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elderly parent
September 8, 2000
9:46 am
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Cici
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I was visiting my parents yesterday and we ended up watching some videos from a family reunion from 5 years ago. I looked at my Dad in the video. He looked so vibrant, so involved and active and happy and alive.

Now (he's 71) he's mostly wheelchair bound, though he can shuffle around with a lot of difficulty. He can't hear well but refuses to wear a hearing aide. As a reslut, he has become quiet adn passive. He just sits in his wheelchair, staring off into space. He doesn't talk much any more and when he does it's always a soft mumble.

It just hurts to see him decay like this. He's a shell of the man he used to be. He's lost hope, I think. He's given up. Of course there's the depression that goes along with memory problems. He gets confused when I visit, he thinks I'm a teenager again and that I still live at home and asks me where I'm going when I get up to leave. It just breaks my heart. It's so hard. I wish I could make it better for him. I'm so scared, too.

I just wanted to know if any one else is dealing with an aging parent with dementia and how they're coping. I want to encourage him to socialize more, butit's hard because we all have to yell at him so he can hear.

September 8, 2000
6:14 pm
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Molly
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Been there and done that too. I will write more later, I must leave, important stuff, nail appointment. It is the hardest thing in the world besides watching a child go. Be patient, give love, and keep the conversations with him going I will share a beautiful story later. Love to you.

September 10, 2000
11:50 pm
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You can make it better by learning all you can, being understanding and loving and realizing that the road we all travel toward our inevitable demise may be quick and easy or slow and hard. think of the love you want to be surrounded with and surround your father with that love.

Kindness, treats that he likes, backrubs etc. whatever thrills him now...he may never be the father he was before but you can make his life now more of a joy too. And by giving to him in his declining years you are giving yourself memories that you can keep.

On good days get him to talk about his life and the good things. Write them down. then you will have them always.

Don't be afraid. Love him.

Good luck

September 11, 2000
12:40 pm
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Molly
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You just never know, my dad, and I was daddy's girl, had a heart attack, and because of oxygen deprivation was, like alhizimers. the light was on and no one home. he was in Casa Colina one of the best hospitals, he had been there for 30 days while they evaluated if they would be able to help or not. I had been there every day. He was like a vegetable, but I talked to him any how, made sure he ate, and tried to get him to respond, he mumbled, would bring up something from the past etc. I had stopped by before his supper, and made sure he was fed. he gave me a hard time, and I said that I would be back about 9, to tuck him in and make sure he finished at least dessert, I had a meeting to go to and since I was conducting it, could not be late. All this time, he never really recognized me, or called me by my name. he was going to be released to a board and care the next day, due to the fact that they had no hope, he hadn't gotten out of the bed in the 30 days. I was tired, I had thought about going home instead telling my self that he didn't know the difference, but I went instead. You can imagine how my heart stopped when I got to his room, and the bed was empty, it was about 9:20pm. I went to the nurses station, expecting the worst, and there was my dad in a wheel chair, with all the nurses laughing, and full of joy, as he looks up and says my name, where the hell have you been, you said you were going to be here at 9, and you know I have no tolorance for excuses for being late. The nurses were as shocked as I was, I said how did he get out of bed? he said the same way I always do when I have to get up, one foot in front of the other. Then he called me a crybaby, and gave me a hug. it was one of those miracle moments, I had quite a few of them over the next 6 months of his life. he was in and out of the present, and I learned stories that I never knew as his brain flipped flopped here and there. so, with the saddness, know that it is inevetable, and with the joy, celebrate like there is no tommorow, love him, and care for him, some how they know. It is a strangely wonderful opportunity to give something to your parents, and the return is a completeness, that not many children get to obtain with or from their parents.

September 12, 2000
6:08 pm
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janes
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Molly right on....just remember Cici that when we give...we just cannot be sure of what the response will be.

Love and enjoy your father...you may not get "paid back" until you have just the memory of beng there for him in his hour on need

September 13, 2000
10:25 am
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Cici
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It's weird. I knew him, and now it's like he's a different person. The rapid mood changes of a person suffering from age-related dementia is something you read about and try to prepare for but it's a shock when you're presented with it, you know?

September 13, 2000
12:41 pm
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Molly
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At first I was so angry with my mother, sis, and bro. They couldn't stand to see it. They never came to visit him. It was so bad that she would not allow him to come home even when he could, today I understand, but I still have a hard time. My ex mother in law kept her husband home as long as she could, it was very hard on her, but she had family support. The hard part is that they are aware, and it is humilitating for them, their dependency. they seem different, but you must look beyond the surface, work with the memories that they do have, bring up topics of joy, it is hard it is draining, and it is sad, but God never gives us more than we can handle!!!

