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Aging parents – it’s not easy

Both my biological parents are deceased but my stepmom (of 50 years) is here with her second husband, the one who had stomach cancer surgery at the VA Hospital. He is out of the hospital and on a very restricted diet and they are leaving for home (Nevada) next week.  She insists she can drive but also says she can’t read the road signs until she’s right under them.  Denis says he will drive them home next week, but what if they say no?  She is supposed to take care of her husband but forgets certain things and some of them matter.  It’s very clear she is not as able as she needs to be but what am I supposed to do?  They live alone and shouldn’t.  They both think they’re still 25. How do you convince them they should not be driving, and that they should move to a senior-assisted place?  This is difficult.

10 Responses

  1. Rhonda says:

    Okay I’m in the same boat, but its working out. My mom had strokes in her late 40’s, so my dad was here to take care of my mom, but we lost our dad 8 months ago. Now we take care of my mom and we dont like leaving her by herself. She’s on blood thinner, so we dont want her getting hurt or cooking to cause a fire. We also promised our dad she would be taken care of. The strokes affected her speece, so if she did call 911 they wouldnt understand her. We understand her because we’ve been around her to know what she’s saying. Ive lived at home all my life and theres a reason why and that is to take care of my parents as they grow old. I didnt want to be in the situation you are in now, Jenny. I dont want them anywhere they dont want to be, so Jenny I see that its hard for you. I prevented myself to be where you are now with your stepmom and her hushand. It’s tough I’m sure, but hopefully it will all work out for the best. Try not to worry too much. Youre smart enough to figure it out to where everyone’s happy…

    Take care,

  2. Jill says:

    I moved my mom in with me 6 years ago. She still worked at that time but it was abundantly clear she could not take care of herself or her own home alone. She struggled with depression, diabetes and health issues that often accompany them. She retired when her vision declined and she could not perform her job anymore. Being able to see her everyday was the only thing that gave me any peace of mind at all, seeing her with my own eyes, knowing she was safe. I helped her through illnesses, surgeries and oversaw her health care as long as she let me and I know she lived longer and had a better quality of life because she was here and not left on her own. Her capacities were diminishing. It was not always easy and I did rearrange my life, passing on many income opportunities to do this but it was worth it. She was an amazing woman and gave me so much throughout my life, I just did for her what I know she would do for me. She passed away 2 months ago at age 66 and I take comfort that I was able to be there for her in her final years. I will always treasure the time I had with her.

    • Jenny says:

      I’m prepared to do the same. She will have a choice between coming here or to Canada where she has brothers, a sister, and many nieces and nephews. Either way, she will be taken care of by family. I agree with you that seeing with your own eyes is the only way to have peace of mind. Thank you for your touching and inspirational words.

  3. sue says:

    Jenny you have a huge home and it’s obvious how much you love her. It’s clear to anyone that she has been more of a mom than your biological mom. Why don’t you let them move in with you! You made a new bedroom for them downstairs so they wouldn’t have to make the stairs. All that work for nothing??? My parents are 70 years old and if they ever needed to be in an assisted living place, I would want them living with me! It’s not an inconvenience when you love someone! That’s just my thoughts anyways.

    • Jenny says:

      Sue, I wish they would move here but they hate the humidity here. I am willing to buy a place in a retirement community in Vegas where there are people around to call on, but they, like most people, do not want to leave their current home. (see my reply to Kathy) Also, if they are going to drive, I live in the hills with winding roads for coming and going. The Vegas streets are flat and wide where they live and they know their way around there already. I agree that living with me would be best but at this point, it’s still their decision. I guess it will be gradual, from in-home care to assisted living, I just don’t know.

      • sue says:

        sounds like you and Denis need a cold draft beer if you drank! Just kidding. Your stepmom seems to be showing signs of dementia. You say that she is disoriented alot. Maybe you will just have to insist “for there well being.” It’s like telling someone “no you’re not leaving you had too much to drink!” I hate to use that as an example but your stepmom maybe needs to be analyzed by a professional. I’ve seen it too many times in my own family. Dementia can be scary and I truly believe she may be suffering from it. And I can sympaythise with them about the humidity, I have had bronchial asthma since I was two and I suffer grately in Pennsylvania with alergies and cold weather in the winter. I hope the bees are gone my sista!!

  4. Tara says:

    Hi Jenny
    I can empathise with what your going through. Not too long ago my family faced the same thing with my grand mother. it is never an easy issue to deal with. Unfortunately if their not ready to take the step, it is difficult to try and convince that aged care or a retirement village is a better option. Best wishes and hope a solution comes at hand, Tara

  5. MrsNews says:

    My parents are deceased so I personally don’t have to deal with it. But my husbands parents are in their mid 80’s so we deal with it in way. We are leaving Monday to head to AZ to celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary. We will have 4 days of spending time with them as a family. I am sure we will learn a lot.

    My father in law who is 85 still works in his shop almost everyday rebuilding cars by himself. His activies keep him alive. My mother-in-law on the other hand has no life activities and is bored and in cronic back pain all the time. She repeats herself constantly. She wants to move to assisted living but doesn’t want to take him away from his life in the shop. I think without his activites he would go down hill fast.

    He also has a bad habit of falling asleep at any given moment. Now that is okay if we are in the livingroom but not so good when he is driving. He of course insisted on driving everywhere. Her job is to watch him if he dozes off…then she hollers at him and off they go! It is terrifying.

    I am worried about the other innocent person that doesn’t know they are out there and are on the road when he dozes off. What then?

    Being the daughter-in-law I just listen, it isn’t my call.

    I think the world of doctors have figured out how to make us all live longer but now no one knows what to do about it.

    I am glad your stepdad is well enough to travel. When your family gets home why don’t you consider contacted their local Hospice and see if someone can help. I releive the caretaker so they can run errands for a few hours a day once a week. Maybe that will help. I don’t really know what your stepdad’s situation is so I can’t say what will work for them.

    It isn’t easy…


    • Jenny says:

      Kathy, your story is so much like mine. His hobby is growing fruit trees and they are not exactly movable. It’s taken years to establish the trees and he now grows amazing lemons, peaches, plums, tangerines, walnuts, etc… in the desert! So he keeps his mind active and does not want to leave his home and his trees. She, on the other had, does not have a hobby and just does her routine things every day, so she does not remember things, or worse, remembers them differently. I could bring them to L.A. but they want the dry climate in Las Vegas. I am planning to get them in-home care, but they are liable to send the caretaker home. And I agree that I worry for other drivers on the road when they are out. I’ll do the best I can. Thanks so much for the words of support.

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