My Dad believes my Mom will walk through their front door again to pick up where they had left off. Any advice?

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It is so sad and so frustrating. My Mom will never walk through their front door, she can't even stand up... all this due to a serious head injury when she fell in their home.

I can understand my Dad wants his wife back, she just turn 98 and the brain isn't going to repair itself, plus Mom had almost stopped eating 7 weeks ago except for a tiny bit of Boost or mashed potatoes.... she is now on hospice care. Today Dad said maybe if she uses a walker she can walk.... [sigh].

Any ideas on how to pave the way to making Dad understand what is happening, or should I just let him continue to believe that she will be coming home?

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GardenArtist, that broken shoulder was a blessing in disguise.... I got a break from my parents for awhile [pun intended].

I had to cancel all their doctor appointments because they were willing to wait until I could drive again... it was almost six months before I could turn the key and use the gear shift on my vehicle as it was still painful.

My doctor who knew what was going on with my parents said jokingly it was ok to wear my sling for the next several years around my parents :P

You'd think my parents would have learned from my experience that if something happened to one of them, like it did me, changes would have to be made. Like learn to use a taxi.... learn to use Peapod on-line grocery service on their own.... call repairmen to fix things... and get rid of that darn post office box as what is usually in the post office box isn't worth a $20 taxi ride.
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FF, sometimes it takes a real serious illness or injury for stalwarts to accept help. I can't imagine doing what you've been doing for your folks while battling that shoulder injury, so you definitely have my blessing for getting help!
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GardenArtist, I use to be one to say "no" if someone wanted to help... I think for me it is more out of shyness and feeling I can do it. But that changed when I had broken my shoulder, now even six months later I still say "that would be great, thanks" :) I find that people like to help and it makes them feel good, too.

I tried once to offer a cleaning service to my Mom which my Mom refused. Oh my gosh, if someone had offered me that chance I would have direction flags pointing the way to my house, I would be so happy :)
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I really do understand your mom's resentment that the helper was "following her" as she interpreted it. When you have a self image of being self reliant and self sufficient, it can cause resentment when someone tries to help.

I find myself having to resist saying something when someone wants to do something for me and my first thought is "I can do that myself. Do you think I'm disabled?" That happens more often as I age. Perhaps I'll get a dark colored wig and they won't be able to figure out how old I am and think I need help.

I also feel guilty accepting help. A few years ago I was battling about a 1 foot hardened pile of ice from the snow thrown up onto the driveway apron by the snowplow. A fellow in a truck with a plow stopped by, asked if I needed help, and I had to really resist saying "no, I can handle it." I did feel somewhat less self sufficient afterwards and uncomfortable about accepting help, but was relieved when he dispatched all that ice in about 5 minutes. It would have taken me close to an hour.

So I can understand how your mother feels. It's hard when you're self sufficient to accept help from someone.
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GardenArtist, I think you are right that my Mom could have fallen even if there were caregivers as one can hit the ground in an instant. Both 911 calls were when Mom had fallen in the kitchen preparing a meal, that is why I was thinking if there was a Caregiver, he/she would be doing the cooking, serving, and cleaning up.

Oh, I remember the first day my Mom returned from the hospital after her first fall and there was this very nice gentlemen who was filling in until the next caregiver could come...... he was shadowing Mom and Mom snapped at him "why are you following me?". Then she said to him if he wants to help go out and mow the lawn :P Later he was washing dishes and Mom didn't like that, that was HER job. I knew we were all getting onto Mr. Toad's Wild Ride that day !!
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All the answers are so wise and wonderful, I have nothing to add. So sorry you are going through this :(
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Windy, beautifully, emotionally, accurately but touchingly said.
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Lives are going to end . It's no one's fault, certainly not yours. I've been reading your posts for a long time and swapping Stubborn Parent stories with you. Trust me my good friend, you have nothing to feel guilty about. You and I, and many others, know full well the job you've done for your folks.
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Well if he's visiting her regularly, I guess he knows only too well what the score really is, and the 'she'll be home any day' mantra is how he's keeping his (any maybe her?) spirits up, wouldn't you think? In that case, don't go near it with a stick!

I shouldn't worry about the guilt. I should think your poor Dad has enough upset with the accident and the separation, and - blokes being what they are - I don't suppose he analyses his own feelings any more deeply than that. Is he showing signs of heightened anxiety, though?
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FF, I don't think any of us will ever know what your father is thinking, but I'm really hoping he isn't second guessing or blaming himself. It's not his fault. It's not anyone's fault.

From what you wrote, and from what others have written periodically, family dynamics and power balances work out between husband and wife, based on their own personal characteristics and needs. Your mother's strength might have been very appropriate for both of them. Assuming that's the case, your father probably wouldn't have been successful in insisting on in-home caregivers because your mother just didn't see the need for them.

I don't think your father would have been alone in recognizing that help was needed, as you did, but knew that your mother wouldn't agree. From my own experience and what I've read here, strong parents who aren't ready to slide into old age and the limitations inherent with it do fight to retain their strength (and control not only of their own bodies) as long as possible. I saw that with my sister, now with my father, and sometimes with myself.

I almost choke when someone asks me if I use a walker! I cannot even conceive of it at my age, and probably will fight it as I grow older as well. I'll be standing next to your mother in my resistance.

Honestly, I think your mother could have fallen even if surrounded by a dozen caregivers. Balance, hearing, eyesight, preoccupation, home environment are all factors. My father has even begun to fall when I've been walking right next to him. And I've fallen more than few times while doing lawn or garden work just b/c I'm more preoccupied with being outdoors doing something I enjoy than focusing on walking straight.

I think it's hard for people to let go of the "what ifs", or "I should have" concepts. It can only bring guilt or questioning. There's a certain element of life over which we have no control (look at how hard The Donald tries to control his unruly hair!) which I dislike, but I think that recognizing it and trying to move forward to embrace what time is left would be more helpful for your father.

As I recall, he also has some dementia, so it's possible he really wasn't up to the task of challenging your strong mother; he was fighting just for his own strength.

From what you've written, I really think that he's just not understanding her situation, or is in denial. I was certainly experiencing that with my mother and my sister, and it was a hard lesson to learn. Now I try to be more proactive and address issues as I see them, but that still doesn't mean that one day Dad isn't going to be down on the floor ... or maybe it will be me falling over the lawn mower again.
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