The time has come for dad to go into a home

mikeandbarbMay 22, 2008

Some may remember me posting about my dad. Well, we're at the stage of needing to place him into a home. I dread this time in my life but know it's for his on safety. I have health problems myself that keeps me from bring dad into my home and caring for him, so I don't have a choice.

His dilemma is getting worse. Although he has not had test done I know it is a memory problem. He can't read and retain what he's read. When he was given a new medication he had to keep asking me why he was taking it and what it was for.

DH and I was over at his house Sunday doing yard work and he said he needed to put his car into the shop. DH and dad was looking over the car and checking the A/C it wasn't working, dad was sitting in the car turning the knobs on the A/C and I walked over and he asked me if he had the A/C turn on right. When he asked me this I thought he does not need to be driving. I have the car in the shop right now and I'm tempted to tell them to hold off on fixing the car. Problem is he has another car that is a 1978 chevy, that had been sitting for 4 or 5 year's, he had it towed and the gas tank drained and oil change. He think's just because the car is running it's safe to drive. Well, the car has leaked most of the transmission fluid out of it and I'm just waiting till he get's broke down somewhere.

My fear if I tell dad he cannot drive anymore it would be the end. I fear he would commit suicide. He has guns in the house. I'm all by myself in caring for dad. DH is not much help, I don't know why he doesn't see what's going on but he doesn't.

I started going to meeting for care givers for people with dilemma. I have an appointment with dad's primary doctor in the morning. I don't hold out much hope in his helping me out cause in the past he has not done right by dad but I need a referral to get dad into a memory clinic. In the past dad's potassium was so low that he was unable to even talk and tell the doctor what was going on, my uncle at the time was caring for dad and would go in and talk to the doctor for dad.

Another problem is getting dad to the doctor or clinic, if he doesn't want to go he will refuse and I can't force him to go.

I'm sitting here shaking my head wondering how in the world I'm going to do what's needed to be done and pray all goes ok.

Maybe one of you have gone through this and can give me some insight on what I can do.

Thank's Barb

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This is a tough one and I feel for you. I am taking care of my dad, who has dementia but it is very mild right now. He can still dress himself, eats really good but can't remember short term things, like what he just ate. He is not ready for a home, but I know the time will come.

As for your situation I would hold off on fixing the car and some how disable the other one. You have to, he should not be driving now. Also, if his potassium levels drop again make sure he goes to the hospital, then once in there talk to the social worker about placement in a nursing home. It would be easier on you if he went directly from a hospital setting to a nursing home. He is going to argue no matter what and you have to be prepared to stand your ground. Some times you need to treat them like a child, you are now the parent. Putting your foot down will be very hard, but must be done.

Get the guns out of the house NOW! I had to do this with my brother when his parkinson's got worse. I had a trusted friend of his go over and take all of them. (my brother is a former police officer). Of course he is only 59 so it was really hard for him to face being in a nursing home the rest of his life.

Sit you DH down and at least try to get through to him, maybe he will listen, maybe not. But you have to get all this off your chest and it is certainly worth the try.

Do you have durable power of attorney for finances and durable power of attorney for health care? If not you need to get that done pronto.

I know I am not much help, and I pray you will find the strength to get through this.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 8:08AM
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As to the guns? We had a similar issue with a couple of guns my Dad had and he kept "threatening" to use them on himself. My DH was so good, told my Dad he was taking them to the gun shop to be cleaned, and each time my Dad asked, he came up with a different answer. Of course he was completely blind and could not see them. But that might work. If you are not getting cooperation from your husband's down and be very honest with him. Tell him, you need his cooperation, to back you up, help you out etc. If necessary make sure all the legal stuff is in order and take charge. You are the parent, he is the child. Sounds cruel, but it works. Firm, with tough love. Dr? Can you get a different one? Maybe it is a memory problem, maybe not, meds--food etc Here we have a friend that went into a nursing home and what a difference. Meds at the correct time, good food, different person--but not well enough to stay at home.
Good luck and keep in touch.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 3:21PM
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I do have durable power of attorney but not durable for health. I seen the doctor and he's not a lot of help but said he would get a referral for a neurologist. Now I have to see if I'm going to be able to get him there. He may put up a fight.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 4:26PM
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My husband had two accidents and I told him he could have killed or crippled someone and we could lose everything we have saved if they sued us. He thought about it and gave up his license. He wanted to keep his truck, selling it was harder than giving up his license. When we got an insurance bill I showed it to him and he understood it was foolish to keep it.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 10:56PM
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Wish it was that easy stargazzer. My dad is a very very very emotional person and if he even get's a little cut it's the end of the world to him. He's always saying thing's are the worst it's ever been. He has depression but he will not get help for it. He did try some medicine once and didn't like it so that was the end of that.

Not to mention that he cannot make Decisions on his on something's. Other times it takes him half the day to decided what he what's or needs.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 11:42PM
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You know things have to be done on your Father's behalf and for his safety; it's just too painful to do them. Without action, though, you could be faced with a real tragedy.

Theraputic fibbing is a handy tool approved by the Alzheimer's Association for validating and communicating with someone with dementia - hinted at by mariend. Get the guns out - tell him they need to be cleaned and appraised. Tell him the same thing each time he might ask - people with many of the different forms of dementia have no sense of time anymore so it will be like he's hearing it for the first time.

A car being taken away is the most traumatic thing - driving is someone's last shred of independence. We had to do it with my Mother - one day the car just disappeared (went home with my brother). And every time she asked for it, it was "in the shop" - and she was satisfied with that answer every one of the ten thousand times she asked.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 3:18PM
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Thank you all for input, I will take the advise and try to do my best.
Monday I will sit down with dad to have a heart to heart talk with him. I have back problems and I never know how I'm going to be from day to day, he is aware of this. Some morning's are so bad I fear I'll not be able to walk at all. So I'm going to tell dad that I need his help and the way he can help me is by going to the doctor for test.
Once the test come back we can go from ther. I am also going to have a talk to him about finding a place for him to go when the time comes. Letting him visit the places and have some input about them. Maybe that will be of help for both of us.
All I can do is talk to him and see where it goes.

I'm not going to tell him the test is for dilemma but for memory loss and I want to see if his potassium is working.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 6:06PM
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I am glad to hear you are going to have a heart to heart with your dad. I did the same with my dad, told him I needed his help in making the right choices for both of us. He may not have understood all, but he knows he is "helping" me and that is what counts. Also, I took my dad to see assisted living places, thinking mom and him might be able to move in to there one day. That will not be the case, mom just needs to much care, but dad did realize that even if she could go there he was not sure he wanted to go with her as they are very small. Cost an arm and leg, but are very small compared to the home. But at least he was and always will be, made aware of the plans.

Yes, you do have to fib from time to time and that is for your sanity too! My situation is no where near as bad as yours, but that is not to say it will not progress to that point some day. Be grateful for the moments he is aware of you, be grateful for the chance to do the right thing for him, even if it hurts inside. Trust that a power greater than us is with you every step of the way!

Keeping you in my prayers,

Linda J

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 8:02PM
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If you live in a big city, try the surrounding small towns. When I was searching for a place, I found that small towns have better more caring places. The one I picked out for my husband is one of the best in the state. It was just written up in our local paper for it's awards.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 8:53PM
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