88 yr old father coming to live with me--advice?

newbieroseloverJune 14, 2006

Hello everyone,

I'm new to this forum and this is my first post. My 88-year-old father, recently hospitalized, was told by his doctor he had to make the choice of going into assisted living or living with a full-time caretaker. He's chosen the caretaker, and that will be me. I'm actually delighted to have him but know I'm taking on alot.

Any quick advice, for making him more comfortable and the transition easier? He's really set in his ways and I know this change will be traumatic for him. He'll be moving into my house, and I live out of state.

Many thanks for your help.

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Hi newbieroselover,
My MIL was 89 when she moved in with us, out of state from where she had lived. It is hard on them, but the choice was that or a nursing home in a state where we did not live or one in our area.
It will take adjusting on both of your parts. Sad as it was, it was the medical troubles that she had, that allowed me to take charge, when she did not want to give up her control-but under her control, she was not getting the medical help that she needed.
My first advise is that as soon as it becomes apparent that you can not leave him when you go shopping, you need to get a caregiver in to be there. This caregiver may fold your laundry, sweep your floors or just visit with him, but you need to be able to get out and do your normal shopping, etc.
You need to be able to go to lunch with a friend.
I started with help twice a month and in the end, I had help at least 4 hours once a week and someweeks more.
Make sure you have medical power of attorney and other paper work in order, better now that later.
I will say this, I learned so much from my 5 years of caregiving (most of it was not about caregiving) and as much work as it was, it was so rewarding when it was all finished.
I felt good about myself.
Good luck

    Bookmark   June 14, 2006 at 7:59PM
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Move as much of his furniture for his bedroom as you can. Bring as many of his doodads, pictures, bedspreads, etc that you can manage. Certainly his pillows. a lot of us become so accustomed to the way that a pillow feels, that it's sort of like a child's favorite teddybear.

It's the familiar things that help them settle in more. As he settles in, you can replace his things with your own. If you have an unusual color on the walls, repaint, if you can, to something like he has now.

There's something about having the same drawers in the dresser, the same lamp beside the bed, and the same pictures on the wall that makes them forget that they are in a strange place.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 8:53AM
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Good advice above. You deserve credit for bringing him into your home, and, for whatever span of time you can do it, it will be good for him.
If he still has friends in his life that he keeps up with, put costs of phone calls, etc in the budget. Losing contact with friends at the end of life is hard on elders.
Set up some ground rules jointly. All of you will need your own time away from each other, for example.
If he gets social security and Medicare, send each a letter signed by him identifying you as a person with whom his affairs can be discussed, EVEN IF YOU HAVE POA,because, due to HIPPA laws, they will not let you help him figure stuff out without such a letter on file. Do it now, while he can understand and sign his name.
Good luck with the move. Do not be surprised if he is sick in some way after the move....it is one of the most stressful things to have to go thru. Get him a doctor before he needs one. A geriatrician is ideal.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 11:44AM
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And since you are in another state, be sure to have a good trust/estate attorney review his will, and possibly rewrite it. Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork.... use this opportunity to get it all in order.... you will be thankful later on. He'll be getting new doctors, you need to be on all the paperwork, Social security will not accept powers of attorney, etc, they have their own system. HIPPA laws can be a burder, so get yourslef all set up before there is a need.

And one of the most important things: Give yourself credit for a job well-done, and don't beat yourself up if you cannot do everything. Take time for yourself, be sure to0 take care of yourself.

You are doing a great job!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 12:43PM
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(I really can spell. I cannot type and my fingers and brain obviously seem to work at different speeds. And I have not yet learned to actually proof my posts before I submit, dummy me!)

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 1:12PM
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thank you thank you, all sound advice! if you think of anything else, please let me know. And I bet I'll be back on this forum many times in the future.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 5:38PM
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Absolutely bring as much of his furniture and personal belongings with him as your space permits. It was dreadful for Mum to be yanked out of her home and put in our's. I was such a babe in the woods that I never gave such things a thought... (bad me!). When she was in the hospital for cancer surgery I repainted her room to coincide with her preference for pastels. We moved her bed, bureau, a pretty dropleaf table, a wing chair and a marble top side table from her home to our's. We had a piece of carpet bound and when she returned "home" it was to a private, comfortable retreat that was HER'S. The walls were hung with her artwork. Over time, more of "her" home has been moved into our's. At first I felt weird bringing things here, but now I don't. It is reassuring to her to see familiar pieces around her. All inheritance should be as gentle.

Get the legal stuff in perfect order. This is CRUCIAL. If you are to be caretaker you must be the legal, medical power of attorney, too! You will be one to make the tough decisions if he has a stroke in your home. Make sure you have the legal clout to enforce HIS wishes with respect to life-prolonging care. If you are to be his caretaker who is in charge of his finances? This is important because if he requires long term care you can't deliver and he is incapable of making prudent decisions SOMEONE has to be able to and that someone has to be accountable. Establish a relationship with a physician YOU like. Sit in on every visit (Mum resented this at first) and make it clear that you are the "go to" if the s--t hits the fan. Inform yourself about prescriptions and take charge. Ditto bills! who's in charge of making sure they're paid? If you can't/don't want/are told not to SOMEONE has to do it. Hire it out to a qualified bookeeper/accountant. But see that it is done.

Enlist outside help. The smartest thing I ever did was hire someone to come in thrice weekly to bathe Mum. I don't have to do it, she had a "date", and I KNOW she is properly looked after with respect to hygiene. I'm now thinking about adult day care twice weekly. It's probably time and it would give me two more days off every week than I presently enjoy.

Your life is going to change more than you know. The reality of the change will likely fall short of what you hope it will be. I don't mean to throw water on the fire, at all. I'm just sharing my own experience. It's hard work and you will have to "tough" it out some days but other days will be a breeze and blast. Savor the good days and record your conversations with him if he'll allow it. You will be amazed at how much you will learn about your family in the simple, everyday exchanges that occur in a house hold.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 5:53PM
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