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General Category => General Discussion => Topic started by: irhack on June 04, 2019, 10:16:08 AM

Title: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: irhack on June 04, 2019, 10:16:08 AM
I'm still reading through the thread on the old forum, but wanted to resurrect it here.

My mother's situation is too complicated to go into here, but the short version is she is living on her own, with some paid help. Her mobility has been declining steadily for years and the paid help called me last week (they never call me) to tell me how concerned they are. Apparently mom can barely walk with her walker or get out of her lift chair, is not bathing yet refusing help with bathing (and other personal care issues, sigh). Refused to go to the doctor after a fall. I live 1000 miles away and my brother a four hour drive. I'm flying out to assess the situation but can't stay long due to having school age children and an ever traveling spouse (and we don't live near any family to help us, either).

I just don't even know where to get started. But I'm sure I'll be posting here a lot.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: Morden on June 04, 2019, 10:34:31 AM
Hi irhack,
Thank you for resurrecting this thread. I have found useful posts here on the other forum as my parents are elderly.
I am sorry to hear about your mom. I hope you and your brother have a chance to talk when you are out there.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: Morris Zapp on June 04, 2019, 10:37:52 AM
I have one of those elderly parents who wasn't particularly nice before he got old and sick.  Now he's turning into the stereotypical crochety old man who yells at the TV and waves his cane around.  I foresee a rotating cast of caregivers over time as everyone refuses to stay.
The person I feel really bad for is my mom who is his primary caregiver.  At what point do you deem the older person as abusive and how does that play into the decision to put someone in a home?  Funny how there's no course in how to do this . . .
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: bopper on June 05, 2019, 08:33:42 AM
Perhaps enlist the help of a geriatric care manager?

https://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/06/why-hire-a-geriatric-care-manager/

or your parent's local county Office of Aging/Elder Services
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: mamselle on June 05, 2019, 08:40:36 AM
I started to see that caregiving/coordinating function develop as I was doing a stint as a unit coordinator at a hospital awhile ago.

It makes a huge difference to have someone on your and your parent(s)' side who know the language of social work re: medical care and know your state's and town's laws and provisions for elder services.

A good coordinator is very helpful throughout the time of your parent's need; you need to vet them and get referrals since skills and approaches vary widely, but especially when everyone is far away, it's  an important part of the family picture.

M.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: wellfleet on June 05, 2019, 08:56:01 AM
Totally endorsing the idea of a geriatric care manager--good ones can be amazing.

I live with my elderly mom, along with my nurse practitioner husband. But in the absence of a blended household like ours, professional guidance really can help elders stay at home if that's what they want. I have to say, though, irhack, your description above makes it sound to me like your mom's time in her own house may be pretty short. Have you talked with her doctor recently?
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: irhack on June 05, 2019, 10:36:47 AM
I don't even know her doctor's name. I found out the name of a cardiologist she sees and left a long message for her. One of my goals with my visit is to get the contact information for all these folks - and then contact them, and find out what they need from me to enable them to talk to me.

I've been spending a lot of time looking at various options for moving her closer to me, though of course I need to have more information to focus that search. Like what does she even want? After I see her in person, what do I think she needs vs. what does she think she needs. What does her doctor think she needs.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: wellfleet on June 05, 2019, 10:57:09 AM
I hope your mom cooperates with your efforts. Finding out what she wants and being prepared to honor those wishes should help, but it doesn't necessarily make any of this easier.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: mamselle on June 05, 2019, 12:32:41 PM
I don't even know her doctor's name. I found out the name of a cardiologist she sees and left a long message for her. One of my goals with my visit is to get the contact information for all these folks - and then contact them, and find out what they need from me to enable them to talk to me.

I've been spending a lot of time looking at various options for moving her closer to me, though of course I need to have more information to focus that search. Like what does she even want? After I see her in person, what do I think she needs vs. what does she think she needs. What does her doctor think she needs.

In terms of who can say what to whom, you can always (try to) tell the MDs and RNNPs things, with or without a release; they just may not be able to reply, other than to thank you for your input.

My parents were into playing "guess my illness" with their PCPs: they'd say things like, "I have this runny nose all the time..." and I'd say, "Have you asked your MD about it?"

To which they'd reply: "No, that's their job, to figure out what's wrong with me and fix it!"

<<me: exasperated silent screams offstage, of course...>>

Any effort to try to get them to be up-front about stuff was stonewalled like this, because, well, a professional should know their business and not have to be told stuff, right?

I wrote long-ish letters when I realized they were not being upfront; MDs couldn't reply because only two of the four sibs had been given reportage privileges...and I wasn't one of them.

But at least the MD knew what to think and ask about, even if they discredited it (which they aren't supposed to do if it's reasonable).

Good luck...

M. 
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: polly_mer on June 06, 2019, 05:00:49 AM
I hope your mom cooperates with your efforts. Finding out what she wants and being prepared to honor those wishes should help, but it doesn't necessarily make any of this easier.

One possibility is to get medical power of attorney, if Mom will cooperate. 
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: wellfleet on June 06, 2019, 08:17:06 AM
And there are situations where information really just doesn't make things better, either. I've had to do a lot of shifting away from "if only we understood this, we could fix..." to "understanding helps us build empathy, because fixes just aren't happening." Knowing in *precisely which ways* my mom's skeleton is falling apart really doesn't help her much, on a daily basis.

Getting old can suck. 
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: irhack on June 10, 2019, 05:43:54 AM
Mom actually seemed okay when I visited, though I have no doubt she was putting her best foot forward for me. However for the first time ever she seemed willing and perhaps even eager to leave her home and move to be closer to me. I'm looking into senior housing options, hoping for more of an independent apartment with in home help like she has now to start off with at least. I've got a call into some local geriatric care managers- I think a couple hours with one would be really helpful in plotting out all the details.

And I'm reading "A Bittersweet Season" by Jane Gross which I'm finding really helpful.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: polly_mer on June 10, 2019, 05:59:26 AM
That's encouraging, irhack.
Title: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: professor_pat on June 17, 2019, 11:53:27 AM
I'm just beginning the search for an assisted-living facility (ALF) for my dad. He has to move to Florida, where one of us three sibs has just moved. My role at the moment is to do the research to choose some for the three of us to visit in a few weeks, then to schedule visits with the top choices. Dad doesn't want to be involved in all this planning, at least for the time being.

What questions should I be asking in my initial phone call before visiting?

Obviously I need to ask (1) if they have an opening, and find some way to (2) get a sense of price ranges. My dad is in his 90's, so we may be looking at 5-10 years of residence, which will probably affect whether he buys in or simply rents.

We want him to have (3) lots of activities to choose from, especially lectures and performances if possible, and he'd love to have a woodworking shop available. Info about medical staff is available on the state website, so I don't necessarily need to ask about that.

When we're on site we can ask other questions, but since I'm a total novice at this, I'd be really interested to hear your experiences. And if anyone is familiar with Florida ALF's, feel free to PM me.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: irhack on June 19, 2019, 06:58:35 AM
Met with geriatric care manager, who wisely pointed out we should be focusing our search on subsidized housing, since her monthly income if she moves here will be her tiny social security check. It's so tiny I realize we will really be paying any expenses she has. Ugh.

Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: mamselle on June 19, 2019, 09:39:56 AM
Glad the care manager was on top of things enough to see that; sorry it will add more burdens to your budget.

Sending good thoughts and support your way.

M.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: irhack on June 24, 2019, 07:10:47 AM
Every day is a whole new drama that's distracting me from getting any work done. Yesterday I thought we had a buyer for mom's place, today buyer has seriously cold feet. If she can't sell her place she certainly needs to keep living there, just with extra help, a life alert pendant or something. Way cheaper and easier than moving her out here where I can easily see my personal financial outlays could easily spiral out of control. Never mind the emotional burden of being her scapegoat. (She's a pretty critical person.) ARGH.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: polly_mer on June 26, 2019, 05:57:33 AM
Oh, that's tough, irhack.

You're doing the right thing.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: bibliothecula on June 26, 2019, 10:30:06 AM
Sympathy, y'all. My mom died last autumn after a long and difficult decline and now my dad has been in the hospital and/or a rehab center for 6 weeks. He has a lot of magical thinking about his health and won't hear of help from anyone but my eldest brother, who lives in the same town as our dad. As soon as he gets well enough to be sent home, he'll go back into a decline. At least the care team is easy to talk to and happy to talk to any of us, but the entire situation is frustrating. I have found Atul Gawande's book Being Mortal a big help in thinking about and dealing with the issues surrounding my parents' end of live care.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: drbrt on June 26, 2019, 11:22:57 AM
I suspect I'll be joining this thread soon. My mother isn't particularly elderly, but she's diabetic, in heart failure, and was hospitalized this year for a bout of sepsis she is refusing to talk about. Usually she only does things like that when it's bad. I don't know how much longer she's going to be able to keep working.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: professor_pat on July 03, 2019, 09:29:25 AM
Sympathy, y'all. My mom died last autumn after a long and difficult decline and now my dad has been in the hospital and/or a rehab center for 6 weeks. He has a lot of magical thinking about his health and won't hear of help from anyone but my eldest brother, who lives in the same town as our dad. As soon as he gets well enough to be sent home, he'll go back into a decline. At least the care team is easy to talk to and happy to talk to any of us, but the entire situation is frustrating. I have found Atul Gawande's book Being Mortal a big help in thinking about and dealing with the issues surrounding my parents' end of live care.

Bibliothecula, I'm sorry for your loss of your mother, and now your dad's trouble.

I also found Being Mortal an important read, and would recommend it for everyone on this thread. Of course Gawande's such a terrific writer that anything he writes is worth a look.

My brothers and I just concluded a swing through potential assisted-living facilities for our dad, and thankfully were able to agree on our top 2 choices. There's a lot of paperwork yet to complete, along with some final decisions, but we're hopeful things might work out a lot more smoothly than we'd feared.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: irhack on July 03, 2019, 12:03:28 PM
Congrats on narrowing down the assisted living options. Good luck to you as you move forward.

We continue our work planning the cross country move to get mom near us.  It's steps forward and back each day.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: bibliothecula on July 06, 2019, 05:14:43 PM
I'm glad you and your sibs were in agreement, professor_pat. Sometimes that is the biggest challenge. My dad went home today from rehab, but he's not getting better and he's not going to. The list of diagnoses he has is long and they're almost all severe. He's in total denial, and my brothers and I agree that it's just a matter of time before he dies. I just wish my dad would be more honest about it to us and to himself.

irhack, all good luck.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: irhack on July 08, 2019, 11:50:30 AM
Mom says if she can't bring her dog when she moves out here there's no point in living because she'll have "no one."

Gee thanks. Based on the amount of contact with me (and my kids) she has initiated over the years I suspected I ranked rather low on her list, but the confirmation is always delightful.

