I have concerns in caring for Dad

mikeandbarbApril 18, 2006

I'm not sure where to start but here goes. I am the only care giver for my father. My sister did something's that my father and I can no longer trust her with taking care of him.She was my only relief for weekends till a month and a half ago. Now I've been driving over to dads everyday taking care of thing's that needs taking care of but last week I was feeling a little down and having some problems of my own. Now this week dad is telling me that maybe I should just come over a few days a week so it's not so hard on me. Nice thought but he's not doing all that well, In the past he's had trouble with his potassium being to low and he's not eating right. Let me state that he's been alone -divorced since 1968 , he will not use a microwave or even a toaster over to warm up his food , he eats it cold. My husband and I have been trying to get him to take better care of himself but he will not listen to us.

Plus he does get confused at times when ever I try to explain something to him he doesn't understand and I have to tell him over and over.

He skips mid-day meals also, I looked up on what to do for low potassium and I told him he needs eat a mid-day meal that it doesn't have to be a big meal just something to replace the potassium. He has problems sometime urinating of not going for hours up to 4 to 5 hours. He doesn't have the feeling of pressure on the bladder to go. He had surgery on his prostate back in Dec. and his Doctor said everything is fine?

Also he takes meds that help him to go to the restroom and the info that I got online said that water pills depletes your potassium. I've explained this to him trying to help him understand but I'm not sure he does.

I also printed out foods that are good for replacing potassium hoping he would use the list and eat from these food groups.

Also when it comes to taking full care of my dad when and if the time comes I will not be able to do anything that requires bathing or lifting him. I have a very bad back and cannot lift more than 10 pounds.

This is so very hard to handle seeing dad going down hill, I had no idea it would hurt so much.

Thanks for listening and letting me vent

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perhaps it is time for 'assisted-living' for your Dad, or perhaps a "senior citizens' apartment?

How old is your Dad? does he have financial issues? what exactly are his health problems?


    Bookmark   April 18, 2006 at 7:27PM
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Low potassium can be a problem - I myself ended up in the hospital for 3 days because I was so careless. I did have a prescription for a large pill to take, but I choke easily.
We have had issues with both of my elderly parents. Dad turns 87 in June & is over 200 lbs. I also have a bad back & just moving a wheelchair over their entry is more than I can handle. I find I cope best not looking back even 6 months as the decline is hard to watch each day. We were able to find a phenomenal live-in as well as a 4 day a wk caregiver but that is financially draining. Dad was hospitalized recently with the flu, then spent 4 days in a nursing home/rehab facility. Long story. Now he is entitled to home help for 6 wks I believe- nurse for wound care, home health aid, plus PT 3 days a wk. This is covered in part at least by medicare. He has a rental hospital bed which makes it much safer & easier for nighttime changes(incontinent). Check with your Elder Care resources in your area, his Dr. & anyone else nearby in a similar situation. If you do consider placement, don't be dazzled by the initial tour- that was our most recent mistake. My sister has temporarily moved in with my folks as mom was diagnosed last month with stage 3 lung cancer- so we have our hands full even with the extra hired help.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 10:09AM
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Be very careful with Potassium. You definately need a Doctors advice. Try bringing over some cold food to keep in his fridge. I used to make my mother baked chicken wings to eat when she was hungry. Also how about cheese? Banana's and strawberries are high in potassium.
Good Luck and know that you are a good daughter,

    Bookmark   April 24, 2006 at 3:52PM
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I know this is an incredibly difficult time for you. Both of my parents were diagnosed with cancer about a year apart. My mother is still fighting lung cancer and my father passed in Sept. He, like your dad seems to be, was very independent and very very stubborn...LOL. They just get worse when they get older. He refused to let me go with him to doctors appointments and discuss his care AND his health issues. He had difficulty eating and meds really didn't help. Your dad sounds like he might be more amenable to something like Meals on Wheels where they bring a meal a day. There are all sorts of programs available. There is a program here were a person(nurse?) will stop by and check on a shut-in to see if they've eaten, see how they are feeling, etc. My mother was involved in it when she was still working. There might be something like that in your area? It is so frustrating to get them to eat enough. And to eat food that hasn't been in the cabinet since before Clinton took office. My parents did NOT like it when I cleaned out their cabinets and chucked all the old canned food. They didn't realized canned food expired. Oh, they can be too much sometimes. Visiting everyday and bringing something to eat or cooking a meal while I'm there is what I have done for about three years now. I also cook a few meals and stick them in the freezer to eat later in the week. They loved having the company and having someone to eat with seemed to help. It seems to work best in my situation. An assisted living situation might be a good place but many people fight that tooth and nail. There are probably some great support groups at hospitals around the area where you live. There are social workers that might be able to offer some helpful information. Good luck and don't feel overwhelmed. There are some great books out there too that offer some help with dealing with these changes in your life. Just a thought. Again, good luck.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2006 at 2:36PM
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How is your Dad doing now? You might want to start looking around at the various nursing homes in your area. The better ones usually have a waiting list. It's not a bad idea to get all your plans ready so that if he has to be moved into one in a hurry, you will be prepared. It sounds as if he will need some sort of supervision whether he likes it or not. I agree, you can't risk messing up your back by trying to do for him.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2006 at 8:41PM
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If you could go along with your father to his next doctor's appointment, you may be able to explain the need for assistance in the home. The doctor can write an order for home health care. With a doctor's order I'm almost positive the cost is picked up by medicare, medicade or social security. A certified nursing assistant will visit up to 3 times weekly, 2 hours each visit. Her duties will be to do laundry, vacuum, dust, make beds, cook, wash dishes, run errands (market, post office, bank etc.) assist with bathing, shampooing, and other personal care needs... (cleaning dentures etc.) I know all about this, because that was my occupation for many years. I've also worked in a nursing home for nearly a decade. The division of aging may be able to help your father, it wouldn't hurt to inquire. Meals on wheels, as suggested by someone, is a great idea. Most older folks seem to be depressed. They are experiencing many losses. The loss of a life partner, loss of mobility, sight, hearing, memory, health, and independence. It's therefore important to allow them to do everything they can for themselves. It's frustrating sometimes, because they are slow at accomplishing tasks and finishing sentences. But sit on your hands, and bite your tongue. Do for them gladly anything they are UNABLE to do for themselves. What most of them seem to lose last is their long term memory. Encourage them to share memories from their past. This brightens their mood. Ask their advice, let them know they are important. I wish you and your father well.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2006 at 12:42AM
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