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I am wondering what everyone else does with their elderly parents.. My sister & I have taken turns having dad live in our home and if we are too tired to make a meal he won't fix himself anything to eat and he won't eat. Should we feel guilty for not putting a meal in front of him or is it ok once in awhile if we're too tired to cook?my sister has 6 kids and a husband and some nights she doesn't feed anybody they sort of fend for themselves but my dad won't even fix anything and he is perfectly capable of getting himself something to eat.we have finally after 4 months I got him back to being fairly healthy and eating 3 meals a day snacks and drinking enough water so I imagine one missed meal won't be that bad but in my sister's case this may happen 3 times a week.what do you all think?

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Ha your all correct! He does come from the generation where women did all the work and my mom and my step mom waited on him and then my sister and I are guilty of doing the same especially me the three months that he was sick recently waiting on him hand and foot. I guess now he expects it he was like this before he got sick. So aggravating that he won't do anything for himself but he can. Well you all hanging in there thanks for listening
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I agree with the others who said that it's OK to be too tired to cook some nights. My sisters and I take turns providing 24/7 care for our parents in their home. In between elder care, laundry, grocery shopping, housekeeping, home repairs, etc., sometimes I'm too tired to cook dinner. So I send out for a pizza, or pick up some fast food, or maybe fix soup and sandwiches. They'll live if they don't get meat, potatoes and a veggie. I don't eat frozen dinners myself, so I hadn't thought of that.

As for Dad not being willing to fix himself supper, is he from a marriage where your Mom did that for him? I know men my age who are lost if their wives leave town unexpectedly and haven't pre-prepared and frozen a dinner for each night. Personally I think that's nuts, but my hubby knows how to cook and do laundry. We have one friend whose wife had a stroke recently and her husband swears he has no idea how to do laundry or fix himself a meal. My husband asked if I'd make some casseroles for the guy. I said I'll do it when his wife comes home to help HER, but he can make a sandwich if he's hungry.

So as far as your dad is concerned, I see nothing wrong with telling him you're not going to make a big dinner, but you have X, Y and Z in the fridge if he wants to make himself something. Then see what he does. I promise, he won't go hungry for long.
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Makes me wonder how did bachelors survive.... did they all pass on because they couldn't figure out how to open the refrigerator or pantry door :P
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@freqflyer - you're absolutely right, and as Terrygma just stated above, he's perfectly capable (meh - maybe not so capable!!) of fixing a meal when he wants it!!
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All good advice. I am going to see about meals on wheels or a home health aide to come cook for him. everyday he has to have his breakfast which includes 3 eggs over medium 4 slices of crispy bacon and a bagel or toast with butter and jelly. He eats this meal even if we go out to a restaurant for breakfast the exact same thing every morning. Yesterday he was cooking his bacon at my sisters and the stove is a gas stove and he has to cook everything on high even though we have told him you can cook things on medium and he proceeded to almost set the kitchen on fire, smoke alarms going off, fire dept. Alerted, dad just continues cooking and sits down to eat, oblivious to the commotion. He is very single-minded, no matter the activity. If he is on his way to go outside to smoke or get to the table to eat, you better not be in his way, he will just keep going on to whateve he us doing regardless. He has spilled an entire bottle of brandy & v8 juice & just left it for me to clean up both times, just continuing right on out the door to go smoke, dragging his oxygen hose through the mess. He is supposed to come stay with me when i get home from surgery, but now i am scared because what if he sets the house on fire? I will not be able to move fast enough to get out, so now i have to tell him he cant come even though he wants to come help take care of me but he doesn't realize it is more work having him here than being alone. It's exhausting as he seems to only care about himself. Maybe this is just part of aging and the reverting to child like behavior.
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DawnInVB, just saying if a grown man is able to find his pack of cigarettes, open the pack to remove same, find his matches/lighter, find an ashtray, and light up a cigarette, he should be able to make himself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
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I have Meals on Wheels come and deliver for Mom. One I do not want her operating my range when I am at work and two she gets a healthy meal. Oh and Three, if I don't feel up to making a dinner I can get away with sloppy joes, hot dogs or just pop open a can of soup and not feel guilty, because I know she ate nutritiously at lunchtime.
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stewardmmj, not all frozen meals are high in sodium. You just have to read labels.

