Follow
Share

I haven't posted in a long time, but some of you may remember me. My husband and I have been helping my dad for four and a half years. He lived with us for nearly ten months while recovering from a serious illness and a fall. Then he lived in "independent" living for almost three years with a great deal of assistance from us. Toward the end of 2016, he took a bad fall and ended up spending several weeks in rehab, after which he moved into an assisted living apartment in the same senior residence. Well, history is repeating itself, but getting worse, because at the end of 2017, he took another, much more serious fall, and is in rehab again. I'm just about at the end of my rope. When he was in the hospital pre-rehab, I found myself thinking, "If I have a nervous breakdown, I won't have to take care of him any more," and it was an appealing thought. In 2017, he was hospitalized four times (including the hospitalization for this recent fall). Each hospitalization was preceded by an ER visit, of course. We also took him to numerous doctor appointments, spent lots of time on the telephone with the doctor's office, shopped for his clothes and other items, and took him on recreational outings. I'm exhausted, and I see the near future plainly: Dad needs my help in rehab. He has only one functional arm at the moment, and he can't walk. I'll have to visit him every day, regardless of how I'm feeling, both to provide practical assistance and to try to keep him from becoming depressed. No one else is going to help my husband and me with Dad's needs. My three siblings didn't even answer my e-mail about Dad being discharged from the hospital and going to rehab (although one of them is ill at the moment and might not have been well enough to respond). I've donated so much of my life to Dad, and I want to stop, but there is no real way to quit helping him.

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
CTTN5, I certainly understand what you're saying about eating. When Dad was in rehab last year, he at first was in a lot of pain and couldn't sit up far enough to feed himself. I fed him when I was there to take some of the burden off the staff. Now, thank goodness, he can feed himself, but he can't take the lid off the little container of milk or do any tasks that require two hands. I spoke to the nurse today, and Dad is going to get a shave this afternoon. I also assisted him with toothbrushing (he can brush his teeth but needed someone to put toothpaste on the brush, etc.). I noticed that he's quite shaky today. If that continues, I'm going to ask if they've checked his sodium level recently. My siblings have been calling Dad frequently, which is good for his mental health. My mental health . . . well . . . let's just say that it's less than stellar at the moment!
(1)
Report

I know what you mean about needing to be there in rehab. My father couldn't eat, so either my mother or I would spoonfeed him. No one would brush his teeth, so I had to do it. We realized (much later) that the discharge instructions to the rehab weren't good enough. (My father ended up dying in the rehab center because of C-diff gotten there.)

And this is what scares me so if my mother ended up in the hospital and then rehab (that is, if she'd even agree to in-facility rehab)! I have three brothers, all out of state. I don't want to brush my mother's teeth, feed her, etc. My mother and I don't get along. I nursed my mother for 8 days and nights when she became nearly helpless because of muscle strains. I will NOT do that again, and have made it clear to my brothers that I won't do it again. They can either take turns coming here, or she can hire help.

I told my mother what my help would have cost for that time...easily several thousands, and she got furious at me. Told me I was a liar, and I was not with her for more than 1 0r 2 days, and that she could have managed by herself. She said I was trying to "take advantage" of her. I didn't demand compensation, but rather told her what it would have cost. And if I'm forced into that position again, I WILL be paid. 

I don't think not being local is an excuse to dump it all on the local sibling. What about FMLA?

Does your father have money? 

I know that many on this site have the attitude that one can't make siblings take part in the parent's care. Some people just aren't caregivers, and all of that. I don't agree. *I'm" not the caregiver type, at least for my mother. I'm her Dummy Daughter Driver. The golden boy brothers are out of state. She readily accepts their "busyness."
(1)
Report

Angiejoy, I get it -- similar to the situation I had with Dad and siblings. I did all you listed and then some. And I visited every day, because I needed to for me. I couldn't stand that Dad was lonely or couldn't communicate his needs or perhaps staff wasn't as responsive enough to make him happy. It does take over your life, and I sure felt drained emotionally, physically and mentally. But Dad passed just after Christmas, and now I just want him back -- again, for me. You need to do what is right for you, your dad and your family. And I know it's hard to stop and it's hard to keep going. Only you know what your limit is.
(1)
Report

After my mom had a stroke and was in acute, then subacute rehab, I visited once a week. 30 years prior, when my grandma broke her hip, my mom visited once a week.

There is a choice here. You are allowed to visit as often, or as seldom as you choose. In my case, I had a job, a husband whose health needed tending and 100 miles between where I live and the rehab.

In my mom's case, she had small children and frankly, didn't enjoy being castigated by her mother for putting her in "such a place."

None of the rehab were perfect, but we were in touch frequently by phone and attended care meetings.
(1)
Report

Dad is not at assisted living at the moment. He went directly from the hospital to rehab (subacute nursing). The issue with rehab is that unless a family member is there regularly, problems aren't resolved (or even discovered). Today I went over Dad's med list with the doctor and discovered an error (not the rehab's fault). I also was able to discuss my concerns about the possibility of Dad developing pneumonia if he spends too much time in bed. I can see that basic grooming is going to be an issue. I'll address it with the staff (believe me, I'm very tactful), but if they're unable to step up, I'll have to make a point of helping Dad brush his teeth daily. I may also have to shave him because there is no way he can do that himself. The rehab is supposed to provide assistance with those tasks (I asked about that when Dad was admitted), but I can't necessarily make that happen. When Dad goes back to assisted living, I won't have to help him with ADLs. The assisted living staff is excellent and takes very good care of the residents. As for help from my siblings . . . that won't happen. My brothers are thousands of miles away, and my sister (who lives less than two hours away) hasn't visited Dad once in four years (can we all say "dysfunctional family"?).
(0)
Report

Is he having rehab come to him, or is he receiving it at his ALF? I wouldn't think you'd even need to be present for PT, the PT knows what they're doing.

Becoming completely worn out with care is not doing a service to anyone, your dad or you.

As for the sibs--until very recently, 23 of mine we MIA on care for Mother. It took a family meeting (which was absolutely awful) for them to realize that it's time NOW for them to step up. They'e been saying for YEARS "well, I'll come up and help when mom gets worse"...all the time hoping that the day never came. It came and went....after the family mtg, where the brother who carries the burden of mother's care was SO ANGRY and SO HOSTILE, it became quickly obvious that he needs help. He's having some kind of breakdown now, I don't know, but I'm sure it's due to exhaustion of dealing 24/7 with a querulous, aging, miserable person.

That's what it took for my sibs to go "oh, I guess I better help". They either will or won't. That "talk" is super hard to have--but your sibs need to step it up.
(2)
Report

He's been using a walker, but I think that he'll probably use the walker less and rely on a wheelchair after his recovery.
(0)
Report

Oh, I see. Do they know what is causing the loss of balance? Have they checked for inner ear issue? Meds too strong? Blood pressure dropping? It could be any number of things. My LO had that too. It was horrible. Her balance was so poor that she would actually fall backwards while standing at her walker. I actually have caught her before she hit the floor. Hers were caused by strokes.

Her falls didn't let up until she went to a wheelchair. She actually had much more mobility in the wheelchair, as she could scoot all over the facility. Walking for he just became a series of falls, fractures, and pain.

 I hope they can find something to help your dad. Does he use a walker or cane?
(1)
Report

My first though is always, how would the rebab (or whatever) manage if there wasn't someone to come in? They must be equipped to deal with patients who don't have a family member to be there. WHat would happen if you visited one day and your husband the next? I hope it improves.
(2)
Report

Yes, his arm is broken. The doctor thinks that it will heal on its own in six weeks or less.
(0)
Report

The fall was the result of a temporary loss of balance. He has no mental disabilities--in fact, his doctors are amazed at his mental acuity. He can't walk because he's recovering from surgery to repair a broken hip. He wants to return to assisted living, and that's what we want for him, too.
(0)
Report

I'm sorry to hear about your dad's fall and condition. Have they given him a diagnosis? What seems to be causing the falls? Does he have any physical or mental disabilities? Why can't he walk? Is his arm broken? What are the goals for his rehab?
(0)
Report

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter