New to caregiving and need some advice of where to start?


My parents live in Arkansas. I live with my wife in Washington State. The primary physician for my parents has recommended that they move closer to me since they have no family in Arkansas to help take care of them. I have one brother that is overseas. I thought my wife and I had them convinced to move out to Washington. Plan was for me to go to Arkansas and help them go through things and pack up the house and get it ready to sell. I arrived yesterday, and now they are telling me they do not want to move and are not going to move. My mom has fallen 6 times since May 2014, and has broken her shoulder, repaired by surgery, and her hip and had it replaced. I don't know how I can help them if they stay in Arkansas, but i'm struggling with getting them to relocate to Washington so I can help. Dr wants them by family in the next 90 days, Dr wants them in assisted living and my dad, who is doing fine, is absolutely against that. He has stated if he moves, he is buying a house and he and my mom will move into the house. He's not going into any kind of retirement community from independent living, to assisted living or anything great. He has some kind of insurance that he has told me about dealing with aging care. With all of this, where do I start. Or do I pack up the truck and go back to washington?

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I tend to agree with kathyt1. If dad wants to care for your mom on his own, let him try. Don't beat yourself up over this decision. He is competent and can make his own decision. I'm going to say he has NO idea what he is getting into if your mom has dementia! My dad and I cared for my mom for over 8 years until she died this week of ALZ. She was 1 week shy of 92. Is he ready to fed her, wash her, dress her, change her diapers multiple times a day? Is he ready to handle sundowning when some dementia patients become mean, angry wander and can become physically abusive? This is not an easy disease and he may well change his mind when he comes up against the care-giving he will be required to do. At this point just step back and offer help when he finally realizes what this disease can do. My blessings to you, Lindaz
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Take a deep breath. Take another. Now, if your father is mentally competent, he makes the decisions. Best thing to do, back off, tell Dad I respect your judgement, and I am here if you change your mind. Free yourself of all stress, and worry, what happens , happens. It is out of your hands. Sometimes it takes a crisis for change to happen, or maybe your Dad is right, and the Dr is wrong. Either way you have no say.

I have come to trust my 93 year old Dad's wisdom. I hate to admit it, but he is right 95% of the time. every diseaster that I predicted never happened. Suggest rehab to get stronger, and stop the falls. The local Y has classes for seniors. Can you find someone you could pay to check in on them? Maybe skype everyday. It is a mess but your hands are tied. If you back off, Dad will come around. Welcome to the wonderful world of caregiving. google John Shore's "15 Ways to Stay Sane Caring For an Elderly Parent". It is the best advice I read.
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Since moving would mean your parents would have to start from scratch joining the church men's club, the Elks, the Moose Lodge, the DAV, etc. thus meet all new people and try to bond with them. That won't be easy. Thus I can fully understand your parents wanting to remain in their old home town. I would want to do the same thing.

My parents [mid-90's] refuse to move to a retirement village, and there is a fantastic one just 10 miles down the road from them. I can't throw them over my shoulder and carry them off to this place. They will take their last breath in their single family house, it's their choice, not mine. They will need to hire people to help them when the time comes that they can't help themselves.

Two weeks to downsize? My Dad daily goes through his 3-ring binder collections and file folders of clipped newspaper articles that he has saved over the past 70 years, and the *downsizing* has been going on for over 52 weeks, and he's not even half way through. So I wish you luck on your 2-week plan.

Also think about it this way, what if your parents didn't have any children. What would they be doing? Probably the same as they are doing now. It will take something medically serious [more so than a fall] for them to realize their home is too big for them, and that they need help. Let them then move at that time to assistant living in their old home town. There probably will be people they already know living there.
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Thanks for the help, I'll try to answer as many question as I can.

My wife and I visited from Washington in Nov 2014. We met with my parents doctors and they recommend them moving by 1 Mar 2015. Therefore plan was launched. Mom cannot fly anymore per dr orders which complicates the matter further do to so many falls, her lung strenght and other issue I really don't understand completely. Everything below was agreed upon by both my mom and dad in Nov.

I was going to drive down to arkansas and start he process of going through my parents stuff with them to downsize the amount of things they have. We would spend 2 weeks cleaning out closets, garage and other stuff.

After 2 weeks, I would drive them back to Washington to visit and stay with my wife and I for 2 to 3 weeks. In that time, we would visit, retirement communities, assisted living facilities and all the other options that we have in washington. Once we decide on direction, we would move forward with that plan.

I would then drive them back to Arkansas to help with the next stage. Packing, getting the house ready for sale, and then helping gett the house on the market and selling it. Once sold, we would know where they were going, and we would do the closing in time to get to washington and move them into their new place that they liked.

All was a go, until I spent 3 days driving down. When I show up, the resistance kicked in. I backed down and have tried to talk to them a few times about the plan but dad is pretty stuck on he wants to stay here in the house and he can do this on his own. By the way, he fell last night walking the dog and his ankle is all swollen so his mobility is limited.

Mom has dementia and it's getting worse by the week. She has fallen 6 times since May 2014. Each fall has caused complications. Her hip has been replaced, she has had to have a pin put in her shoulder, she hit her head, she broke her hand. She has trouble remembering to eat, she can't really get dressed on her own and can't bath or wash on her own.

They have long term care insurance but won't let me review it for options. I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. I know they need to be closer, but they are really being stubborn.

As for social. They are social butterflies. Dad does not have golf, but he belongs to the church mens club, the elks, the moose lodge, the DAV and other orgs. Mom use to be that active as well. They know everyone in town. My concern is, the past 3 times I have been her to visit, none of these groups and great friends check in on my parents. They see them at functions and all that, but I don't feel they have support if something happens.
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Do you have a place picked out in Washington? Were you going to move Mom and Dad into your house while they selected a place. (NOT a good idea, in my opinion.) You have mom"s doctor on your side. Can you call upon him to reinforce the decision to move now?

What about inviting your parents to visit you and look for a residence near you? You can take them to visit assisted living facilities, retirement communities, senior apartments, etc. I really think you need to have a specific place in mind to move them into before you put the house up for sale.

Why does their physician think they need assisted living? What are their impairments? Do they have sufficient assets and income so that they could have some in-home help if they live independently?

What are their current social ties in Arkansas? Do they still have many friends there that they regularly socialize with? Does dad have golf buddies? Is Mom active in the church? Or are they pretty isolated where they are?

I don't think this is going to be as straight-forward as packing a truck.
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Find out if the insurance will cover Assisted Living. Keep them in AR where friends can visit them. You may have to pursue Guardian status to move them without their consent. That means getting an emergency court order in AR. Dad is not being rational.
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