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Dad says he doesn't need help...

My Dad is 83 and lives alone. He has kidney failure and diabetes. In his youth he was never a domestic goddess so it's really tough that he now has to manage his household, particularly when he's not well. He now lives off tinned soup and in increasing squalor. My sister is 60 miles away while I'm 120 and my brother 80 miles away. He is happy for us to help but has declared he will get rid of the carers arranged by the hospital within 2-3 weeks. He won't even accept new slippers. He insists on driving despite my warning in the presence of his doctors that he's not in control of his car. I refuse to go in the car with him. Other people must face similar problems. How do you cope? I love my Dad and I try to understand why he is so resistant to anything that can bring him comfort. I guess it nay be a mixture of pride and fear. This keeps me awake at night and I'm sure my brother and sister feel the same. Any comments/suggestions please?

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I had a similar problem with my mother (96 at the time). Although she didn't live in squalor, she was struggling to cope and when I realised what trouble she was having sorting out her medication I decided that we needed to do something. I found a local care home that could take her for 2 weeks respite. I didn't ask her if she wanted to go, I went to her house, packed a bag and told her we were going. It was very difficult for her to do it like that but I knew that it was the only way. I put her in the nursing home for 2 weeks - she was horrified as she has always had a dread of them. At the end of the 2 weeks I told her that she needed another week or two to get her meds stabilised. By the end of that time she had settled in and decided she'd stay a bit longer - that was 3 years ago!. I think that once she had got used to the idea, she enjoyed not having to worry about cooking, cleaning, paying her bills, etc. She was well fed, warm and comfortable. It is not the life she would have chosen but it is the life that is best for her at this stage.

It was not like being in a hospital. Her nursing home has a nice coffee shop where everyone meets up for a chat. She can do whatever she likes and can have company when she feels like it.

I know that if I had let her have time to think about going in the home, I would never have got her there. Springing it on her like that she had no choice - the choice came later when she decided she would like to stay.

It may not be the best way for your dad but it is worth a try. It would make life so much nicer for him and so much easier for the rest of you. You would probably find that, even if he decided that he wanted to go home later, once he got home and realised how he had been living, he would go back to the home. A lady who lives in the home with mum did that. Her family put her into respite as they were all going to be away at the same time. She went home afterwards, realised how badly she had been coping and returned to the home within a few weeks.

I laughed about the slippers - mum is just like that. She'll wear tatty old things (because she says they are comfortable) and ignore her nice ones. I bought her new slippers recently and she refused to wear them. Every time one of us visited, we insisted that she had to wear the new ones whilst we were there. When I have visited this week, the new ones have always been on her feet.

As far as the driving goes, contact DVLA and get his licence taken away. The thought of him killing someone is scary and he would be devastated. Also, without the car he is more likely to go into the home. He won't have to worry about shopping etc. without transport.

Good luck. It may not work for him but it certainly did the trick with my mum who is now contented, warm and well looked after.

Jan

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Thank you. Dad's not coping at all at home and my brother, sister and I are going to talk tonight. I suspect your way is the kindest thing we can do now. Thank you!

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Problem like this is every where and we are helpless! my brother who is 87 keep saying I am OK, I can manage, he has a tendency to fall!

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Hi bala, There is a neck alert that you can get that is actually a 'falls detector'. It is worn normally but if it senses a sudden drop, it alerts the control centre who call out to the person to see if they are OK. If they don't reply, they contact someone to check up. It can be a bit of a pain, it has a tendency to go off if the person bends down quickly to pick something up, but the control centre don't mind. It does make sure that the person hasn't had a fall which requires assistance. Your local social services can put you in touch.

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My Nan has something similar to this but it is a band that goes around her wrist. I think it is called Lifeassist and you can pay privately for it or get assessed by the council to see if it is a service they can provide. It is much the same but they press a button on their wrist.

