I have no clue what to expect.

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I'm in the process of becoming a primary caregiver for my 67yo father who had a stroke 3 years ago. His right side is completely paralyzed, his speech is nonexistent & he's completely incontinent; however he's still aware of his surroundings and can express his displeasure or his joy.
Here's where it gets a little hairy: we have not spoken in over 10 years and i'very been here 3 weeks. Also, he had the stroke in asia where the details are more on the cloudy side. Apparently his health has declined since coming back to the states five months ago. He sleeps most of the day & is only awake about 45 minutes three times a day to eat. He will only eat hamburger & sausage patties.
He has a POA that I trust who has been taking care of him night and day since she brought him home, but obviously needs help as she has her own family and full time job. I'm here at his home now taking on 24 hour care. I'm considering asking if he'd like to come to my home where it's more spacious & frankly not as depressing for me for the winter, giving my dad the option of coming back to his home, giving his current caregiver a break as I can tell she's completely burned out. I haven't run this by her yet as I'd like any thoughts or opinions on this first... some help please?

18 Comments

I would be overwhelmed at the thought of caring for someone who's partially paralyzed. I complement you on your willingness to do so, but put yourself in the place of the current caregiver who's already burned out.

You might want to spend some time with her and ask her to tell you everything she does. Prepared with that list, ask yourself how you'll handle each task. Who will you hire to help you? What will you do when you too burn out?

I'm not one to recommend facilities, but I think with partial paralysis, your father could get more physical support and care than one person could provide at home. If you do bring him to your home, line up the home care first b/c otherwise you'll just be overwhelmed.
All I can tell you is: don't do it. A bed-ridden, incontinent stroke patient needs far more care than a lone caregiver can provide. It sounds like his current caregiver is not a paid caregiver, but a volunteer or family member. That means to me that there isn't money for paid caregivers. That is a huge problem in the case of someone who requires 24/7 care. One person can't provide that. You need to start looking at whatever programs may be available to him such as Medicaid, VA benefit, etc. Don't make the mistake of thinking you can do this on your own indefinitely or for any meaningful length of time.
How old are you? Job, kids? This would be a full time job and not a pleasant one at that. Give this lots of thought before making this move. That you haven't spoken to him in 10 years makes me wonder why you are now so committed to sacrificing you life for his care.
I agree that he needs care in a facility. There he will get better nutrition, there is some possibility of physical therapy and there will be many shifts of workers to keep him comfortable. If he is paralyzed and sleeping over 20 hours a day he is at great risk of developing pressure sores, I wouldn't be surprised if he has some already. Given the amount of time that has passed since the stroke there may no longer be any possibility of improvement, but if it is possible then skilled care is where it will happen. Of course nothing you try to do to help matters if the POA is not willing to accept help... what do they want?
Thanks for the responses everyone... to answer a few questions: I'm 40 and i live with my boyfriend and our dog. Ironically i worked in geriatrics in my twenties as a 24 hour caregiver to a partially paralyzed stroke patient so i do understand what im getting into; however its not something i want to particularly do again. @Windyridge: i also question why I'm so willing to sacrifice for a man i feel turned his back on me on numerous occasions. Other than it's the right thing to do... i can't really tell you why. It's a big issue I'm struggling with. He has a decent pension from the railroad but not enough for a nursing home. Fortunately even though he sleeps so much his caregiver has taken pretty good care of him & he has no pressure sores though he bruises easily. At this point I believe the road to recovery has passed as I'm told his health has declined since he's been back; apparentlyrics he was able to walk with a walker just 5 months ago and now he can't pull himself up from bed.
I'm still in a state of shock and life is completely surreal~ I don't know where to start to even look for help.
Tell the POA you are going back home in 30 days, and go. It is up to the POA to see that he either has home care or a facility. Do NOT take him with you.
Thank you pamstegma. I'm having trouble with just leaving and i don't even know why. I don't know why i feel the need to take care of him. It's really twisting my noodle.
Is he not an American citizen, could he not apply for medicaid to pay for a nursing home?
Medicaid pays for nursing homes?! I guess i need to find out what help i can get him. Yes, he is a citizen and he worked for Amtrack for over 30 years... does anyone know how i get information on what he might qualify for?
I was told that he got his pension & thats all we have to work with as he has a mortgage & no savings left.

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