Yes I recognize she sounds depressed and that's a problem. Could write pages on how "supportive" she was during my adolescent bouts with depression so I'm finding it hard to be sympathetic. I understand I really need to check in with my own therapist to work through all this stuff that's been buried for years but when on earth will I find time for that?!?
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: mamselle on July 08, 2019, 05:39:05 PM
The countertransference is the stuff of the therapy, of course.

But you're streets ahead, because you already know that.

Being the adult in the room is hard, but the other options are unworthy.

You'll find a way to be your best self with her, and that will be satisfying because it will mean you've won out over the little capering demons that, like the ones in 《Jeu d'Adam》just want to drag you both towards the Hellmouth.

You're strong enough not to have to go there now.

M.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: irhack on July 09, 2019, 05:57:44 AM
Thank you mamselle! I had a good call with her last night and it did feel good to be the adult in the room, saying the right things, building her up, giving her strength. And I made a therapy appointment for myself for next week so I can work through this emotional baggage in the right setting and not let it interfere with the task at hand.

Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: mamselle on July 09, 2019, 10:39:33 AM
Good to hear.

All good thoughts going forward.

M.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: paultuttle on July 23, 2019, 11:21:13 AM
We now have a deadline, the parental units and I, for making Many Good Decisions About The Future(tm): July 31.

On the table: (1) Who has power of attorney, (2) who has medical power of attorney, (3) who keeps a copy of The Important Information(tm), and [last but definitely not least] (4) who gets to stay at home with a person who comes in at least weekly to cook/clean/etc. versus who gets to downsize and learn to enjoy senior-center living.

_____

Why yes, I'm finding out that I can at times be even more stubborn than my mother (which, in this particular case, is a good thing). Why do you ask?

<grin>
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: mamselle on July 23, 2019, 11:23:47 AM
Whew!

You and they have been busy.

Hope it goes well.

M.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: spork on July 23, 2019, 04:34:47 PM
I suspect I'll be joining this thread soon. My mother isn't particularly elderly, but she's diabetic, in heart failure, and was hospitalized this year for a bout of sepsis she is refusing to talk about. Usually she only does things like that when it's bad. I don't know how much longer she's going to be able to keep working.

I'll probably be joining to thread too at some point. My mom is 86, in reasonably good physical health -- can still walk, see, etc. She lives in her own apartment in a charity-run retirement home where staff can ensure residents take their meds, etc. My mother-in-law is 81, still can walk around, but has some old age conditions that aren't managed very well. We've just submitted a citizenship application for her, and the process will probably be a nightmare -- she's Arab, Muslim, and doesn't speak English. My wife has been making trips to the homeland twice a year to check up on her, and she also comes here on a tourist visa. But she's now too old to make the trip on her own, and my wife is getting fed up with going back and forth. Hence the citizenship application. I'm not looking forward to her residing with us, which is probably what will happen.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: bioteacher on July 23, 2019, 08:08:58 PM
I currently work in billing for long term care pharmacy and deal with many different homes of differing levels of care. My advice to all of you comparing facilities: call the homes and see how long it takes to pick up. Don't call just during business hours, but during evening hours, too. Do you get to talk to a live person or are you routed though numerous phone menus? Does the person picking up actually say hello? (You'd be surprised at how often I get someone to pick up and they act like the phone is a new invention.)

When I'm calling, it's to talk to a particular nurse for a patient. You won't have that angle. So make up a name and let them figure out you got a wrong number. Play dumb, then apologize for the wrong phone number. Do this over several days and weekends. Don't rule out weekends. Many facilities bring in temporary help to cover weekends. The staff there might work part time at 2-3 different homes as they try to scrape together a full-time paycheck. They won't know their patients as well, which might be another red flag. Do they answer the phone, too? Or do they ignore it because it's "not their job?"

I am totally serious here. If they don't have the staff to answer the phone (when calls may be from a pharmacy with questions about medications, or from a family member wanting to know if Love One is coping with hip pain/ current illeness/ etc.) they don't have the staff to take care of your loved ones. Having to let the phone ring a few times is fine. Having to call and call and call because the phone company's computer comes on and says, "No one is answering your call. Please try again later." and dropping the line? That's a huge red flag in my book. There are some facilities it takes me half hour of trying off and on to finally reach a live person.

This is a simple screening step you can use that will bypass the tours, brochures, and best-foot-forward sales pitch.

Hugs to everyone on this thread. I expect to be here myself within a few years and dread it.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: lightning on July 23, 2019, 08:15:54 PM
I currently work in billing for long term care pharmacy and deal with many different homes of differing levels of care. My advice to all of you comparing facilities: call the homes and see how long it takes to pick up. Don't call just during business hours, but during evening hours, too. Do you get to talk to a live person or are you routed though numerous phone menus? Does the person picking up actually say hello? (You'd be surprised at how often I get someone to pick up and they act like the phone is a new invention.)

When I'm calling, it's to talk to a particular nurse for a patient. You won't have that angle. So make up a name and let them figure out you got a wrong number. Play dumb, then apologize for the wrong phone number. Do this over several days and weekends. Don't rule out weekends. Many facilities bring in temporary help to cover weekends. The staff there might work part time at 2-3 different homes as they try to scrape together a full-time paycheck. They won't know their patients as well, which might be another red flag. Do they answer the phone, too? Or do they ignore it because it's "not their job?"

I am totally serious here. If they don't have the staff to answer the phone (when calls may be from a pharmacy with questions about medications, or from a family member wanting to know if Love One is coping with hip pain/ current illeness/ etc.) they don't have the staff to take care of your loved ones. Having to let the phone ring a few times is fine. Having to call and call and call because the phone company's computer comes on and says, "No one is answering your call. Please try again later." and dropping the line? That's a huge red flag in my book. There are some facilities it takes me half hour of trying off and on to finally reach a live person.

This is a simple screening step you can use that will bypass the tours, brochures, and best-foot-forward sales pitch.

Hugs to everyone on this thread. I expect to be here myself within a few years and dread it.

Wow. This is great advice. Thank you.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: mamselle on July 24, 2019, 06:44:59 AM
I suspect I'll be joining this thread soon. My mother isn't particularly elderly, but she's diabetic, in heart failure, and was hospitalized this year for a bout of sepsis she is refusing to talk about. Usually she only does things like that when it's bad. I don't know how much longer she's going to be able to keep working.

I'll probably be joining to thread too at some point. My mom is 86, in reasonably good physical health -- can still walk, see, etc. She lives in her own apartment in a charity-run retirement home where staff can ensure residents take their meds, etc. My mother-in-law is 81, still can walk around, but has some old age conditions that aren't managed very well. We've just submitted a citizenship application for her, and the process will probably be a nightmare -- she's Arab, Muslim, and doesn't speak English. My wife has been making trips to the homeland twice a year to check up on her, and she also comes here on a tourist visa. But she's now too old to make the trip on her own, and my wife is getting fed up with going back and forth. Hence the citizenship application. I'm not looking forward to her residing with us, which is probably what will happen.

Do you have a separate set of rooms she can call her own? Not just a bedroom, but a sitting room, attached bath, and small kitchenette area? She, too, may want privacy (or have food requirements or strictures she would want to oversee herself).

Might help a bit with the preservation of everyone's sanity,...it could work very well, but I can see the potential pitfalls, too....

M.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: spork on July 24, 2019, 07:13:56 AM
Unfortunately no, we don't have the mother-in-law apartment. But I don't think it would matter if we did have one, for cultural reasons. The norm is to be much more social than I'm used to or even my wife prefers.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: irhack on July 24, 2019, 07:46:52 AM
Wow, Spork that sounds really tough (I was thinking my 1,000 mile Uhaul journey was tough but it's going to be a breeze comparatively speaking.) Hang in there! It's good you're working on this now before her health is too bad.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: wellfleet on July 24, 2019, 10:29:26 AM
Good luck, spork--that sounds challenging, particularly the language issues.

I live with my mother. My husband, son, and I moved into her house three years ago, after my dad died. It's actually working out great for us, but that's in part because everyone's been enthusiastic about this being a good thing thing to do. We relocated here from across the country, and giving the cost of housing in this charming coastal town, any option that did not involve a multi-generational household was likely out of reach for us, money-wise. My mom doesn't need much specialty care yet, but she has mobility issues that mean she probably shouldn't be living by herself at this point. My spouse is a nurse practitioner who spends a lot of his clinical time with patients like her, which is very reassuring for all of us. My teenage son and his grandmother now have a much closer relationship than ever before, which is great.

Spouse cooks for everyone and mom deals graciously with the fact that he's reorganized much of her kitchen and makes her eat salad. The house layout makes it easy for her to keep her own space while we often congregate elsewhere, and we're about to make the available space bigger, which will be lovely. Our being here should allow her to stay in her own home until/unless she ever needs around-the-clock skilled nursing care, and we'll still be very close by if that ever happens.

She is our only living parent and we both have been able to make this work with jobs, etc.. We all love this location, which is a huge bonus. Mom would have come to us, if that's what we had wanted to do, but we're all glad that this is working out.

I gave up tenure for this. So far, no regrets.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: spork on July 24, 2019, 02:26:40 PM
A problem that looms larger than lack of separate living space is the fact that bedrooms and bathrooms are up a flight of stairs. Luckily my wife's sister lives not too far away on the first floor of a triple decker that she owns. So as my mother-in-law's mobility deteriorates (she gets gout, for example) she will probably -- assuming she's in the USA all the time at that point -- be forced to live there. But my sister-in-law is single, and both she and my wife work, and they are already juggling schedules to ensure that someone is with their mom almost all the time (I fill in as needed).
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: irhack on July 30, 2019, 09:58:30 AM
Well, mom's in the hospital, in her home state 1000 miles away. Seems to be an infection (maybe UTI) that has spread, she also has fluid in her lungs, but we are still waiting for more testing. Thank goodness she has help coming in daily, if not frankly she could be dead already, she said she was fine Sunday but Monday she was barely coherant. Today she sounded more like herself on the phone, and was aware and able to tell me what's going on. I'm waiting for more information before deciding whether/when to go out. I hate that she's so far away, it will be good to move her to my town, hopefully she recovers quickly.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: mamselle on July 30, 2019, 10:39:32 AM
You probably already know this, but UTIs in older patients manifests as a kind of reversible afebrile dementia in which the body somehow doesn't raise its temperature to clobber the infecting bacteria, but the mental processes are affected instead (anyone with a more clinically accurate explanation is welcome to step in here!).

Usually, getting the infection gone fixes the mental status changes, so it would make sense that she'd be more coherent after some rounds of antibiotics.

But while they're confused, they're vulnerable to all kinds of things (my grandmother would leave the gas on, or call to say she was out of bread when she had two loaves mouldering in the fridge) so, yes, closer and more frequent supervision is probably also a good idea.

