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Hi,
I came to live with my mom when she was diagnosed with CHF. She is now quite tired, and short of breath. She still drives, goes to the market and cooks.
She also has diabetes, and is a recovering alcoholic.
She is quite funny and clear, and I enjoy being here with her.
I do not know much about CHF other than what I read on the Internet.
I do not know what I am "looking" at as far as the decline in her health.
I feel afraid sometimes...... especially when she is out, or I am gone from the house.
Does anyone here have any experiance with being with a person with CHF?
It would help me to feel more at ease........if thaT is possible.

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I'd like to chime in on managing a parent with CHF. My mom has CHF & A-Fib.
Setting up the medication schedule that works with their circadian rythms and keeping to it is very helpful. You must also take the reigns and manage their nutrition. If anyone is interested, I am happy to share what I know about nutrition specifically for CHF and co-morbidities. Getting their meds stabilized and nutritional needs met has positively affected my mom's mood - and I have seen it done in others. Keeping a wake sleep cycle as close to standard as possible helps as does going outside for sunlight.

Of course this is not to imply the suggestion is cure all; it probably won't help if there are personality clashes in the relationship - but it is helpful all the same. At least you have tried everything - and the bonus is if you are doing this planning for them, take advantage of it for yourself & family.

As Carol & other wise souls including our doctor & my grandmother (who made it to 103) have said, taking care of yourself & keeping a positive outlook is the best thing you can do when dealing with tough times. Laughter gets you through the poop & scares - smiling gets a wave from the neighbor.
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It sounds like a very rough rehab place we have one in a lower county they only accept pt.s who are very motived and almost kill them one neighbor went to PT 5 times a day and he has heart problems-former nieghbor. Do they let family members go in the PT room to see what is going on it is possible she is sitting a lot waiting for her turn and a lot of them will do spurts of exercises and some are simple like puting clothes pins on a line but I would observe and if you think it is too much for her go and get a unit nurse to do her vitals and definatly make a gentle fuss. my Mom stills drives at 90 but it is only short trips if longer my sister takes her. I am being firm about the husband either staying in the nursing home or comming home with 10 hr 6 days a week-my back still hurts and I am not allowed to bend or lift anything heavy and can only do housework comfortably about 30 min then sit for 30. I cut off my husbands cell-Jitterbug- he had 30 minutes and as of last week he had gone 50 min. over at .34 cents a min. and made serval calls since to me and my son repeating himself over and over since the company will not limit him I did he is going to br madder than a wet setting hen-but he can't call me LOL and he calls me dumb- that was aides for 10 hrs 6 days a week-unless the son wants to take some hrs.
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It is a roller coaster.......and I have NEVER liked the ride!
More to say........time to care for myself.
Thank you so much for being here!
Nancy
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Sorry to hear about it. So the driving is no long an issue at the moment. Everything else, o n e d a y a t a t i m e. How are you doing?
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Well....sigh............she fell last Friday. Just slipped from her walker, and fractured her hip. The femoral ball broke off. She was in traction for 5 days waiting for blood thinners to leave her system. Days of Percocet and pain and confusion AND ANGER . They moved her from the surgical floor on Saturday, and she is so weak (and in pain) she can hardly stand, and move to a chair. They are starting her with 3 hours of PT today..........THREE HOURS.....she can hardly stand up! I try not to think of the future: what will happen to her
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Dear Naus, you are so tactful. And Greysful, I wasn't trying to make you feel bad. But if there are loopholes in our system, we need to take charge. What happened with the mechanic? That was wise to pray for her guidance, Naus!
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Dear Greysfully, you are smart to be worried. Did you hear about the 75yr old woman in the news about a month ago? She killed someone while driving under the influence of her alzheimers/dementia medications. They want to throw the book at her, and showed her in shackles on the tv. This poor woman did not have a clue as to what she did. Do any of you want that on your conscience? I wonder how many people knew she had no business driving and didn't do everything they possibly could to keep her off the road. Imagine being the family of the victim, when the officer comes to your door to say I'm sorry your husband or your child is dead. And you will ask "WHY?" Good Luck and prayers to you for guidance and help. Nauseated
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My Mom blacked out behind the wheel of her car and hit a truck. Automatic losing of driving privileges in the State of Michigan for 6 months. But who would enforce it? I called the Secretary of State! I called her Physician and asked he put it in writing to the Secretary of State. They didn't follow through, but the Secretary of State (or DMV in some areas) sent a Physician's Statement to my Mom to have her Doctor fill out and told her to bring it with her when they "examined" her, and gave her a "driving test." The test never happened. She never went to the appointment, so automatically lost her license. She says I "took" her car. That's because she was driving without a license. The police won't prosecute you if you do them the courtesy! Now they don't have to take my elderly mother to jail. LOL It's not funny, really, but I asked their advice first. So when Mom says "You took my car..." I remind her that the State took her license. She had a lot of accidents before the last that did got her 5 days in a hospital, and a lower dose of narcotics she had been taking during the accident. No wonder she hit a truck. And thank God she didn't kill anyone. She cried the day they took her license, but it's better than crying at a funeral.

