freqflyer Posted September 2015

What risks do your parents/spouse take that make you gasp?

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Today we took groceries over to my parents house. For the first time I saw my Mom [97] climb up on a short stool so she could put things in the freezer [refrigerator that has the freezer on top]. She has Dad hold open the freezer door while she rearranges things in there.

I can fully understand why my Mom would prefer to put away the groceries instead of Dad helping her.... Dad doesn't clue into the fact that the newer items go behind the older items so the older items get used first. No wonder she becomes The Flash when we bring in the groceries :)

But standing on a stool? Short one or not, to me that was a high risk for her. Yes, I tried Caregivers but Mom asked them all to leave... [sigh]. Mom is still of clear mind so there isn't much I can do for her. As Dad keeps saying "we can manage"... :P

What risks are you seeing in your own family?

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Windyridge Nov 2015
FF, I don't think Mom has dementia at all, or at least nothing that could be diagnosed. She is constantly fighting battles (and mostly losing) with Dad to keep him from doing dumb stuff like burning brush piles, climbing ladders and trying to dig up stumps. She is very aware of what dangers are lurking should she not watch Dad like a hawk. But it totally baffles me how she immediately recognizes situations where dad is about to screw up but then takes off to the kitchen without her walker and does a header into the bookcase.
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freqflyer Nov 2015
Windy, I had always thought my Mom was mentally pretty sharp at 97 until Sunnygirl had written "I can't fathom that a person with full mental capacity would be that much in denial." and that was a light bulb moment for me.

Now thinking back over the past couple of years, and not realizing what dementia was until I found the Aging Care forum, I am now thinking both my parents were developing dementia.... but were hiding it pretty darn good.

My Mom still was having Dad [94] still do fix it chores around the house, some of which including climbing up ladders, like to replace a light bulb in a ceiling fan on a cathedral ceiling. HELLO, Dad is a major fall risk. What was she thinking? Now I believe she wasn't thinking clearly at all.

And the snow shoveling... Dad said he needed to shovel the driveway in case of an emergency and he needed to get the car out. Earth to Dad, if there is an emergency you dial 911, the fire department and EMT's have their own shovels.
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Windyridge Nov 2015
Interesting disscussion. My Mom has lots of mobility issues but is still mentally pretty sharp at 84. She has just recently untangled some mail order prescription issues and a lost credit card problem over the phone. Pretty amazing stuff really. But she doesn't remember to use her walker, use the lift assit on her chair or think to have Dad help her in and out of the car. So she has falls. Two or three a month that she tells me about. She always is amazed when she falls, I JUST CANT IMAGINE HOW THAT HAPPENED! I think her self protection instincts are still there but her ability to reason is failing. It's a mystery to me how she does some complicated tasks very well but she doesn't recognise her most basic limitations.
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YogaGirl, that's what I keep forgetting - the effect by memory loss, cognitive decline (and other aging related brain issues) on what would otherwise be normal self protection.

I haven't done much research on older age brain issues but I'm wondering if one of the first functions to deteriorate is self protection. I don't say this in a facetious manner but rather just a "wondering out loud" query.
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yogagirl Nov 2015
GardenArtist, so true!! Combine those issues with memory loss and cognitive decline.
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As I read through this thread and am reminded of other threads in which parents refuse to listen to advice that's best for them, I keep wondering how we can manipulate (uh oh, did I really use that word?) them into doing what's best for them, and why it's such a problematic issue.

I understand the need to retain the pretense of independence, as well as the delusion that nothing's going to happen to them, but I think there's also an issue of not wanting to be embarrassed to ask for help.
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yogagirl Nov 2015
This is a great question that I must have missed. My parents are their own worst enemies. Dad probably would not have had that bad fall from dozing off in a chair with no arms when he was alone in the kitchen. They never listen to my warnings. He still tries to get up alone and sometimes gets upset if we assist. I gasp and hold my breath quite often knowing that I'll be the one to feel bad and have to take care of them when they fall again.
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pamzimmrrt Nov 2015
Both my mother and Aunt are fan of the "stepstool"... Aunt has fallen several times and broken bones.. we're just lucky Mom hasn't yet. We give her heck ( she listens to hubs more than me).. both say "I'm not going to fall".. Well HELLO.. you have Auntie!! Both my mom;s Drs have told her she needs a cane if she wount use a walker.. heck will freeze over first.
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freqflyer Nov 2015
Another gasp for me was when I heard that my parents were helping each other walk up and down the stairs. Good grief, neither one of them were steady on their feet. Dad said they had fallen a couple of times. COUPLE OF TIMES ??? Right there if that was happening to me, the For Sale sign would be in the front yard before midnight, and me checking out senior retirement homes.
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Curtain Nov 2015
Blackhole, you brought up something I've never seen here before - the use of knives. My mother does a lot of dangerous stuff, but this one freaks me out. She leaves sharp knives all over the damn place to use for an amazing number of things. Opening envelopes, packages, catsup packets, any use where a normal person would use scissors. When I gather them all up and put them in the sink - she always reacts like I am so very strange. Her coordination is very poor and her vision not that great, so all this knife stuff is bad! But she won't listen to me, after all I'm her daughter the least informed person in the world.
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