Aging Parents

#1
Interested in advice for dealing with aging parents. Dad is having problems with dementia/severe anxiety and I have concerns about safety. We have already called the dept of health and human services, social services with a local hospital, and the sheriff's office and keep getting told that no one will help until he hurts someone. We have also been told that we could go before a judge to get him commited but would likely lose. Last time he had his freakout it was at my house so I was able to get him in a care facility and I was able to see him every day and convince him to stay there. He got some rest and got his health problems that contribute to his anxiety under control (and took anxiety meds) and that helped immensely.

I'm interested in hearing other people's experiences to find out if there's something I haven't tried. I'm also searching and making phone calls but it's overwhelming.
 
#3
Problem is that he has enough control to seem mostly normal when he wants to. I can talk to him for 2 hours on the phone or visit and then an hour later my mom might call and he's screaming in the background or calling 911. I thought he was doing better after we got him help after the first time but apparently not.
 

va-native

Silver Member
#4
can you go with him to his next doctor visit and discuss competency? i would think the ultimate goal would be to have the different powers of attorney that are needed, durable, medical (not exactly sure but regular POA is not give same rights as medical, I believe). Also POAs are often written such that they only kick in when the individual has been declared incompetent. I will hunt around for some information for AD caretakers. My dad has AD (and other issues like TBI, hydrocephalus, pneumocephalus) but my mom is there and able to take care of him. I had found some information for her. Good luck and take care of yourself also. Support groups are a god-send.

basic legal/financial - http://www.alz.org/care/alzheimers-dementia-financial-legal-planning.asp
safety - http://www.alz.org/care/alzheimers-dementia-safety.asp
 
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#5
Thanks! A support group is an EXCELLENT idea and I will check into that immediately. Going with him to a doctor appointment is another excellent idea. Thanks again, that is very helpful.
 

mommyx2

Diamond Member
#6
Thanks! A support group is an EXCELLENT idea and I will check into that immediately. Going with him to a doctor appointment is another excellent idea. Thanks again, that is very helpful.
Just know due to HIPPA, if your dad doesn't want you there or give permission, the Dr. will not talk to you or with you in the room.

If you do know the Dr. you can always let them know of your concerns ahead of time and they can be on the look out or ask questions but will not talk directly to you if your dad doesn't agree.

(Person experience in the last year with aging grandparent)
 
#7
I was wondering about HIPPA but thought it might be worth a try to ask my dad since he's going to a doctor in Plano. I am pretty sure he will say no but I'll ask anyway and see what happens. :)
 
#8
Help Out there

Dear AG,
There is help out there; but, it's difficult to find. Your not alone. I'm a Patient Advocate, I run a business, to help people in the same situation. Call me and I can explain, what we do and how we can help you, return to a normal life.
Paula
 

IBM5081

Platinum Member
#9
Send me a private message if you want more details. Here's the short version.
2008 - my brother and I spoke with our Dad (who did not want to pay his bills because he thought he had no money) and worked with him, kept him informed, answered any questions. He still had his checkbook and could do what he wanted. We obtained his consent to have authority to change bill-paying arrangements to auto-pay and online banking.
2009 - we were told that occasionally Dad would exhibit unusual behavior, but we realized that we would not be successful in having him declared incompetent. He passed away that year. Our Mother was a different story.
2011 - having caregivers in the house with Mom did not work because they reported to her. Medications management was ineffective because she did not have to comply with their requests. We relocated her to Plano to a very nice assisted-living facility. That fixed the nutrition and meds-management but all she wanted to do was sit in her room.
2012 - after the death of several of Mom's life-long friends, she became extremely anxious, requiring medication. She was no longer able to care for herself and the facility, fearing liability of a fall, required that we have someone with her all the time. Due to the anxiety meds, she was just 'there' physically. She passed away in her sleep.
It's a tough road ahead. Doing the necessary is what it's all about, though success is sometimes elusive and respite for you is essential periodically.
 
#10
Thanks for sharing. My dad started getting a lot worse after general anesthesia/surgery and we were told that it was probably the anesthesia (just a warning for anyone with an elderly parent considering surgery). It also doesn't help that he has a medical condition that makes it difficult to get enough sleep. I'm worried about my mom because we have observed that she provokes him and we have reason to believe he has been abusive and has made threats...which is completely out of character for my dad. He has been a different person since the surgery. I can tell he is really trying hard to control his anxiety even though he refuses to take anxiety medication but when his health gets bad I guess it's just too much for him and he snaps.

