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Hi everyone. Decided to begin chatting on this site even though I am not the "caregiver" but my parents live in an assisted living, and I still have to watch over their care especially as they are getting older. In the past year so much has happened.

My dad is 89 and mentally he is sharp. He suffers from High BP and anemia, and is very weak physically but also very stubborn. It can take him over 6 times to get out of a chair or couch and is very unsteady. He refuses to even use a cane, but at this point, he really needs to use a walker. He won't get one or use it. Says he doesn't need it. I am afraid he will fall and break his hip or something. Don't know what to do about this, but certainly want him to use a walker.

My mom is 84 and uses a walker which has helped so very much. She has dementia, and I don't know what type. For someone with dementia she is the sweetest person and best mom! She has to be careful with skin problems because she just had a cancerous growth removed from her leg recently.

They moved into their assisted living facility a little over a year ago. My father was walking slowly but was fine without assistance.

Where they live there is no social worker on site or even one available anywhere to contact. So many times there is no proper communication between the nurses, the dr. and other staff people. I don't have one person to turn to there.

Anyway, I lost my job back in June 06 because of major depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, etc. Mentally I am doing so much better, but the physical pain is there almost every day. However, I maintain as optomistic an outlook as I can each day. Helps keep me sane and able to function.

I look forward to chatting with others and reading the message board. I would like as much support and knowledge as I can get.
Wake up each day with a positive attitude and accept who you are. Like my mother always taught me, "tomorrow is another day."
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Hi Spencer:

Welcome to the boards. We are here for you. It is not easy to care for our elderly whether in the home or not. Assisted living can be a pleasant alternative I think...

It sounds like you are totally involved. Good for you - your parents need you now. It is sad that it has come to this in your lives...

Your job situation sounds challenging right now. I am sorry about that. But, keeep your eyes open for opportunity lurks... You understand? Do not despair!

I hope everyting stabilizes soon. The holidays are coming and now is the time to spread good cheer. It will go a long way... Take care now...

Love and Hugs from Glenda


[This message has been edited by glenderella (edited 11-27-2006).]
Hugs to you Spencer! My Dad will not use a cane either, he has been diagnosed with PD. Lost my Mom and in-law parents also. My husband have done for all of them. Now living with my Dad and spouse and I travel the roads to be together. Dad was given a lift chair, would not use that either. He is 82, walking is so scary now. Weaker and weaker. He has said it makes him feel like a child, and he is uncomfortable with people seeing him walk. He does the t.v. CNN 24/7, and he is a loner. He is very mentally alert and family will not call or come to see him or talk to me. They think he is fine as if he does talk to them on the phone (maybe 5 min. a month) - they think he is fine. THey think I am the one who is sick. Been down this road before - just gave it to God. Give your Dad some time --- and let him see he needs a walking device --- he sounds like a good father, and it may also be he is afraid you will see his weakness and that is hard for him to face too. I realize my Dad's physical strength was one of his major strengths - so give it time - God Bless You --- may you find a peace and strength to do for yourself too!
Hello Spencer:
Welcome to the boards! Please do not discount what you do for your parents just because they are not living with you. Care-giving is on many levels and you are definitely involved in their care and sound like a loving son.

I understand your physical pain. I too have Fibromyalgia. I was diagnosed with it over 15 years ago and have over the years managed to learn to live with the daily chronic pain and fatigue. One thing that helped me tremendously was finding work I could do from home. In this way, when I am having a bad day, I can sneak away from my home office and take a half hour nap -- it can do wonders to fight the fatigue and help alleviate some of the pain.

As far as your dad not wanting to use a walker or cane, I think a lot of us here have gone through what you are going through now and it is so frustrating and exhausting to try and reason with them but ultimately, it is their decision. My mom is 84 and has Alzheimer's and I cared for her for one year in my home. I had bought a walker for her when she was still in assisted living and she refused to use it. When she moved into my house, she continued to refuse to use it and it was a daily fight between us until I finally resigned myself to thinking if she falls, she falls, there is nothing that I can do. Some of his reluctance is pride; it is so hard for the elderly to have to give up so much of their independence and they will fight to keep as much as they can. I was lucky to have found a wonderful social worker that worked with my mom's geriatrician and she was the one who told me to stop trying to force her to use it and to stop trying to make her keep busy, because I believed she wasn't happy just sitting in front of a TV all day. The social worker told me what I think makes mom happy and what mom thinks makes mom happy just isn't the same and I need to take a step back and let her decide what makes her happy. Spencer, this is all so new for all of us, having to care for our parents, the role reversal. It's uncomfortable and takes time to adjust.
Looking forward to reading more of your posts here and again welcome,
Warm regards,
Miriam
Thank you both for you encouragement and advice. I will have to back off and just let my Dad walk without a walker. I feel so much better that I joined here; now I don't feel so alone. I do have a brother in Indiana but my parents and my husband and I all live in NJ. I no longer seek his advice. He just doesn't get a true idea of what is going on with my parents and doesn't understand how the assisted living runs.

This will now be my new "support group."

I would love to find work I can do at home, but I have no idea which direction to turn. Any advice on finding this type of work?

