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My Dad is rapidly loosing his mental abilities and his physical health is deteriorating along with them. My sister is his medical proxy and she makes it very clear that she is the only one who should talk to the doctors so my brother and I are often left in the dark. Mom is no help because she pays little attention to Dads medical details. I'm doing my best to let that go and just take each day as it comes but Mom mentioned that Dad has water on the brain and last Sunday I was alarmed at how frail and out of it he was. My sister has not been forthcoming with information but we are trying to arrange a conference call to include my brother so I am hopeful that I will have a better understanding of Dads condition after that. I think my Dad probably does not have much time left and if that is the case I am thinking of suggesting a nursing home or possibly hospice if his prognosis is less than 6 months. I don't think Mom is able to care for him properly anymore. I know Mom is against any idea of Dad being taken out of the house and I suspect my sister feels the same although I don't know for sure. Hopefully we will cover that in the conference call. Meanwhile I am worried about how his care is being handled.

Mom is is primary caregiver. I try to get over there once a week to bring a hot meal and do small chores. I also call in every day. My brother stops in from work at least once a week and my sister is there more often, she works part time right now and has more free days than we do. Still Mom is alone with Dad most of the time and although she is doing her best there have been medication mix ups, a couple of falls...that sort of thing. My sister is the person they seem to trust the most right now because she is a nurse so it is her they listen to. The problem is I think she is in denial about how bad Dad is. She is actually taking both my parents to work at at their flea market booth every Sunday, leaving them there then picking them up at the end of the day. Dad is so weak he can barely stand and he is too confused to converse. I have so many reservations about this I can't even begin... My question is do I voice my concerns about Dad being home alone with Mom and being brought to the flea market or do I just keep it to myself. My sister does not handle being questioned well at all. Do I keep my mouth shut to keep the peace or say what I am thinking. Help!

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I was in your sisters position. I wish I was asked how I needed help rather then others just doing things they thought I needed. I was the one who was with my parents the most . Some of my family had no idea what a normal day was like.
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You really need to find out what your dads prognosis is. If it was me, I would definitely speak up, but you need some type of plan of action to back your concerns. Sometimes those closest do not see the decline. I would not go into this discussion with an accusatory attitude but one of more, what can we do to help. Let me add one more thing. If hospice is offered, take the services, they are wonderful. Good luck you are in a hard place right now. Remember to do not only what is best for your dad but to respect your moms wishes too.
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Your dad simply should not be at the flea market, and probably not mom either. They need help telling sister "no." If sister won't listen to them, or to you, I'm afraid you must do the only other option which is to call Adult Protection Services in your area. I know you catch more flies with honey but all the flies and the Bees too will.die if it's freezing. (Maybe that analogy doesn't work here....) (but anyhow your elderly parents are gonna freeze!).
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What if you stayed with mom and dad at their flea market booth? It's really more of a social thing for them than anything else. It lets them feel in control and useful. If you take that away, what would give them the same good feeling?
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When you say water on the brain, do you mean normal pressure hydrocephalus or NPH? Did they put a shunt in your dad's brain? That can make a huge difference and bring someone back from what appears to be the brink of death.

I have a neighbor who was very frail and had dementia-like symptoms. NPH was diagnosed, he got a shunt and now he's back to his old self. I don't mean to change the discussion, but NPH takes a skilled doctor to diagnose and treat. If you go to youtube, and search for "60 Minutes" and NPH, you'll see a segment they did on it.

And good luck with your sister - she sounds like a pill and hard to deal with.
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You need a heart to heart talk with sis. Don't know, but you may have to work on your relationship with sis before coming to any resolution about your folks. It must be approached with kid gloves. As they say, you'll catch more flies with honey....
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OK so hospice sounds like a good thing, if Dad qualifies. I will suggest it carefully.

Blainnie - I don't know what kind of "water on the brain" because Mom does not know and my sister has not communicated about that yet. I will hopefully learn more during our phone conference. I appreciate the info though. Thank you.

Just to clarify my sister is not the caregiver, my Mom is. My sister is health care proxy (not POA) and very involved with the doctors visits. She also has been driving my parents to the flea market and picking them up on Sundays. I don't think it's such a good idea but the more I mull it over it's not my decision so I will probably not mention that.
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Is the conference call just among siblings or will it include the doctor? I guess I would try to find out what "water on the brain" means to your sister the RN; as someone else posted, normal pressure hydrocephalus can be reversed.

I guess the approach I would take would be an "aw shucks, I'm the layman here Sis, this water on the brain thing, does that mean dad only has a couple of months left?" Or is there treatment for that?

If you're on a conference call with the doctor, I would say something like, Wow, considering that Dad is selling at the the flea market every sunday...
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Trying, glad you like my approach; just remember, that sometimes, people get the most defensive when they know the least. Not all RNs know everything. Hydrocephalus means one thing in children; Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus means something entirely different in the elderly. Try to make sure that your sister knows the difference.
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Thanks Nojoy3 and everyone else who responded. We had the conference call last night and most of it focused on my sister and brother planning to file for guardianship of Dad. My sister did give limited info on Dads medical condition it appears he has Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus, dead brain tissue and brain atrophy supposedly caused by numerous small strokes. It's not alzheimer. I asked about treatment, a shunt in particular and my sister said the determination was it probably would not help but more testing needs to be done. I also asked about hospice and she said he has nothing terminal so he does not qualify but she said his time MIGHT be limited. No explanation beyond that. I don't know anything about qualifying for hospice except it needs to be a 6 month prognosis, at least that's what I heard.

It's hard for me to talk to Mom she evades so many things and tells me to ask my sister. I can talk to her about me speaking with the doctor but I'm not sure she can give me permission. It's worth a try though.
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