This is one talk I think many of us forget to ask our parents when we are caregivers, be it hands-on caregiving, or being the errand person/logistics, or both. Parents think their child [who could be in their 50's, 60's, and even 70's] are invincible. That we can go on forever.
My parents [mid-90's], still live in their single family home, had no Plan B... found that out when I was grounded [yes, play on words for the screen name] with an injury. My injury will take months in recovery then onto months in rehab. I can't use my right arm thus cannot drive because I can't start the car or use the gear shift. Can't lift squat. Can't write. Sleep most free time because the pain is exhausting [now I understand how elders with bone pain are napping all the time].
Ok, Mom and Dad, what do YOU plan to do? They look like deer in headlights. They never thought about what if I couldn't drive them to doctor appointments... I had to cancel all their appts, thus I hear a lot of grumbling. My parents won't ride with strangers, thus taxi cabs aren't an option. Nor do they like the aging care bus service.
Dad asked me, what do people their age do? Well, for one, they move to a retirement village where they never need to worry about transportation [my parents can afford to move]. Heavens, couple weeks ago Dad asked me to get him a 30lb bag of fertilizer... HELLO!!!
But you'd need a doctor's script to get one to come out, and it would be in conjunction with treatment.
Alternately, in my area hospitals sometimes have classes on various topics, ranging from addiction to aging, the latter of which sometimes include presentations by doctors on safety for fall prone people.
One of the Area Agency on Aging caregiving expos also sponsored a presentation by (if I remember correctly) a neurologist who addressed the subject of falling in more detail.
As for the car, could you find a local mechanic to 'break' it? Disconnecting the transmission link would allow your dad to start and run the engine, but not to actually go anywhere. Just a thought....
And Flyer, I like the delivery ideas. As you know I'm 600 miles from the folks. If their Krogers had a shopping and delivery service I could get their food and meds delivered. Then the coil wire is coming off Dads car!
I hate shopping but don't mind roaming the Internet. But I need to try to get enough products to avoid delivery fees, as Dad doesn't want to pay those fees.... really now, most of the time the delivery fee is a lot cheaper than taking time off from work, driving to the store, parking, going in the store, trying to locate the product, waiting in line to check out, driving over to my parents house then back home. So now Dad gets 4 tubes of Aspercreme instead of one :P
The status quo is very comforting. Nobody wants drastic change. At some point little changes are perceived as drastic. The human brain becomes less plastic with time, and can't process new information and change like it could 10-20-30 years before. Then you get resistance to the point of it being quite stupid.
My mom didn't have a plan B because she was always rebellious and refused to do anything she was told she ought to do. She was proud, stubborn, and fiercely independent to cover up for a whopping case of low self-esteem and paranoia.
I went through a phase of giving her the grand inquisition over her plans and it went nowhere. It made her angry that it was obvious that she didn't have a plan. It made her angry that she didn't know what to do and she couldn't understand what anybody was telling her. It made her angry to feel like everyone was pressuring her to be swindled. Nobody makes clear decisions from a base of paranoia, distrust, and ignorance.
So she didn't have a plan A or B. OK. I knew this would land in my lap as the only child. I made my own plans. One was to move her, then dispose of the stuff in the house, and have this go very smoothly. Another was to throw her underpants in a paper bag, hogtie her, and drop her off at the local senior apartments. What happened was a very frustrating and exhausting rescue effort that I am still pretty resentful over.
You have to decide what you can reasonable do. Outside that, you might have to let the cookies crumble for mom or dad to be willing to do differently. Things might have to get really bad. Then you get social services involved. A judge can order a guardian to manage their affairs and see to their care. It doesn't have to be you.
Btw - loved the comment by the person who said "I am plan A and when I'm not available I need to figure out plan B"!
He did drive once since then at which point my bro-in-law went over and secretly disabled the car. Dad has people to drive him he is just stubborn. He has multiple sets of keys so taking keys won't work. Plan B is not even talked about. Lol. One day at a time. With my parents also! Thank you for this topic - I gained comfort from knowing others go through this. Knowledge is power - as in the posts that outline what an elders thought process is. They're world definitely narrows- freedoms are lost - doctors don't seem to want to get to "the bottom" of what is wrong. Sad. I definitely want a plan B and it'll be a senior living facility. There are so many nice ones and you don't have to keep up the home you've owned for 40 years!!