M.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: irhack on August 27, 2019, 05:09:36 AM
Well, the hour is upon us. I'm flying to homestate this weekend and bringing mom and her cat via uhaul back here. Please cross your fingers for us! I'm sure it will be an interesting journey, followed by many more interesting experiences.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: Thursday's_Child on August 27, 2019, 07:12:19 AM
irhack, I wish you a safe & boring trip!
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: reener06 on August 27, 2019, 02:37:19 PM
Just returned from a trip to drop daughter at college (yay) and stayed with in-laws and then my Dad a few days. More stressful with both than I wanted, and my 88 year old Dad is definitely slowing down.

But my questions deals with my in-laws. My FIL has lost a fair amount of weight lately, maybe 20 pounds? He doesn't exercise, and was diagnosed with Type II last year and put on Metformin. Since he's lost the weight and his blood sugar is more normal, he's going off it for now. They did all these tests to see why he's losing weight and nothing turned up. Then we show up, and MIL did the cooking, as usual, but so much less food. Like, I was starving every night and secretly snacking on snacks I bought myself b/c there are very few snacks there anymore. She (MIL) is overweight and made a big deal of stating how she eats almost nothing. She really skipped dinner or ate just a tiny bit, and we were gone most of the day while we were there, so I don't know about lunch. Breakfast was very light if at all. She isn't really losing weight, but says she isn't hungry.

I wondered if she could be developing an eating disorder. For context, FIL has always given her a very hard time about his weight while he was always trim. MIL feels awful about her physical body. Neither one exercises. I wondered if this was a way for her to control him by starving him or herself? In the meantime, he's lost a ton of weight.

Am I crazy here, or could this be a thing? I guess there isn't much for me to do about it, other than continue my secret snacking.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: AmLitHist on August 28, 2019, 10:08:43 AM
Oldest daughter visits MIL every Monday (they watch Jeopardy! together).  MIL is 89 and in great health and lives in an apartment in a nice senior housing for low-income folks; she's just across town from ALHS and me, and ALHS is over there or calls her several times a week.

A week ago, daughter called me in a panic, standing in Grandma's front yard:  "Mom, this apartment reeks of natural gas!  Who should I call?"  I had ALHS go over immediately; it was a toss-up whether our small-town cops/fire department would get their faster than the maintenance manager, so he called the latter. Grandma was having fits with both daughter and ALHS:  "There's nothing wrong!  Don't go calling somebody and bothering them to come out! I don't smell anything!"

The maintenance guy spent over an hour checking everything, pulling out the appliances and checking the connections, used a sniffer, etc. and couldn't find any leaks.   The three of us suspect MIL made something for lunch, turned the burner down far enough that it didn't stay lit but open enough that gas was still coming out.

While daughter was hustling Grandma around, trying to herd her out of the apartment and into the yard, she lost track for a second.  When she found Grandma, granny was in the kitchen with a box of matches in her hand, ready to "prove" that there was no gas in the air by striking a match to "have a look."

YE GODS. (After all my years of drama with my mom--who died ten years ago, by the way--I've told ALHS I'll be supportive of him but I simply cannot do that same kind of hands-on management again.)  At least he had the presence of mind to bring home all the matches when he left her that evening.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: mythbuster on August 28, 2019, 02:04:08 PM
AmLitHist YIKES! For future reference,at least in my town, you can call the utility directly about a gas leak. I did once and they were at my door in less than 5 minutes on a Sunday. I also might recommend upgrading MIL to an induction burner. It would greatly reduce the risk of flames and explosions.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: the_geneticist on August 28, 2019, 02:15:01 PM
Just returned from a trip to drop daughter at college (yay) and stayed with in-laws and then my Dad a few days. More stressful with both than I wanted, and my 88 year old Dad is definitely slowing down.

But my questions deals with my in-laws. My FIL has lost a fair amount of weight lately, maybe 20 pounds? He doesn't exercise, and was diagnosed with Type II last year and put on Metformin. Since he's lost the weight and his blood sugar is more normal, he's going off it for now. They did all these tests to see why he's losing weight and nothing turned up. Then we show up, and MIL did the cooking, as usual, but so much less food. Like, I was starving every night and secretly snacking on snacks I bought myself b/c there are very few snacks there anymore. She (MIL) is overweight and made a big deal of stating how she eats almost nothing. She really skipped dinner or ate just a tiny bit, and we were gone most of the day while we were there, so I don't know about lunch. Breakfast was very light if at all. She isn't really losing weight, but says she isn't hungry.

I wondered if she could be developing an eating disorder. For context, FIL has always given her a very hard time about his weight while he was always trim. MIL feels awful about her physical body. Neither one exercises. I wondered if this was a way for her to control him by starving him or herself? In the meantime, he's lost a ton of weight.

Am I crazy here, or could this be a thing? I guess there isn't much for me to do about it, other than continue my secret snacking.
Reener, I think that if your MIL is serving such tiny meals, then that explains FIL's weight loss.  She might be strictly controlling his access to food (for any number of reasons).  If nothing else, encourage him to tell his doctor about how much, or rather how little, he eats.  Maybe a "food journal" with not just what he's eating but also the portions?
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: mamselle on August 28, 2019, 06:09:53 PM
Oldest daughter visits MIL every Monday (they watch Jeopardy! together).  MIL is 89 and in great health and lives in an apartment in a nice senior housing for low-income folks; she's just across town from ALHS and me, and ALHS is over there or calls her several times a week.

A week ago, daughter called me in a panic, standing in Grandma's front yard:  "Mom, this apartment reeks of natural gas!  Who should I call?"  I had ALHS go over immediately; it was a toss-up whether our small-town cops/fire department would get their faster than the maintenance manager, so he called the latter. Grandma was having fits with both daughter and ALHS:  "There's nothing wrong!  Don't go calling somebody and bothering them to come out! I don't smell anything!"

The maintenance guy spent over an hour checking everything, pulling out the appliances and checking the connections, used a sniffer, etc. and couldn't find any leaks.   The three of us suspect MIL made something for lunch, turned the burner down far enough that it didn't stay lit but open enough that gas was still coming out.

While daughter was hustling Grandma around, trying to herd her out of the apartment and into the yard, she lost track for a second.  When she found Grandma, granny was in the kitchen with a box of matches in her hand, ready to "prove" that there was no gas in the air by striking a match to "have a look."

YE GODS. (After all my years of drama with my mom--who died ten years ago, by the way--I've told ALHS I'll be supportive of him but I simply cannot do that same kind of hands-on management again.)  At least he had the presence of mind to bring home all the matches when he left her that evening.

I'm very glad none of the potential tragedies occurred.

And kudos to your daughter for initiating the proper warnings immediately.

Second the motion for going to electric (although it can still become dangerous if a pan of grease is left on too long, or a curtain blows too close, but it's definitely safer...)

I also hope everyone's heart rate and Bp are back to normal....

M.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: irhack on August 29, 2019, 06:12:12 AM
Yeah, mom's building only has electric stoves, which is a relief.

For the eating, I would be really surprised is MIL wasn't sneaking food for herself. What a weird situation.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: mythbuster on August 29, 2019, 08:01:17 AM
Induction is even better than just the old electric coil. Since induction only interacts with the metal in the pans, you can put your hand on the induction burner turned all the way up and not feel a thing. It's a very common technology in Europe and many professional chef's swear by it, even over gas.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: wellfleet on September 03, 2019, 01:06:22 PM
irhack, I hope you've had a successful moving weekend with your mom. Let us know how things are going, once you've had a chance to breathe and regroup.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: irhack on September 05, 2019, 06:15:39 AM
Thank you, Wellfleet! The journey went as well as it possibly could have. So now the rest begins, trying to figure out what help she needs and will accept, budgeting everything out, getting insurance and doctors (probably should have done already, oh well), figuring out whether she actually cancelled and or transferred everything from home state, I'm suspecting not. And trying to figure out how to balance her needs with my need to work, see my kids and spouse, and take care of my own self. But, I feel so relieved to have her here and she seems very happy to be here, which is great.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: AmLitHist on September 05, 2019, 06:20:26 AM
I agree that electric/induction would be better.  But MIL is in section 8/low income govt. subsidized housing, so we don't have the option of changing (we asked years ago when she moved in).  If you see a news story about a senior HUD apartment building going **boom**, it might well be us.  (The thing is, at 89, she's actually mentally and physically sharper than about 80% of the other people in the complex.)
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: irhack on September 10, 2019, 07:11:05 AM
Beginning the process of untangling mom's finances while trying to keep her from ordering more stupid crap on Amazon (this week, among other things, a $150 water filter pitcher - with lifetime supply of water filters - from some brand clearly substandard to Brita).

Things I've discovered - she's been paying for a cell phone she hasn't had for over a year. She switched from AT&T to Verizon but never cancelled AT&T.

She's subscribed to every shady service on the internet eg "Just Answers."

After I hit "post" I'm contacting a lawyer for POA.

Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: mamselle on September 10, 2019, 10:02:58 AM
My grandmother drove my mom crazy over stuff like that, including giving about $500.00 to the doorman at the hotel next to the old upscale cafeteria in the downtown area that she frequented. My mom finally found out and made her stop (don't know how...).

He'd hit her up for 50.00 at a time (when that was a fairly good sized check, mid-1960s, say) and it showed up in her savings and checking account books, which we found when we cleared her house 20 years later.

I'm very sorry you're having to handle all these issues at once, along with all the rest of your work...

M.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: bibliothecula on September 13, 2019, 11:21:33 AM
My dad died late last night, peacefully and in his sleep. He was 83. He had been ill for a while and was in hospice care, so it wasn't a surprise. I do find myself surprised to be quoting Oscar Wilde: "lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness." Both of my parents have died within 11 months, but both were ready to go and their choices were honored, and for that I am grateful.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: fleabite on September 13, 2019, 01:39:02 PM
I am very sorry for your (double) loss. Take care of yourself. All best wishes.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: Hegemony on September 13, 2019, 01:51:53 PM
Bibliotheca, I am sorry to hear this news.  I read once that when your parents die, the roof comes off your world, and that was how it felt to me.  Wishing you a smooth time with all the logistics, and peace ahead.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: mamselle on September 13, 2019, 02:22:17 PM
Pax in terra, et requiescat in pace.

M.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: backatit on September 14, 2019, 06:20:45 AM
I'm so sorry. My stepmother moved in with my sister for hospice care, and we've lost both of our other parents, so I can sympathize.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: AmLitHist on September 14, 2019, 10:12:24 AM
Adding my sympathies, Bibliothecula.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: irhack on September 16, 2019, 05:41:45 AM
So sorry for your losses, Bibliothecula.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: bibliothecula on September 20, 2019, 11:02:14 AM
Thank you all, very much. <3
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: irhack on October 08, 2019, 09:59:02 AM
Mom let me know last night that she was 48 hours away from running out of two medications. Problem, because 1. she won't see her new doctor here till next week so they can't prescribe anything, and 2. we weren't able to change her address with the SSA till last week which 3. prevented us from enrolling in medicare part D until today, which won't take effect until November 1.

Let it be know that the medicare drug coverage information site is completely useless. I still have no idea how much she will be paying out of pocket once Part D kicks in,  even after meeting with a special medicare counselor.  And of course we will have to pay fully out of pocket for this medication refill today, if the local pharmacy is even able to transfer it from out of state. My first pass with the medicare site said one of the meds has a retail cost of $450. The next time I logged in, they said the retail cost is $1200. Either way is NOT AWESOME.

This too shall pass.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: mamselle on October 08, 2019, 11:18:40 AM
SHEESH!!!

That's a lot. (understatement)...

Ouch.

Looking backwards for next-time prevention (hindsight being immaculate, of course) I think there are project-management-type programs that let you enter your Rx issue dates, prescription written-by-when dates, etc., so you can manage this better going forward...not your fault, I'm not saying that, but...yee--ouch!

Is your mom less time-conscious, or just less aware that delayed Rx's are this costly?

Thinking of you.

M.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: polly_mer on March 16, 2020, 05:55:09 AM
Anyone else talking with elderly parents and sighing heavily because those parents flat out refuse to believe that social isolation is the right course of action?

I couldn't believe it yesterday when the plan was to go out for coffee etc. more often now that people in their social circles had additional free time due to not going to work.   

It's bad enough in your location that office folks are told not to go to work and that's a time to increase social contact?  Schools are closed, entertainment venues are closed, public offices are closed, and yet you're going to increase going out with your underlying conditions with the youngest of you being 75.  What an interesting choice based on all the information we have.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: reener06 on March 16, 2020, 07:45:59 AM
Yes! We finally convinced Fox-watching in-laws, age 70, to socially isolate. They acted like we were crazy at first. Now they are on board.

89 year old father is thankfully already isolated sadly due to a back injury. But it took nurse sister to convince my brother, who flies for work and was returning from Houston to NOT visit Dad on his birthday. But no one saw any reason that other brother, with wife who works in school district that was still meeting as of last week, to cancel their weekend visit. And brother is suddenly in the last year a very dedicated Catholic, so I'm fairly certain he and wife went to mass. Dad thought I was nuts to suggest brother shouldn't come. He thought it odd that Houston-visiting brother was cancelling. Meanwhile, sister that works in a hospital is taking Dad to a doctor's appointment in large city tomorrow.

I should add that Houston-flying brother thinks it's all a hoax and people are unnecessarily hysterical. Also, I am a Type I diabetic and have never been so glad to live far from all these people.

Dad signed off with "continue your life as normal." I shocked him into silence when I told him I hadn't left the house for a week and don't plan to leave for months.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: AmLitHist on March 16, 2020, 07:50:11 AM
Polly, here's an article that our daughter (29) sent me yesterday.  I asked if this was her nice way of saying, "Dang, Mom. you and Dad are OLD--stay at home!"  She just smiled.  Squirt.

It's got some good ideas though.  Right now ALHS has to put a leash on his mom, who turns 90 at the end of the month.  She doesn't go much anyway, but she lives alone in an apartment, and if the doors at church are open, she thinks she has to be there, so he's trying to stop that, too.  I've been staying away from her anyway, since I've got a raging sinus infection and don't want to give/get anything to/from her.  Still.

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/annehelenpetersen/coronavirus-parents-grandparents-boomers-millennials
There are actually some good ideas in here that others might want to try.

ETA:  Reener, I'm type 2, with last year full of health problems under my belt, so I'm right there with you.  We're on break and have been ordered to report next week (second week of spring break), even if our classes are already moved online.  I'll be damned if I go in for the remaining weeks when I'm teaching only online, OR use 6 weeks of sick leave over it (which I have, but which is BS).
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: wellfleet on March 16, 2020, 08:01:58 AM
I live with my mom, who has, thankfully, agreed to stay home. She has some medical/therapy appts this week, and we are letting her providers make the call about whether she should go to those or not.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: paultuttle on March 17, 2020, 02:12:47 PM
Anyone else talking with elderly parents and sighing heavily because those parents flat out refuse to believe that social isolation is the right course of action?

I couldn't believe it yesterday when the plan was to go out for coffee etc. more often now that people in their social circles had additional free time due to not going to work.   

It's bad enough in your location that office folks are told not to go to work and that's a time to increase social contact?  Schools are closed, entertainment venues are closed, public offices are closed, and yet you're going to increase going out with your underlying conditions with the youngest of you being 75.  What an interesting choice based on all the information we have.

Mine didn't have a social reason but a grocery-shopping reason. In an era in which groceries can be picked up via drive-thru or even delivered to his house, which is 5 min from a Harris Teeter and 5 in the other direction from a Food Lion, my 80+ year old father decided to DRIVE TO AND GO INTO MULTIPLE GROCERY STORES THIS PAST SATURDAY IN SEARCH OF 3 GALLONS OF MILK.

I was--what's the British expression?--gobsmacked. (Clearly, those 3 gallons were worth his and Mom's lives.) I had to quickly extract a promise to tell us the grocery list and we'd go get items for them and leave the groceries on their porch.

I mean, damn. "Why, yes, we are listening to the news, Paul--what's your question?" Wow. Really? You were listening?

**planning to call tonight and ask where's the list that was promised by noon Tuesday**
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: Morden on March 17, 2020, 04:06:53 PM
Hmm. Yes. I have a 94 year old who watches the news, reads the paper, etc. but still can't see why she isn't allowed to see her 92 year old husband in the care home right now. (They are in lock down.) It's heartbreaking but also extremely frustrating--No, you can't go see him tomorrow either. No, not the next day. No, not tomorrow. No, not the next day. etc.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: apostrophe on March 18, 2020, 04:46:06 AM
(following)
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: Thursday's_Child on March 18, 2020, 07:07:57 AM
Anyone else talking with elderly parents and sighing heavily because those parents flat out refuse to believe that social isolation is the right course of action?

I couldn't believe it yesterday when the plan was to go out for coffee etc. more often now that people in their social circles had additional free time due to not going to work.   

It's bad enough in your location that office folks are told not to go to work and that's a time to increase social contact?  Schools are closed, entertainment venues are closed, public offices are closed, and yet you're going to increase going out with your underlying conditions with the youngest of you being 75.  What an interesting choice based on all the information we have.

Mine didn't have a social reason but a grocery-shopping reason. In an era in which groceries can be picked up via drive-thru or even delivered to his house, which is 5 min from a Harris Teeter and 5 in the other direction from a Food Lion, my 80+ year old father decided to DRIVE TO AND GO INTO MULTIPLE GROCERY STORES THIS PAST SATURDAY IN SEARCH OF 3 GALLONS OF MILK.

I was--what's the British expression?--gobsmacked. (Clearly, those 3 gallons were worth his and Mom's lives.) I had to quickly extract a promise to tell us the grocery list and we'd go get items for them and leave the groceries on their porch.

I mean, damn. "Why, yes, we are listening to the news, Paul--what's your question?" Wow. Really? You were listening?

**planning to call tonight and ask where's the list that was promised by noon Tuesday**

That's my parents, too.  Only, without any nearby family to help out.  Crossed fingers, hope, and prayers really aren't doing much to reduce my stress levels lately.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: mamselle on March 18, 2020, 09:24:47 AM
Paul Tuttle, sounds like the social might have been blended in with the grocery reason, in a way, too...

I'm sure this is not likely to be your parents' case but the twin losses of many close friends to death, and the reduced mobility that keeps them from getting to see and talk with those that are left can make many people feel so bereft they'd rather be gone themselves...or that taking a reckless chance may be worth it, just to feel they're still alive, and not as imprisoned by circumstances as they may feel.

Elders are often already so much more isolated than in any earlier part of their lives that they may see dying from a disease as negligible in some instances.

I was a bit shocked when, the December before she died, my mom, 92, and apropos of nothing I can recall, said, "You know, I always thought I'd be gone by now..."

And I recalled another older friend saying once, "I get so tired of going to funerals! I need some younger friends!" and realized that the shrinking social circle closes in on one after awhile.

So, going for milk may not really have been about the milk at all.

M.

Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: ciao_yall on March 18, 2020, 09:50:00 AM
Echoing Mamselle...

Years ago my grandmother wanted to go to her niece's funeral. My aunt wouldn't let her because she might catch a cold "which could be fatal!"

What is the point of being alive if you can't be around the people you love?
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: polly_mer on March 18, 2020, 04:02:44 PM
I encountered AmLitHist's buzzfeed article elsewhere and nodded while sighing.

My 80-year-old father worries about "the old guys who aren't as spry as they used to be" and that was well before this spring.  I remember that same father ending up shoveling a neighbor's roof in the height of winter about 35 years ago because "80-year-olds shouldn't be out in this weather and certainly not on the roof".  My just-turned-70 year old mother drives the "old folks" into the city for their medical appointments.  Those parents seem to be properly scaling back as part of a temporary measure for the good of the community. 

My in-laws, though...  No, it doesn't matter that even Fox News has made a shift and the Oklahoma governor had to walk back being proud of his outing on Saturday. No, it doesn't matter that "Why should you be off school, Blocky, when it's old farts like us who should be worried?  We're not worried and you should be in school!" has internal inconsistencies.


 A colleague at work pointed out that one can arrange to have groceries delivered to a house at which one does not live, if home delivery is a thing in that area.  We may be making a midweek call to the in-laws and gifting them with home-delivered groceries for several weeks.  I haven't done anything in years to get the "you think you know what's best for everyone, don't you, Missy!" lecture (unlike other spouses married to their offspring).  It's probably my turn to be forward and get smacked down, especially since I'm the youngest and can't possibly know anything here at a mere older-than-they-were-when-I-married-their-son.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: wellfleet on March 19, 2020, 08:19:08 AM
I am supremely thankful that I live with my mom, and that she's agreed to be in for the duration except for necessary medical appts. She's supposed to have a monthly infusion today--I'm not yet sure if that is happening. We are in one of the northern California counties on a three-week shelter in place order as of yesterday, and I'm working from home. Wellkid is currently on spring break, but I expect his school to throw some online assignments his way in April and then call the school year.

Luckily, my mother and I have a quilting and needlework supplies inventory that boggles the mind--she is diving into projects to keep herself busy, which is great.

Wellspouse normally works in the hospital half-time, doing pre-op physicals, but will be pivoting to more in-home visits for hospice (his other gig) instead. His hospital has cancelled all elective procedures for now, and the in-house OR staff will handle anything that still needs to happen there. Going forward, who knows.

 
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: AmLitHist on March 19, 2020, 08:54:05 AM
Oldest kid called yesterday, aggravated that Grandma said something about going to the laundromat.  Kid told her that she will go for Grandma, Grandma can bring it to my house or ALHS will get her things and wash them here, etc.  I had ALHS call his mom yesterday evening and offer to get her laundry and wash it here, or she's welcome to come use my machines, whichever. I reminded him to offer to get her groceries, prescriptions, etc. too.

