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This room is for general discussion that doesn't specifically fit into one of the other CatholicMatch rooms. Topics should not be overly serious as this is to be more of a "cafe setting."

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I'm guessing quite a few of us are dealing with this now. My sister said they had a sit down with her mother-in-law who still lives in an old house but wasn't taking care of herself. She was in the hospital again due to dehydration. They told her the house was too much for her (she was trying to avoid taking the stairs to get to the bathroom) so she wasn't drinking enough! They are trying to convince her to take an apartment on the same block where one of her daughters lives. Her adult kids due check on her and help her as much as possible.


My dad is also living in an old house and doesn't want to change/repair anything. We've offered. He's slowing down also but is very stubborn.


Also, we are noticing how some siblings are quick to help while others aren't so eager... irked (In my own family, the daughers are stepping up while the brothers need to be pushed or told to step in)....


Any thoughts?



03/18/2013 new

(Quote) Julie-42315 said: I'm guessing quite a few of us are dealing with this now. My sister said they had a sit down w...
(Quote) Julie-42315 said:

I'm guessing quite a few of us are dealing with this now. My sister said they had a sit down with her mother-in-law who still lives in an old house but wasn't taking care of herself. She was in the hospital again due to dehydration. They told her the house was too much for her (she was trying to avoid taking the stairs to get to the bathroom) so she wasn't drinking enough! They are trying to convince her to take an apartment on the same block where one of her daughters lives. Her adult kids due check on her and help her as much as possible.


My dad is also living in an old house and doesn't want to change/repair anything. We've offered. He's slowing down also but is very stubborn.


Also, we are noticing how some siblings are quick to help while others aren't so eager... (In my own family, the daughers are stepping up while the brothers need to be pushed or told to step in)....


Any thoughts?



--hide--
Some solutions depend upon the economic picture. If the elderly parents won't move, a possible solution is to hire a caregiver. Many options are available with that approach -- including working with a service that provides home care, or having relatives spend as much time as possible with them. It would be simpler in the case of your sister's mother-in-law to enter an assisted living facility (or a seniors' complex that offers different levels of care depending upon an individual's needs). Also with her, is there a possibility of doing some renovating to install a bathroom on the main floor? If the men in the family are handy, the cost would be reduced considerably. Dehydration can lead to serious complications, including kidney failure. Past a certain point, it's hard to reverse. An idea that usually isn't too well received is to have another elderly relative move in -- one who is still functioning well.

Or, is any relative able and willing to have her live with them? It's apparent she needs some help, but from what you mentioned, the main risk is due to the bathroom being located on the 2d floorand she is having some difficulty navigating the stairs. Is it possible to have a chairlift installed? That involves the stairway design and a cost factor. Portable commode for her? Obviously someone would need to clean it regularly.

Many people are obstinate when it comes to leaving their homes, and you can hardly blame them. They've probably lived there for years, and the home is like an old friend to them, offering familiarity and comfort. But....when health risks are involved, some steps must be taken.

Your own father? Sounds as if he's doing ok healthwise. Maybe it's best that he just be left alone for the time being. As long as his place is sanitary and he is capable of functioning on his own and meeting his necessities, there is no need to disturb the balance in his life at the present time. Obviously, he should be visited whenever possible to watch for deteriorating conditions that suggest he cannot care for himself any longer.

These are just a few off-the-cuff ideas for starters. Some main themes have been presented; variations are possible depending upon individual needs and circumstances.

What's ironic is that as much as people don't want to leave their happy homes, many of them thrive in a senior's setting. There is the social aspect added to it and that perks up many of our seniors. Some places allow potential residents to spend a few days in a complex so they can get a taste of the lifestyle such arrangements present.

If a relative cannot keep in daily contact with your sister's mother-in-law, is there an organization nearby that offers daily phone call service to check on her well-being? Also, some volunteer organizations have members who do home visits, handle some shopping errands, and transport the person to and from doctors' appointments. These organizations are good places to have available community resources brought forth.

Sometimes getting old just isn't any fun, but life can be made easier.