Two days ago, Mom told me, "I'll never be able to live without my pain meds." She made a choice. I won't give her car back while she's on Codeine, that's for sure! It's not "tough love," it's common sense. She doesn't have any, so someone has to be responsible. I volunteered. I thought today, I grew up. I'm no longer a little girl. I get to be fully responsible for not only my own, but also my parent's lives. It's interesting. I still need their love, but not their permission. I don't need their approval, but want their respect. And if they don't respect me, I can still respect myself for doing the right thing. I don't have to let their anger and disapproval rule me anymore. I am no longer a timid, cowering door mat. I am a responsible (not perfect) adult. At 50 years old, I am finally grown up! Yeah for maturity. I can choose to love, regardless of how they treat me. If they are angry, I can respond in love. It's not conditional. Yeah! If I don't like them, I can choose not to show it, and not to react in similar fashion. I think my Mom's choices have caused her poor health, and diminished cognitive function. Her bitterness is drying her bones. Forgiveness and love heals, and I choose both. I am sleeping better at night. I don't medicate myself. I forgive the past and don't need Psychiatry. I ask forgiveness when I speak rashly, and try to make retribution for wrongs. I quit smoking and don't ruin my heart. Life is better when I'm not angry at Mom and Dad. It took me 50 years to get to this place. Mom has always been angry, and her health condition reflects that. Sorry for the long vent... Thanks, Carol, Greysfully and Austin! Take care of yourself, all.
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I'll bet you're seen it all! School bus driving is tough. You're also very aware - moreso than even the doctors - about bad drivers. Anne's solution was right on. Having a POA helps. It's too bad when you have to go to court, but sometimes it has to be done.
Carol
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So, not much help from "Doc"........my mom is moving along with a new insurance company, and looking very happy about driving again. It appears as though no one really cares..........yeah!, just put her out on the road, and let the "cars" fall as they may. I now wonder what happens if she has an accident? Who is liable? What happens to the people who KNOW she shouldn't be out there..........a little personal paranoia here! BESIDES the nightmarish scenes I have of her actually BEHIND the wheel! Maybe I should just let it all go..........like her docs. I am a school bus driver, and I see pretty scary older drivers EVERY day. Driving through stop signs
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Thank you Anne! I do have POA............all the information you have shared will give me some new direction. I am going to read back through your communications, make some notes, and set to work.
Again, thank you so very much for a Saturday full of new information.
I have some work ahead of me.
Namaste'
Nancy and Pretty
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Also, my Mom fell at home, and her speech slurred. I live 200 miles away, and heard her slurring speech. I insisted she call the Doctor, who advised her to have an MRI within 24 hours. It was a concussion from falling. The cause of the fall? We still don't know. Perhaps a mini stroke, as the xrays showed something, but nothing conclusive. She has blacked out twice; once behind the wheel, once at home. (Maybe more for all I know...) She was also on heavy duty pain meds, which could have caused the symptoms. She hasn't driven since her blackout January 07, except the times she drove without her license!!!! (That is why the police suggested I drive the cars away.) Now she takes public transportation.