September 26, 2000
12:22 pm
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lover2000
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Keep your head up. I understand what you're going through because I've watched family members go through this. What you must do is be strong for him. Just continue to shower him with love. It has been my experience that love overcomes much. I don't know what your belief is, and I'm not trying to spring my beliefs on you, but I am a strong believer in God. So, no matter what may come your way, just know that the battle is not yours, it's the Lord's. Therefore, all things happen according to his will. Don't be discouraged, joy is coming if you just hold on. Then once you've done all that you can for your father, you just stand and know that God is in the midst of your adversity. I'll continue to pray for you. God Bless

Lover2000

September 26, 2000
9:55 pm
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Molly
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You are a good person CiCi, do you know how many people just avoid the whole thing because it smells bad, or it makes them uncomfortable, being in school right now, this is going to be a signifigant issue in the comming years, my sis and I were talking about the "dis-ease" of becomming an orphan, dad left in 91, and mom in 98, I must admit we have in a way been fubared. I don't know if you know that one but how about fine, I never let my clients use that one, f=*up, insecure, neurotic, and emotional. Lost would be a good word too, any studies in school, the grief process of loosing the last parent, sorry, but maybe if you could sometimes look at this experience as clinical, not that I would encourage detachment, but a thought. The interactions with the family and dementia, it is so hard, my youngest helped with her fathers father, my oldest, couldn't handle it. I pray for them, the pain of loosing their grandma, will just kill them they are so close. They were to young to involve with my parents, and they had to many things going on to toss on them the emotional stuff of a board and care daily, but I am glad I did it, another one of lifes lessons. Bless you.

September 27, 2000
10:23 am
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Cici
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He's doing better lately. The doctors finally found out he has a genetic connective tissue disease and he's ona whole new round of meds. I've been spending every evening with him since I got back from upstate NY on Sunday. I met my fiance's grandfather, who had a stroke some years ago.

We were the for my fiance's Aunt's wedding. She got her Dad (the one with the stroke) up to dance with her. He swayed a little, off beat but really trying to dance, and everyone in the room was just weeping. It made me appreciate the lucidity my Dad still clings to.

Funny, though. I went in to be a sexual assault peer educator for my university's student infirmary. At the orientation we learned about the program, which is outreach based, but I just got so disgusted with the whole process. I suppose that's highly unenlightened of me. It's jst that we spend our time lecturing at fraternities and sororities and residence halls and although it's important to educate them, especially, I hate that they are so casual about rape. They laugh adn joke about it. It enragd me because this is a sensitive issue for me and I happen to think it's very important and I can't STAND when people make light of this issue.

So I left. I couldn't take it. I think it may be because ofmy own rapes that this issue is still sensitive for me. It's only been about 1.5 years since my date rape and I can't handle it. I was very disappointed in myself. So I volunteered at the Humane Society instead. Is that just me being cowardly? Am I avoiding facing my fears?

September 27, 2000
1:50 pm
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eve
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Cici,
I think that often when groups of young people make fun of something it is THEIR way of coping whith the fears and insecurities associated whith a topic. Sometimes I, too, get very upset whith this behaviour, and sometimes I'm strong enough to tolerate it. But I don't really know what to do about it.

I remember going to one of the Alien movies when I was younger - it was the first time that I went to watch this kind of movie. So ok, it had some shocking or disgusting parts in it, but what made this evening a really horrible experience for me was that every time when a gruesome death or something really painful or disgusting was displayed - the whole cinema, most of them teenagers burst out laughing. I was pretty shocked by this. But it's just a way of coping whith the fear. I think it's stupid and when it's used "against" a person it is mean, but it seems to help - it provides some distance and helps to avoid the internal confrontation whith one's fears.

Have you got any ideas about what would be a good way to react or respond - e.g. in your situation as a tutor or teacher? I'd like to solve this - it's a tough one. Take care, eve

September 27, 2000
5:57 pm
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Molly
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Eve, as a teacher or tutor, I would immediately utilize the situation and suggest that in some circumstances silence is a good or better response, as some people are sensitive, and would be offended by what others experience as humerous, with a straight face in the middle of a chuckel or is that le.It falls right in with political correctness, and sensitivity training.