03/18/2013 new

(Quote) Ray-566531 said: Some solutions depend upon the economic picture. If the elderly parents won't move, a possible ...
(Quote) Ray-566531 said:

Some solutions depend upon the economic picture. If the elderly parents won't move, a possible solution is to hire a caregiver. Many options are available with that approach -- including working with a service that provides home care, or having relatives spend as much time as possible with them. It would be simpler in the case of your sister's mother-in-law to enter an assisted living facility (or a seniors' complex that offers different levels of care depending upon an individual's needs). Also with her, is there a possibility of doing some renovating to install a bathroom on the main floor? If the men in the family are handy, the cost would be reduced considerably. Dehydration can lead to serious complications, including kidney failure. Past a certain point, it's hard to reverse. An idea that usually isn't too well received is to have another elderly relative move in -- one who is still functioning well.

Or, is any relative able and willing to have her live with them? It's apparent she needs some help, but from what you mentioned, the main risk is due to the bathroom being located on the 2d floorand she is having some difficulty navigating the stairs. Is it possible to have a chairlift installed? That involves the stairway design and a cost factor. Portable commode for her? Obviously someone would need to clean it regularly.

Many people are obstinate when it comes to leaving their homes, and you can hardly blame them. They've probably lived there for years, and the home is like an old friend to them, offering familiarity and comfort. But....when health risks are involved, some steps must be taken.

Your own father? Sounds as if he's doing ok healthwise. Maybe it's best that he just be left alone for the time being. As long as his place is sanitary and he is capable of functioning on his own and meeting his necessities, there is no need to disturb the balance in his life at the present time. Obviously, he should be visited whenever possible to watch for deteriorating conditions that suggest he cannot care for himself any longer.

These are just a few off-the-cuff ideas for starters. Some main themes have been presented; variations are possible depending upon individual needs and circumstances.

What's ironic is that as much as people don't want to leave their happy homes, many of them thrive in a senior's setting. There is the social aspect added to it and that perks up many of our seniors. Some places allow potential residents to spend a few days in a complex so they can get a taste of the lifestyle such arrangements present.

If a relative cannot keep in daily contact with your sister's mother-in-law, is there an organization nearby that offers daily phone call service to check on her well-being? Also, some volunteer organizations have members who do home visits, handle some shopping errands, and transport the person to and from doctors' appointments. These organizations are good places to have available community resources brought forth.

Sometimes getting old just isn't any fun, but life can be made easier.

--hide--


Excellent advice Ray! The points you brought up (chairlift), bathroom downstairs were presented to her - and she argued the cost! The family said they'd help out and they are sincere about that. My sister said many seniors don't want to make adjustments to help themselves - they'd rather put up with the "inconveniences" than deal with change. She was receiving "Meals On Wheels" and she likes that. "Meals On Wheels" is pretty great. They will call a relative if the senior does not answer the door - they do a little checking on the person also. If she is able to take the apartment on her daughter's block, that would be a help. Her daughter is only a few doors down and can check on her a lot. She is currently staying with her, but her apt is very small. (Then again, there are some landlords who are reluctant to rent to the elderly because they think they will be responsible for them!)


My father will fight change until the end. He keeps the inside of the house neat as a pin but the outside needs painting, repairs...We told him we'd hire a painter and/or replace the garage door (it NEEDS it), but he keeps resisting.....He also is not forthcoming with information concerning his doctor's appointments, health....Not easy..


I've only known of one senior citizen (my dad's cousin, ironically) who was honest and practical about her circumstances. She lived alone (never married) had fallen in the shower and broke her arm and realized it wasn't a good idea to continue living alone. She was a bishop's secretary for many years and the church found a nice Catholic home or assisted living place for her.

03/18/2013 new

I am going to put a different voice into this mix.

I think people do their best to "age in place," and can do so with some of the suggestions that Ray made here.

But I think our elders have a right to live and die as they choose. It is their life. Just because they are old does not mean they lose their privacy concerning their doctors' visits, etc. If they want to keep it all to themselves, that is their right, IMHO.

