My 89-year-old dad has been having frequent fainting or syncope due to end-stage heart disease (aorthic stenosis). In addition to this he has dementia in middle stage. Every time he has a blackout, he scares me to death. I feel like I'm not tolerating well the horror anymore. I feel that the emotional weight of these two diseases for me is too much. I think it's about time to take him to assisted living. We have lived together for almost three years and caring for him has become very draining. I´m an only child and my only support is my husband. At the same time I feel lots of guilt for being so cowardly. Please advice.

Paula, I am so sorry for your loss. May God bless you with grieving mercies and comfort during this difficult time.

Great big warm hug!
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Isthisrealyreal

Thank you for your advice and support. Unfortunately my father passed away yesterday morning due to a heart attack. Now I understand why I was so afraid. There were obvious signs that this event was approaching, so I took him to the hospital for an evaluation of his condition, but the hospital where he died couldn't help either. Many times we wonder if we could do things better, but sometimes there is nothing we can do to help someone, and it hurts.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Paula44

Paula; I don't think that you lack courage! My goodness, this is your dad and he is passing out with no warning! I would be terrified.

You don't have the training to give him the care he needs or to keep him safe. I would be speaking with his doctors about what the right level of facility care is for him right now; there are some AL's that have RNs on staff full time, I would think he needs that, if not skilled nursing.

Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn


This IS a frightening situation to be in, and I'm glad you have a supportive spouse.

While you are caring for dad, care for yourself. Talk to your PCP about a short term use of an anti anxiety med. Watching a LO pass away can be very discomforting and it sounds like you are not ready for what is coming.

Time to approach Hospice for care, they will take as much off of you as you need. And keep dad comfortable, which is really important. You want to give dad the love and support he needs, AND you need to stay as calm as you can. It's hard, I know.

I wish you peace in the next few weeks. Let dad know he's loved and care for him as best you can...but take care of you, first.

Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Midkid58

An Assisted Living may not be a good choice. Moms was small so only one head nurse who was only there during the day and on call at night. As they got more residents, an LPN was added for nighttime. So the people actually doing the care are CNAs not trained in the medical end of things. They may learn as they go on but their primary duties are bathing, toileting, making a bed. I think your Dad needs to be in Skilled Nursing.

You may want to consider Hospice in the home. There will be a nurse 3x or so a week and on call. An aide about 3x a week for bathing. He will receive Morphine for pain and breathing problems. May not be much but its someone you can talk to. Depends are free and his prescriptions. Medicare pays for his care and anything he needs, like oxygen.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to JoAnn29

Your father is 89. If he has severe aortic stenosis, then he has a condition that cannot be cured, along with an aging pump.
Paula, none of us can live forever. Does your father understand at all that he is now failing, and in the past did he make it clear to you the circumstances under which he would not want to go on?
You will have decisions coming soon, and quite honestly, at your Dad's age, they cannot be avoided. If you need professional help to walk you through the grieving you are already embarking on, do consider a licensed Social Worker who counsels on life passages. Your Dad is embarked on a passage now that cannot be avoided and that will come to us all.
If you feel able to go on, you having done this care for three years, it may be time to talk to doctors about palliative care or hospice care within the home to help you. If you cannot do that, it may already be late for your Dad to thrive in Assisted Living. He needs more than that now, or soon will.
I am so sorry. Your post shows that you are feeling a lot of denial in the face of age and disease. Do please seek help. Hugs out to you. No one goes here who loves without grief.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to AlvaDeer

Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter