Depression & COPD

Hi my Father in Law who is 86 was diagnosed with the asbestos lung disease 4 years ago which has now moved to COPD as well. Over the past year he has been in hospital several times and now seems to have developed depression and gets very panicky. He has also had a couple of falls which has now lead to him not wanting to walk. Has anyone got any ideas how to cope with the depression? I am beginning to wonder if the depression and panic is what is leading to more spells in hospital as once the paramedics arrive his breathing regulates and he calms down. I want to help him in any way I can.....anything help I would be grateful. Just to add he won't talk to his GP....stubborn!

15 Replies

  • As a 85 year old myself I can tell you that it is all too easy to get depressed at your father-laws age. You are prevented from doing the things you liked best through age or disability, most of your friends and colleagues have gone and your life becomes full of appointments, procedures and prescriptions. No doubt people have been telling him to mix more, OAP luncheon clubs etc and to take up a hobby like knitting. Not wanting to do those things can label you as stubborn (he's probably grumpy too like me)..

    Without knowing him it's hard to give advice other than to say, think outside the box a bit, he needs something to take his mind off himself. Buy him a budgie with cage etc., or a white rat to look after, I had one of those as a kid and it was the closest thing to a dog. Doesn't need walks, can be trained to do things, friendly, even gets to love you.

    I hope you can help him, it's no fun getting old when you are poorly too.

  • Hello are amazing you have given me a brilliant idea, a budgie....he loves birds, animals it will give him a sense of purpose. I am sorry that you too are suffering, my father in law has lost several old friends of the same disease, he worked making asbestos breaks for cars for years and or course there were no health and safety regulations back then.....Doug isn't grumpy....bless you....he's very quiet and keeps things bottled up so as not to upset his wife, it also stresses him as he thinks he's stressing his wife too. She does get a bit down and frustrated as they can't go out together like they used to but she's understanding and kind. Do you have friends Don that you can talk to? Its very kind of you to share with me ideas and I'm hoping you have come up with a brilliant one! Would you chat more to me and help me understand how you cope with everything? I can then chat to my father in law and share your comments. Thank you I appreciate your help.

  • Bless you, I'm one of the lucky ones in that I have a dog and a campervan and am able to get around to my favourite places around the country as I've always done. My wife died 7 years ago and my son 5 years ago and my daughter has her own problems which keep her fully occupied. But hearing about people like Doug make me grateful for what I have, knowing that I could shortly be in the same position as he at any time. Winter are the worst times. Keep us posted as to how things work out and I'm ready to chat anytime. :-)

  • Thank you for chatting, I'm sorry you lost your wife and son must be very hard for you. I admire that you still get around and enjoy holidays and seeing places. My in-laws used to love going on holidays around the UK and he loves trains, they used to buy a ticket get on a train and just go round in circles all day!!! Sadly thats all gone he's lucky if he can walk to the loo now without becoming so badly out of breath....but I will tell you he is a bit naughty, he doesn't do exercises as he should in some ways he's been a fool to himself but its hard to say anything as I don't want to upset him and my husband is the same. You still get about and that is wonderful and a dog....I have a 14 year old labrador who still thinks he's a pup!! can I ask how do you control your breathing? Do you have exercises to do? and what medication do you take? Doug now has oxygen at home and he takes around 14 tablets a day, what I don't know and he also seems to be on antibiotics a lot......lovely chatting to you. I won't be able to chat much over the weekend but I'll be back next week.

  • Hi Don, did you have a good weekend? Wasn't the weather amazing almost summer! Well the bad news is that Doug is back in hospital, the 4th time this year he now has another chest infection. I went to see them Sunday and he looked terrible, but I put this down to the depression as he just never seems to perk up now. The doctor has put him on a 50/50 morphine / diazapam pump which he says helps a little bit. I'm going to the hospital after work today to see him. So my bad news out the are you? Doing good I hope. What did you do over the weekend.

  • Poor Doug, that is bad news, but at least he won't be feeling panicky in there, which was one of the problems you mentioned. Did you manage to do anything about getting a budgie for him? He needs something to look forward to now more than ever. When you've had your four-score and 5 or 6 you can't avoid wondering what's the point of it all. In my case I have a dog who needs me. Helpless animals seem to have more pull than humans, who are well able to look after themselves.

    I'm fine myself, thank you, just seem to have become bogged down with numerous appointments lately.