freqflyer, "take away their recliner!" them's fightin' words, gal! Don't you DARE think about messin' with my recliner!
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I prep my Grandma's 3 meals in the morning. Her food has to be pureed/ground so I get them ready and covered and place them in the fridge for the Aid and I. Having a rotisserie chicken on hand and Meals On Wheels are great ideas. I would use the Frozen Meals as a last resort because they are very high in sodium.
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@freqflyer - I think you're getting a little off topic. Of course it would be better if he quit smoking, but you can't force anyone to quit smoking!
@terrygma - don't feel guilty about missing a meal now and then. It's not like he's going the whole day without eating, he'll be fine.
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Could you save some leftovers, or get extra takeout, and let her put it in the refrigerator for him? just heat in microwave. She does sound like she would have plenty of reasons to be overwhelmed. If you do get Meals on Wheels ( we can't since we are out of city limits) maybe it could be put in fridge for his dinner?
At least get him some protein drinks and bars - that's what my father eats between meals.
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We keep some frozen personal pizza's and frozen breakfast items on hand for just such occasions. The pizza takes 3.5 min in the microwave, we slice them and my MIL loves them! Frozen breakfast items come in hand on weekends when we try to sleep in and need to fix her something quick to stop the "I need breakfast" (over and over) rant.
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Leave a jar of peanut butter out and bread. Cereal in a bowl. I make sandwiches in advance, I live with my 90 yr old mom w dementia and my 93 yr old dad. I do all the cooking but prepare soups and stews on the weekend. They eat less as they are older. Leave out cheese and crackers or fruit for a snack..I make a pot of tea and leave that on the counter when I go to work. My dad will microwave it in a cup. They do not cook either. It works. Rice cakes and peanut butter and jelly are a good fill in. Perhaps if the bread is on the counter with butter left out, he just might do it himself. Preparing ahead really works and gives you more freedom. You can prepare even a hotdog ahead and just pop it in the microwave. There are microwave pizzas, burgers even waffles are great. Usually the elderly love sweets w coffee or tea. It doesnt matter what they have...boiled eggs cold with salad pre washed in a bag. Grab and go stuff is great...yogurt w a handful of walnuts or pineapple....Tomato sandwiches when in season w mayo on wholegrain bread. Hope it helps...I know what you mean about being tired. Jane
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I would think on days where you know that cooking is not an option, order take-out. There are some healthy options out there that can be ordered and delivered.

Best wishes!
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terrygma, you can teach an old dog new tricks.... first you take away their recliner!!! There is something magical about those recliners that cause grown men to become glued to it :P

Growing up my Dad never had a recliner, I don't think they were around back then. It wasn't until he retired that he bought his first one.... now you can't pry Dad out of his recliner [well, he is 92]. Mom is 96 and has no recliner, she has her straight back wing chair, and she has twice the energy of Dad. Is there a correlation here?
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Ha! True freq flyer! When do we get a break? I'm reading a novel right now and one of the characters likes to say "men are the dessert, not the meat". I love it. But back to the subject, we have been to assisted living places which he says are great, then refuses to go. As for is he crying out for help? I don't think so, he is behaving just as he has for the past ten years or so. He has many health problems, but basically can feed, bathe, dress himself, run small errands(other issue, we don't want him driving) or go to breakfast with a friend, so he is better off than many I read about here. I guess you just can't teach an old dog new tricks and he's been allowed to behave this way so long, it won't change.
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What about freezing a couple individual servings on nights you do cook like stew or chili...he can warm in microwave.
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It just dawned on me regarding the older generation.... men get to retire and do what they want.... but their wives/grown daughters still have to get breakfast, lunch and dinner on the table, do the vacuuming, dusting, bathroom cleaning, laundry, ironing, grocery shopping, plan the holidays, buy all the gifts, etc.... HELLO, when do the wives/grown daughters get to retire?
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terrygma, oh my gosh, sounds like you have a 80 year old who is acting like he is 16 years old. Dr. Phil would say take away his cellphone, his computer, his TV, ground him, no friends can visit, etc. until he learns to live under your roof the way a civil person should. Oh well, the idea is good but I don't think it would work on an 80 year old :(

