BetterMost, Wyoming & Brokeback Mountain Forum

Our BetterMost Community => BetterMost People => Topic started by: Front-Ranger on December 17, 2015, 08:12:26 pm

Title: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on December 17, 2015, 08:12:26 pm
Hi friends, this is a new topic to talk about caregiving, share stories and resources, gripe when necessary, and be chuffed about the successes.

I am currently helping a friend through throat cancer treatment. I've never had anyone close to me with cancer before so I'm learning a lot. Today I'm sitting in the chemo room with him while a machine drips saline and chemicals into his veins. Teal colored faux leather chairs line the room and aside from the drip machines and monitors, it's a cheerful place. Every once in a while someone comes in with a therapy dog or performs music on a dulcimer. The nurses are very professional and friendly. Overall it is a much more pleasant experience than you would think. And on top of that, I've met some really extraordinary people. Just regular people who've been slammed with the diagnosis of cancer and have matured in the process. These people have more hope than I can ever hope to have, especially the young people who have been stopped in their tracks by this unexpected monster. They are staring it down and vanquishing it. Whoever invented that saying, "Whatever doesn't kill me makes me stronger" must have been a cancer patient, because when you are receiving treatment for cancer you are literally fighting for your life.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on December 17, 2015, 08:23:34 pm
Oh! What a lovely and helpful idea for a thread! Thanks, Friend!

(I just updated my dad's situation--and mine--on my blog, so I won't repeat it here.)
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on December 18, 2015, 09:35:07 am
Very good idea for a thread.

I consider myself lucky, as both my parents are in great health (in their 70s) and they both believe in preventitive care, so at the earliest signs that something isn't right, they're at the doctor, as well as getting their regular check-ups.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on December 18, 2015, 02:08:38 pm
That's great to hear, friend. But you never know about these things. Me, I have always prided myself on my health and the fact that I didn't need to take any medications. When my doctor started me on high blood pressure meds, I felt strange taking them. Shortly after climbing Brokenback Mountain for the first time, I decided to ditch the meds and regulate my health through exercise, diet and lifestyle. Fortunately, I've been able to keep the blood pressure in the normal range. But in spite of that, I find myself juggling pill bottles, ordering meds and knowing far more than I ever wanted to know about prescription drugs. Why? Because my elderly mother and friend have to take them and are not savvy enough to go through all the mumbo jumbo to monitor them safely.

Now, I could have several different attitudes about this situation. I started out being resentful. "Here I am in perfect health, and yet I'm burdened down by all these chemicals," I would say to myself. But over the 4-5 years I've been doing this, I've come to have a different attitude. I believe divine Providence gave me health and a good mind for a reason: so I could help and protect my loved ones from harm. Adopting this approach has given me more peace of mind and thus I'm more cheerful in carrying out this crucial task.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on December 21, 2015, 12:01:51 am
Today in church the minister talked about Uncle Mordecai's words to Esther and they resonated with what I tried to say in my post above. Here are two interpretations.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: bentgyro on December 21, 2015, 12:59:45 pm
Good health, being in good health is a crapshoot.  When my father developed prostate cancer (he was 86), my sister and I decided to keep him at home.  Our mother had passed 2 years before and I had moved in with our Dad.  My sister left her husband at home and came to be with me (she is eight years older and her girls have families of their own).  I took a leave of absence from work.  It was a very emotional time.  I did stand by his bedside a few times and told him that we (his whole family) were OK and if he wanted to go it was alright.  By the last 2 months he was comatose and we were giving him morphine,  My brother in law had come to join us by this time.  I did learn that I am the bossy one between my sister and me.  My sister and I formed a strong bond with each other and are very close.  My father was a big strong man, 6'4
large boned, never fat and physically active until he had cancer.  He quit eating at the end and was a skeleton when he passed.   I do not regret my decision and would do it again.  Now I have artheritis and have lost my equlibrium and I still live on my own with a whippet and a cat.  I have found that people are helpful and kind when I'm out and about.  I walk with a cane and can still drive but stairs are like mountains now.  All I want is to keep my mind. :D
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on December 22, 2015, 03:06:03 pm
That is a very inspiring story b-g! Please pass along any tips you can give us!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on December 28, 2015, 05:00:05 pm
This topic is also about giving care to pets. My ancient cat has developed a strange way of eating. She manipulates the shreds of cat food up the sides of the glass food bowl and tries to bite it off the rim. Sometimes the food slides over the rim and on the outside of the bowl so she tries to lick it off and the bowl starts sliding around the room, sometimes turning over and dumping all the food on the floor.