Also, it is their decision. Unless they are incompetent (and most are not, just old), in which case the adult child seeks to become the parent's guardian, all you can do is offer (and given how many states now have elder neglect statutes that can make the adult child responsible, I would document those offers, and document the parent's rejection of them), and let them do what they want.

My own mom still lives alone in her big house, and she has more and more "staff" as time goes on (the lawn guy, the snow removal guy, the gardening guy, the handiman guy, the car repair guy) but she has done just fine, and it is my hope she continues to do just fine. But ultimately, it is her call, about everything.

03/18/2013 new
I have a similar voice to Pat. After my divorce I moved back home, where I lived with my mother until she died. It worked out overall well for everyone. She also died with her faculties. However, I was also fortunate because if she needed something, or couldn't do something, she admitted it, which in part sounds like your mom, Pat. The issue arises when aging parents seem to be in denial to their own detriment, for which the children are called on in a "near crisis" stage. My mother also has a large group of women +\- 10 years who I still see. They are all independent, but slowly recognize their limitations. Sometimes it is better to address issues like a second bathroom or chair lifts long before they are needed. If changes are primarily cosmetic that they don't care about we have to respect their decisions. Don't compare siblings involvements, they are doing their best, and may not be letting on what crosses they need to carry, or their abilities. It is a challenge and one size does not fit all. Parents may also not like to seem like they are a burden on their children and if all the kids are not on the same page, perhaps saying NO is the best way for them to avoid unnecessary conflict. I'm lucky as my mother had talked to me about her wishes for probably 30 years. Of course the specifics changed during that time, and the conversations were generally not in response to a problem, by in passing comments or brief chats (I.e., when a friend died, got sick, etc.) as a result I'm also trying to take that approach with my kids, in very small doses. The serenity prayer helps too
03/18/2013 new

(Quote) Pat-5351 said: I am going to put a different voice into this mix. I think people do their best to "age i...
(Quote) Pat-5351 said:

I am going to put a different voice into this mix.

I think people do their best to "age in place," and can do so with some of the suggestions that Ray made here.

But I think our elders have a right to live and die as they choose. It is their life. Just because they are old does not mean they lose their privacy concerning their doctors' visits, etc. If they want to keep it all to themselves, that is their right, IMHO.

Also, it is their decision. Unless they are incompetent (and most are not, just old), in which case the adult child seeks to become the parent's guardian, all you can do is offer (and given how many states now have elder neglect statutes that can make the adult child responsible, I would document those offers, and document the parent's rejection of them), and let them do what they want.

My own mom still lives alone in her big house, and she has more and more "staff" as time goes on (the lawn guy, the snow removal guy, the gardening guy, the handiman guy, the car repair guy) but she has done just fine, and it is my hope she continues to do just fine. But ultimately, it is her call, about everything.

--hide--
I'm in favor of having our seniors staying in their homes as long as possible, thus the suggestions about ways to do it. Unfortunately there comes a time when everyone but themselves realizes they can no longer SAFELY function. As examples, there have been Alzheimer's afflicted people who "forgot" they left something cooking on the stove and have had fires of varying seriousness. That's endangering their safety as well as their neighbors if they are on older-style city lots with only a few feet separating houses.

Their level of competence is arguable, and often they are in some form of denial. While they can't be forced literally, every reasonable effort should be made to help provide a safe environment, whether it be at home or elsewhere. When their health and safety are clearly at risk, the efforts must be strong and blunt. In the case of Julie's sister's mother-in-law, her dehydration was a matter of great concern. Caught early enough, there probably won't be permanent damage, but allowed to progress, the condition causes great discomfort and pain, and can lead to a premature death. Surviving relatives can experience guilty feelings about having this happen, even if they tried their best.

As far as assisted living facilities versus staying at home, there are valid arguments both ways. Too often though, I've seen people staying in their homes long after they couldn't take care of it or themselves properly who, after moving to an assisted living facility, try to figure out why they didn't do it much sooner. There are other seniors close by, providing a welcoming social atmosphere which has lifted many out of depression. I've also seen the results of what happens when people stay in their homes too long. It's actually a slow, agonizing form of suicide.