I was across the room at the time, and even there I heard the chewing out she gave him over the phone.  "I'm not so feeble I can't wash my own clothes," etc. etc.

We'll see, but I hope (and think) if I make it to 90, I'm going to be just fine with people offering to do things for me.  Hell, I'd be happy if they'd offer to do things for me now, and I'm "only" 59!  :-)
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: notmycircus on March 19, 2020, 08:57:24 AM
I just ordered grocery items to be delivered to my front door this afternoon through Instacart.  It was simple: went to my grocery store website, asked if I wanted to order online, shopped by department, then checked out with my credit card and address.  Certainly this can be arranged with most any grocery store, even long distance. 
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: AmLitHist on March 19, 2020, 09:08:06 AM
Some WalMarts also have to-the-car grocery delivery, which I used earlier this week and plan to use for the duration.  Free of charge, and you can order anything in store; if they're out of something, you can cancel that item or accept a substitute. Quick and easy.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: polly_mer on March 19, 2020, 05:29:33 PM
Slate has an article that might be useful: https://slate.com/human-interest/2020/03/psychologist-elderly-coronavirus-advice.html
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: nebo113 on March 21, 2020, 04:28:07 AM
I just ordered grocery items to be delivered to my front door this afternoon through Instacart.  It was simple: went to my grocery store website, asked if I wanted to order online, shopped by department, then checked out with my credit card and address.  Certainly this can be arranged with most any grocery store, even long distance.

Instacart doesn't deliver to my area. Grrrrrrr......
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: paultuttle on March 22, 2020, 02:32:35 PM
*checking to see what providers deliver groceries to my parents' house*

By the way, in the middle of all this, I was informed that my mother had been told by her doctor that she needs to gain weight. And that her appetite had been suffering for months. (Oh, JOY!) So after the obligatory "why haven't you told me until now" discussion, I asked her what she liked to eat.

"Ice cream" was the answer, and quite rapidly given. (Okay, that was revealing . . . . ) I then asked her what flavors she liked and made a short mental list.

The upshot: Among the groceries my husband and I delivered to them Friday afternoon were no fewer than SEVEN flavors of ice cream--full-size tubs of butter pecan, Dutch chocolate, and Neapolitan (three flavors right there) along with pints of cherry royale and coconut almond. (Yes, Breyer's largest containers were on sale for about 66% off at the Harris Teeter nearest my parents' house. How did you guess?)

I'm hoping that my father will have the lightbulb idea to spoon the ice cream over the cakes, pies, and brownies currently residing in their freezers (yes, that plural is not a typo--my parents were born during the Depression) so Mom can get some needed calories into her system. (At this point, I don't care that it's all sugar and butter and carbs.)

Next Saturday or Sunday, they'll get some more items--from us, this time, not from the grocery stores.

I wish I could just build a Plexiglas bubble over their house and protect them from themselves. I suppose I should be thankful that they agreed to stay at home and let us bring them some groceries.

And yes, mamselle, it's not about the milk, it's about getting out of the house--including for Mom, who likes to sit in the car outside the grocery store most weekends, people-watching, while Dad's buying what they need. So these days, both my brother in Thailand and I are calling more often, asking them what they did that day and what they plan to do the next day. It's a whole lot better than feeling completely alone in their house, separated from the rest of the world, that's for sure.

Thanks for the advice and comments! I hope you all and your elderly loved ones remain safe and healthy. And if you're the elderly person, I hope your loved ones are stepping up for you so you can remain safe and healthy.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: polly_mer on March 22, 2020, 03:09:55 PM
I am at a loss.

One set of parents is doing great at self isolating and jumped at the idea of more regular Skypes with us to have additional social interaction.  However, those parents are convinced this is all a show during an election year to distract us from something even more nefarious.  They don't seem to think that the whole thing is a hoax; they're going with conspiracy to commit a pandemic as a distraction by some presidential campaign.  It is not clear which campaign they think started the pandemic or how that will help anyone win the US presidential election.  The vibe from this set of parents is COVID-19 and shutting everything down is really just politics and somebody thought this was a strategy to win the election.

The other set of parents is doing terrible at self isolating because they refuse to believe germ theory. They were proud of the local churches for having a virtual meeting to share best practices in FaceBook and other broadcasting for sermons so that the churches could be closed.  However, these same parents were proud of their local Sam's Club for having police available to enforce sane buying quantities--something these folks got to observe first hand during yesterday's visit. 

These folks had to stop the virtual visit early because they are having dinner guests.  It's ok, though, because these dinner guests are family.  Never mind that one of those guests is a state worker who still makes in-person visits to families all over the region as part of her essential job.  Yes, let that disease vector into your house and share food (they'll probably even hold hands for the before-meal prayer as they always do) because "she's family so it's OK".

All I got at this point is "I have provided information that adults can use to make their own decisions.  When necessary, I will make the bazillion phone calls because those choices led to foreseeable negative consequences."
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: mamselle on March 22, 2020, 05:00:08 PM
Ouch.

My sister sounds like your first set of parents: she's convinced that closing her library on her governor's orders is the result of some Henny-Penny (I think she means Chicken Little) in the state house there. (At least she did close the library.)

If it's--well, no, it isn't really--any consolation, it took MDs almost a century to believe in transmission vectors of disease, with the result that female deaths from purpureal fever skyrocketed as doctors went from patient to patient without observing proper handwashing and other preventative techniques.

Oliver W. Holmes began his campaign against this with this paper in 1843:

    https://embryo.asu.edu/pages/contagiousness-puerperal-fever-1843-oliver-wendell-holmes

It was taken badly and dismissed as unimportant, although British and European MDs confirmed his findings.

But you probably know this.

Getting ones parents to believe anything their kids tell them has to be siphoned through all the incredulity they amassed over the years, dealing with tales of giant frogs under the bed and other such things....

My sympathies.

M.

M.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: kaysixteen on March 23, 2020, 01:18:56 PM
How many Americans in 2020 really don't believe in the germ theory of disease, something that really is settled scientific law, not open theory?  I get that ignorance and subliteracy is sadly increasing in the USA, sadly especially amongst many of my coreligionists, but, really?
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: polly_mer on March 23, 2020, 01:52:03 PM
How many Americans in 2020 really don't believe in the germ theory of disease, something that really is settled scientific law, not open theory?  I get that ignorance and subliteracy is sadly increasing in the USA, sadly especially amongst many of my coreligionists, but, really?

If you gave a written test, then these folks would give biologically correct information.

However, just look at how many people aren't social distancing and are making exceptions based on personal feelings instead of logical disease transmission.  The fact that a person is a close relative wins over every other consideration, even if logic would dictate that the same disease vectors apply to strangers and family.

It's not failing at the content of the basic science; it's failing at applying that science when doing so counts.  It's the same mental failing as learning something in one class and then never applying it outside of that class.

My favorite story in this vein was a mandatory workshop run for new local leaders at the American Chemical Society.  We were being taught how to coach volunteers in a situation where everyone is a volunteer and can just quit if they don't like being criticized, but frequently people aren't great at their first few turns of volunteering.  The techniques were simple and straightforward to follow, even if they were hokey.  I spent much of the workshop being the contrarian who doubted the value of these hokey techniques.

 The final exercise was a role-playing exercise in which every trio in the room has someone be the volunteer, someone be the coach, and someone be the observer to provide feedback to the coach on applying the method.  I was assigned observer first go and the teacher was conspicuously right next to me.  I watched the coach use the method and then I used the method we'd just spent 4 hours learning to provide feedback to the coach.  When I was done, I turned to the teacher and asked, "How many people fail at applying the coaching method as the observer when that's clearly the final test?"  The response was a disheartening: sometimes everyone in the workshop fails; a good outcome is about half applying the technique without being told to be the coach.


Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: bioteacher on March 23, 2020, 02:33:05 PM
It's maddening. One can take a drive in the car and people watch! You can drive to a new location and see new scenery. If able, you can take a walk in the local park. Just stay away from other people.

My mom is taking this very seriously and told her husband, who doesn't seem to get it, that she isn't so much as hugging him for the next month. It's killing her, but she is protecting herself since he sees nothing wrong with hanging out with his extended daughter and grand kids.. none of whom are being careful.

Cluebats for everyone!
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: Stockmann on March 23, 2020, 07:05:08 PM
Thankfully my parents aren't very elderly and are in good health overall. Thankfully they're going into self-isolation, with only a few home deliveries in the next few days and then they plan on complete self-isolation for about a month. But I still worry, of course. My wife is worried about her own parents - my FIL has just about every single risk factor other than respiratory illnesses or being immunocompromised. The healthcare system where they live is already close to falling apart, even with no confirmed covid-19 cases in their town yet - doctors saying that they're short of labcoats, gloves, etc. So it's going to be bad.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: ergative on March 24, 2020, 01:15:49 AM
I called my parents the other day and my father tried to feed me some line of baloney about how epidemiologists use simple exponential models that don't take into account things like social clustering when modeling disease spread, and so they're too dire and in fact it won't be as bad as people are predicting. He had used those models when he was in college, and they were much too simple to model real life! I suggested that perhaps epidemiologists with modern day computing tools are using an approach that is more sophisticated than the freshman level slide-rule calculated  math examples that he saw forty years ago, but he wasn't having any of that. Then he said that it was pointless to flatten the curve, because all it means is that you cough your lungs out in six months rather than today.

Naturally, I was not happy with this conversation. Then I emailed my mother, who informed me that they're having groceries dropped off on the front porch, and my father bags and labels the mail and newspapers and ages them for three days before opening them. So that's okay then. He can be the real-life example of a twitter 'expert' as much as he wants, as long as he takes this seriously in his actions, and my mother is no fool.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: polly_mer on March 24, 2020, 05:03:19 AM
ergative, perhaps your father would be heartened by looking through the various models at https://covidactnow.org .  No one is using a simple exponential and there are different outcomes depending on which human behaviors occur in the various scenarios.

I'm crossing my fingers that people believe enough to stay home and really, really, really not interact with anyone who isn't already a fluid-bonded individual living in the same house.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: kaysixteen on March 24, 2020, 11:41:29 PM
It's one thing to not believe in the germ theory of disease, it's another to say that you will just risk disease transmission in order to continue to have contact with relative X, especially if that relative is older, alone, perhaps scared, wants to see you, etc.

I usually visit my overweight but otherwise healthy 73yo Aunt every other Sunday.  I emailed her yesterday telling her I'm well, good to come up this weekend as scheduled, unless she says otherwise, and I made it clear to her that she must feel perfectly free to tell me not to do so.   I can't say that the reality that I am continuing to work a very public pt retail job hasn't caused me to wonder whether I should not just make an executive decision and say that I'm not coming, but she really wants me to come.  So....?
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: Hegemony on March 24, 2020, 11:54:20 PM
I would not go. It's clear that you can transmit the coronavirus before you have symptoms, or even if you never have symptoms. One question is: if she came down with it -- and the prognosis would probably not be good -- could you live with yourself afterwards? Would you say, "Well, but she didn't tell me not to come, so I don't feel bad"?
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: polly_mer on March 25, 2020, 05:11:18 AM
It's one thing to not believe in the germ theory of disease, it's another to say that you will just risk disease transmission in order to continue to have contact with relative X, especially if that relative is older, alone, perhaps scared, wants to see you, etc.

I usually visit my overweight but otherwise healthy 73yo Aunt every other Sunday.  I emailed her yesterday telling her I'm well, good to come up this weekend as scheduled, unless she says otherwise, and I made it clear to her that she must feel perfectly free to tell me not to do so.   I can't say that the reality that I am continuing to work a very public pt retail job hasn't caused me to wonder whether I should not just make an executive decision and say that I'm not coming, but she really wants me to come.  So....?

Offer a phone call or Skype/Portal/FaceTime instead of a physical visit.

If it's possible to do an outdoor visit (e.g., she's on the porch and you're in a lawn chair you bring yourself from home 20 feet away) where you are, then that's another option.  You can in fact call someone while being visible to them and never get close enough to transmit disease.  I certainly don't find shouting across the lawn appealing, but being visible and using the telephone to have a conversation at a reasonable volume is something I see frequently on the slice-of-life segments on the news.

Yes, we should all stay in emotional contact with elderly relatives; we just don't have to do any of the things that germ transmission theory tell us are going to infect people who are the most closely related to us.  Now might be the time to increase frequency of phone/Skype/etc.  to better meet emotional needs of our elderly loved ones and to be able to step in for other types of support (getting groceries delivered, ensuring that medicine is still being purchased and taken) as necessary.

Typhoid Mary remains a trope because she flat out refused to take reasonable precautions.  Protect your loved one by acting on your germ theory knowledge and taking advantage of 21st century technology to remain physically distant while socially connected.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: statsgeek on March 25, 2020, 05:45:32 AM
Chime with all of these challenges.  StatDad is healthy, but at risk just due to age.  I can't seem to convince him that he doesn't NEED to go to the grocery store several times a week.  He's also sure that, if he's healthy and we're healthy, and we've all been under "stay at home" orders, that it's ok for us to drive down for Passover as scheduled.  (He did cancel the large seder.)  It's killing me to say no, because I'm never not been home for a Passover and this means he'd be by himself, but I think our seder is going to have to be virtual this year. 

And don't even get me started on the in-laws. 
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: polly_mer on March 25, 2020, 06:04:36 AM
I just can't let it go.

It's one thing to not believe in the germ theory of disease, it's another to say that you will just risk disease transmission in order to continue to have contact with relative X, especially if that relative is older, alone, perhaps scared, wants to see you, etc.

Would you drive drunk with Auntie wearing no seatbelt in the front seat because it's probably OK and hardly any traffic accidents happen on Sunday at 1500?

Would you let the Auntie dance around on the roof because she really, really wants to do that and hardly anyone dies from a mere 12 foot fall into the grass?

If you really, truly to the depths of your soul believe in germ theory and know what current best information tells us regarding who tends to get a severe case with lingering effects even if they survive, then there's only one logical choice.

To choose otherwise for a social visit is either morally wrong or indicates that one really doesn't believe germ theory and the related biological realities as scientists know them.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: nebo113 on March 25, 2020, 07:19:14 AM
91 year old, very health mother lives in retirement community, not nursing facility though many people have private care givers. Management has take prudent, appropriate measures over the past several weeks.  Sister and I, along with Mother, are, so far, comfortable with the situation.  If that changes, we have an alternative.  We are fortunate.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: kaysixteen on March 25, 2020, 09:54:19 PM
She took the decision out of my hands by emailing me today to tell me not to come, fearing for me based on the ongoing exposure I have due to my retail job.  She also seems noticeably more personally scared than even in her email from Monday.  And she has for weeks made it clear she's not afraid, wants to avoid paranoia, etc.  Obviously I will honor her wishes, and am trying to avoid the upwelling of fear myself;. I am after all still working that job.  Heck,even my brother, a single man and active duty military officer, seems pretty scared and sent me an unsolicited check yesterday.  This seems somewhat akin to cooking a lean piece of meat , where it will be underdone underdone underdone until in the blink of an eye it would become overdone, unless one is very careful....

As I said, I will certainly honor her wishes to stay away till she says differently, and have told her so, but I also firmly believe that invisible germs just ain't the only overall health concerns we have to worry about, and the proper balance may well be very hard to discern, and may well shift over time.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: polly_mer on March 26, 2020, 04:15:38 AM
As I said, I will certainly honor her wishes to stay away till she says differently, and have told her so, but I also firmly believe that invisible germs just ain't the only overall health concerns we have to worry about, and the proper balance may well be very hard to discern, and may well shift over time.

Call your aunt more often and make that personal contact without the germs.  Do I have to make a series of links to why the WHO now recommends physical distancing with maintaining emotional contact?

Yes, people are scared and that's understandable.

Call/Skype/FaceTime to keep the emotional contact.

For years, my parents and I did about one phone call and perhaps three emails per year.  This week, we've done two Skypes and have another scheduled for Saturday.  This appears to be the pattern for the foreseeable future.

Call your aunt/brother/college roommate and maintain emotional contact to help each other during a scary time.  Just don't get physically close enough to share germs.

Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: AmLitHist on March 26, 2020, 07:42:44 AM
Today is ALHS's mom's 90th birthday.  She's in better shape than either of us--lives alone in an apartment, drives, goes to do her laundry and grocery shop (until COVID).  Since she didn't want anything for her birthday, he took per a package of toilet paper.

She agreed that it was the first time she'd ever gotten that for a birthday present.  (And she was grateful for it.)
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: Cheerful on March 26, 2020, 08:13:09 AM
Heck,even my brother, a single man and active duty military officer, seems pretty scared and sent me an unsolicited check yesterday.

Today is ALHS's mom's 90th birthday.  She's in better shape than either of us--lives alone in an apartment, drives, goes to do her laundry and grocery shop (until COVID).  Since she didn't want anything for her birthday, he took per a package of toilet paper.

She agreed that it was the first time she'd ever gotten that for a birthday present.  (And she was grateful for it.)

These are heartwarming, important stories, thank you, kaysixteen and AmLitHist.  When books are written about this time, hope they include vignettes like these.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: Morden on March 26, 2020, 09:20:46 AM
I had an elaborate plan to pick up things to be mailed and drop off extra groceries at my 94 year-old mother's house without face to face contact. It failed. But at least it failed outside with me backing up as she kept coming closer.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: kaysixteen on March 26, 2020, 11:22:09 AM
I get the germ part, have already made it clear to anyone who's not being deliberately obtuse.  But human contact is also important for the elderly.  I will stay away for now, but what would you suggest I do if she did become sick?  Obviously I would not go see her and then head out into the world, but I couldn't leave her alone, now could I?

It probably also ought to go undisputed that most elderly folks aren't really equipped for Skype and other such technical options..
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: mamselle on March 26, 2020, 12:15:23 PM
Umm....the grandparents of all 6 of my younger music students Skype with them as a matter of course.

Our library has "Skype for Elders" classes (now online) to teach people the basics.

If they have any kind of computer, it is not to hard to set up.

And there's always the phone...my mom never wanted to deal with "all that computer stuff," but expected weekly phone calls 'til her dying day.

Increased frequency over visual contact may be the only way to highten a sense of your presence, but that's at least something.

The harder part, of course, is that we care for people and want to reach out--it's a good impulse, just not appropriate in some of its usual forms right now.

M.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: apl68 on March 26, 2020, 01:28:14 PM
Again, kay's not being obtuse.  "Most" may be something of an exaggeration, but in many places a large proportion of senior households do indeed have no telecommunications resources, apart from (usually) telephone service, radio, and TV.  In many rural areas broadband internet access still lags.  The situation in our community is still pretty bad in that respect.  Social media is still a long way from being an option for everybody in the U.S.

I appreciate the urgency of warnings here about social distancing...but to be honest, there's also an awful lot of judgementalism toward those who, unlike the average connected, up-to-the-minute academic, find isolating themselves from their nearest and dearest, treating them like any other anonymous "disease vectors," extremely counterintuitive and problematic.  Adam Gopnik, in the current issue of The New Yorker, has made the observation that the current epidemic "punishes people for behaving well."  It's precisely those communities--the nation of Italy, strong extended families, church groups--that have done the best job of retaining close community connections and avoiding the alienating effects of modern life and technology that are suffering the worst now.

In my state the biggest cluster of Covid-19 cases so far has been a single small-town church congregation.  These people weren't guilty of the kind of pigheaded tempting of fate that Fallwell and Liberty U have been guilty of.  Their last meeting was weeks ago, when there were still only two or three confirmed cases in our state, and school and other shutdowns were just beginning to snowball.  They were innocent of any "wrongdoing."  Then the next thing anybody knows, literally half the congregation who were present have come down with Covid-19.  And one of the church's most beloved seniors is now dead.  They're all heartbroken about it.  And I can guarantee you that various self-appointed commentators who don't know anybody there are now flaying them alive online for having failed to be just a couple of days further along in their awareness of the epidemic crisis.

A lot of the people who are suffering worst form this, and being condemned for their faults, were only doing what in another context would have been considered commendable.  This epidemic has changed the context with blinding speed.  Let's have a heart toward those who are being caught flat-footed by the change.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: polly_mer on March 26, 2020, 03:24:31 PM
Let's have a heart toward those who are being caught flat-footed by the change.

The heart part is proposing other solutions like sitting on the front lawn and calling so there isn't shouting.

If one really, truly, no-foolin' believes the germ theory, then there are actions that are the equivalent of juggling chainsaws while riding a unicycle in heavy traffic.  Feelings have no effect on the situation, no matter how much one wants to assert that feelings override science because it could be OK.  I will absolutely continue to judge people who are encouraging bad behavior because it's too mean to speak harsh realities.

The kicker in much of life is the disconnect between the way we'd like things to be and how they really are.

Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: mamselle on March 26, 2020, 08:12:53 PM
True, but apl68's point is in line with the nature of the virus itself.

It's stealthy: it's often undiagnosed because it's silently transmitted and doesn't cause symptoms so it's possible for a whole congregation, that early in the discovery phase, not to know or understand the issues.

Unlike, forgive me, but the stupid bench-scientists at Biogen, who had a much better basis for knowledge and the in-house means of avoiding a large meeting face-to-face--who went ahead and met in person anyway.

Their folly infected several towns-full of people in two or three quick jumps.

M.

Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: Hegemony on March 26, 2020, 09:40:23 PM
Kay, if your aunt is hospitalized, they will not let you into the hospital to visit her anyway.

I read a nice analogy. If you were told, "Here are a hundred skittles, three of them are poisoned and will kill you," would you go ahead and eat some skittles, because only three of them would kill you?  Or offer them to your aunt? Except in her case, 15 of them are poisoned, and even one of those 15 will kill her.  "But she really likes skittles!  She'd feel sad if she couldn't eat any!" 