I am not into a lot of modern techno stuff.... my cellphone is just that, a cellphone.... not a mini version of my desk top computer. I have no need to find out what The Donald had said in real-time while I am standing in line at the grocery store. The Smartphones I think are great for those who really enjoy using them. I see my boss fuss over his, he forget to hang up on his side thus whomever he was calling can hear his comments.... oops.... and I can find a telephone number of a vender quicker in the paper revision phone book then he can scrolling through his 100's of saved numbers :)
(BTW, you'd think we could get some better logos. It's all very girly stuff. Not that there's anything wrong with that...)
Many of our parents shared the experience of the depression and world war 2 and this shaped their lives and values to some extent. Just like the Vietnam war, watergate, and the digital age has shaped our generations views. But I don't think any of this has much to do with aging, stubbornness, and fearing change. We get old, the mind doesn't reason well and we need to be looked after in spite of ourselves. A lucky few age gracefully and are publishing acedemic papers and giving cello concerts in their 90s. The rest of us will be in adult diapers and forced to bathe occasionally no matter what our life experiences were.
With no more draft, so many people that age today are absorbed in technological advancements, social media and who knows what else. There's a lack of commonality of purpose, of pulling together and sacrificing as there was during WWII years - in the general population.
I guess that's one reason I find all the social media and techno-gadgets so boring and frivolous.
My father also grew up in a house lacking modern comforts - no central heating, cold rooms, outhouses, and what we would consider primitive conditions (unless you're one of the tv survivalist stars who test themselves by going off to wild places and living off the land, with movie cameras documenting their sturm und drang).
My father still remembers the embarrassment of having to stand in bread lines.
And that's a factor that we're dealing with with some of our parents today - at times they had very little, not even coal to heat (the case with my mother's family) - they aren't about to part with something because those nightmares of not having anything are ingrained in their psyches.
I think the difference is that the change was positive change or for a greater purpose such as the war effort. The changes our elders must make today often involve giving up and letting go of the things they have spent their lives striving for. I think that Plan A was to have died before they had to deal with any of it, the fact that they are still here leaves them stuck in that grey zone where none of the options are appealing.
Now it's made such a difference - if it's not received on time I get a call to check with the senior center and track it down.
The delivery people are courteous and friendly; it's a break in the day and someone to chat with briefly. In a small way, it relieves the loneliness and isolation.
Apparently there are arrangements with local schools and kids create cards that are distributed to the seniors. Sometimes the kids send along cupcakes or treats as well. I know now what I'm going to do with all these cards that those annoying solicitors send - donate them to schools that have MOW card writing programs.
It's not just food; it's a method of connecting with other people while staying right at home.
FF, ads for ED???? OMG - to think that's even a concern for someone in his 90's who needs help for more basic issues...
I'm beginning to think I'm missing the whole point of elder intransigence. Is it really that they WON'T or don't want to change, or that they're so overwhelmed with the changes they've faced that they can't think straight?
My parents, even as book smart as they are, seem oblivious to what is happening in their age group..... guess muting the sound on the TV since the 1960's [Dad invented his own remote control] whenever a commercial pops up thus not seeing or listening to life around them, like all the ads for retirement communities in our area. Right now their TV viewing is local news and keeping the local weather channel on all day.
My parents friends have either moved away or passed on over a decade ago, so no chatter among others of their age group to learn that Bob is moving to Ashby Ponds and he can't wait to finally move in.
Another thing that baffles me, my parents will skip over large print ads in the newspaper for retirement villages, yet find those bottom corner ads for new hearing ads, and Dad finding those ads for ED [like a daughter wants to hear about that].
Why do we know more than our parents regarding aging?... social media. We know how to research on the information highway where our parents either never learned or just gave up trying to use the computer as technology is moving faster than they [and we] can learn :(
Our parents only have past experience to learn from... all my parents siblings, parents, and grand-parents lived at their own family home. No one moved to assisted living and 55+ communities didn't exist back then.