I decided maybe she needs a heavier food bowl with a non-skid bottom. I found one finally but it was $50! Anyone have a better idea?
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: morrobay on December 28, 2015, 09:46:24 pm
Maybe put the food right on a plastic place mat?  Easy clean up.  Or use heavy duty double-sided tape on the bottom of her bowl?
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on December 29, 2015, 08:44:56 am
could you find some non-skid material, and attach it to the bowl with velcrow or glue?
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on December 29, 2015, 11:25:14 am
This is a well-timed thread for me because I've been assigned to write about caregiving for the paper. My editor is a very nice guy but he's terrible at story concepts, so he just asked me to write a story about caregiving. I asked what our angle would be, and he didn't really have any ideas. He said he'd heard the state AARP has some big caregiving initiatives going on, and maybe I could write something about those.

So I emailed a guy at the AARP, who sent me information about a bill they're trying to get passed. It's a pretty minor bill. I can write about it, but it looks like a fairly short and unsubstantial story. He also sent me links to a few AARP pages about caregiving.

One was a page with tips for caregivers: take time for yourself, get help from others, use community resources, deal with your feelings, stay positive, etc. The tips all seemed fine, if a little obvious. Then I started reading the comments. Oh my god. Many of the commenters called the tips ridiculously unrealistic. They talked about how lives are overwhelming, they don't have more than a few minutes to themselves all day, they've had to quit their jobs, can't leave their homes, they're caring for uncooperative or even unpleasant family members, little to no help from other relatives, waiting lists for community resources ... and on and on.

Here's a typical sample:

Quote
JustTired62
What I think, I think life sucks, I'm 61 years old, work a full time job and take care of my mom and my life is horrible. I have no friends, can't go anywhere, because I feel guilty leaving my mom home and she isn't mobile. The only place she goes is Mass on Sunday and comjplains that she is in so much pain but won't give it up. I'm tired and have no help. If I mention nursing home, she goes wild. Threatening to kill herself. I raised three children and now I'm caring for my mom and so tired of the nagging and complaining. whewww, glad to get this off my chest.


I think I'm going to advise my editor that I can write a quick story about the AARP's bill for now, but unless a better angle presents itself, we should wait and take the time to write something more substantial about caregiving, maybe a package of stories covering the challenges, the financial implications, etc. .... and/or some profiles of caregivers. I'm not going to write a page of chirpy little tips -- find time to relax! stay positive! -- and call it a day.

Full-time caregiving sounds very similar to the caring for an infant -- stressful and time-consuming -- except instead of being essentially a cheerful thing because you're watching somebody grow and learn, you're watching somebody decline and eventually die.


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: morrobay on December 29, 2015, 11:41:18 am
I agree, this is a difficult subject to write about from a positive perspective.  If the caregiver has no other family available to help, there is not any break from it. 

It might help some, like the commenter you quoted, just to put it out there, honest and up-front, about how hard it is; people can at least say, "yes, that's how it is", and maybe it could help them to know that others are going through the same thing.  But I think when one is that overwhelmed, it's all they can do to get through the day.

Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on December 29, 2015, 12:36:09 pm
...He also sent me links to a few AARP pages about caregiving.

One was a page with tips for caregivers: take time for yourself, get help from others, use community resources, deal with your feelings, stay positive, etc. The tips all seemed fine, if a little obvious. Then I started reading the comments. Oh my god. Many of the commenters called the tips ridiculously unrealistic. They talked about how lives are overwhelming, they don't have more than a few minutes to themselves all day, they've had to quit their jobs, can't leave their homes, they're caring for uncooperative or even unpleasant family members, little to no help from other relatives, waiting lists for community resources ... and on and on.

I had an issue of AARP Mag on my desk for the longest time. It may have been the same article that you quoted from. I was going to write them about how unrealistic the tips were, but I never got around to it because I didn't have time. What's more, just seeing that article on my desk made me feel resentful. I don't do full time caregiving, but if you count my cat, my grandchildren AND my mother, it just might add up to that! And now there's an ex-boyfriend in there too.

What I think would be a better angle is to write to the people who are likely to become caregivers and help them prepare. For instance, I could have set things up so my brother or sister could be involved even though they're in other cities. Like, to do her taxes or banking. And I should have made them commit to calling her on certain days so that I wouldn't have to bear the burden of calling her every day. I think in order to do a good job at caregiving, you have to go into training and build up your reserves of patience, tolerance, self-preservation and many other qualities. If only people could be more prepared when they enter into this work, it would be more tolerable.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on December 29, 2015, 02:33:12 pm
For instance, I could have set things up so my brother or sister could be involved even though they're in other cities. Like, to do her taxes or banking. 

