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Hi,


I need some advice for when parents are still functioning, need help, but won't face that reality. I was thinking I was unique, then I wrote that, and realized, most probably, definitely, not. :)


So, here's the situation. My father is 87. He's in good shape, except for one major area, his eyesight. He has macular degeneration, and while not 100% blind, he's pretty close to blind. Fortunately, he's a Vet, I've got him into the VA system and it's been amazing. They offer a program for the blind that is a 6-week live in situation where he would live with other blind people while learning skills to live in the world.


When I heard about it, I was thrilled. His eye doctors give him a shot, take a look, and send him out the door without any advice on how to cope. They didn't even point him towards people who might help.


This is a path, chance, for him to retain some of his independence, maybe even stay in his home.


So, naturally, he don't wanna. And here we go, every, single, time, I've gotten him help, he throws a fit over it. The stuff he's saying is out out of a sitcom. "I don't have enough clothes for 6 weeks" or "what if my roommate snores", he says. Yeah, I bet no one there has ever heard of laundry in a place where they probably teach you how to do laundry. Sure thing, Dad.


What's happening is the anxiety is kicking in. He has anxiety issues and since he found out about this possibility it's spiked. He's said some pretty off-the-wall things, beyond the above recently, and it's what happens when you sit around stewing all day. He'll never get help for it, won't talk to a therapist, support group, his doctor, anyone except, of course, he'll drop it all on me, while saying he doesn't want to be a burden.


I think this could be the best thing in the world for him.


So, how do I get my father there. I was thinking something like when the dog doesn't want to go to the vet and you trick them? "Dad, we're going to lunch, no that's not a suitcase, and those aren't tidy whities in there, nope, no sir."


Honestly, I have no idea, I'm just frustrated and open to any suggestions.


Thanks for any help.

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I totally get you.
My dad is 84, in great physical health (takes NO meds! But is faithful with taking vitamins related to eye health) he has dealt with AMD for about 12 years and even that has stayed relatively unchanged since diagnosis.
His vision is stable, but I notice subtle changes in his depth perception abilities.
He adamantly refuses any type of assistance, even simple things like holding the door for him as he passes through, assisting him down the steps (since depth perception is a bit of an issue) I have learned the art of “helping” when he’s not aware of being “helped” by using the dogs as an excuse, or myself “it’s easier for me if I walk through after/before you” or “the dogs jump around the steps a lot, if I stand here, they won’t jump” (whatever works right?)
It is a shame a doctor can’t get behind you and support the idea, sounds like an awesome way to help him maintain his independence. Any chance a home health nurse can come to him (rather than he go to them) and after doing the health check, talk about the option of the facility and how it would benefit him? I know how much a certain age group values the “input” of a “professional”.
I, like you, would give serious thought to the old “take the dog to the vet” routine...for sure. Sometimes tough love is true love.
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My mom functioned very well with AMD because she was in her familiar home and knew where everything was so she wasn't going to trip over an unexpected step or be unable to find what she needed. Mom was very reluctant to venture out into the world without someone she trusted (me) because even though she carried a white cane and her friends knew she couldn't see people in general are clueless about helping someone with low vision navigate - I imagine your father feels the same way. My mom wouldn't have been interested in an intensive retraining like you suggest either, she didn't need to know how to walk the streets alone or how to read braille or any of the other things that were offered to her she just needed a little help figuring out how to navigate her own corner of the world. It shouldn't have to be an all or nothing deal with low vision training, you might want to try to look for some other types of supports for him.
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dontgetthechees Sep 5, 2018
You make good points.

I think your point about having someone with him may be true. He adamantly refuses to pay for a taxi to go to the store but he will take one to the doctor's office. Instead, he relies on friends, or me, to take him places. I suspect that he sees a lot worse than he lets on but he won't admit it.

There aren't a lot of local options. There's one place that does vision but it's 20 miles away and a hard commute to get to and from. I live 20 miles away in the opposite direction and can't easily take him during the day. They do classes but I don't know if he'd take them or not. He really, really doesn't want to be around old or disabled people.
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Thanks for the replies.

Unfortunately, I don’t really have any answers to clarify this. My best guess is that he’s scared that he can’t do it or it’s a really big change.

Honestly, I don’t know, and he won’t really talk about it.
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dontgetthechees Sep 5, 2018
Too late to edit!

I thought about this a bit and I think the problem is that by doing this he has to confront the fact that he can’t do things he used to do. He might even be afraid that he can’t do the program either.

I’m not really sure but if I had to guess the problem is probably somewhere in this realm.
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It’s hard for seniors to accept help and change, especially when they think they’re “fine” without it. I agree with above suggestions to take him for a visit to the place so he can hear it for himself. Make it seem like it’s HIS decision.... tell him you’re working on getting him this opportunity to go for 6 weeks, but you hope there’s a spot for him because they fill up Fast. If he thinks he might not get in, he might work harder to actually get there!
tell him if he doesnt like it, he could always come home. (Nothing is permanent).
I wish you the best. It’s tough but sometimes it takes the “big emergency” to make a change. Unfortunately, that’s what happened in my situation. Dad had to have a fall, then spend 2 weeks in a horrible hospital to finally realize that he couldn’t keep going without a change. 😞
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It it possible for you to take him there to 'have a look'. He might be willing to go the next time the course is run, once he has more idea about what he will be going to. You might need to blackmail, along the lines of 'I'm going to give up helping if you won't even think about what I suggest. I need help myself, because it is taking a lot out of me trying to make your life better. You have to step up to the plate for my sake, even if you don't want to'. That would also be easier if it is 'just a look'. Perhaps you could both stay for a night. Talk to the people who run the course. They might have some good ideas about how to make him feel welcome and comfortable with the whole thing.
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Does he have a fear that he might have to stay there permanent? Scared he might not be allowed to return home?
Maybe......
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Dad,
I am not coming over at all, since you do not need help.
Call me when you have graduated the class.

There will be some real answers to help you soon.
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