Have a great day!
If you enjoy typing and are very accurate and fast you could consider medical transcription, or some other type of transcription. If you Google medical transcription, you can check out online schools where you can be certified. Not all jobs insist that you be certified, but it does help and it takes about one year. You can also Google work at home and see what you come up with. Good luck!
Miriam
Hi spencer - how I feel for you - I have just posted as a new member.My Dad is the same, won't use a walker or cane, so at some stage he will injure himself.I told him if that's the way he wants it he will have to suffer the consequences.If you read my posting you will see that he is behaviorally difficult as he has a personality disorder.We do what we can for him trying not to arouse his aggression.I jsut wish we could get him to bathe more than once a week(actually more like once a fortnight)and to change his clothes more often.I can't believe this is happening to me sometimes - I m 55 and where has my life gone? I'm seeking wotk too but am so stresses and distracted it is difficult ad jobs are very demanding these days.Hang in there - we are with you.
Thanks again everyone for all your meaningful replies. To follow up on my father's walking difficulties, I want to say that since November, my dad's walking is getting even slower than slow, can barely walk using a cane, which he finally began to use, and he stops every few feet. Truthfully, I really don't know how he can even stand upright without falling!! Stubborn as he is, one of the nurses ordered him a walker which he should be getting in a few days. Now let's see what happens!

In the meantime my own personal life is falling apart. I was on NJ short term disability from June through December, and from that point until now I have no income coming in for myself. I simply cannot do full time work anymore, it is just too much wear and tear on me and my mind.

The depression really kicked in this past month, because I realized there is no way my hubby and I can afford to stay in our house without relying on my full time paycheck. So with much help from my 27 yr. old son, we have decided to put our house on the market next month, and buy another house, this time in a 55+ community. Will save us lots of money, and then I can work part-time and hopefully retain my health, my aches and pains, and my sanity.

Life can just be so unpredictable. When I realized I had to sell my one and only small home, I cried for over 2 weeks, like a basket case!!! There are just so many memories raising my children here, and I just needed that short grieving period.

My son assured me that he would help us out until we move into another home. Never thought he'd come to my rescue like that!! My daughter is a big help also, and even her boyfriend is helping us out!!

It's like a never-ending saga! Just have to force myself to think positive. If I keep myself busy enough, I will be able to do that.

What is harder - raising a family - or dealing with our elderly parents??
Hi Spencer:

It sounds like you have done a good job of raising your children. They sound like such a blessing! You should be proud of yourself!

I think it is harder to care for our elderly. It is so hard to watch them deteriorate. Hopefully, he will use the walker...

I am sorry about the sale of your house. It can be traumatic and overwhelming to think about. Hopefully, the financial stress being lessened will help.

Just know that we are here for you. Keep us posted on how things are going. Meanwhile, hang in there dear heart!

Love and Hugs from Glenda
Glenderalla,

Thank you for understanding and being so supportive. Why can't there be more people like you in the world? I am blessed with my two children and future son-in-law! They are all here for me, and after my kids' crazy teen years and all their "I hate you's" they really love me and my husband and care very much about our future.

You are a one-of-a-kind person, and I mean that in the best way!
Hi, Spencer.

I am sorry to hear about your physical and financial woes. It sounds as though your kids were "brought up right."

In reading your posts about your Dad's mobility issues, I pictured him being the same as my mom before we found out she has Parkinson's - especially the part about getting slower and slower, or just stopping. At that time she did not have tremors, but she did have balance concerns. After she was diagnosed and started on some meds, she gained almost 5 years of better mobility and semi-independence (she was in assisted living at the time). I know you are having your own problems right now, but when you can, ask his Dr for a referral to a neurologist to get checked out. You may have already done this, but if you haven't, there may be more to his problems than just "getting old."

I do hope things get better for you soon. We're up against it financially here right now, too, so don't feel alone.

Love n hugs,
Barb
Thank you Barb for your post. Having my dad being checked by a neurologist is a good idea, but my dad doesn't want to any doctors other than who he already sees. For instance, he has a certain kind of anemia that is not caused by lack of iron. The only way to really find out would be to run a number of tests to see if there is a type of cancer that is causing his anemia. He refuses to do any more blood tests and just wants his doctor to watch out in case the anemia gets worse, in which case his dr. would begin giving him injections. Ultimately, it is his decision, but he is so very, very stubborn. Maybe that is why he is getting to live a long life. (He is 89 now.)

However, he could very well have Parkinsons for all I know. What I could do is mention to his dr. who I am free to discuss my parents' health with. My father-in-law shuffled his feet in a very similar way, and he did have Parkinsons, so who knows?

Thank you so much for your feedback. That is what this website is all about!

Yes, I am blessed with my 2 children, and I guess I did raise them right. When they turn around to help you, it is such a good feeling. They must know inside that I would do anything in my power to help them out if needed. I have always been available for them, no wonder what I was doing, and now they are here for me!

I wish you well too, and hope that you get help with your financial situation. Life can get ugly sometimes but if I'm down for a few days, I just force myself to be as up as I can for as long as I can. Positive thinking helps in so many ways, and even helps with aches and pains.

Thank you for being there for me, and I hope I can do likewise for you!
Hello Spencer,

Welcome... I would defini8tely say you are a caregiver... and I am sorry to hear that your health isn't up to par. Your son has really rallied to support you and your hubby which is a gifted blessing. Downsizing should be much easier for both of you.

As for your aches and pains. It's like which came first the chicken or the egg. Depression can cause tremendous physical pain.. and if you were truly diagnosed with fibromyalgia, there are things you can do that can really assist you.. most of it is alternative and I encourage you to search on google for supplements and diet to help yourself. You would be truly amazed at the results.. many a time the traditional medical establishment can't get a grip on this condition.

Please keep us posted..

take care

gail
Hi Gail,
I have Fibromyalgia - diagnosed over 18 years ago and have yet to find anything, medically or alternative, that has really helped fight the pain and fatigue. Exercise has worked the best, although too much can throw me back into a major flare. Would you mind sharing a few links with us? I'd really appreciate it.
Thanks and warm regards,
Miriam

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