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Dad is 87, with pancreatic cancer. He is very weak and wobbly and has a lot of pain. He and mom have a live in caretaker who cooks and cleans and helps mom, who has cognitive issues. I work full time, after work I food shop for them and come over and sort their meds and check in and do all their finances.


The problem is dad. He won't let Tammy, their live in companion, help with anything. He makes my 80 year old mother help him with showering, he won't eat anything tammy cooks (claims he just isn't hungry), won't let her bring him a walker or put his socks on or help in the bathroom, nothing. She's a wonderful woman, and more than willing to do any and all care, and we pay her 1k a week. Every night I come over and it's chaos- Dad is in some kind of crisis, etc. I pull into the driveway with a sense of complete dread. They all basically run to the door upset and barrage me with the days domestic catastropes and I can barely get in the door with the groceries. Dad kind of just lies in bed and won't get up or eat. He starts chemo Monday. Any advice would be so appreciated- I think I'm about to lose my mind.

Okay, you asked for advice, right?

Is staying in their home really the best thing for your parents right now? How is dad going to get to chemo? Is he going to allow the CG to drive him?

Would your parents be better served, even short term, in a nice Assisted Living facility? Have you looked into that?
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Pandabear Feb 16, 2019
Agree. Time for assisted living and putting that 1k towards it.
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I think you need to have a chat with Tammy - she needs to be able to defuse the cisis of the day without dumping all over you at the end of the day. If your mom has cognitive problems then she needs a calming influence to steady her not someone who joins the hyperbole, if she can't manage that then I question whether she is really up for the job.
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neeniedith Feb 17, 2019
thank you cwillie. i will do that.
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Don't mean to be offensive; but why would you put an 87 year old man with pancreatic cancer through chemo? His life will become a bigger nightmare than it is now. Have you thought this through carefully? This is futile care and should be reconsidered.
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worriedinCali Feb 16, 2019
I’m glad you said this!! Pancreatic cancer is terminal and usually takes you fast. Why would they subject an 87 year old to chemo? Quality of life should be the main concern now. Not keeping him alive as long as possible.
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Wow ... you have your hands full! I have a mother who lived alone and wouldn't let anyone other than family help her. Anyone who was sent by the local health authority ended up being a visit only for her, and they weren't really allowed to do anything except sit and chat. We did quite a bit of probing and one thing that came to mind that might help you, is to find a male companion for your dad. He might just be shy. The companion wouldn't have to live in, but could help your dad with his hygiene on a regular basis. Just a thought.
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JuliaRose Feb 16, 2019
I agree with getting a male caregiver to come by a few hours to help your dad. My husband wouldn’t allow female caregivers to do anything, not even enter into his room. With men, it’s better. He still won’t allow them to help shower him, but he’s now used to them helping with the commode. I also suggest that you don’t go to visit them each evening. It’s hard, but right now they count on you rather than taking care of issues themselves.
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Your poor mother!

And poor you!

What would happen if you could not longer stop by daily? Like, if you came down with the flu?
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neeniedith Feb 17, 2019
that's what i keep saying, lol! they act all sad and say "i know, i know", and then i feel like a bully.
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With your Dad starting chemo he should qualify for a shower person. Speak with the doctor and the doctor can place the order.

You are at the point to enjoy the time with your parents.

I’m not sure where you live, most grocery stores deliver.
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neeniedith Feb 17, 2019
thank you, you are right! i will look into both.
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I agree that starting to have groceries delivered is an excellent first step.

Learn to be assertive with both of your parents because it's not Tammy's job to get in the middle of your parents' interpersonal marriage dynamic.

When you say "we pay her 1k a week" is that your money, your parents' money, or both? If it's only your parents' money then they are her employers, which puts both you and Tammy in an awkward position.

Do you have durable power of attorney? Are you authorized legally to make decisions for your parents? If so, then assert your authority, draw up a task list, create a schedule for Tammy including time off, post it on the fridge, and enforce it. If you and your mother come running each and every time your dad throws a hissy fit over Tammy then he doesn't need to accept Tammy as his caregiver.
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neeniedith Feb 17, 2019
you are right. it's my parents money, but i am poa. tammy isn't going anywhere, lol, i would truly implode. all that is good advice. thank you!
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Hi. Wow. What a load on your shoulders. Here’s what I have learnt. Your father should be getting end of life care. Unless you requested chemo why do this? He needs palliative care in an appropriate setting. This is a waste of time and unnecessary treatment. He is 87. That’s a big number. Perhaps the 1K should be going to that. Also this would make your mothers life better as this must be grinding her into the ground. She deserves calm It’s says for better or worse but it doesn’t say it has to be under the same roof. Let’s others take the load.
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neeniedith Feb 17, 2019
thank you so much. things have actually changed- we talked, and he has actually decided on hospice. things are moving quickly now, and i guess i'll have a new set of questions. i am so grateful for all this wonderful and kind advice. you are right about mom- she is not "all there" herself and this is terrible for her.
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I'm so sorry for your current struggle. Most of us here have found ourselves cornered in unworkable caregiving situations. Sometimes you just have to step back and rethink your plan, even when you don't want to.

My 96 year old dad just died last week, after 3 months on Hospice care, probably of cancer. There was severe pain, nausea, vomiting, constipation, chest congestion, difficulty breathing, hallucinations, and various other distresses that arose that required bedside attention and a level of medication that could not be provided on an out-patient basis. He was bed-bound for the last two months, as your father will eventually be. Toward the end it will probably take two people to be able to safely reposition him in his bed or change a soiled disposable undergarment because the person becomes too weak to move themselves in the bed to assist. Your mom would have to be able to do that with your current aide or dad might need to be in a different care setting.

Hospice will support your dad with medication management and pharmacy home delivery, nurses, doctors, aides for bed baths, a social worker for the situation, and probably grief counseling for you and your mom when the time comes. Medicare pays for all of this to be provided in his home or any other appropriate setting. Hospice works with many different kinds of care providers and can help you arrange a placement if necessary. I had my dad in a Board & Care at the end. It was a very nice, private home with five other residents and two caregivers on duty during the day and one during the night. He had his own room and bath and I was able to bring his furniture and familiar things. Family members were able to spend as much time as they wanted during the day. I was thankful for the extra help at the end and blessed to have so many people around me providing support and friendship.

Your dad has lived a long, full life and exceeded his life expectancy. That is something to be thankful for and a reason in and of itself to honor his life with the gentlest passing you can provide. I think chemo would will be of little benefit and could actually hasten his death because of his age and fragility. I hope you'll reconsider and focus on providing the maximum end-of-life support instead. He's going to need it with, or without, chemo because death by cancer is difficult.

Sending strength and hugs.
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neeniedith Feb 17, 2019
thank you so much for your reply and advice and information. i am sorry about your dad, but it sounds as if you treated him wonderfully. it breaks my heart how difficult end of life has to be for people, i can't get my head around it, i constantly feel so sad.
thank you again.
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Has your father always been inconsiderate and uncooperative or is this something new? Does he have a stated reason why he doesn't want the CG's help? My father with vascular dementia didn't want any CG in his home because he was sure they were going to steal from him or set him up for someone else to break in... could that be a part of your father's problem?
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neeniedith Feb 17, 2019
he's always been controlling and kind of mean, but at at the same time it's clear how much he loves us. he is a retired state police captain and was a boss his whole career, and just has never lost that mindset.
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