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Hi.. just looking for some advice or insight to my situation.
I've been a caregiver to my father for 15 years .. He suffered from a stroke 15 years ago. My sister and I took turns along with a periodic live in care giver, and we looked after him. Last spring he was put on inhome oxygen since his lungs were failing him and his care was becoming a little more demanding. We started to notice changes in his behaviour, experiencing alot of anger outbursts and started to wander in our community to locations he has never been to in years. He became very head strung and liked to think he was in control. My Dad was a very successful business man for years ...and has had a really hard time relating to his disabilities and the fact that he can't look after himself. To make a long story short... we've had to put my father of 80 yrs old into long term care recently since his live in caregiver has quit on us. No one in my family is prepared to live with him in his home to fully take on this responsibility of looking after him..and Dad is just way too tempermental and his care has become far too demanding to even consider keeping him at home. Its been 7 months and after falling several times and now he has a broken arm .. he still hasn't excepted the fact that he needs long term care. He's tried to leave or break free several times , his behaviour has gotten worse, and within the last month, whenever we go to visit him, he is refusing to see us unless we take him home. This has been extremely difficult, cause we certainly love our Dad and miss him. We plan weekly visits to his care unit, since it is 90 kms from home. This is the closest unit to us and we are very fortunate to have gotten him in. But he's turned us away time in time again and it just down right HURTS!! I no he is probably hurt by our actions as well of having to place him, but it really only been a matter of time until this actually had to take place. It hasn't been an easy process by no means... My question is... how long will we be rejected by him??? When will Dad see that his children love him and haven't totally deserted him?? Thank you for allowing me to post...
Reply with quote #2
Nan, please know you are not alone. We are all going through various versions of caring and hurting.
It would appear your father has some dementia component going on, as you spoke of the wandering and the anger. His responses to visiting family are affected by this dementia. He is angry about becoming old and needy. He is angry he can no longer be taken care of by family who love him so deeply and who have care for him, thus far, more years than most. His dementia puts no limits on his raw, off-the-cuff reactions and outbursts. I know it must be like a knife to your heart at each occurrence, but try to keep in mind, it is the dementia speaking, not the father that once was loving. Post any time you need a listening ear, without fear of judgement.
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Sorry your going through this, and I am sure there will be others around with very good words of wisdom. Just some thoughts, have you tried sending him cards and or little gifts between visits to let him know you are thinking of him. I would print out my FIL favorite cartoons and mail them to him, or send him a card saying I seen this and thought of you. Maybe that will help soften him up a bit.
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Nan...I'm so sorry you are having to cope with these changes in your dad. It's heartbreaking, I know.
As Ginny stated, the dementia creates so many 'situations' with our loved ones, and it takes everything we have to just deal with everything involved. I wonder also if this is one way your dad can still hold on to some control in his life. He can exert his control over family by not allowing anyone unless they do what he wants..."take him home". It's still the dementia, but it's also something he can control from where's he is in life right now. I love the idea from Bear about the cards and small gifts. Sometimes the smallest, "extra" in their day can mean so much. I wish you the best, and you are always welcome here. Marcky
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Nan, I found your situation heartbreaking. I know nothing of dementia, but wonder if there's anyone he trusts at the NH who might mediate a meeting between you, as a start to getting him accept his situation? Reminding him of his falls and showing that you want him to be safe.
Also, have you talked with his doctor? Asked how the staff feels he's doing, and whether they think he might eventually accept you again? For instance, does he speak fondly of you to them? Or, they might have other suggestions like the cards & gifts, which they may have learned help some folks to adjust and accept. Best wishes to you.
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Extending many Thanks...
On a positive note..today is the start of a new week and a new month Going to head out to try and visit with my FAther again. I've put a homemade lasagna in the oven and will be packing it along for a nice home cooked lunch. He loves his pasta ... like a true Italian should. Everytime we go ...we try to bring along his favourite foods..baking etc... Aside from sending him gifts and cards to his room.. he seems to not acknowledge them what so ever. I don't no if its because his eye sight has gotten worse or if its just because he is just far too stubborn. He had a visit on friday with one of my other sisters... one that he rarely sees since she lives 6 hours away. And she had told me that he was miserable and was consistant about wanting to go home to Italy..and later was very sad, and told her he was very lonely. He had asked for me... but then later became very angry. When she was leaving .. he had cried and told her he just wanted to die. Such a horrible thing. My brother visited yesterday ... and called me from his room. He said he was very cranky... and wasn't staying long. But at least the visit was made... dad should be feeling like his children haven't forgotten him. Today my sister and I ( his primary caregivers) will make another attempt to see him. Every week when this day arrives...i feel such anxiety. I really wish I could get over that feeling.. I miss him terribly...and so badly would love to just sit and talk and visit... but lately its been a scene and always a fight. Dad has always been a very stubborn man..and from that day 14 years and 11 months ago when he had his stroke...I commented that life with Dad was going to be a huge challenge. Thank you for all the support...so glad to have found this site..along with some councilling...I find this is helping me to vent a little. Sometimes I feel like I am crying out for sympathy... but really I look for suggestions and answers..that I no are so difficult to give. Aging and living with dementia or whatever it is he is experiencing ,,, is extrememly unfair to Dad. I hope to see some light at end of this long tunnel soon... Happy March 1st everyone...
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Nan...I hope your visit with your dad went better than you expected.
Your comments on the lack of fairness sure hit home with me, and you are so right! Sometimes I get down right angry that my capable mother was reduced to such dependency by her strokes....Not a shred of fair-play there at all. I admire you and how you keep trying for your dad, no matter how difficult it might be. Sometimes I try to lean on the memories of the mom I had before the strokes....I can't say it always helps, but at least we have those memories. Take care of yourself....Marcky
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Good day... Just reporting back on my visit with my Father.
It defintely started out great... I found him socializing in the common room in his unit. And when he seen me...he was soooo happy. The happiest I've seen him in a very long time. He came to me in his wheel chair and said "oh there's my little girl" We hugged for a long time and then he held my hand while he pulled himself in his chair down to his room. He and my sister and I talked for a bit and he was definately doing well...at least he was welcoming to us both and it certainly made us feel great! It was so nice to be appreciated by him finally...and to be hugged by Dad. It was a beautiful day outside and he had asked if we could take him for a drive. He hasn't been out of his unit since October. Prior to that..we would sign him out everytime we would visit to take him out for a drive..and some fresh air. In October he started to become difficult ... so we weren't taking him on any outings , it was just too difficult. But yesterday... he had asked one of the nursing staff if there would be a problem if we brought him outside...and she didn't think there would be and thought the fresh air would do him a world of good. I spoke to him and explained that it would just be a drive...and then he would have to come back...and he appeared to have comprehended that. After an hours drive ...we had said we were going back to the unit...he was alright until we pulled up to the door....then all hell broke loose. He started to curse and swear...yelling and screaming ...ranting about never going back. That we were trying to kill him and that he hated his children. he just snapped and became so unreal and it was extremely hard to take. I proceeded to get his wheel chair and told the hospital staff that he was being difficult. The nurse on his floor was kind enough to come out and assist me. When i returned ..i found him threatening my sister... wanting to hit her. As hard as it was for me... I didn't give him any other option and just grabbed his knees and swung him around.... and with the nurse's assistance... grabbed him by his pants and put him in his chair. He swung with anger and yelled and screamed at me all the way back to his room. Once returning to his room, he screamed at me and my sister and told us to get out and leave. As hard as it was ...we had to leave. How did a wonderful visit ..turn out so horrible??? He so enjoys his outtings...how will I ever be able to take him out again??? I don't no if I will be able to do it.... I called and checked on him when I arrived home and he had settled down without them having to give him extra medication.... so I was happy to hear that. Thanks Marky for your message... stroke's are so unfair... and most of the time...the person is left helpless and hopeless.
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So sorry to hear about how your visit turned out...I know it had to be very heart breaking...I don't have any advice...I just wanted to say I will be thinking about you and your situation and hoping for improvement....and to give you a big ((((((HUG)))))
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HI, I am so sorry about the trip. YOu just never know. I am not sure I would chance it again. But maybe just a walk around the grounds. Leaving the grounds might be what triggered it. You know when he came back. I sure dont know but just an insight that might work.
I am going to see Moma today and not sure what I will find. So I kmow how you feel. Hugs to you my friend.
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Ohh, Nan... this is so hard. I feel your joy--and your pain. All I know to tell you is to ask if you can try to remember it is the disease that is the cause--it is not really your father. I know that is easier said than done, and the scene on returning him will most likely stay in your memory forever--it is a life long scar. Just try to play it down? It is not the man you knew before... I recently went through something like that. Not physical, but verbal. My mother was so angry she pushed every button I have inside and I was angry too. And, my mother did this in front of my grandson who told me was acting hostile.... Great! Now I'm subject to the criticism of a teenager who has no clue as to what I've been through. I I am at the end of my rope with my mother. I don't have much patience when she throws false accusations at me. My grandson did not help with his comment or his attempt to be "counselor" and referee. Bad enough I have those awful memories of my mother, I sure don't need to feel worse with other family putting me down. Believe you me, I will avoid ever having a scene like that again... I would have walked our and left but the circumstances at the time didn't allow it. However, after that, I called my mother's doctor and was able to pick up some anxiety medication--for my mother that is. My husband says, "One for her, One for me.." is what I need to do with those meds. Really! I could use it. :-) In the future, can you try to anticipate what might happen? And avoid any activity that would prompt it? I know that is almost impossible, but better to use an ounce of prevention where ever you can. It is a bit like dodging land mines... at least that is how I feel. So, use what ever works for your Dad? Try lots of hugs, smiles, bring him a toy? Do what you can to steer his thinking into positive territory. It is worth a try! Hugs Nan, and try to do something fun that will let you laugh? Time and good experiences help to fade this hurtful time in your father's life. Oh, and read JAH's post on Dementia? I found it very helpful.
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Hi Nan. I am so sorry your visit turned out that way.
It may very well be, that you can no longer take him on outings, unfortunately.
I know how you feel. I feel the same way about Mom. I like to get her out of there occassionally. When she first went to the assisted living in December (emergency admittance), about 2 weeks later I went to see her, and take her to the doctor's appt. I felt so badly that I had to take her back to the assisted living. All she wanted to do, was get a hamburger somewhere, and go home!
I have not taken her out since, mainly because of the horrible winter weather (ice/snow), and also, she is very tired now, and in the past month, has been a Hospice patient. I am not sure if I will take her out when I go see her next week. I would love to. The weather may even cooperate - 40's and dry. However. I think it will be way too hard on her, and on me, to arrive back at the Assisted Living. It stinks, either way just sucks!
You may have to wait for a long time before attempting it again. It is very possible, that with time, he may mellow out, and be able to leave there for an outing, then go back. But obviously, not right now. Or, it may be possible he will get even more hostile and upset as time goes by (the stroke/dementia). You will have to play it by ear.
just offering you my support and empathy.