told him to take a few days to think it over, and we will talk to him then. The more my DH and I discussed this, we realized that it would be best to have him with us. He is also very close to our son (20 years old), and so that would be a nice bonding time for the two of them.
Thanks again for all your help.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2009 at 3:18PM
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