Anyone have some tips for handling someone who most days just doesn't want to do anything?

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In February, I am going to assist my mother by relieving a bit of stress by helping her care for my father for a month. My father is on board with this. My mother, who just has a mastectomy, has had to put herself aside to care for my father. Without telling the entire history, his health recently took a turn for the worse after my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. He is healing from a recent surgery on his leg but also suffers from an inoperable hemorrhoid that not only causes him some pain but he lives in the bathroom for he feels the urge at all times. He has a walker for balance at this time which I think is due to over medication. He does not have Alzheimer's or dementia but is over medicated by the doctors so he is forgetful, sleeps all of the time, in the bathroom, or just watches TV. He has always had a little bit of depression but he was an avid tennis player so that has always been a stress reliever for him,

Shower, PT, walking more than down the driveway and blatantly has no regard for anyone's needs but his own. For example, he will say that he will agree to not eating in his room (he makes a mess if he does) and do his PT but lies. My mother is overworked from all of this so i am going to help.I want to be respectful to him but at the same time he has to start doing things on his own and not just having someone wait on him because he doesn't feel like it.

The ultimate goal would be to have him showering, get out of his bed/chair, out of the bathroom and picking up after himself and helping my mother who needs to heal. Oh and any ideas of convincing him that pain medication isn't always the answer would also be helpful.

Any ideas or experiences that you suggest would be most welcomed.

Thank you,

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HA! Will do and thank you!
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MEN! get him some man-cave time! Whatever his interests were, such as Golf, Fishing, Classic Cars, Boats, Baseball, Poker, Euchre-----make sure he gets a half day of that once a week.
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Thank you Susan and cwillie. All very valid points and I think it will be very telling when I am there 24/7 and I can see for myself if he is getting a bit of dementia. I think there is a bit of denial that he could be so I appreciate you bringing that up.

thanks again for helping me.
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I was going to say exactly what cwillie just said - dementia is a sneaky monster that creeps up gradually, and it's *very* easy for someone who isn't present 24/7 to miss the signs on occasional visits.

My mother (age 74) has early-to-mid-stage dementia, and can appear lively and talkative to anyone who visits. They think she's fine. What they don't see is that when they leave, she forgets to go to the bathroom and wets her chair and/or bed, forgets to use an incontinence pad, so I have to make trips to the bathroom with her to be sure she does things properly, forgets to wipe when she uses the bathroom (and flush), doesn't want to shower and refuses to do more than walk from her chair to her bed to the bathroom and back again. They don't see that she forgets how old she is (like she did today), forgets if she has eaten, forgets if she has taken her pills, etc.

just a thought.....
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Just a couple of points... You say he has not got any dementia, but are you sure? If you live in California you probably don't see him that often. And sometimes the anaesthesia for surgery can cause a little cognitive decline.
You also state that the doctor gives him meds he doesn't need. I have a sister that always asks "does she really need that?" every time my mom asks for something for pain. Uh, yeah, she does! I do think blannie's idea of checking out his drugs for interactions is an excellent idea though.
As for the hemorrhoids, pain pills are notoriously constipating. If he can cut down or eliminate them completely so much the better. Get him drinking more and include fiber in his diet. Polyethylene glycol (miralax) is a gentle stool softener, and the exercise will help as well.
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Thank you for the additional comments especially regarding the shower and meds. I was making that just something to maybe help him get motivated but I'll think of something else. All great advice!
Thank you!
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Personally, I think expecting an 83-year old man to shower daily is asking quite a bit (in thinking of my dad at that age). If I could get him to shower twice a week, I would have been happy, unless your dad is doing enough to really be sweating. Old people don't sweat as much as us youngsters. And their skin thins out and dries out too. So don't be surprised if he balks at that request.

The other thing I would do if I was you would be to get a complete list of your dad's medications to a pharmacist who specializes in geriatric pharmacy. Doctors usually are pretty uninformed about medication side effects and the interactions between multiple drugs, etc., particularly as they relate to geriatric patients. I have personal experience with that with my mom. You can do that without actually seeing the pharmacist. They will review the meds and look for interactions that might be affecting your dad's overall behavior and/or mood. Here's where you can find one of these folks (although this link isn't working right now for some reason): ascp/find-senior-care-pharmacist

It will be interesting to watch your mom's reaction to your dad. My mom needed to be needed, so just couldn't let him do for himself. So whatever strides I'd make with him, she'd immediately undo when it was just the two of them. So at that point, I realized it is what it is and that's their "script" and I wasn't going to be able to change it. After that, my life got much easier, LOL.
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Thank you to both Blannie and geewiz for replying and giving great advice.
Blannie, you have described my mother and father's relationship for sure! I have a great relationship with both of them. I live in Los Angeles and they live in Florida so I just recently visited and though my mother has said everything is "fine," it is not. They are both on board with me coming to help. I was going to put my father on a schedule like you are suggesting, geewiz, so I am glad I am on the right track. The issue is that my father will agree to doing whatever you ask but then never follow through. I don't want to treat him like a toddler but that is how he is acting. For instance, my mother will say that he can't bring food into his room and he will say ok and then he does it and will spill but not say anything but someone else is left to clean it up. One of biggest issues is the medication that the doctors just keep giving him. He is 83 (my mother is 78) so I think the doctors just give him a pill and send him on his way. I want to see if I can sit in on a doctor appt or two or at least ask the doctor what he is prescribing and why because I don't trust that my father is telling the truth when it comes to the medication. He recently asked for Xanax which he does not need and the doctor just gave it to him. My mother gives him the medication because he will just keep taking pills if he feels the slight pain so we at least have control over that.
We are going to sit down and set goals and have a discussion at the beginning of the month (February) so there is an agreement at least of intent. My mother also has to agree to not give in to him either. She is exhausted at this point and I think just doesn't want to deal with it so she just say "yes" to everything even though she sets rules of sorts. I am going to have him at least commit to a shower each day, doing his PT on the days the therapist is not there and doing one activity each day. I think a lot of the time he just sleeps and eats is because he is bored and the dang medication. I am trying to get him to a therapist to help with his depression as well. He saw someone a few years ago and she was wonderful but then he stopped going. He recently went to a psychiatrist but that is so he can get medication. I am so worried that he is just being doped up by everyone because he is older and no one wants to deal with the root of things.
I can't thank you enough for your replies and I will keep you posted once I get there in February and geewiz, I am lining things up so I don't lost it! :-)
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A bit more info will help get better input, for example How old are your parents? Will you also be assisting your Mom? You may be shocked at how much will be involved with all of this! If resources permit, bring in additional help or you will lose it! (Cleaning help, an aide for one or both of them a few times a week, etc)

Have you been getting reports about his health second hand or have you been at the doctor's office? If second hand, try to schedule some appointments that you can hear yourself what Dad's limitations are and ask additional questions.

I'd suggest you consider establishing some type of routine -- Wake up, get washed, dressed and into the dining area to eat breakfast. Then some type of movement --- chair exercises (there are DVD/Tapes), walk to the mailbox, etc. Have him help with housework! He can fold laundry (towels,), sort socks, etc. He can sit and peel potatoes for dinner, he can make sandwiches for lunch sitting down. Continue to (calmly) reinforce how many things have to be done and Mom can't do it all!

Think about your folks. What will get him excited? Can you sing while you do cooking? Can he mix jello? Help address holiday cards? If not can he place stamps and address labels on the envelopes?

To accomplish the physical movement, bring in an at home physical and occupational therapist. They are amazing at working with folks, teaching them proper movements and cajoling them . Good luck and keep us posted.
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What is your relationship with your dad? For example, my mom totally waited on my dad hand and foot and that was their relationship for 60+ years. After his stroke, my mom still did way more for him than she should, which hindered his recovery. When my dad had to deal with me, he knew that I wouldn't put up with that crap, because I didn't need to feel needed like my mom. I asked my dad to do what I knew realistically he could handle. And most of the time, he'd do it. He had been a Chief Master Sergeant in the Air Force, so I'd tease him that I was the new Sergeant in town. He'd give me a smile, knowing that I knew his little tricks.

Do you have the kind of relationship where you can have a frank discussion with your dad about his overall health and your responsibility as a caregiver to help him stay healthy, which may involve asking him to do things he doesn't necessarily want to do? The pain medication is a more difficult thing to ask someone to do. Maybe if you can get him being more active, he won't need the pain meds as much.

I would also make agreements with my dad. He wanted wine after his stroke and I told him if he'd walk up and down the hallway where he lived 2X a day, I'd get him wine. He never did it, LOL, but he knew the deal. So maybe sit down and set expectations (mutual) with your dad for what he will agree to do while you're there helping out. And get your mom to buy in too. My mom would always try to get my dad off the hook, instead of understanding it was to his own benefit to stay active and push himself. But you can only do what you can do and their relationship and "dance" that they do is long-standing and you may not be able to change that much. But good luck and keep us posted on how things are going.
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