It's a difficult call, to be sure. No argument about that and I sympathize with anyone who is in either situation. Each case has to be evaluated on its own merits and decisions be prayerfully made.

03/18/2013 new

Someone with Altzheimers is probably not competent any longer and needs a guardian who then can make those decisions for them.

03/18/2013 new

(Quote) Ray-566531 said: I'm in favor of having our seniors staying in their homes as long as possible, thus the suggest...
(Quote) Ray-566531 said:

I'm in favor of having our seniors staying in their homes as long as possible, thus the suggestions about ways to do it. Unfortunately there comes a time when everyone but themselves realizes they can no longer SAFELY function. As examples, there have been Alzheimer's afflicted people who "forgot" they left something cooking on the stove and have had fires of varying seriousness. That's endangering their safety as well as their neighbors if they are on older-style city lots with only a few feet separating houses.

Their level of competence is arguable, and often they are in some form of denial. While they can't be forced literally, every reasonable effort should be made to help provide a safe environment, whether it be at home or elsewhere. When their health and safety are clearly at risk, the efforts must be strong and blunt. In the case of Julie's sister's mother-in-law, her dehydration was a matter of great concern. Caught early enough, there probably won't be permanent damage, but allowed to progress, the condition causes great discomfort and pain, and can lead to a premature death. Surviving relatives can experience guilty feelings about having this happen, even if they tried their best.

As far as assisted living facilities versus staying at home, there are valid arguments both ways. Too often though, I've seen people staying in their homes long after they couldn't take care of it or themselves properly who, after moving to an assisted living facility, try to figure out why they didn't do it much sooner. There are other seniors close by, providing a welcoming social atmosphere which has lifted many out of depression. I've also seen the results of what happens when people stay in their homes too long. It's actually a slow, agonizing form of suicide.

It's a difficult call, to be sure. No argument about that and I sympathize with anyone who is in either situation. Each case has to be evaluated on its own merits and decisions be prayerfully made.

--hide--


I agree 100%. Some older parents are lucky in having adult children that visit, show concern and offer help. I understand the privacy argument, but it can become a burden when they don't tell you what's going on with them...

I know a friend who served as a dog walker for an elderly couple. When she went over one day, the man was lying at the foot of the stairs. He had fallen and had been lying there for quite a while. She got in touch with one adult daughter who lived 2 blocks away and told her what happened and also mentioned that they didn't seem to be doing too well by themselves. This friend said the couple seemed lonely and liked talking to her whenever she would stop by to walk the dog. Her adult daughter didn't show much concern. Shame. And there are adult children who are in a position to help out, they just don't or feel someone else will.


Letting your house go to pot at any age isn't always fair to the neighbors and may not be the safest way to go. I'm not talking about major overhauls, but some minor upkeep/repair is a good idea.



03/18/2013 new

(Quote) Ray-566531 said:... In the case of Julie's sister's mother-in-law, her dehydration was a matter of great concern. ....
(Quote) Ray-566531 said:... In the case of Julie's sister's mother-in-law, her dehydration was a matter of great concern. ...
--hide--
I don't have any direct experience with this (having lost my parents before any similar situations could arise), but it seems to me that anyone who avoids drinking water to the point of dehydration in order to avoid using the stairs isn't thinking clearly and needs more help than a stair lifter. rose

03/18/2013 new

(Quote) Marge-938695 said: I don't have any direct experience with this (having lost my parents before any similar situa...
(Quote) Marge-938695 said:

I don't have any direct experience with this (having lost my parents before any similar situations could arise), but it seems to me that anyone who avoids drinking water to the point of dehydration in order to avoid using the stairs isn't thinking clearly and needs more help than a stair lifter.

--hide--
That was my initial impression, too, Marge, but somehow there's some logic in this woman's thinking, even if it is distorted. If it's only the stair situation that's a problem she's probably ok. Borderline case? In any event, she needs to have someone keep an eye on her for her own well being.

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