I think you're really thinking of all this as unnecessary precautions — like, you won't really transmit the coronavirus to your aunt, so why all this distancing?  Many thousands of people will make that same calculation, and decide to go ahead.  A certain percentage of them will be tragically wrong.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: apostrophe on March 27, 2020, 02:01:44 AM
If your loved ones have iPhones, I think Facetime is the easiest tech option. If they don't, then I chime in with the chorus recommending the phone. Daily calls can do wonders.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: mamselle on March 27, 2020, 04:25:33 AM
It just struck me: what we're really saying is-- as a minister said in a chapel service last year--

Love is nimble.

Defining "being close, present, face-to-face" as loving may sometimes be true: it might be a sign of love, sometimes.

But while there are surely underlying structures that feed and nurture love, they are always to be considered in terms of the people involved, their needs, whatever will give them life.

Hate wants the death of someone or something, and we may not hate any part of the well-created cosmos-- we may only--and must--hate evil.

But love wants the life of the other, and whatever is life-giving, in the best senses of that term, is loving.

Those things are fluid, because life is fluid, and so must love be.

So, it's not about defining rules or describing specific actions as inherently loving, it's about always having your head tilted, listening for context as well as content, doing ones spiritual plies every day so as to be as flexible as possible when the ballet calls for a jump here, a turn there.

Love is nimble.

M.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: nebo113 on March 27, 2020, 05:15:25 AM
I get the germ part, have already made it clear to anyone who's not being deliberately obtuse.  But human contact is also important for the elderly.  I will stay away for now, but what would you suggest I do if she did become sick?  Obviously I would not go see her and then head out into the world, but I couldn't leave her alone, now could I?

It probably also ought to go undisputed that most elderly folks aren't really equipped for Skype and other such technical options..

If she becomes sick enough to be hospitalized, you won't be allowed to visit.  And I do very much hope that does not happen. 
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: spork on March 27, 2020, 08:15:47 AM
I mailed my mother -- who lives in a retirement home that is not allowing visitors -- a box of fruit and other snacks. She was very appreciative.

The box was wiped with disinfectant before it was delivered to her room.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: notmycircus on March 27, 2020, 08:35:46 AM
My mom’s nursing home staff FaceTimes with me three times a week.  It’s wonderful to see her and also hear from staff how she is doing.  She’s 102 and has Alzheimer’s.  I’m grateful that she’s not aware of what’s going on.  Peace to all.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: nebo113 on March 28, 2020, 05:48:11 AM
I mailed my mother a box of "cozies".....light mysteries.  They have a library but are no longer allowed to leave books in it.  They are also starting limited visitation, outside, with appropriate distancing.  And regular updates to next-of-kin.  I think they are being quite prudent, in a southern Republican state where the governor refuses to shut things down.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: kaysixteen on March 28, 2020, 08:50:56 PM
Sure, she'll be quarantined if she's in the hospital, but what if she becomes sick but not sick enough to go there and indeed is told by doc she is to stay at home?  Obviously I will have to help her and go inside her house if need be, self quarantining myself thereby.  Even though Aunt Rand loving libertarians would of course disapprove.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: nebo113 on March 30, 2020, 07:30:41 AM
Sure, she'll be quarantined if she's in the hospital, but what if she becomes sick but not sick enough to go there and indeed is told by doc she is to stay at home?  Obviously I will have to help her and go inside her house if need be, self quarantining myself thereby.  Even though Aunt Rand loving libertarians would of course disapprove.

I absolutely get this. 
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: paultuttle on April 09, 2020, 08:50:15 AM
Sure, she'll be quarantined if she's in the hospital, but what if she becomes sick but not sick enough to go there and indeed is told by doc she is to stay at home?  Obviously I will have to help her and go inside her house if need be, self quarantining myself thereby.  Even though Aunt Rand loving libertarians would of course disapprove.

I absolutely get this.

Same here. This is exactly what I'll have to do if either of my elderly parents gets sick with anything that keeps them from being able to take care of themselves, including anything from a pair of bad sinus infections due to the amazing pollen this spring to anything worse (flu, coronavirus, fall with broken bone, etc.).

Fortunately, we've talked about the possibility and my husband agrees. 
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: wellfleet on April 09, 2020, 01:35:17 PM
I'm deeply grateful to be living with my mom right now, instead of being all the way across the country. She's having a rough week, health-wise (not respiratory stuff), and she wouldn't be able to manage on her own right now at all.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: the_geneticist on April 09, 2020, 03:23:41 PM
Not a parent, but my grandfather, who is 93 and lives alone is getting very lonely (and very bored).  He has 4 kids and several grandkids, and three great-grandkids living in his town, but can't go see any of them.  He did have fun saying hi to a great-grandchild by sitting in his car and waving through the window.  But his church is closed, his volunteer place is closed, and the weather is too cold to work in his yard.  And my aunt that is the self-appointed primary person to check on him has forbidden him to go out for groceries.  She already arranged grocery deliveries for him when it snowed and is just keeping that going.
I sent him a box with some soap which he was delighted to get.  I also promised to call him more often since I'm on the other side of the country.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: paultuttle on April 09, 2020, 07:33:47 PM
Tomorrow, my husband and I are planning to buy groceries for my parents and bring them to them.

Their newest grocery list isn't realistic, just as the past two lists weren't: The empty shelves they've seen TV haven't quite translated to "Oh, yeah . . . maybe that item might not be available." But we'll try our best to get them what they've asked for, without spending too much.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: nebo113 on April 10, 2020, 05:25:43 AM
Not a parent, but my grandfather, who is 93 and lives alone is getting very lonely (and very bored).  He has 4 kids and several grandkids, and three great-grandkids living in his town, but can't go see any of them.  He did have fun saying hi to a great-grandchild by sitting in his car and waving through the window.  But his church is closed, his volunteer place is closed, and the weather is too cold to work in his yard.  And my aunt that is the self-appointed primary person to check on him has forbidden him to go out for groceries.  She already arranged grocery deliveries for him when it snowed and is just keeping that going.
I sent him a box with some soap which he was delighted to get.  I also promised to call him more often since I'm on the other side of the country.

Fortunately for socialization, my mother has been living in a retirement community (not a nursing home) for the past several years.  Lots of old, sick folks with caregivers, though.  They are confined to their apartments, can still eat in the dining room with fewer people at each table, and she can still play bridge if she can get a foursome.  She can still walk around outside and one of the caregivers is getting her groceries as Mother wants my sister to stay home.  And the new Director plays his guitar and sings old tunes twice a day!  While she.my sister, and I have long had a three way email going, I've also started to call more often....though she may tell me she has her "ears" out and can't hear.  So it's more hello/goodbye, but it makes her happy anyway.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: spork on April 14, 2020, 10:18:58 AM
Looking for recommendations on a crossword puzzle collection I can send to my mom, who is in a retirement home that has prohibited visitors for the duration of the pandemic. Difficulty level should range from medium to Sunday New York Times level. Something that isn't in tiny print would be a plus.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: apl68 on April 16, 2020, 08:00:41 AM
My parents have been without electricity since the storms on Sunday evening.  They live out in the country and have a generator, so they've been okay.  It has mainly been an inconvenience.

Mom had a recent bout with cancer.  They caught it early and removed the cancer.  She now faces a series of radiation treatments that are due to start this coming week.  Dad will have to drive her a two hour-plus round trip to attend those, and presumably won't be allowed inside the building with her.  He had heart surgery last year and doesn't really need that, but he's up for it.

Although I've been completely asymptomatic and have had little face-to-face contact in recent weeks, I did get tested for Covid-19 earlier this week.  I expect a negative result back today.  Assuming that is the case, I'm considering heading to their house sometime next week, working around my work schedule.  I really feel like they could use some kind of help.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: the_geneticist on April 16, 2020, 09:07:48 AM
Looking for recommendations on a crossword puzzle collection I can send to my mom, who is in a retirement home that has prohibited visitors for the duration of the pandemic. Difficulty level should range from medium to Sunday New York Times level. Something that isn't in tiny print would be a plus.

Maybe try the magazine section of your grocery store?  That's where I get the Sudoku puzzle books to send my grandfather.  He likes the easy to hard, but not "diabolical" puzzles.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: Cheerful on April 16, 2020, 11:11:29 AM
Looking for recommendations on a crossword puzzle collection I can send to my mom, who is in a retirement home that has prohibited visitors for the duration of the pandemic. Difficulty level should range from medium to Sunday New York Times level. Something that isn't in tiny print would be a plus.

If she might have any interest in Jumble puzzles, there are many books and many have large print.

https://www.amazon.com/Jumbo-Jumble%C2%AE-Book-Fans-Jumbles%C2%AE/dp/1572433140

Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: paultuttle on April 16, 2020, 02:06:38 PM
My parents have been without electricity since the storms on Sunday evening.  They live out in the country and have a generator, so they've been okay.  It has mainly been an inconvenience.

Mom had a recent bout with cancer.  They caught it early and removed the cancer.  She now faces a series of radiation treatments that are due to start this coming week.  Dad will have to drive her a two hour-plus round trip to attend those, and presumably won't be allowed inside the building with her.  He had heart surgery last year and doesn't really need that, but he's up for it.

Although I've been completely asymptomatic and have had little face-to-face contact in recent weeks, I did get tested for Covid-19 earlier this week.  I expect a negative result back today.  Assuming that is the case, I'm considering heading to their house sometime next week, working around my work schedule.  I really feel like they could use some kind of help.

I hope it works out for you all!
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: apl68 on April 16, 2020, 02:14:24 PM
My parents have been without electricity since the storms on Sunday evening.  They live out in the country and have a generator, so they've been okay.  It has mainly been an inconvenience.

Mom had a recent bout with cancer.  They caught it early and removed the cancer.  She now faces a series of radiation treatments that are due to start this coming week.  Dad will have to drive her a two hour-plus round trip to attend those, and presumably won't be allowed inside the building with her.  He had heart surgery last year and doesn't really need that, but he's up for it.

Although I've been completely asymptomatic and have had little face-to-face contact in recent weeks, I did get tested for Covid-19 earlier this week.  I expect a negative result back today.  Assuming that is the case, I'm considering heading to their house sometime next week, working around my work schedule.  I really feel like they could use some kind of help.

I hope it works out for you all!

Thank you!  I got the test results back a little earlier, and I am indeed Covid-19 free.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: Cheerful on April 16, 2020, 02:56:14 PM
My parents have been without electricity since the storms on Sunday evening.  They live out in the country and have a generator, so they've been okay.  It has mainly been an inconvenience.

Mom had a recent bout with cancer.  They caught it early and removed the cancer.  She now faces a series of radiation treatments that are due to start this coming week.  Dad will have to drive her a two hour-plus round trip to attend those, and presumably won't be allowed inside the building with her.  He had heart surgery last year and doesn't really need that, but he's up for it.