But lately Mom had a heart catherization. She had been having "pressure" in her chest. (A 50+ year smoker) and has emphysema. No heart blockage, but I think a few brain cells were affected... We need to move her by us so we can watch her more closely. By the way, I went to court and am Guardian/Conservator. So I can talk to the Doctors and they can talk to me... That's one way. There are others, such as POA. Get legal and medical advice...
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Yes, but unfortunately, it takes months for the paperwork to reach her... Sorry. That's the bad news. It takes time for the red tape to catch up. I went to the Secretary of State (whatever you call it in your state) where they renew driver's licenses, and got a form called "Request For Driver Evaluation." They ask you: "Explain why this driver should be scheduled for an evaluation. Please be specific." You have to have her name, date of birth, driver's license number, address. If there are medical reasons, they will require a Physician to fill out a separate form. They will send it to your loved one, and they have to have the Doctor fill it out. Ask the Doctor to speak to you in private, not in front of loved one. They should be the "heavy" not you. Mine was helpful. Has she had a past of accidents? They will see that, and act accordingly. These forms are available online, too. Hope that helps. We had to wait almost two months. Definitely talk to the mechanic. Oops! The car requires more parts.... (Whatever it takes)
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Anne! This is helpful! So, I would contact MV? The first step is her vision. She KNOWS she needs surgery. It would be stupid (and she is anything but stupid) for her to not address this FIRST! She may be trying to evade it, or she may be in denial of how BIG it is! Unfortunately,mom's life has been one of denial. I know from personal experience, 'one being' will fail in convincing 'another being' of their denial .Denial is an experiential. So, you are saying that MV can "order" her in for an exam?
THAT would be awesome!
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The police can't do much. The chief of City Police lives two door down from my Mom and Dad. He told me to disable their car. We thought we did. I took the keys; they had new ones made. So I drove the cars away. (I told the police first.) The Secretary of State, or DMV are the only ones with the authority to actually take a senior's license away. First they write a letter stating they must come in for a driving exam. They can send the Doctor the other report or you can pick one up and have Physician fill it out and send it in.
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Thank you Anne and Austin for this information.
Austin: How does one go about alerting the police?
This all is so hard.
Nancy
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Sigh. I didn't think of DMV or police. Although I have worked with them years ago when my mom was a drunk.
I HAVE thought of going to talk with the mechanic. Although he IS doing is job, I could ask him , under the circumstances, to TAKE HIS TIME!!!!!
My mom DOES have a church, but she doesn't go anymore. The Rev calls her periodically to check in. I could talk with him. I have met him, and I don't have SUCH a great feeling about him. He seems too in to himself...I could be wrong, and would be willing to try again. What about the DMV....how would they fit in the picture....what would that "look" like?
I have a brother, but he is far away....figuratively and actually!
Thank you so much.
As all the others here, I am grateful for the support.
How did I get myself in to this position?!!! LOL!
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Anne you did the right thing to get your parents off the road many adult children just hope nothing bad happens our son is a police offercer and he often has to intervene with unsafe drivers and he has told the husband he can no longer drive which he has accepted from him but would not from me and he finally gave up bugging me about driving,
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I had to call the Secretary of State and ask them to assess both my parent's driving, stating the reasons I believed they were unsafe drivers. Mom blacked out, so that's automatic "no driving" for six months. But she's on a lot of pain meds, too, so no driving ever while on them...Doctor and her Pharmacist said so! As for Dad, his Physician wrote the appropriate paperwork stating that he was an unsafe driver. If her Doc thinks she should/should not drive, ask him to fill out a Physician's Statement of Examination for the Driver Assessment and Appeal Division of the Department of State. If he says no, they have to abide by that, will send your Mom a letter stating her Physician says it's unsafe to drive, and it will not be coming from you, or will it be your responsibility. Don't be scared, get help! Be prepared to wait a long time for the Secretary of State to respond, though. My Mom cried the day she got her letter saying she couldn't drive. But at least it didn't come from me (though I did initiate the process, and asked to remain anonymous). Thank God for a Physician's help! About CHF, have you tried to Google it? You can find a wealth of information on the web. Praying for you, Anne
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You are wise to have a third party - doctor, DMV people, police - whomever it takes, to do the dirty deed. It's one of the hardest things we have to do. It's too bad you can't get the mechanic to say, "You know, I thought I could fix this thing, but it's just not right, yet." But I suppose he has to do what he's hired to do.

