How do I deal with a difficult senior who is dying?

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My father-in-law is in the final stages of copd/emphysema. Currently, he is in the hospital to build up his strength and to fight off a severe lung infection. For the first time in two years, I have had some time to myself, and have been able to clean some areas he would not allow me to before.
I was horrified what I found; mice droppings in his drawers, as well as dead insects and feces in his closet. I found piles of dirty clothes as well as filthy blankets on his bed. He now sleeps in the living room and only uses the bathroom in the master bedroom.
My husband also told me, when his father was admitted, that his feet were so filty and neglected, that skin just fell off when the nurse took his socks off.
He is not doing good and the doctor said he has only months left. I know that it is difficult to pin point a time with copd/emphysema, but it is pretty clear to me that he does not have much time left.
My fil absolutely refuses to talk about his dying, although the doctor has been very kind. We are all just trying to get him prepared. He is in real denial. I do not think hospice is an option, as he believes " they kill people". He also keeps going on about a "death Shot". He is terrified and will not even discuss a DNR.
So, I have accepted the fact that my husband and I can only help manage his symptoms at this point. I do not think he understands that hospice can help while at home.
Is Rehab a possibilty at this point ( to rebuild his strenghth)? How do I have an honest discussion with him?

Answers 1 to 7 of 7
I'm so very sorry for what you are going through. If you ask the doctor about recommending him for rehab, he might agree; if only to build up his strength. Medicare will only pay for rehab as long as the patient is improving. Does FIL take or will he take any anti-anxiety medication? It can truly help.

Hospice could be of such a help at this stage. My mother is in a nursing home, I had to call Hospice in to help her as she had pneumonia/COPD, etc. My mother is difficult too - she was having trouble breathing and I told her how Hospice could help with that and any other discomfort she was having. She initially didn't want them, but I told her they could help make her more comfortable with breathing, pain, etc. I learned that morphine helps expand the lungs; so it is not only for pain. This was explained to her and she finally agreed as not being able to breath and is quite frightening. Most of us assume Hospice is only when people are at the end. The nurse practitioner representing Hospice educated me on the facts of how the morphine helps in more ways than just pain management. My mother was seriously ill, but she recovered.

I realize your FIL is in worse shape, but if somehow you could convince him that Hospice can make him so much more comfortable; especially with breathing, maybe he will give them a try. The results I saw in my mother within a day were remarkable. These are two different sets of circumstances, I realize, but Hospice was a Godsend and my mother finally realized it. I'll keep you in my prayers. Bless you and take care.
Thank you for your kind words. i have some exp. with hosice when my mother was dying. They truly are a blessing.
Top Answer
You might have to insist on hospice if he wants to come home-you should not have to deal with his dirty conditions-at this stage he can not prtest too much-you need to do what is the best for you and your family-elders do like to get their own way but there comes a time you have to do what you think is best for everyone-I would just set up hospice and not even ask him what he wants-let us know how it goes =we all learn from each other-my husband refuses adult day care and then later on he refused NH but that time I told him it was not his decision and was being placed when he took a turn for the worse and died-but I just was not able to care for him at home and he would not change his abusive behaivor.
Please know that hospice teams are really great at explaining -- over and over again, if they need to -- that they have patients who have been in hospice care for YEARS. That the six months thing is about getting the care covered. That this is easier on them, easier on caregivers. That it puts you at the front of the line in terms of getting a nurse to come to your/his home when it's needed. That it's against the law to kill people; their job is to make sure people are as comfortable as possible all the time. That they know things about making people comfortable, especially people with COPD, that doctors don't know. AND ALL OF THIS IS THE TRUTH. If you can get them to at least visit with him, or maybe a hospital social worker to do it before he is released, that might help. It's hard to get someone admitted into rehab when they are terminal.

If worst comes to worst, consider called adult protective services and see if they can give your Dad a "warning" about his home, and the need for care there. That could also help.

Sending you good wishes. Being able to accept that you can only do so much will help all of you -- including him, even if he doesn't know it.
I have a childhood friend who is dying and living at home alone. She is just unable to clean her house or mow her lawn. She can no longer drive her stock shift car. She has been in denial and now is facing the facts. Dr. suggested Hospice. At least they will help her home from being toxic for her...a neighbor tried to tell her that but she was in denial then. I tried to get her to use "Meals on Wheels" but she put it off. I finally found some delivery services on the net like Chinese food and Pizza.
How do you cope with one sibling who has Power of Atty of Healthcare and is in denial of the outcome of what the risks are of the procedure. My mother is 87 and needs an epidural on her lumbar. What should I expect when is in her adv. stages of dementia. Thanks
San do you want her to have the proceedure -with dementia would she be able to tolerate the proceedure if her doc thinks it would help her and it could be done then the doc should approch the POA about it-no matter how you feel the doc needs to talk to the POA but I would ask the doc if it will help her and what the risks are-are you her caregiver?

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