I did that with my brother when my mom was still in Minneapolis. I asked him to handle her banking and other financial matters. It was for the best, because I can hardly handle my own.


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on January 06, 2016, 12:25:42 am
People think all these gadgets and technology will solve caregiving problems. My brother and his wife are always sending things to my mom, an electric foot massager, a motion-sensing nightlight, several different kinds of canes. They also signed her up for Facebook so they could share photos with her. But all this technology is overwhelming to her and most of it is poorly conceived and cheaply made. Making money off the elderly seems to be the  priority, not making their lives easier or better. Your thoughts?
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on January 06, 2016, 09:30:57 am
I agree.

I sometimes see these "inventions" and don't think they can really help very much, however, it can swing in the other direction as well.

If a elderly person is living alone, and he/she is taught to use Facebook,  they can at least have contact with the outside world.

Mom & Dad are starting to complain of arthitus in their  hands, and using a can opener can be a challenge at times.  They got themselves one of those "Toucan" can openers, works like a breeze!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on January 06, 2016, 10:55:46 am
Apropos of gadgets, my dad recently decided that he wanted to get himself a new bathroom scale, a digital one.

He made two tries. On both, when he got the scale home and took it out of the box, it had a sticker on the scale to the effect that the device was not recommended/shouldn't be used by someone with a pacemaker.  :P

No indication on the box, but a sticker on the actual scale.

He was able to return both scales, but, still, you'd think they'd have the sense to put a warning like that ON THE BOX!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on January 06, 2016, 12:04:28 pm
*shakes head*
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on January 11, 2016, 08:20:11 pm
That's a good example of the headaches that technology can cause. My siblings really feel that there's an easy solution for any complaint my mom has. But it's not that simple. For instance, they sent her a souped-up cane but Mom doesn't know how to use it so she just walks around with the cane in her hand, not touching the floor. This leaves her hand not free to grab hold of railings, etc. or to break any possible fall. Thanks to my mountain climbing experience using trekking poles, I was able to teach her how to use the cane. You put the cane in the hand on the strongest side; for most people that would be the right side. When walking you plant your cane and then put out your weak foot, following with the foot on the stronger side. Always keep three points of contact with the ground. I teach and reteach this but the next time I arrive at Mom's home, she is carrying around her cane again, not using it. When carrying or dangling your cane, you can easily trip over it or catch it on something and fall over.

Worse, Mom gets confused when she gets to her destination. She spends a lot of time trying to figure out where to put her cane, dropping it, and trying to disentangle herself from the wrist strap. She tries to open a door while holding on to her cane, drops the cane and can't open the door. Lately, Mom has been using a walker instead but that requires even more training to use properly.

Don't even get me started on the subject of "adult diapers". Now there's something I have absolutely no experience with. Relatives just don't understand the daily challenges.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on January 12, 2016, 12:08:14 am
Apropos of gadgets, my dad recently decided that he wanted to get himself a new bathroom scale, a digital one.

He made two tries. On both, when he got the scale home and took it out of the box, it had a sticker on the scale to the effect that the device was not recommended/shouldn't be used by someone with a pacemaker.  :P

No indication on the box, but a sticker on the actual scale.

He was able to return both scales, but, still, you'd think they'd have the sense to put a warning like that ON THE BOX!

That is weird. I've worked on editing web pages of information about pacemakers, and what gadgets you should or shouldn't use when you have one, and I haven't seen anything as seemingly innocuous as a digital scale. Most of the things seemed more intensely electric. Now I want to go back and look at the list.

Plus, these days there's hardly anything *but* digital scales, isn't there?



Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on January 12, 2016, 09:16:15 am
No, you can find dial scales if you look hard enough.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on January 12, 2016, 11:54:39 am
That is weird. I've worked on editing web pages of information about pacemakers, and what gadgets you should or shouldn't use when you have one, and I haven't seen anything as seemingly innocuous as a digital scale. Most of the things seemed more intensely electric. Now I want to go back and look at the list.

Well, "they" used to say you shouldn't use a microwave oven if you have a pacemaker. Shrugs. My dad uses his microwave all the time with no ill effects. They're probably covering their asses in case of a lawsuit.

Probably a greater danger of falling off a digital scale than of any ill effect if you have a pacemaker.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on January 12, 2016, 02:14:59 pm
Probably a greater danger of falling off a digital scale than of any ill effect if you have a pacemaker.

lmao.  Trying to imagine someone falling off a scale.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on January 17, 2016, 07:41:46 pm
When my mom gets her teeth cleaned, they can't use the ultrasonic cleaning tool because she has a pacemaker. I have no idea why.

