How do you help an aging parent who insists they don't need or want your help?

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My father in law had a stroke recently. He has lost his short term memory. He doesn't remember to take his medications and apparently has had difficulty with that for some time. He is also diabetic and his daily nutrition needs are not being met. Unfortunately my mother in law is not much better off than he is. They are insisting they are fine and don't need any help from their children. We are trying to keep them stay in their home as long as possible and have tried to hire a care giver to stay with them during the day to fix meals and administer their medications. My father in law has become hostile and combative. What do we do?

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The driving thing is a tough issue. My experience with my dad: He has had a stroke so his memory is very poor also his concentration. He has been lucky for quite a while. First he totaled his car tailgating, the women stopped to turn left and he swerved into a telephone pole. Ironically his insurance paid him what he paid for the car plus good driver bonus. Ya, I laughter at that one, so much i called to ask. Didn't really get anywhere with that. Next accident was very minor but he was so medicated ( taking wrong medications), the officer wrote him up for medical public menice. Or something like that. And his license was suspended, so he had to pass a compatience test to get it reinstated. I set him up with a driving school to freshen up and get tested, but he kept driving and got caught driving while suspended. At this point I began to think he maybe shouldn't be driving after meeting with the officer and getting his side of the story. Dad got a court date, but in the mean time he got really sick and had congestive heart failure which put him in the hospital. I had to move in with him. I hired a lawyer told him the story and that I would be driving my dad and he would not be behind the wheel again. I also talked with his insurance company who explained that once his license was revoked the insurance and plate would be canceled. I explained that to my dad and he turned the cars over to me. It's hard but you really have to wait till thing go bad and hope they aren't catastrophic. Then you can try to help.
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Debralee, the law states that an individual can apply for a license to drive at 16 1/2, with a state certified drivers education course. At age 17, per law, they can obtain a license to drive a motor vehicle providing they pass the written, eye and drivers test. Unfortunately the law does not allow to retest anyone at any age unless they are deemed incompetent, as with dementia, or a doctor gives a medical reason for them not to drive. Do I agree? Absolutely not! But until the law is changed, there is nothing that can be done to keep older drivers off of the road. And yes, now in my state you can now apply online to renew your license. Frustrating? Of course it is, but until the law is changed, older drivers will still be able to legally drive.
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Age Discrimination? You can't get a drivers license until you reach a certain age! Are we discriminating now for those ages 0-16 (-/+)? Try going to the DMV with a five year old to get them a license and they will lock you up. Take a 95 year old and if they pass the eye test off they go with a renewed license even if the oldster has advanced stages of dementia. I live in a self reporting state where you can apply online. I wonder how many newly blind individuals are renewing their licenses online?
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Iwentanon...I spoke with the Motor Vehicle office of my state only yesterday. There is no requirement that anyone take a test to renew their drivers license. They call it age discrimination if they require an older driver to be retested. Unless the person is deemed incompetent or will agree to be retested there is nothing that can be done.

akdaughter, Living in an area where there is a large senior citizen population, I see this happen on a regular basis. Unfortunately in my state there is nothing that can be done to retest an older driver, or any driver for that fact. Once they've been the cause of an accident or they've received a citation for some reason, the police officer than state that they can't drive until they're retested, but only in those circumstances.
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Don't all drivers need to go every four years?
If not, shouldn't that be the requirement?
You do not have to say because you are old,
it should just because you are a driver...
failing to renew your license would be one way...
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Anyone who is still struggling with a parent who continues to drive when they shouldn't, needs to know about what happened in my town last week. An 88 year old women was backing out of a parking stall in a grocery store parking lot when she suddenly accelerated and ran over and killed a women walking behind her. It is speculated that she was backing out slowly, saw the other women and intended to brake, but pushed the gas instead. A similar thing happened to my grandfather when he was in his late 80's. He was backing down a sloped driveway, thinking he had his foot on the brake, but when he reached the bottom and pushed what he thought was the brake, he zoomed in reverse diagonally across the street. Fortunately, all he hit was a fire hydrant, which stopped his car. Of course this could happen to anyone at any age, but stiff joints, reduced sensitivity and slower reflexes (to move the foot when they realize what is happening), make it more likely in the elderly.
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It can be very difficult, especially if the parent is very hostile, and there are no others to help. My parent does not like my help or outside help - I have saved her life twice. Not much one can do but try to check in as often as possible and pray.
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At 53, I've had some health issues lately and am reaching out to friends for assistance. The last thing I want to do is worry my sons who are biochemists and live in Miami. So I think I understand your parents despite the short-term memory loss and other handicaps.

Their "fronting" is probably b/c they don't want to burden you and your siblings. But they might accept help from outsiders. I'd say help them indirectly, through elder care agencies.

If they still refuse, dog 'em. Tell them you're going to help whether they like it or not.
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I would love to know the answer to this one. I will be reading the replies carefully. Both of my parents are in different stages of Alzheimer's and they cannot accept they need help. They have recently allowed me and my husband to come in weekly to sort their meds, but other than that I am just getting push back. No other siblings will step up though they admit our parents need help, so I am on my own here. Right now I am helping when they let, but I know this will only last for so long before they have to move into assisted living if they don't let me in more...Very frustrating...
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Same rules here in AZ, unless a doctor reports, I think. We do have private agencies that will do testing, but even if doctor orders it, the cost is $500. I am considering for my Mom as neurologist suggested it. But as far as DMV....only when there is an accident or a citation. My dad had a little fender bender at a red light, and he came home from that one and simply said, " It's time for me to quit driving". He didn't ever drive again, but as his dementia progressed, he threatened to when angry......and now that he's in a facility, we listen to stories about how he was out all day driving here or there and doing this or that kind of work, or traveling cross country on a trip. It appears that driving was an important part of his life! He often believes he's staying in a nice hotel with good food, while he is traveling and wants to know how Mom found him there and then tells her SHE shouldn't be on the road driving like that....as he would be home exactly when he told her he would be!! Interesting stories.... If they aren't about him thinking he's still involved in the ARMY and WWII...then he's been out on the road doing something. I had to go to DMV, by the way, and have his licensed suspended in order to take his name off the car insurances. That lowered the rates for Mom, since it was Dad who had had several fender benders the last few years, and not her. It does bother me a lot that they do not require a driving test at a certain age, because fender benders are one thing, but what if they hit and kill a child or something?? It's not just THEM getting hurt that we all have to be worried about. My parents do have a very high liability on their vehicle...but that still doesn't make up for them hurting someone else.
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