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I live 150 miles away and commuting to Dad's is not safe .Dad's local (two shifts) of caregivers cannot drive in serious conditions, either. Whole-house generators are too expensive; portables are outside the duties of caregivers. Cannot ask neighbors because they too are elderly. Dad cannot get his own meals and will freeze. Local senior services say "call the Police, as it is life threatening situation." Dad refuses to move to AL. I have DPOA and Medical POA. After Michigan's last winter (worst I've ever experienced), they say this coming winter will be as bad. My husband refuses to let me drive in those conditions (and I'm glad). I've alerted Police Dad is alone without caretakers. Have any of you dealt with this?

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Before the "Polar Vortex" last winter, I went to my aunt's house and stayed the entire time, since her caregivers are not permitted to work in adverse weather. Thankfully the power didn't go out.

Earlier in the summer she was without power four 4 days due to a storm. Thankfully it wasn't hot that week so no fan or A/C needed. I had no power either. The caregiver brought over a coolor and bought ice. We kept water, juice and condiments in it. She took her frozen entrees home and put them in her freezer. She did her laundry. We went out to eat or ate fast food takeout. The worst for her was she had no TV during this time. The caregiver brought her magazines.
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We have a propane fireplace and a woodstove, we can keep the entire house liveable (Not toasty) for a long time. We have sat out a 5 day power outage this way. We do have a genni for the freezers and fridges (2 each), but you can pack the food outside in cold weather. He just has to be able to manage this. I like the idea of notifying the Sunrise in an emergency
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THANK YOU ALL for taking the time the time to reply to my question. This is the third message I am trying to compose. My laptop hates it when I brush a corner, and deletes everything. My drafts are just gone, no drafts, no temp files, nothing. So if this is repeated, please know I am not drunk, I just have to write quickly or you wonderful people will go unacknowledged.

Every one of you has given me the kind of depth of response that I will re-read for a few days. You made me laugh (Mr. Dr. Captain especially thank you for your groundedness – see P.S.). Some of you have been through so much, and I will reply individually to all. Some of you actually knew how to click into my profile (which I didn’t know existed though I created it -- til this kind responder said so), and gave me a huge, warm validation. Thank you, you have no idea what it means. Wishing I could write back personally to all right away, but it will take awhile. There isn’t one suggestion (except living together) that isn’t being researched and looked at. For the folks who suggested living together – how I wish I could do so, and cry lots because I cannot.

My Dad’s ego ideal was James Cagney. He is a very short guy, with male compensation. He will go down in his home, as my Mom did in her bile and excrement, chain smoking for comfort. We didn’t know how bad off she was (89), until admitted to emergency at 65 pounds. She wore great-wow-fashion mumus and appeared vibrant and full of appetite (10 hours before emergency she had huge shrimp takeout). While she lay there for over 10 hours after I left not knowing anything -- she basically unloaded anything tissue in her body via hurling and bowels. Dad lovingly and gently put fresh pillows under her head. She finally asked Dad to call 911. Emergency referred her to Family Protective Services (FPS). FPS interviewed all of us not long after. Mom rallied and avowed that her “family is wonderful – leave them alone.” Mom did so throughout our life, although BPD (malicious) – she was proud of seeing to it we were fed, clothed, and never heard Mom and Dad yell. Although Mom had best of care via car company insurances, she let the teeth rot out of her head “because I do not think of myself.” FPS dropped the abuse charges (which was routine with elderly who don’t immediately call 911).

Dad’s WWI Dad built the home. Dad doesn’t remember Mom much, except “I kinda think she was proud of this place.” A post-WWII Bloomfield Hills home without current wiring, same high-end community where Romney grew up, where I remember cattle roaming before it became pricey and then became “on the border of riot-gun-rape-shooting Pontiac.” My sis was babysitting one night and was kidnapped with chains and raped. Dad said, simply, “No.” That was it. Mom wouldn’t acknowledge it. I was with Sis as female detective held her hand in emergency and walked the walk to collect evidence. About a week later, another lady I babysat for – was bludgeoned to death in her garage. Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. We went to CRANBROOK INSTITUTE. Dad was so proud of his address. Yet we time and time again, witnessed the wives afraid to be at home. The Dad’s who worked 14-18 hour days. The riots within 1 mile. The rapes. The Bloomfield police, with lineups but helpless if you were on the perimeter (not the inner “one-mile square”).