The simplest things become complicated. I try to walk beside my mom when I take her to church so I can grab her if she starts to fall. But she stops often, usually right in the middle of a doorway, and then I have to hop back or forward to keep from blocking the doorway. Also, if I walk behind her she hesitates and looks back frequently to see if I'm still there. So, I've taken to walking out in front of her, to show her the way and give her some incentive to keep going. I know it looks insensitive to anyone who would be observing us, but I can't care about that.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on January 18, 2016, 11:24:00 am
When people are hospitalized it can be very disorienting and they can have mood and personality swings. This can be scary. My mother got day and night mixed up and would call me in the middle of the night. She also thought the staff was plotting against her and wanted to throw her out. All this has gone away since she has a stable home in assisted living now.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on January 23, 2016, 02:15:10 pm
I'd like to talk a little about "care for the caregiver". It can be hard to give care day-in and day-out without getting any care yourself. Lots of advice exists about "don't forget to care for yourself" and "put your own oxygen mask on before you help others" but many times this is just not possible. Especially when you are providing care to several people, as I am, days can seem like you're a ping pong ball ricocheting from one obligation to the next. How do other BetterMostians deal with this problem?
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on January 23, 2016, 03:00:38 pm
When people are hospitalized it can be very disorienting and they can have mood and personality swings. This can be scary. My mother got day and night mixed up and would call me in the middle of the night. She also thought the staff was plotting against her and wanted to throw her out. All this has gone away since she has a stable home in assisted living now.

The first two days after my dad's recent surgery, it appears to me that he experienced a phenomenon known as sundowning. As the day advanced, he got more and more disoriented, and he even had hallucinations. This was very concerning and frightening because there was no way to tell how long this might go on. Fortunately, he always recognized me, and about noon of the second day, he said that he knew that he was seeing things that really weren't there. I was very glad that I had actually read about this phenomenon in my work, so I had an idea what was happening, but it was still scary because I had no idea how long it would continue. By the third day he was over it. I stayed with him from early afternoon till about 6 p.m., and he was completely lucid for the entire time.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on January 26, 2016, 10:46:30 pm
It's good that you recognized that sundowning phenomenon for what it is, friend. My mother also went through that in April when she was hospitalized. I didn't know anything about it at the time and, frankly, I was really afraid that she was going off the deep end. She also had some bad experiences with some pills that the doctor prescribed. I think they were called gabapentin. She had paranoia, suicidal thoughts, etc. Fortunately, she has gotten over all that and is not taking any hard-core drugs.

This topic is also about caregiving for pets. My elderly cat, Diva, is in her last days, I fear. She is 17 years old and last Thursday I noticed that she did not get up and amble towards her food when I put it down next to her water bowl. An hour later, she was still lying where she had been in the morning. I realized that she had lost the use of her hind legs.  :'( Carrying her around like a baby, I fed her, washed her, and put her in her litter box. The next morning, she hadn't improved so I took her to the vet. They ran a battery of tests but couldn't really find anything wrong. They did say that her heart was beating a little fast and her temperature was a degree or two too low.

I brought the kitty home, swaddled her and laid her on a heating pad. She was so much happier! She started purring and stretched out her limbs and relaxed. Since then, I've been giving her a lot of tender loving care, knowing that I can't keep doing this for long. I notified the family that she would be making her last trip to the vet in a few days and my children have come over to say goodbye. My ex asked for her to be kept alive until he could say goodbye, but he's out of town for the week, so I don't know if I can hold off that long.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on January 27, 2016, 09:37:19 am
It's so hard when it comes to pets, isn't it?

What day is your ex due back?  That's a lot of extra work for you to do for a week.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on January 27, 2016, 10:29:02 am
I'm sorry to hear she's near the end of her pilgrimage, but it sounds like you're doing everything you can to make her last days comfortable.

Incidentally, gabapentin was the first drug they gave me for my trigeminal neuralgia. The first dose knocked me for a loop; I had to heave work and go back home to bed. After that I was OK, but ultimately the drug did not keep me pain free. I had to be switched to a small dose of a stronger drug, carbamazepine.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: southendmd on January 27, 2016, 12:09:59 pm
I'm sorry to hear Diva is in hospice.  But I'm glad you can give her a little TLC.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Sason on January 27, 2016, 05:01:35 pm
Sorry to hear about your kitty, Lee.