Cici, its amazing what people are casual about until it happens to them, or some one that they care about. Even my girls, who live in an area where date rape is epidemic, or the mother in denial of their childs potential drug use, ha ha not my son, or daughter, its nervous insecurity I think I agree with Eve. Sad, but as far as redirecting your efforts, coward, or damage controll, gosh cut your self some slack, why would you toss your self in the fire if you know your going to get burned, these things take time to heal, and when the wound is constantly opened again, how ya gonna heal? Working with animals is the best medicine there is. Speaking of tossing your self into the fire, this is day three back at the clinic, and darn if burn out isn't the same as relapse, like where I was when I left. This social work thing is tuff, I think I'll go apply at a fast food restraunt and just worry about e coli, and make money. Isn't that sad? I got so angry today, this man came in to talk just before the clinic locks up for lunch, and every one must leave, and he was ready to go deep, and I had to say sorry, times up ding.Like just another number, and the worst thing is that he is private pay, so on top of all else, they don't want me to spend much time on him because there is no money in it. He is on 100mg of methadone daily, and using three times a day, and they wonder why we are loosing the drug war. Oh, well would you like cheese on that?

September 28, 2000
12:14 am
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eve eve, i like your nick! can i marry you? just kidding.. sorry!

September 28, 2000
3:10 am
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oops

September 28, 2000
10:20 am
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Cici
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beauracracy is a pain in the butt, Molly. I just had a long involved argument with my insurance company about federal regulations and covering pre-existing conditions. Luckily, I'm still covered under my parents until I'm married, but now I have no secondary insurance. ARGHARGHARGHARGH.

Yeah, I guess it's true. Don't re-open the wounds. Molly, you should take your own advice. social work is THE most difficult psychological field. You have to deal with society's cast-offs, the ones who've been neglected or have hurt themselves so intensely that they have nothing left.

I may have to apply for SSD now. I feel like such a chump. On top of my original disease, I have a genetic connective tissue disease now. Collagenic Collitus, deterioration of the collagen in the digestive tract.

Sickly. That's how I feel. Two classes are almost too much for me! HAH. My tummy hurts so much and no medication can cure it because it's progressive, genetic, debilitating. My Dad has it, too, that's how we knew I did becuase it's genetic.

Suddenly everything in my body is just collapsing from within. Do you ever feel like you want a new everything? I just keep praying to God and it relaly does give me alot of strength. I mean, if you love and worship God with devotion, you will be gifted with God's grace. I think that's what's helped me the most this last week.

September 28, 2000
3:32 pm
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eve
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guest_guest,
when I choose my nick I went for a short form of my first name. I didn't realize that it does come over as very female :-).

By the way, what are your criteria for wanting to marry someone? Female sounding first name and...? I don't think that you'd want to marry me. I tend to "bite off" any people who are being depressed at me. Apologies accepted 🙂

September 28, 2000
5:30 pm
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well first of all she must have a nice nick. hmm.. thats all that matters i guess. heh.

well. i dont know.. i have a BIG problem. i cant beleive in women. they seem too good to be true. they cant be!
i think due to my poor self image, and physical appearance too (i'm very skinny), i cant seem to find any reason why any girl would like me. so maybe i do the 'the grapes arent sweet anyways' thing. u heard the story when the fox looks at a tree, sees grapes there but cant reach them so he says to them well they werent sweet anyway and walks away. so my mind shuts them out, i tell myself that they cant exist.

yes i know looks dont matter much and at times, i've impressed some really nice girls when i was in a strong mood. but its never consistent so they run away. sigh..
another girl, i like her, she ran away, got disappointed in me.

whats the science of a women? why is she here? how did she evolve, who made her. a woman is a marvel, i cant beleive that she exists. why. and the painful belief in me that no women will ever like me, thats almost hell. i see around me nice girls and happy couples and it kills me. most of the times, i have to clench my teeth to stop me from going down. and tell myself they can go to hell. but the pain is still there. i've lost SO many chances of hooking up with nice girls, all cause of my insecurity.
i dont know what to do and what will happen to me. will i remain single all my life?

u tend to bite off any people being depressed at you? what does that mean.

September 28, 2000
6:06 pm
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Cici, go for the ssi, darn its there, and why not, sorry to hear your not well, and damn straight I want all new, I can't see a darn thing reading with out my glasses, and can't see walking with them, it sucks. The man I am temporarily replacing at work, ast director, counselor, amazes me, I met with him for lunch yesterday. He discovered melenoma on his forehead, when they went in they took half his forehead, severly disfigured, when he finally convinced them to do cosmetic surgury, after 3 years of war with insurance companies, they discovered more cancer, the surgury left him even more disfigured, and he could not close his eye for one year, he just went in for the cosmetic stuff, and it broke my heart to see him, and made me feel small to listen to his attitude. he is so severly disfigured, now instead of a concave half head, it is swollen very very swollen, and scars up and down the side, he stated that they will do liposuction in a few months, and then he said due to the skin grafts, he must go in the end of October because his nipples are at his belly button, and it is embaressing when he gets cold. I am amazed at his courage, and his endurance all over a strange mole, that at least some one was bright enough to see was abnormal. I have to tell my self that God never gives us more than we can deal with and some are obviously stronger than others. Take care and continue to be strong

September 29, 2000
8:15 pm
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eve do u know any answers about women i asked? how can i make me believe in them?

September 29, 2000
9:34 pm
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Molly
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Guest , is it possible that your experience of women, your mother, who you state abused you, does not cloud your experience, and withdrawl from women. Your fear of becomming a robot like your father? From the sounds of your experience, transfer is possible. Just an idea

September 29, 2000
9:56 pm
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transfer?

September 30, 2000
9:18 am
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Hi Guest,
I think part of your problem is that you want to believe in women. Hey, what do you think that „we“ are? Godesses?
I for my part don’t want to be believed in, or worshipped. I can do that myself. What I want (and what you don’t seem ready to give) is to be seen as a living being – whith all the faults, inconsitencies, and built in errors. Being believed in would make me feel trapped in somebody elses mind, and somehow disrespected as a person. No woman will come and take your feeling of low self worth from you – and if you keep throwing it at her, like you do here in your mailings she is likely to turn and run as fast as she can. You are demanding a superhuman woman – faultless and totally believing in you. All I can say to that is: bugger off (and that is the most friendly of the things that came to my mind).

What do I mean by biting off people who are depressed „at“ me? Well, just that: when somebody is depressed and repeatedly tells me so and repeatedly asks for help from me – I get the feeling that this person is demanding something impossible from me and is eating up my energy. So I defend myself. This is not an appropriate response or something that I recomend to others. It’s just what happens when I meet a depressive person who is trying to shed the blame for being depressed on me.

September 30, 2000
4:06 pm
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no no, u didnt get me. i said i cant beleive that women can exist. i'm certainly not demanding a super human woman. i cant even get to that point cause first i have to beleive in them right. beleve in them in the sense that a woman can love me. its like this. i seem to think that i dont deserve a good thing (a woman) or that she can love me. so i shut her out of my mind by not wanting to beleive in her. it lessens my pain, i guess? what do u mean 'i keep it throwing at her?'.

September 30, 2000
4:39 pm
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Guest,
by throwing your depression at somebody I mean that you don't think about what the others might feel when you talk about your feelings. You feel bad and so you tell everybody else in no uncertain terms. I understand that it comes out of some kind of desperation. But I noticed, that almost every time when somebody starts a thread takling about the good things in life - whammy, here comes guest and throws all his bad feelings and insecurities at the person who seems to have found something good to cling to. I find that pretty annoying. It's like talking down on somebody because they are feeling good.

September 30, 2000
7:42 pm
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well u see there are several reasons why i come and tell everyone my problems. 1) they might give me a solution. 2) probably they're high in the clouds so its important to give them a view of reality cause like molly said life actually is painful. so i'm doing them a service by reminding them that life is actually painful, and not a bed of roses. 3) if they give me solutions, their own problem solving skills will improve, thus leading to higher test scores and easier admission in universities of their choice. this could lead to a raise in the average salary of the nation. (the higer education level u have the higer the salary). etc.

actually the main reason why i do this, is that i compare myself to them and i see they are doing good. and i'm doing bad already so i tell them my problems. maybe they reached the higer state and could tell me something useful too? u know, its no use asking someone for solutions if they're themselves already riddled by problems.
maybe i just feel i should express myself more. maybe i'm just like the naughty guy in the pool, who asks someone for help and when the other guy does, i give him a jerk and he's wet too! haha. *evil grin*. that what u said about me.

ahhh.. i dont know. i'm just looking for solutions to my problems (they DO exist.. really). i wont give up on them and i'll do anything it takes to get them solved. if someone is talking about good things, and i come and start my problems, another good reason could be that i prepare them for the fall if its coming. if its not coming for them, its good. that means they are strong. if they are gonna come down, they know that they're gonna find ME here so they wont be alone in the pit. so i prepare them for the fall. and we are all here for talking about our feeligns, right? so i cant just fake it here and start giving smiling faces to everyone who has problems. one reason to share problems is to make each other feel lighter, to make them feel they are not alone. whaever.

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