Hopefully we are paving a good example to our own generation and to the next generation. Exhausted as we may be.
As frustrating as it is, I understand their fear of change. Their little house and farmette is all they've known for almost 70 years. They can't imagine the place being sold and other people living there. (Actually, Other People would shove it down and build a McMansion).
"But we want you to have your inheritance". Oh boy.......and around and round we go........
The plan B.... Yep. So today, I will try once again, to gently bring up alternative living options and preparation for the future.
Last week, mother's dr. Gave her a definitive PSP diagnosis, and told her to plan.
Kind neighbor told me my dad ( with MS) had been fibbing to me about how he is in decline.
Both never wanted to be a burden.... And we have talked to them a few times about assisted living, even freaking moving closer to me - and every time it is met with pouting, denial or anger.
It has been three years with both of them in declining health.
Wish me luck today.
Happy 4th, everyone. ☺️
I know my mother continues to be surprised by her decline and always seems to think this is the worst it's going to get. She's managing (with my help and some from my sister) so it's working out and she doesn't need to consider it any further. She didn't plan to need my help and now that she does, she doesn't plan to ever need more help than I'm able to give, or consider the idea that I might not always be available every time she needs to go to walmart or needs a light bulb changed.
People seem so surprised by the changes that go along with getting old. There's denial in advance of the changes and even in the midst of the changes when they occur. I think that's why there's no plan B - there was never a plan A. My mother always said she didn't want to be a burden to her children, but her plan was apparently to remain in denial until she needed so much help that her children were forced to step in and help her. And then to whine "But I never wanted to be a burden!"
freqflyer, I'm struck by your father asking you what people his age do. Why should you know, and why doesn't he know? I remember asking my mother, when I first realized that she was going to need more help than I was willing to give, if she had looked into assisted living. Her flat answer "No." I was sort of stunned. Couldn't she see where this was going? Hadn't she thought about what lay ahead? Apparently not. She couldn't see herself making a change like that. She apparently could see herself tying up her daughter's life for years on end, despite her insistence that she didn't want to be a burden. It's so frustrating. I wish all of us luck in getting our parents to consider any changes, now that they have us to keep them "independent" for as long as we can manage it.
It reminds me of last year when Dad said that he will get Mom back behind the wheel of the car to drive [she stopped driving many moons ago].... whoa, stop the presses, "Dad, Mom is legally blind". And without missing a beat Dad said "that's ok because I will tell her when to put on the brake, when to turn right, and will guide her when she backs up"..... ok.....
"Dad, did you forget that Mom is also now deaf?" Oh.... well, there goes his Plan B for driving.
I also lose sleep about my parents next residence and if they will cooperate.... Dad is easy going so he probably would start packing if I say lets look at retirement homes.... Mom, on the other hand, will refuse to leave the house unless she is in handcuffs.
But sometimes it's better than we're not present when our parents decide to be young again and take such chances. If we were, WE might be the ones having strokes or heart attacks while they zip around acting like youngsters.
Here's a driving story for Ya, my Mom, 84 , hasn't driven a care since the late 80s . Around Memorial Day my dad had put flowerson the graves of my bro and sis, about 8 miles away, but by the time he got home couldn't remember if he got the right graves. Mom demanded that he take Her to the cemetery, he refused, she put on her slip on "Keds" grabbed her purse and walker and away she went through rush hour suburban traffic. She made it to the cemetery, fixed the flowers to her liking, and stopped at krogers on the way home and picked up some frozen dinners that dad can never find.
I'm a long distance caregiver btw. I called home later that day and mom proudly related her adventure, and was all fired up about taking up driving again. Oh boy! Ain't this just great! Now I've got 2 of em careening around suburbia!
Well, I've since gotten her calmed down by point out the difficulties of dragging the walker around. How she pulled that off is beyond me..........
Any time I ask Dad what if this or what if that and I can't help them, what would they do. Dad said "we will manage". Guess I need to get Dad's definition of manage.