Follow
Share

He collapsed in 2013 because of a combination of things that he didn't take care of over the years: a bleeding stomach ulcer, a gigantic hernia on one testicle, cellulitis on his right leg that was infected and caused him dementia that lead to his collapse, deteriorating knees from a soccer injury in the 80's that he never took care of that caused him to hunch over with an unsteady gait most of his life where he eventually had to walk with a cane, then two canes and then had to use a shopping cart to get around at the last job he had working at Home Depot in about 2010. A couple of years ago he had cataract surgery for one eye that ended up infected and destroying most of his sight in that eye. After his collapse, he spent about 3 months in the hospital and about 2 months at a rehabilitation faculty before coming back home. He's had two physical therapists come over the past year and uses a caretaker twice a week to take him to his appointments and local senior center. The goal was for him to heal and work on getting back to walking again. He wasn't permanently crippled.


It's now been about a year and a half since he's been back home yet he still uses the wheelchair to get around when he should be up and walking with his walker(s). He's pretty much healed up now, he keeps saying his knees hurt when he transitions from wheelchair to walker, but once he's up he's fine. He also complains about feeling dizzy and afraid of falling. My mother has to keep at him to make sure he does his daily routines, take his medication, remember dates/times of when he show be doing things because he either forgets or conveniently forgets to avoid stuff he doesn't wants to do. He doesn't have Alzheimer's. If he's talking about something he's passionate about, he can be super smart. Other times he behaves like a 9 year old trying to get out of things he doesn't want to do (playing dumb, treat my mother as if she was his overly stern mother). He complains about feeling decrepit, yet doesn't seem to have the motivation or willpower to work hard on getting better. Instead he seems happy as a clam to be in the wheelchair and just spend the day eating, pooping, watching TV, etc. If that's what he wants to do, that's fine except this has put an enormous strain on my mother who planned on my dad getting up and walking again by now. She's tired of doting on him, she's tried of keeping track of all of his daily rituals for him, she's tired of having to yell at him to "wake up" out of whatever delusional stupor he's in. He should for instance be up on the walker and able to get his own cereal, milk, bowl, utensils, etc. to make his own breakfast yet he won't. If my mother challenges him to make his own breakfast, he'll take the path of least resistance and just grab an apple and banana out of the bowl right in front of him. This was the problem to begin with, anytime he has/had health problems he would just lower the bar on his quality of life and adjust to living that way. His arms are atrophying and says it's hard to lift them up. He's gotten himself stuck on the toilet 3 times the past few weeks and I had to lift him off of it. My mother and I have had big blow out discussions with my dad every few months to bring him down to reality, and he says he's sorry and will improve for a couple of days and then go back to his old ways. If my mom doesn't say anything to him about having to do his walking exercise, my dad won't and will be in his wheelchair for 6 hours straight watching TV. Talking with friends and caretakers it's obvious we can't do anymore for him, he has to do for himself. And if this is the kind of life he wants to live, my mother and I discussed putting him in a home. Any advice or suggestions would be great. Hopefully I'm not coming off overly harsh, I was never close to my dad, the way I see it, he did all of this to himself and has plenty of time to be further along with his improvement. And his decision-making these days is hurting my mom.

A breakfast of fruit instead of cereal is not a big problem for your father. Missing lunch or dinner is likely to be more of an incentive, and going hungry for a day or two is not going to kill him either. At present he is getting everything he wants. Try no food unless he has done what he is supposed to do. ‘I’m working to keep the show on the road, why aren’t you? No passengers around here!’
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to MargaretMcKen
Report

The atrophying arms doesn’t sound good. His arms should be stronger now. When was he last assessed by OT?
Where does he go for appointments?Follow up with his doctors to get their weigh in on what’s going on.

Having said that, when a child or teenager wants to be uncooperative it’s recommended to take away the toys.
Mom has to take a different course of action. Action being the key word. Sounds like there has been quite a few conversations.
She could take away the remote and the phone until he gets his work done. Certainly don’t put things where all he has to do is reach for them. Anything.
Tougher step could be taking the wheelchair.
Mom could leave the house. Get a job. Volunteer. Go take a nap at your house. Catch a movie. Do anything but be at his beck and call.
Perhaps start with an hour a day and go to two and keep extending it.
If he gets stuck on the commode, I wouldn’t rush over.
You are right to put him on notice.
When your mom is all broken down from caring for him, you will be the heir apparent. You’ll feel bad for your mom because you’ll know what she’s been through but really the wake up call is for you and her too.
It’s the domino affect. What he decides to do or not do is on all of you, not just him. It’s cumulative.
And yes, if he has a way to go to alternate housing then start talking about it WITH him. Don’t wait. Do have that conversation.
The way you describe it is that he is too comfortable with the status quo.
I hope you are able to get him moving. No. I hope he is able to get himself moving and you make it plain to mom and dad that you aren’t an alternative to him doing his therapy.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to 97yroldmom
Report

_
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to FrostGiant
Report

Dad needs a come to Jesus talk.

I mean that in the kindest way.

He IS capable of doing his ADLS, but he won't. He wants to sit and let mom ruin her life for him.

Nope, not gonna fly.

I've had far too many tough speeches with my hubby as he has fought bouts with bad health over the years. Given a choice at all, he'd stay in bed and never get up again. Just him, room service (me) and FoxNews 24/7.

I have had to sit him up, lay down the law: You get UP, sit UP and stay UP. I refused to bring him meals in bed. Ever. I refuse to listen to his whining and complaining of all the weird little aches and pains and miseries.

I also offered to leave him, so ONE of us could have a life. I also proposed he move into a NH, They'll feed him and let him lie in bed all day if he wants.

Point is: you have to get really, unpleasantly TOUGH with this kind of patient. Seems like they are most generally men. Mine just gives up and sleeps endlessly when he's going through health stuff. And he has, gone through a LOT---but the expectations that I will be HAPPY to give up my life for him is wrong, wrong, wrong.

Your dad needs this tough talk, and be ready for the anger he'll spew forth once you call him on his behavior.

If he is content to live the life of a young invalid--you need to decide if you want him to stay at home, maybe pay aides and simply refuse to fuss him, or move him to a NH, which, I guarantee he'll hate.

Perhaps he simply needs an antidepressant. DH does much better on one, and sadly has to go off them b/c they are counter indicated in heart patients. I could weep--he has done so much better on the right AD.

Your mom should not lose her life in the servitude to your father. I have given my DH YEARS and years of care. And what has he offered in return? He tossed me a warm diet Coke across the room as he left for a 10 day trip after I had back surgery. SMH.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Midkid58
Report

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter