How do I allow my parents to still live independently yet convince them they need support?


My parent live alone in upstate NY. They are 90 and 86. My mom is almost deaf, can hardly see and is non-ambulatory due to arthitis. She will do nothing to help with these things. She says she just wants to die. My Dad is ambulatory but has almost no vision in his left eye, has great difficulty walking. Both have fallen several times with one recent episode where my Dad fell and laid on the floor for 8 hours. No food, no water, messed himself. My mom couldn't help him up. We finally got a call from my mom..."I like to do things myself so I talked to your father all day on the floor". We contacted neighbors to help him up...he had to crawl to the door to let them in. They want no one in the house, recently refused LifeAlert after I had it all ordered and delivered to the house. I respect them but the situation is very stressful. They will not move, want no in home care and no help. Both are very mentally sharp so sneaking about trying to vacuum the house when i am there on vacation usually results in a huge blow up. They fight and pick at each other constantly. Mom say Dad is worthless, Dad throws pictures of when they were younger in the trash. They do not bathe because the tub is upstairs. They prepare their own meals but my dad must go to the store to purchase food items. That alone is dangerous at 90. Any advice would be appreciated. There are 6 of us but my elder brothers do not assist in any care of my parents, just my sister and I.

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I work in the PERS industry and would suggest that you look up " The Electronic Caregiver" by Life Support Medical. They have new technology that might be a great help to you such as an inactivity sensor that scans for non movement and automaticly alerts if no one responds to the operator, large Emergency buttons that can be placed in the home if they didn't want to wear a pendant or lanyard although wearing the pendant is highly recommended. You still would have to try to get your parents to consider an emergency response system. Please try to take care of your self as well. The stress of caring for aging loved ones can take a toll on the cargivers health also.
E. Grace
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As Jeanne said, Life Alert would be perfect. If you could encourage them since this last falling episode that it is actually being more independent to have Life Alert as you don't have to bother the neighbors or lay on the floor for 8 hours! The response team is there in no time. After awhile, the neighbors can get annoyed with always having to help; and some of them could be elderly as well.

As Jeanne asked "how does Dad get to the food store" - hope not driving himself with vision gone in one eye and trouble walking which could indicate reflex problems when driving. That would need to be addressed and I would contact the local Elderly Services in their town as they could provide you with a lot of valuable and applicable suggestions.

This must be extremely stressful for you and I'm sorry you are gong through it; but it sounds so familiar. In these situations if no one is pro-active, somethings got to give and that most commonly is in the form of an injury or illness. No one can make them happy with themselves or with each other. All you can do is try and if they keep turning you away, so be it. Blessings to you and take care.
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How painful for you!

I would think that LifeAlert would be perfect -- no intrusive strangers in the home unless absolutely necessary, and they get to say when it is necessary. Now that they have had the falling experience, are they any more receptive to considering the LifeAlert system?

Who cleans? Who does laundry? How does Dad get to the food store?

Have your parents always fought and picked on each other? If so, it is really too late to expect a change now! If it is new behavior, then I wonder if they are still as mentally "sharp" as you think.

Is there some "outsider" they might listen to better than to their family? Their lawyer, clergy, the neighbor, a doctor?
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