When I called the mental crisis hotline and got them to talk to my mother she lied to them and then she changed her mind about various other things that we had planned to do to help with the situation. I'm going to follow up on the support group and idea to go with my dad to a doctor appointment. I guess we can't do much else if my mom won't back us up.
 
#11
this all sounds somewhat familiar to me...

rayearth,
a lot of what you've described sounds similar the situation we're going through as well. I'll try to be brief.
Parents divorced many many years ago and both remarried. My dad and his wife are very active and fit and are retired/play golf at least 5-6 days/wk. About a year ago he underwent a dental procedure where there was some sort of issue (not sure if it was anesthesia or what), but he's been battling anxiety issues ever since. He says its Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but not sure if that is a self-diagnoses. He also refuses to take medications to regulate it until he gets so bad he has no choice. Basically, he can go from seeming pretty even keeled to basket case in a matter of minutes. I'm almost 100% sure he has some sort of ADHD as well, but it's been left undiagnosed or treated as well.
At the same time, our Mom (who lost her spouse several yrs ago) is having a whole other set of issues. She's battled depression and alcohol addiction for as long as I can remember, but it's only gotten a million times worse. We have a lot of the same issues you describe with her manipulating situations with doctors and counselors to make it seem like everything is fine, but then she won't leave her house for days on end and spends most nights drinking herself into oblivion. At one point a few years ago she told me that she was worried she may have early onset of dementia and wanted me to go to her Dr. with her. Once there, I could tell she was immediately switching into manipulation-mode, so I explained the situation to the dr. When we left the first thing she said to me was "Thanks for making me look like a crazy person." Mind you I took vacation time from work to go with her to accomplish ZERO. Recently we had one evening where she called and was saying things that made absolutely no sense whatsoever. Not slurring, but articulated words that didn't belong together in a sentence. That really freaked me out.

We've tried counseling (family and individual), AA classes, I've researched singles groups to get her out of the house, volunteer opportunities, and most recently grief recovery programs, but she's clearly NOT interested in getting better. Like the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. It's all very puzzling and frightening to think of what the years ahead of us will hold.
I know this doesn't necessarily help your situation much, but just knowing you're not alone in dealing with this sort of thing may help a little? Feel free to PM me
 

LuvLife

Bronze Member
#12
I'm so sorry you're going through this. I lost my mom in November after a trying 4 years following back surgery. I absolutely agree with the idea that anesthesia and the elderly can be toxic. My mom was 86 when she had the surgery, and when she woke up after the surgery she went nuts. Then she had several other issues following the surgery. While in rehab she developed a serious intestinal infection which she almost died from. Finally after about 6 months she started getting better, but was never the same. She was wheel chair bound, and developed dementia, and several other problems. She was in a nursing home for a year, then improved enough to move to assisted living. That was the hardest time of my life, and I highly recommend a support group. The dementia is the worst part, and it takes a lot of educating yourself to know how to cope with and respond to the illness. Looking back, I made so many mistakes, but got better at it at the end. I wish you all the best, and remember to be good to yourself too.
 
#13
Ahhh, going through a lot of this with my own parents right now. Not an easy situation to say the least. Does your Dad have long-term care insurance? Luckily mine does and it has paid $100 a day for care for him (dementia/anxiety). Your mom most likely feels loyal to your dad and thinks she is protecting him somehow.
Do they own their home?
Do they have any money to move into an assisted living facility? There are some really good ones around.
We somehow convinced my dad to move into Sunrise Senior Living in Plano last August. They're in independent living but have a caretaker come in every day. The nice thing is that if things get worse, they have assisted living at the other end of the facility and a Memory Care unit above the Assisted Living so if they need to move to more care, they don't have to move to another facility.
It's a long tough road and your Dad knows he's losing control of his memory so he's trying to control anything else he thinks he can (at least that's what I've been told about dementia and have seen with my dad)
If he gets violent it really has little to do with how he has acted in the past. If he loses that much control once he will again so you will need to make immediate changes if this happens. None of this is his fault, it's just an awful condition and hard for everyone involved. I know there is a topical gel that has been used on some patients, but a doctor won't recommend it unless things get really bad?but it might be worth talking to his doctor about if he gets violent.
Take it a day at a time and get help wherever you can?support group sounds like a good thing, maybe you can find one for your mom also.
Good luck and PM me if you have anything you need to talk about.
God Bless
 

whatsthat

Diamond Member
#15
Man....the hardest thing I ever had to do was care for mine...who was very uncooperative.

Mine would get up and drive in the middle of the night...get lost...and I would get a call in the middle of the night from LE in a town 150 miles away.

POA....medical POA will help.

Adult Protective Services might help. They would visit mine frequently.

Sorry you are going through this. Its a real tough time.
 

debw712

Diamond Member
#16
Im so sorry you are dealing with all this.

My dad, bless him, named me his medical POA and ultimate POA while he was still healthy of mind and body. Now that he is sick, not mentally but physically, I know when the time comes, there is one less part of this mess to worry out.

It is so hard to switch from cared for to care giver in that sense, but it happens at some point.

I love support groups for things like this, they do help! Good luck!
 

C&R+2

Bronze Member
#17
Re: the anesthesia, my grandfather had open heart surgery and was nuts for weeks afterwards--no concept of time, rambling, getting agitated/anxious over nothing. We all thought it was the anesthesia but finally we got one doctor to look at all his medication--it was the blood pressure medication. The new doc took him off of everything else and lowered his BP med dosage and he was back to his old self. The doc said that's a common side effect, so I'd check his meds. Sneak into the bathroom and take a picture of the bottles if you have to. For my grandfather, the surgeon had rx'd this, the old doc had rx'd that, he was on all kinds of contraindicated meds because no one had sat down and looked at exactly what he was taking.

Re: the doctors and getting info/around HIPPA, I offer to drive. Then I bring a notebook and offer to go in with them and take notes, and then I ask easy questions like--"So she takes it twice a day..." The docs then assume I'm ok to give info to and I'm able to get the info I need, or at least I have been so far. I think these days you almost have to have a person taking notes when you go to the doctor. They're in such a rush and they rx one thing and then never see you again and have no idea of history or what happens in the future. My parents are happy to have me sit there and keep a record of what's being said, who wouldn't?

Finally, for those w/ parents feeling isolated, the Frisco Senior Center on Main is wonderful. It's a nice, new facility with great programs. The seniors I've seen there are very active, healthy, etc and just looking for something to do, it's really a great thing for the city IMO, definitely check it out.
 
#18
Thanks for sharing. My dad started getting a lot worse after general anesthesia/surgery and we were told that it was probably the anesthesia (just a warning for anyone with an elderly parent considering surgery). It also doesn't help that he has a medical condition that makes it difficult to get enough sleep. I'm worried about my mom because we have observed that she provokes him and we have reason to believe he has been abusive and has made threats...which is completely out of character for my dad. He has been a different person since the surgery. I can tell he is really trying hard to control his anxiety even though he refuses to take anxiety medication but when his health gets bad I guess it's just too much for him and he snaps.

When I called the mental crisis hotline and got them to talk to my mother she lied to them and then she changed her mind about various other things that we had planned to do to help with the situation. I'm going to follow up on the support group and idea to go with my dad to a doctor appointment. I guess we can't do much else if my mom won't back us up.
Perhaps the focus should be on your mother if she provokes him; is she provoking him into anxiety?
 
#19
I just saw this, thanks for all of the suggestions! I would definitely join a support group if anyone wants to form one! Yes, my mom provokes it, they both have some pretty severe problems but he is the one that becomes dangerous. We have discussed this with my mom but she is one of those people who can do no wrong. And anyway once she starts talking she cannot stop herself. We have told them both that one/both of them is welcome to move in with us. They actually live 4 hours away so the situation is very frustrating. We have begged them to move to a more central location that would only be a couple of hours away so we could visit them weekly. We have offered to let them move into our house, which is probably not a good idea since most of us have young children but we offered.

It's a mess, they are just so paranoid and crazy...but the good news is that my dad was finally kept by a hospital long enough to get some sleep so when he was more rational he was convinced to take his medication and get some therapy. So maybe we once again managed to avoid a tragedy. Being a member of the sandwich generation is definitely challenging, especially when the mind goes first. I think isolating themselves in the country and the anesthesia made things a lot worse. I like to dream about moving back to the country when (IF) I retire but I'm just not sure it's a good idea.
 
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