Does your mom go to a church? Is there a priest, pastor or other religious leader who can help? You will not be able to handle this alone.

Please let us know how you are doing.
Carol
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ohhhhhhhh, I need help.......I keep hoping it will come. My mom's car "died" some months ago, and I was grateful for the intervention! I hoped that it would not be repaired, BUT the mechanic is doing his job. He is putting a NEW engine in the car (WHO DOES that anymore!), and I rue the day it is finished. My mom has perked up....she is happy, sharp tongued and critical of everything. I am supposing this has to do with her feeling she is regained her POWER. Her DRIVINGGGG POWER! Her freeeeeeeeeedom! sigh. She does not see well (she has cataracts), and she does not hear well either. She depends on a walker, and is slow and weak. She is glorying in chnages her car insurance, and getting ready for the day she will drive her car again. I am TERRIFIED! I contacted her doc t have her call my mom for a "hey, howyadoin call", and get her in for a check. I DO NOT want to be the one to burst my mom's bubble...........I want to feel the doc would check her eyes, and insist she go for her surgery. I hide in my room..............
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If I may be so bold, my book "Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories," has helped many, I am told, through these experiences. The stories are very short, and those of real people. Each stands alone. It's available on Amazon. I think there's a chapter on this site, even.

HIPAA is hard to deal with, so your mother should sign something now. You also need to get a health directive. One way that helps (sometimes) is to say, "Mom, I'm getting my health stuff set up so someone can help me if I need it (you fill in the blank with the person who you would name). That an get her many elers thinking, "Oh, it's not just because I'm old. Anyone can have a need for help."

Then make sure to sign papers (your clinic should have them) and suggest she do the same, so you can help her should she need it.

She should also have a health directive (so should you). Even a living will from the clinic is at least something, if she won't see an attorney for a health directive (Or most states have them online you can download - that would be preferable to the clinic one).

I know how you feel about the independence and "where is that line?" Do remember that she is making her own choices, so if something happens that you couldn't help because she fought it - that was her choice. You don't need to feel guilty.

That experience with the sagging face and slurring words sounds like maybe she had a mini-stroke. They sometimes signal a stronger risk for a full-scale stroke (not always). Her doctor should know about that, too.

I'm glad she will let you go to the doctor with her. It's time to get there and talk to them about the HIPAA forms, for sure. You can do that together if she'll go.

Carol
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Thank you so much for your support! One of the more difficult parts is that she has been reluctant in the past to let me talk with her doctor. History has it that she will let me come to an appointment if I ask, and then her doc and I can be candid. But, I know, if I called her doc, they would seek my mom's permission.
She is fiercly independent, and I support that......but there is a fine line, and I do not know where it is.
The other day she came home after going to the grocery, and I went down to help her with bags. One side of her face was completely sagging....like a stroke.........she said it was low sugar, and that she would be fine soon. She was slurring her words and her eyes were "funny".........I had my hand on the phone for 911, and by that time she was upstairs.....she took a snooze, and was fine again.
It scared me badly.
How do I deal with HIPA at my mom's age?

And, can anyone suggest some reading about living with an elder approaching their death experiance?
Thank you.
Nancy
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Well treated, many CHF patients can live fairly well for quiet awhile, but they must be closely monitored. The advice to keep in close touch with the medical people is wise. My father-in-law kept fainting, and he was hospitalized, and it was all because his potasium was low from the medications for his CHF. However, had he been driving, it could have been a disaster.

Keep in touch with us for support - it's rough to go it alone. But do keep tabs on her medications and with any tests she needs taken.
Carol
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Greysfully,
The best thing to do would be to talk to her doctor about what to watch for. I know that CHF symptoms can occur very quickly! Please call her doctor and talk to him/her about your concerns. Keep in touch and let us know how you are doing.
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