Although I've been completely asymptomatic and have had little face-to-face contact in recent weeks, I did get tested for Covid-19 earlier this week.  I expect a negative result back today.  Assuming that is the case, I'm considering heading to their house sometime next week, working around my work schedule.  I really feel like they could use some kind of help.

I hope it works out for you all!

Thank you!  I got the test results back a little earlier, and I am indeed Covid-19 free.

Glad to hear it, apl68.  Please continue the usual precautions, especially since you may help your parents soon.  Wishing your family all the best.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: Vkw10 on April 16, 2020, 05:15:41 PM
Idea for relieving boredom:

Two weeks ago, I sent an elderly friend a roll of stamps, several boxes of cards, and colored gel pens. When I called today, she told me her friends and family are calling and writing back, because they're bored, too.

To my surprise, she's playing with the colored pens, doing things like changing colors mid-sentence and doing illuminated manuscript style capital letters and dotting her i's with starbursts. I loved receiving a card with all the names circled with tiny flowers.

My own mother passed away in 2018, but I keep thinking how much being restricted to her own home bothered her even with daily visitors. I wish all of you much success in helping your parents and grandparents cope with the isolation needed to stay healthy.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: Morden on April 18, 2020, 11:21:38 AM
I am just feeling helpless although I know everything that can be done is being done.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: nebo113 on April 19, 2020, 05:39:48 AM
I am just feeling helpless although I know everything that can be done is being done.

Sending a virtual hug...
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: Morden on April 19, 2020, 10:13:10 AM
Thank you nebo113.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: Penna on April 30, 2020, 12:37:08 PM
Hi folks, new here.  Having a lot of stress trying to look out for my mom, who lives by herself several hundred miles away.  She's 77 and has Type II diabetes (which she doesn't really manage all that well) and also a diagnosis of MCI ("mild cognitive impairment"). She also recently lost her boyfriend of many years (he died about 3 weeks before all the lockdowns began).  They didn't live together, but she depended on him greatly in many ways.

She is mostly taking the social distancing seriously, but mainly because she didn't have many social contacts other than the boyfriend anyway.  So the isolation she's experiencing on top of the grief is very hard on her. 

Another complicating factor is that she has never used a computer or any internet device (she only has a "Jitterbug" "seniors" cell phone, but it's not a smartphone).  I've been calling her at least once a day (in March and early April, we were talking multiple times a day), and I set up online accounts for her which I manage so that I was able to move all her Rx to mail delivery and all her grocery and other shopping to Walmart curbside pickup (she still drives).

I am looking into getting her a tablet that she can use for video calls and to receive emails and photos.  I found one that's geared toward seniors (the "Grand Pad" https://www.grandpad.net/ )  Hopefully that turns out to be a good option to get her more connected. If anyone has any suggestions about a good tablet for seniors with absolutely no tech experience, I would welcome any advice!

She has one friend who lives nearby and sees her once every week or two.  They go get takeout and then eat together, though she says they always maintain a six foot distance (though obviously not when my mom is riding in the back seat of the friend's car...).  I know it's not safe but I can't stop her from doing it. 
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: Morden on May 02, 2020, 12:08:47 PM
I'm sorry Pensive; it's really tough dealing with all of that at a distance. I also send all good thoughts to your mother, having to deal with grief and social distancing and, and, and.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: Hegemony on May 03, 2020, 03:48:39 AM
Pensive, that's a rough situation. Stressful for you even if nothing goes wrong, because there's always the chance of something going wrong. Even though your mom is not always socially distanced from her friend, at least she does have someone local who will look out for her and notice if something is awry. Do you have the friend's phone number? That might be a very useful thing to have. And maybe even the phone number of the friend's adult children.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: nebo113 on May 03, 2020, 06:14:48 AM
Pensive....My 91 year old mother has a Jitterbug smart phone.  You might look into that rather than a tablet.  I don't know whether it does video calls, but it does photos and email and texting and is pretty straightforward.   
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: Penna on May 03, 2020, 01:11:29 PM
Thank you so much for those replies, Morden, Hegemony, and nebo!  As a new member here, it's especially nice to get  replies :-)  I appreciate the support.

I do have contact info (phone and email) for my mom's friend (who is actually about 10 years younger than my mom, which is nice) and have known her for years.  I know she would contact me with any concerns, but she only sees my mom at most once a week (sometimes not even that), and doesn't seem to call her much in between those visits. The friend also has her own mother (who is 90 and has dementia) to look out for, so I know she's limited in terms of how much she does for my mom.

Nebo, yes, I am also considering just upgrading her Jitterbug to a smart phone.  But she doesn't have a lot of dexterity in her fingers anymore, and I was thinking the larger touch screen of a tablet might be easier for her to use.  Still need to look into both options more, plus weigh the cost issues (just convincing my mom to spend the extra money might be a bit of an uphill climb...)

How are other folks here doing with managing the "extra" elder care issues that have been created by the pandemic?
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: Morden on May 03, 2020, 03:06:29 PM
Hi Pensive, My mom hasn't been able to figure out pushing virtual buttons on a screen (smart phone or tablet), so that's something to test out before purchasing anything. I don't know if she pushes too hard or too soft or what.
Is it possible to have something like home care come out to periodically check in on your mom? Even something like Meals on Wheels means that there are eyes on her on a regular basis.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: Penna on May 03, 2020, 06:35:52 PM
Yeah, that's a good point about the issue of using a touchscreen, Morden.  I'm not sure how she would do with that now that I think of it.

I don't think she would income-qualify for Meals on Wheels and I don't think medically she qualifies for home care.  And she is very resistant to the the idea of "extra" costs for anything. On my list of things to look into is the local Senior "Friends" Center in her area.  Several years ago, I did get her to agree to join, but then she didn't go to one event/class etc. the year she had a (low-cost) paid membership.  And of course now I think their in-person activities are not happening anyway due to the pandemic.

I sort of feel like she "falls between the cracks" (medically and financially) in terms of getting assistance.  I don't know if she really needs/is "ready" for assisted living, but maybe she is.  But then I find myself thinking that maybe now doesn't seem like the best time to consider something like assisted living since as far as avoiding coronavirus is concerned, maybe it's better that she's not living in any type of "group" environment. 
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: nebo113 on May 04, 2020, 05:12:56 AM
Yeah, that's a good point about the issue of using a touchscreen, Morden.  I'm not sure how she would do with that now that I think of it.

I don't think she would income-qualify for Meals on Wheels and I don't think medically she qualifies for home care.  And she is very resistant to the the idea of "extra" costs for anything. On my list of things to look into is the local Senior "Friends" Center in her area.  Several years ago, I did get her to agree to join, but then she didn't go to one event/class etc. the year she had a (low-cost) paid membership.  And of course now I think their in-person activities are not happening anyway due to the pandemic.

I sort of feel like she "falls between the cracks" (medically and financially) in terms of getting assistance.  I don't know if she really needs/is "ready" for assisted living, but maybe she is.  But then I find myself thinking that maybe now doesn't seem like the best time to consider something like assisted living since as far as avoiding coronavirus is concerned, maybe it's better that she's not living in any type of "group" environment.

Several years ago, my mother made the decision to move to an independent living retirement community.  She has a very nice two bedroom apartment, her cat, and her car.  While the facility itself provides no nursing/medical care, many of the residents are frail and have some form of care giving.  At 91, my mother is very healthy, but has accommodated to the frailty of those around her.  Although the transition was quite difficult for her (even though it was her decision),  we are all glad she made it.  She has other people around, can take all meals in a dining room (though she doesn't always), can usually round up a bridge four some, walks inside/outside....  Fortunately, the facility saw the writing on the wall around March 10, and started putting procedures in place to safeguard the residents, in a red state with a dumb governor.  While I agree that now s not the time to move, it might be a good time to look around and see what's available.   And, honestly, in many places, new retirement apartments are being built, so it's a good time to negotiate on price.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: Penna on May 04, 2020, 06:09:36 AM
Thanks, nebo.  I'm glad your mom has found a good situation.  I have been thinking for several years that the situation you describe is what would be ideal for my mom. If not for the pandemic, I would have been trying to get her to consider something like that this summer, since she didn't want to consider any change while her bf was still alive.  She is very concerned about the extra costs, though--she's been living in essentially a drastically rent-controlled apartment (owned by the family of her one friend that I mentioned) and currently pays less than $500/month (plus utilities) for a tiny one-bedroom.  From the brief looking into it that I've done so far, I think her monthly costs for the type of community you describe would go up dramatically.  I think she still might be able to afford it if she dipped into her savings each month to supplement her monthly income from Social Security and a state retirement pension, but in the past she's been very resistant to the idea of moving.  Maybe the realities of the current situation will start to change her mind.  At any rate, it's on my list of things to do this summer to try to research communities like that in her area.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: Morden on May 15, 2020, 05:56:27 PM
My 94-year-old mother refuses to tell anyone over the phone that she's not feeling well. Even in person, it's like playing 20 questions--and she flat out lies to doctors to minimize her symptoms. Aargh.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: mamselle on May 15, 2020, 09:01:24 PM
Oh, yes.

My folks had a major car accident, didn't tell anyone until a week later. Twice.

My mom had maintenance surgery on her pacemaker the week after I visited once. She never told me during the visit that she was going in.

But then, she never told anyone she was having a pacemaker installed to begin with, either, until about a month later.

Either one of them might have fallen multiple times--they only told you long afterwards, if at all.

It's a control thing, maybe, as well as fear of MDs, as you say.

But my folks weren't afraid of those, they just didn't tell THEM anything, either.

When I tried to explain about being ones own advocate because medical personnel are often preoccupied and need help knowing what's been happening, they told me they didn't think that was right.

They felt like the doctor got paid to figure out what was wrong, so why do their work for them?

Arrggghhhh....they're both gone now, RIP, but that was one of the most difficult parts of the whole pastoral experience.

M.
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: Morden on May 16, 2020, 09:11:42 AM
Thanks Mamselle. Yes, why would you tell the physician things that might help them figure out what was going on?
Title: Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
Post by: paultuttle on July 03, 2020, 02:29:11 PM
When my maternal grandfather--a farmer who'd had herds of cattle, pens of pigs, chicken houses, a lucrative egg business, and multiple corn and wheat fields--was (ahem!) getting old and (increasingly) crotchety, he'd go to the doctor and sit there on the exam table, silent as a knot on a log.

My mother, a nurse, would say, "Daddy, go ahead and tell the doctor what you told me." He wouldn't respond.

Being somewhat similar to her father, she tackled the problem head-on in the car after one such visit: "Daddy, why won't you tell the doctor what's wrong? The doctor won't know unless you describe the problem."

She laughed until she cried when she told us at the dinner table that night how he'd responded: "Sugar, he's a professional. He ought to be able to look at me and figure out what my problems are without me saying a thing."

Mom's comment: "Daddy must've thought he'd gone to a veterinarian." And then she'd be cracking up again.