MIL with Parkinson's
Hi -- I've never posted here, but DH is going through a hard time with his mother's illness. She has been diagnosed with Parkinson's for about 10 years, and over the past few years she has been declining bit by bit. Her husband died 7 years ago, a devastating event for her. She went from independent to assisted living, and she is now in a nursing home because she has some dementia and is pretty frail, and in the spring, she had a stroke (or a series of strokes) that caused some aphasia (inability to find the right words). She has had hearing problems for many years, and I think that also hampers her ability to understand what's going on.
We just don't know what to expect at this point. She has all these problems, but basically her vital signs are good. Her biggest continuing health problem seems to be consistently low blood pressure. She basically just kind of sits there all day. She can't read, can't follow what's on TV, can't do any kind of crafts or play cards. She most enjoys just having company. At times she is very sad (understandably), but the doctors say she is not depressed.
DH goes to see her as often as he can, but he doesn't know what to say. At this point, he has used up all his sick leave and vacation leave for the year taking care of her, dealing with the various health crises, and handling her finances. She's a nice lady and does appreciate it, but he's getting so depressed about it. He has a brother (who has a wife and 2 teen-twenties kids) who is not very involved -- he calls the nursing home, an extremely well-run and caring place (IME) -- "the loony bin" and stops by to see her about once a month.
Anyway, any advice on what we could do to make her more comfortable? I know daily visits would be the best thing, but it's quite difficult logistically. I've been thinking of trying to get more involved somehow -- perhaps going to see her myself on a more regular basis -- but what sort of things could we do that would cheer her up? Any advice, and also any words of wisdom for DH, would be appreciated.
BTW, I can't believe what some of you are going through taking care of family members at home.