My stepmother refuses to get help for my elderly father. What can I do? - AgingCare.com

My stepmother refuses to get help for my elderly father. What can I do?

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He is 87, blind and has Parkinson's disease. Falls are becoming frequent.

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What specific help to you want your SM to bring in? It sounds like falls are your particular concern right now. I wonder if Dad's doctor would order a visit from an Occupational Therapist to make suggestions on minimizing falls. Would SM be agreeable to that, do you think? (The OT who came to our house even made suggestions about the kind of shoes my husband should wear. And where to place grab rails, and some furniture-placement suggestions.)

How long has Dad been blind? If this is a long-standing condition then I assume both your Dad and his wife are used to dealing with it. Do you think there is some particular help they need at this time?

Parkinson's is a progressive condition, so most likely the symptoms (including falls) are worse now than they've been in the past. Do you know if the changes have been discussed with his Parkinson's specialist? Is dad showing any signs of dementia? (50 to 80% of those with PD do develop dementia, typically after 10 years or so.)

As the adult child, you don't have a lot of control over the help Dad gets, especially since he has a living wife. Your best bet is persuasion. How well do you get along with his wife, in general? How long have they been married? Suggestions for a specific kind of help, and no hint at all the she is not capable of meeting his needs, might be most effective. If you've never gotten along well with her, perhaps enlisting someone else to be persuasive would work better. Do they have a religious leader? Does Dad have a sibling who might chat with her?

A needs assessment, perhaps from the Area Agency on Aging (names differ by state) might be a good starting point. Do you think SM would be open to that?

"Stepmom, I am so grateful you are able to take such good care of Dad. Thank you! I know you've been doing this a long time, and I think you are entitled to a small retirement from household tasks, to give you more time to focus on Dad. Have you considered hiring someone to clean house and do laundry? I know you can do those things yourself, but don't you think you deserve a little bit of a break? I could help you locate someone, if you like."

"Stepmom, I've just talked to someone who had an occupational therapist out to make suggestions about things that might help reduce the number of falls her husband has. She was very impressed with the experience. Do you think that might be worth trying? It is just a one-time visit, and Dad's doctor could order it."
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Nettie, my Mom was the same way when my Dad had a heart attack. Mom felt it was her "job" to take care of my Dad, and help him with his exercises. My parents were in their 90's, and both were of clear mind so I couldn't over ride Mom's decision. Thus it was a real slow recovery for my Dad.... [sigh].

Nettie, who is picking up your Dad when he falls? Can your step-mother do that? Or does she call you or a neighbor to help. My sig other finally had to tell my parents that he could no longer pick up my Dad as it was really hurting his back. It was like picking up a 150 weight at the gym.
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