  • that's just it he feels well in hospital and doesn't panic at all I suppose he feels safe. Yes we discussed a budgie but has decided on a fish tank so at the weekend my husband and I are off to get him a nice one and some fish and all the ornaments etc to go with it....if that's what he wants then he can have it. You are so right he does need a purpose to live for, he had a little moan on Sunday that no one goes to see him often, trouble is we all work and have families etc its not always easy to just pop round, we all call him everyday. You know the 50/50 thing I mentioned have you ever had that? I'm trying to get some understanding on what meds do for you and how they work. What breed dog do you have? Animals are my life, love them more than humans!! I have a 14 year old Labrador called Scooby who still thinks he's a pup! Not sure if I told you my name is Lynda. So what appointments do you have and what for? Sorry I sound nosey just need to get more understanding and how you cope with everything.

  • If it was me I would get Doug a budgie as well as a fish tank. He needs something to interact with and that he can look after himself. Sitting watching fish might be very relaxing for some, but he needs something to fully occupy his mind.

    That leads me on to your question of how do I manage. In fact the way I cope with my COPC, diabetes, high BP and cholesterol, glaucoma, skin cancer and other stuff, is to follow my doctors instructions, take the pills, puffers, eye drops, creams and ointments etc. strictly according to instructions, and most importantly, think and talk about it as little as I possibly can. Otherwise lot of needless worrying goes on which only exacerbates the condition. Not everyone is able to do that but it works for me. ;-)

    My dog is a little Jack Russell called 'Midge'. Doug is very lucky having such a caring daughter-in-law as you Lynda.

  • You have been very helpful Don and I appreciate your openness on the subject which I'm beginning to understand that Doug isn't the only one suffering and yes he needs to get his act together, maybe we are being a little bit too soft with him and giving in to his woes. I can't imagine what you or Doug feel like but your attitude towards coping is brilliant you get on with it and you do as you are told by the docs, I admire you Don and like you say needless worrying goes on and yes I'm sure it does exacerbate things, which I'm certain is what is happening to Doug. Right from now on, if you want to, we'll keep this chat happy and cheerful....I'm at work at the moment and to be honest not feeling much like doing anything. I work for architects and its a very enjoyable job.....I'm trying to sneak my weekly online shop with Asda in but for some reason everyone seems to be gathering my computer for a chat!!! I'm on line Wed. Thurs and Fri everyweek as I only work part time now, don't get time at weekends much......and thank you for the compliment.

  • I don't think you are being too soft on Doug, Lynda, I was just trying suggest that you leave the medics to do their job and concentrate on channelling his thoughts away from the predicament he finds himself in, not easy when he's in hospital surrounded by it all.

  • Morning Don hope you had a nice evening I did, I have just planned my dream holiday 3 weeks in India the Golden neighbour and best friend, we're like sisters are going....just the 2 of us, leaving hubbies at home. We both used to travel a lot in our younger and single days but we never got round to India so now in our 50's we're off on our travels again. My husband won't go I mean he can get deli belly in Skegness so I don't think its a good place for him!! We're aiming for January / February next year....very exciting. Have you ever been to India? What places have you travelled to? Doug is doing ok, we are having a family meeting at the weekend, one of my brother in laws has suggested a nursing home....not sure about that to be honest but I suppose its something that may have to be considered.

  • Morning Don I hope you are doing well.....just to let you know that Doug is now very poorly. He's been in hospital now for 10 days and has gone rapidly down hill he's developed yet another chest infection along with a UTI, the doctors called my brother in law yesterday to say that it is unlikely he will pull through, they said his chest is very weak and antibiotics are not working anymore. Its very sad but he's given up the fight my husband said its like he's willed himself to die. I want to thank you Don for being very kind and for giving me good advice and I truly hope you continue to enjoy life. Take good care of yourself xx

  • It's very sad to be reading this, but as I said, Doug probably feels that he has had enough. Putting him in a nursing home would have caused him much more distress than he is experiencing now. It comes to us all eventually and in a way I envy Doug his peaceful passing. I intend to keep going a while longer if I can. Thank you for your good wishes.

  • Morning Don I hope you are keeping well I have some sad news, Doug passed away on Monday 17th April, we are all very sad, especially his wife of 67 years. He is at peace now. Thank you Don for your support and kindness xx

  • I'm still plodding on as best I can, Doug had reached the end of his road and I got the impression that he was relieved from what you wrote. Sorry for his wife though, it will be tough for her, but then she has 67 years of happy memories to look back on.

    Enjoy your dream holiday, you did what you could and deserve it.

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