We were there because Dad’s land was $200 (from a farmer) and Dad’s WWI Dad, a building contractor, built the house with Detroit demolition scrap. Mom and Dad were driving an old jaloupy past the new subdivision in 1943 (on leave from Navy) and liked the farm look.

Mom was a frisky young woman, Mensa-type. Got herself a Cass Tech (non-college) promising star of an engineer husband. I spent a few summers at Henry Ford Museum, in their dormitories, loving if not obsessively managed by nuns. Running those halls screaming with fellow BH girl scouts. Also lived summers on Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota (main priest was brother of neighbor who lets just say founded a major soft drink company). The estrangement and pain of us “privileged Baby Boomers” – you blame us for our “good times.” You have no idea. I was disinherited many times over by Mom. I licked the floor of my bosses, years later, because I never, ever thought I could hold a job and not be fired willy nilly like Mom disinherited me.

We were taught never to open the refrigerator (Depression). We made every piece of clothes we wore. I actually studied weaving because I was afraid there would be no cloth. My sister and I would drill every night for nuclear holocost. There were no “stores” to browse or recreationally get out of the house. We baby-sat neighborhood kids whose parents were high-achievers. And while we baby-sat, we were hustled by the high-achieving husbands. Or we were confided in by the wives – “Dear, you have no idea what marriage and having a baby is – don’t do it, go free.” We were inculcated in every psychological terror there is (brother pointing gun at our heads in his confusion and mental angst). “We have given everything for you, you are insensitive and ungrateful – I am going to burn down the house while you sleep.” “Your breasts will bring down rape you harlot.” My brother raped me, he was so repressed and confused (and I forgave him instantly, sweet confused soul). He committed suicide. I helped clean up the ceiling and walls.

Do not assume life is so easy. Dad’s home was featured on a national advertisement. My Dad is a generous, simple guy and would welcome my husband and I. But I find myself increasingly unable to call him (up to a month ago, I would call him daily or 3X/week). Now I cannot pick up the phone. When Mom died, I saw her face in the sky for three years. Now I see his. He deserves a lot, because he always came through for us, he paid 100% for our higher education, and a few cars. Fast forward to 2009: My sister’s and my own teaching jobs were cut (I took a 10-year-buyout and ran for $11K/year at age 59 because I would have entirely lost everything otherwise). Try getting a teaching job at 60 that doesn’t require major life changes. I took my buyout to come back to Michigan to care for parents. I got lymphoma shortly thereafter, after caring for my MIL from 90-100. I looked pretty lucky, eh? I had no children because I had a premonition “Don’t Do It. I get that I am selfish beause I have no kids. I am selfish. I have no excuse for not “being there” for my Dad.

We have the tools, now, to be exceptional people. At 61, I am overwhelmed with the options and knowledge that used to take weeks and weeks in a library to figure out. I feel so guilty I can’t figure out how to keep Dad happy. While keeping my 82-year-old husband and I happy.

Dad deserves heat in the winter outages. So today I found out you can get VENTLESS LP HEATERS. They can safely heat a room, if properly ventilated (whatever that means). I’ve read that his sitting/sleeping room may require 30,000 BTU. I have asked local senior center, as well as federal aging resources, what do they recommend for a guy who has advancing Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus since 1992 (refused surgery), whose hands are riddled with arthritis, who is pretty much “non-mobile,” yet who can figure out how to order porn pay-per-view via tiny remote (God Bless Him, but I blocked it as it was too expensive). Life Force is a humbling thing. I’m also going to inquire with the local Fire Marshal.

I will re-post here when I find out what senior experts would recommend re indoor propane heaters. Portables might be as much as $200. Wall versions can be hardwired to natural gas outside and probably vented. They might be started with a single push of a button. Anyway, $200-$500 is much less than $7000 for a push-button generator.

Pam, thank you for the idea of calling local senior centers during an emergency. There is Sunrise only a mile from Dad, maybe they could pick him up. I’ll talk to them.

I will keep reading and report back. Sources say this coming winter 2014-2015 will be as bad as the last one. Softly falling snow is quite a sedative, if you aren’t responsible for killing someone.

P.S. Mr. Dr. Captain -- Do you have a plan for how your wishes will be honored? I relate to your dignity so much. But without children, alas, I fear it will be Social Services for me.
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I like vstefans attitude. He lives in a climate where power goes out. A whole-house generator would be a good investment. I like blannie's idea about stocking up on non-perishable food, too.

One fall my aunt walked to the nearby care center and said she thought she'd spend the winter there and then reconsider in the spring. Amazing woman! But it doesn't sound like that is this Dad's choice. I'd try to support Dad's choice as far as practical.

When you say that he cannot get his own meals, does that mean he couldn't spread peanut butter on crackers, or open a can of peaches? Someone can get by for a few days without regular "meals." What was the longest period of time last winter when his caregivers could not make it in? Did you call the police then? Did they check on him (perhaps using snowmobiles?)
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" living exactly as he wants to live "
ive seen enough out of nh in the last couple of months to convince me . no one will refuse me a day time nap so ill sleep all night , i wont piss in a diaper because theyre too busy to help me to the restroom , wont be dragged off to a lunchroom when im not hungry , wont be crammed in a shower on someone elses schedule , wont live life in a wheelchair for the convenience of staff / corporation / profit .. aps will not come up my hill . they do not have the elders best interests in mind -- they have covering their own asses in mind ..
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Whole house generator is expensive BUT maybe not out of reach with financing or a good DIY low interest credit card offer. Less expensive than going into care or you moving to Michigan...and actually cheaper than assisted living too.

We got one at our house for about 3K. We used some of the life insurance money we had and some we had saved. I could cope with no heat a few days, but hubby could not, and when I had to go to work it was awful. He was OK camping out in a basement library space once, or a night in an empty room my office, but our new office manager nixed that arrangement. Hotel rooms pretty much disappear early on around here, particularly the affordable ones. Once we found a place it was OK but cost a bundle. The generator will pay for itself in dollars in a few years, and in sanity it already has.

A Poem, called "Winter Driving In Arkansas":

On snow,
Go slow.
On ice,
Don't go.

-vstefans

There is an even shorter poem about SUMMER weather in Arkansas, which I did not write myself.
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How about saying to dad, " you know, this winter is going to be the worst in years. I'm not getting any younger, and I hate to think that I might get killed trying to get to you during a storm. Would you do me a very great favor and spend the storm season this year at one of these als? Just until spring?" Several winters ago, I nearly got killed trying to get to mom's house during an ice storm. That was right before the tree fell on her house. I guess I'm not as nice as I'm suggesting you be. I told her to count my errand days as being over unless she moved someplace where we knew she'd be safe.
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Talk all the options over with dad before winter sets in. If he's going to make it impossible to care for him I would include the option of being set adrift on an ice flow.
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Oh and an Emergency pendant if he'd ever consider one of those.
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Well with a dad as stubborn as that, I guess I'd just stockpile food and water for him (that doesn't have to be refrigerated if the power goes out) and have lots of warm blankets/hats he could use. Get some of those battery-operated foot/hand warmers and lots of batteries. A heating blanket (assuming he'd have power). Hope for the best. At least he's living exactly as he wants to live. You can feel good about that.
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I know the ALF where mom lives does take in seniors during a natural disaster, power failures, floods. Is there a facility near him that would do the same? Call around.
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The only other choice is for you to move in with your Dad during the winter months. I doubt there is anything else you could do. But I don't think you would want to leave your husband for that amount of time, since you are helping him.

Therefore, your Dad will just have to take it one day at a time, and if no one can reach him in winter, he's on his own :(
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My Dad and husband don't get along, and I live in a three-story condo, Dad could not negotiate the stairs. He refuses to be moved. I know, that I could compel a move. Just trying to exhaust alternatives if possible. Thank you for your suggestion though. Makes great sense for perhaps different people.
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50sChild, I just read your profile... OMG it looks like you spent most of your adult life caregiving for others. I don't know how you did it, more power to you.

I think your Dad is past the point of making a *choice* not to move to assistant living. He needs to be where it is safe, especially in winter. I believe at 93, his generation always had the stereotypical reasoning that *rest homes* were a place to go to die.... well, living at home is also a place to die if there is no one that can reach you in winter. But that generation can be quite stubborn. Guess the only way of getting him into assistant living is if he has to go to the hospital for some reason, then he couldn't return home.
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Maybe bring dad home to your house for the winter?
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