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Dads eh!!! I'm one of them and now live alone in a assisted living flat, all though it's very comfy and I'm not allowed to have a cooker, because I have Dementia and I have quite a lot of soup cos it's easy and I can put it in my microwave but I only have hienz soups plus I put lots of bread in it and it is very filling and tasty, only other ways for him and that's you can cook for him and take it to him plated up with a nice dessert for pudding and if you remember, you might be able to bring me too lol, worth a try lol.

Meals on wheels, but I bet he's fed up of soup and if you can take him down to the pub and all have a nice family dinner together.

Best of luck with him.

Philip

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My Nan is the same in terms of eating. She tried a meals on wheels type service but her appetite is forever decreasing. We tried her on meal replacement drinks for a while to ensure she was at least getting the right nutrients and that worked well. I think the carers thing is a pride thing. I sat my Nan down and explained the distress the situation was causing me and I was also there when she met her carers etc. so we were both involved in assessing who would come in. This alleviated some of her concern as it was something that we did together. I could then interact with them directly to discuss how things were going.

The driving is a concern, I think the fear of not being able to drive is losing dependence so it may be worth finding volunteer services or finding other sources of transport he could use and doing the same slow introduction as the carers. I would check when the license renews and ensure it doesn't, or if its really that serious appeal to the DVLA for advice.

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Life often develops in unexpected ways. Dad had a fall today. Luckily my brother was on the way to visit him and was able to help him and no bones were broken. Dad now has agreed to accept respite care. I will be relieved for him to have proper meals and to be safe. Most importantly he has now decided that for himself. It's early days yet. Let's hope this new phase goes well for Dad. Thank you for all of your suggestions.

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Hi Suzy My mother went into respite care for two weeks - nearly three years later she is still there. Hopefully once your dad realises how much easier his life will be there, he will want to stay

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Dad had a fall today and couldn't get up for 20 minutes. My sister was with him. He then refused the assessment for the care home that we arranged for today, saying he was in no mood to discuss care homes. He's at home alone. We're trying our best to help and we're really worried about him. I don't know what to do.

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Can you get a Lifeline pendant for him so that he can alert help if he falls again? Would his doctor discuss respite care with him, he may be more open to the suggestion from a doctor?

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An alarm pendant was ordered for him two weeks ago so hopefully it will come soon. He may refuse to use it, as he didn't really want it.

Your idea about a doctor encouraging Dad to consider is a good one. My sister,brother and I are skyping today to discuss what we can do next to help Dad so I'll make sure we'll include this.

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Carers going in 2 or 3 times a day to help with meals?

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Dad had carers twice a day since leaving hospital 2 weeks ago. Unfortunately the morning carer could only come at 7 am when Dad really needs to sleep so after 3 days he told her not to come any more. He told my brother before he'd even left hospital that he would get rid of his carers within 2 to 3 weeks.

His other carer comes at 9 pm so at least someone looks in on him once a day.

This arrangement leaves him responsible for cooking, shopping, most of the housework etc.

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Yes, I had similar problems when I had carers for my father. You can arrange for them to come in at lunchtimes; I got Wiltshire Farm Food meals delivered and put in the freezer for dad - he was resistant at first but did find them useful. I also did a food shop online for dad to be delivered to him which helped, I think, for a while. Can you get someone to go in to clean for your dad and change the beds or is he resistant to that too?

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Thank you for your suggestions. These are the sorts of things we need to discuss when my sister, brother and I have our skype session later today. Dad has only had carers for 2 weeks so this is new for us all.

Dad is very resistant to any help and we have to tread carefully so that we don't alienate him completely. At the end of the day we can't force him to accept something he doesn't want, even if we feel very worried about the consequences. I think we're all equally stressed at the moment.

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Time has passed and Dad has adapted so much. He now has carers to cook and clean. They are a great bunch of people. One of them made Dad's day recently by cooking him bacon and eggs for breakfast! Dad no longer wishes or needs to drive. He has a pendant alert which he wears. Anyone who has followed this thread will be pleased to hear he is happy and chatty now and yes, he has new slippers!!! Thank you for your support and wisdom. I didn't dare hope that we'd get to this stage!

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