Elderly parent


#1

I just visited my mother. She is 83, has serious problems with high blood pressure, scoliosis with arthritis, hearing aids, has had cataract surgery, she has no sense of smell or taste as a result of shingles, and has trouble motivating herself to eat. She told me this weekend that she has early Alzheimer’s, which is no surprise. I asked her this weekend, after much hesitation, about funeral plans.

She lives in elderly housing, and is still independent. My sister and her family live in the same town. My sister counts out the pills into a tray every week.

I’m needing some advice, and prayers on this.

She really hopes she will die before the mental deterioration gets to nursing-home stage. Next time I will take the initiative in conversation, because of the long gaps where she can’t think of anything to say.


#2

Praying as we have just spent the month on similar issues with MIL I sympathize.

While she is still able get her will, living trust if advisible, power of attorney, and health care power of attorney in place. Give her the chance to express all her wishes, fears, and have as much control as she can, while she still can. Do the research now on where she would be placed in each eventuality so you don't have to scramble to find facilities after a crisis.


#3

I wish I had some words of wisdom for you. All I can offer is my prayers. I’m glad your mother is being cared for and is safe. A lot of elderly people are all alone and if they get Alzheimer’s they are not safe. At 83 your mom must have lost a lot of loved ones. And her ailments are not going away. But if she is depressed, she can still be treated for that. She might not want to be treated, but her mood can still improve with medication.

My stepmother is 90 and she was going downhill, not eating, sleeping a lot, very lackluster mood, etc. and she finally got onto antidepressants and she’s better. She still lives alone too.

Just a thought.

Prayers for you and for your mom.


#4

I asked her for a rosary, because I thought I didn't have one. She gave me one that was missing the crucifix and first Our Father, and told me it had been given her by a very devout family friend. "It has been blessed many times," she said, laughing. I had a rosary crucifix at home!

She doesn't get much satisfaction from reading anymore. Maybe my question will help.

We watched Funniest Home Videos marathon for several hours, but it got old.

She is really worried about $ for nursing home. I will have to call my sister, and see what she has to say.

She asked me if I wanted a canning jar, and I said yes, with a long (for her) story, and she put it aside, thinking I had said no.

Yeah, she is not as depressed as she was the last time. I think she has come to terms with the mental slide.

She does have a good relationship with her doctor.


#5

This sounds like my stepmom. She has never been a reader and now, she can't really write letters much either. TV is just about all the entertainment she has. Thank God she has a dear friend who comes and helps her and makes her leave the house, etc. I live in another state and cannot help her on a daily basis. Over the years she has stopped sending my sons birthday and Christmas cards, I think she just forgets. She also hopes she will die before she needs a nursing home. I can't bring her here because she's lived where she lives all her life.

It's a tough place to be. I'm glad your mom has a good relationship with her doctor. It's hard to see your mom decline mentally and physically..


#6

I can’t bring her here because she’s lived where she lives all her life.

Glad Mom moved north for late retirement early enough to get adjusted to a new environment before this stage.

If I get the book finished soon and have $ maybe moving down there it would be good. Sister is very busy. But I like this town. :o

It is only a two hour twenty minute drive.


#7

I recommend that you read “The 36 Hour day” by Nancy L. Mace and Peter V. Rabins. Both my mother (who is caring for my father with dementia) and a friend (whose mother had dementia) highly recommend this book.


#8

Good idea. Even if the local library doesn't have it, they should have other books on the subject. She gave me a book on one of the hobbies she gave up to donate to library. Will head over there.


#9

Hi Jerusha,

God bless you in this stage of your and your mother’s lives. I am dealing with the same thing with my father. We knew his memory was getting worse but he seemed to be doing so well that none of us, my eight siblings and I, got very involved in his care. He is 84 and retired, but my mom still works, so he was spending a lot of his afternoons alone. It finally became obvious that we needed to spend more time with him, and since I’m the most local of our family and do not have a daytime job, I’m the one who has been spending time with him.

I think you will realize, as I already am, what a blessing it is that you get to spend this time with your mother. She won’t be here all that much longer, and you will cherish these extra moments, even the ones where you couldn’t think of anything to say. I know, too, how hard it can be to find the time to be there for her. My parents used to see their friends trying to care for aging parents and would say, “Two parents can take care of nine children, but nine children can’t take care of two parents.” Strange how it works that way…

It is a good idea to go to the library to find advice on how best to help your mother. No one can advise you better than someone who’s already been there. In addition to the title already recommended (which I will also try to track down), I’d recommend “Embracing Dementia: A Call to Love”, available through Living His Life Abundantly, here:

womenofgrace.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=1063

God bless.


#10

I think that is because no matter how feeble or forgetful or even childlike they get, they are still our parents. Not only are they still adults (and most often still very much aware they are adults, which they have been since you were a twinkle in the eye, thank you very much), but there is also an amount of grieving to go through as you and your parents go through the process of their aging…and yours. At the same time, the old childhood heirarchies of siblings are revisited, only now everyone is an adult who has been in charge of his or her own family and life decisions. Parenting within a marriage and parent care within the commitee of a family are two very different ballgames!

The journey of childhood to maturation is a journey of growth and gains, a time of play and wonder and innocence. The journey from adult strength and into and through aging, OTOH, involves a great deal of loss, and a much more difficult process of maturation. The letting go is different, the change from one age or period of life to another is very different. There are a lot of differences like that.


#11

Thank you. I already told my children, and gave them tips on talking with her on the phone. No long statements, ask her questions that will get her talking, etc. Daughter had already noted that she seemed confused. Son immediately associated it with a neighbor of mine who has other problems as well. :eek:

There are many copies available second hand and inexpensive for others interested. $ are a problem for me.


#12

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.