For the sanity of both your family and your sister's family, is there anyway your Dad can move into independent living where he can have his own apartment and where said complex has cleaning services? Then that way your Dad has free rein to do whatever he wants... smoking might be an issue so a place that allows smoking outside.
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Well he's able enough to do what he wants, but maybe lazy when it comes to what he needs. I have his medicines typed out on a paper, very simple to fill the weekly pill containers, but instead he leaves it out empty for my sister to do, so that goes along with the meals thing and not eating. Dad is 80 and yes there are lung issues, but at this point he won't listen. As for my house, my rules, his attitude is he is 80 f-ing years old and he can do whatever the hell he wants, just so you know what we're dealing with. Thanks again for listening and advising everyone!
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Veronica.... sounds like my spouse... if I tell him I am tired of cooking he will say he will do the cooking, yeah for himself only :P
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Sounds like my husband has moved in with you and your sister. The only difference being he does not smoke and if he is hungry and I am on strike he goes out to eat.
You can teach an old dog new tricks but it may not be worth the hassle. Offer him whatever you ar munching on healthy or not.
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If one is able to open the door to go outside to have a smoke, use an iPad, etc. then that person should be able enough to open the refrigerator or pantry and find something to eat.

My Mom is finally trying to teach Dad to do some simple meals that he can handle, showing him how to use the vacuum, and how to use the washing machine, and when he makes a mess he has to clean it up himself.... Mom is 96 and Dad is 92. It's never too late.
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Sorry, I'm really late to this party...
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What JG and CM said. Chicago has a point too, though. I do think the generation thing has something to do with the expectations some of the elderly have...

It is tricky. For me, it would have just been easier and less hassle to fix something simple and quick for my mom rather than waste time and energy worrying for hours later about whether or not skipped meals were going to have consequences...

After awhile with my mom, for me anyway, it just boiled down to what route was shortest, sweetest and easiest in dealing with and caring for her.
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Your house - your rules. Your sister's house - her rules. By the way, how old is your Dad?

The fact that your Dad would need to use oxygen if he went back to his own home tells me his smoking has already caused a medical issue. Since quitting is out of the question [according to him] could he switch over to a pipe which would be less harmful to the rest of the family?

Since he is around his young grandchildren, even though he is smoking on the porch, children have small lungs and it is quicker for them to develop smoke related health issues than that of an adult. He wouldn't want to be the root cause of one of grandchildren becoming quite ill from his smoking. Saying something like that could tug at his heartstrings and make him think twice about smoking. Or maybe not.

Oh my gosh, there isn't anything "heartless" about putting a love one into independent/assistant/continuing care.... it's for their own health and well being if they cannot manage on their own. Sounds like your sister already has a lot on her plate with her busy family, plus working 3 jobs. And it wouldn't be fair for you to take on all the care. Remember, this is durable at the moment, but it will become worse later on to a point of being around the clock care.
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Freq flyer we hear you. Getting him to quit is the hard part. What should we say? You can't stay here if you smoke? Go back to your house at 5000 feet and go back on your oxygen( yep, that's an entirely other issue) and have no one to care for you at all and probably die because no ones looking out for you? Which is the condition he was found in 4 months ago, very sick, trash & old food piled everywhere, barely breathing, dehydrated and so thin. So I ask you, what can we do? He also refuses a nursing home and we are not heartless enough to force him.
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terrygma, cigarettes? Even if you can get him to smoke outside, the smoke smell will follow him into the house as it will be on his clothes, in his hair, on his hands, in his lungs, on the bedding, in his closet, etc. I would not allow that no matter how much I loved someone.

Second hand smoke can cause all different types of cancers in people who never smoked. It's not a wise thing to do with grandchildren around [no matter if they are now teens or young adults still at home].
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Also, we did have home health and he refused the aide that would do meals and bathing. I also had a lady who would shop for him and cook meals for a week and he fired her as well. Thus guys really got our number, doesn't he?
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Pamstegman and littletonway, I imagine my sister is depressed as she doesn't get a lot of help, however, she is always on the go and has 3 jobs, plus all the kids activities and she does a great job with her kids. As for the smoking, dad does smoke outside and has taken over my sister's beautiful back porch with the ashtray & his various items. I think many of you are right, its that the generation is used to being waited on and the comfort of the man comes before anyone else's needs. Still, he wants to live alone and then we're back to the downhill slide of not taking care of himself properly and then he'll get sick again. I know I'm off topic now, I apologize. I may have made it worse as I took care of him the first 3 months of this & I made breakfast & dinner, plus had individual snacks such as cut up watermelon prepared in disposable bowls so he could just grab one from the fridge & a dish of healthy snacks by his TV chair that I replenished daily. In the beginningof his illness, the goal was to get him to gain weight, so anything he asked for I made, just trying to get him well, but now its gotten out of hand as he won't do a thing for himself, which leads us to the original issue of not fixing himself a thing to eat.
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