Hope you can keep her comfortable for her last couple of days.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on January 27, 2016, 10:27:33 pm
Thanks, friends, for your thoughts. Right now things are in a holding pattern. Diva is doing okay but when I return from my appointments, sometimes I find her in distress, trying to drag herself over to her litter box but not being able to. It's kind of amazing, though, how well she navigates around just on her front legs. I'm certainly not ready to take her in for euthanasia, since she is not in pain and I am able to baby her just for a little while.

The vet said if I didn't bring her in within 24 hours of her diagnosis last Friday, I would be subject to an additional $75 examination fee on top of the euthanasia and cremation costs. That's unfair, IMO. I refuse to be pressured into ending her life before we both are ready.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on January 27, 2016, 10:48:28 pm
Thanks, friends, for your thoughts. Right now things are in a holding pattern. Diva is doing okay but when I return from my appointments, sometimes I find her in distress, trying to drag herself over to her litter box but not being able to. It's kind of amazing, though, how well she navigates around just on her front legs. I'm certainly not ready to take her in for euthanasia, since she is not in pain and I am able to baby her just for a little while.

So sorry both of you are going through this, FRiend. Diva is very lucky to have you to care for her.

Quote
The vet said if I didn't bring her in within 24 hours of her diagnosis last Friday, I would be subject to an additional $75 examination fee on top of the euthanasia and cremation costs. That's unfair, IMO. I refuse to be pressured into ending her life before we both are ready.

That's ridiculous and cruel. What pet owner wants to be rushed into ending their pet's life before it's necessary?  >:(



Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on January 28, 2016, 09:48:43 am
That's ridiculous and cruel.

I agree.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on January 28, 2016, 10:19:36 am
The vet said if I didn't bring her in within 24 hours of her diagnosis last Friday, I would be subject to an additional $75 examination fee on top of the euthanasia and cremation costs. That's unfair, IMO.

I don't mean to be devil's advocate here, but did you ask why?

Does seem strange, since this is your regular vet who knows you and your cat.  ???
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on January 28, 2016, 10:26:21 am
I guessed it was because s/he would have to examine Diva again before performing the euthanasia to make sure she really needs it. Maybe there's even some law. But if there's a possibility the answer would be no, doesn't that call into question the reliability of the original diagnosis?

In any case, pet owners are going through enough at that point. Even if the examination is required, I would think the charge is at the vet's discretion and could be waived.


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on January 28, 2016, 11:42:43 am
I'm hoping that's the case, Kathryn. And Jeff, this cat has been remarkably healthy its whole life so it hasn't ever been to the vet. She got her shots at the animal shelter when I first brought her home 17 years ago. Where does the time go? A new development today, she has lost her ability to meow. Fortunately, we have a routine going so I know pretty much when she needs water and food and to visit her litter box. She is still purring!!

Back to elderly parents. There was a comment about how old people love to complain. It used to bother me but then I decided to take a humorous view. I rarely speak out loud about it, but sometimes I try to keep track of my mother's outlandish complaints. The latest one is that her towel slides off the towel bar and lands on the floor. Is she angling for me to replace her towel bar with a hook or ring? I'm sure she would find problems with that too. Perhaps she wants me to stand in the corner of the bathroom and hand her a towel and take the used towel to the laundry, like those poor maids and valets on Downton Abbey.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on January 28, 2016, 11:53:59 am
I guessed it was because s/he would have to examine Diva again before performing the euthanasia to make sure she really needs it. Maybe there's even some law. But if there's a possibility the answer would be no, doesn't that call into question the reliability of the original diagnosis?

I don't think so. It could just be, Not yet.

Quote
In any case, pet owners are going through enough at that point. Even if the examination is required, I would think the charge is at the vet's discretion and could be waived.

A veterinary practice is a business, same as any other business. Things can be done if a pet owner can't afford it, but FR clearly can afford it.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on January 28, 2016, 11:55:53 am
I'm hoping that's the case, Kathryn. And Jeff, this cat has been remarkably healthy its whole life so it hasn't ever been to the vet. She got her shots at the animal shelter when I first brought her home 17 years ago. Where does the time go? A new development today, she has lost her ability to meow. Fortunately, we have a routine going so I know pretty much when she needs water and food and to visit her litter box. She is still purring!!

Seriously? Cats don't need boosters for whatever they get shots for? (I'm sure dogs do.) She never got regular check-ups?
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on January 28, 2016, 01:21:15 pm
Seriously? Cats don't need boosters for whatever they get shots for? (I'm sure dogs do.) She never got regular check-ups?

I spoke to my supervisor, who has two indoor cats. She rather sheepishly admitted that she hasn't taken them to the vet in five years.

Just sayin' to show that I'm learning about cats and their staff.

My supervisor also told me that she once had to have a cat euthanized, and the vet told her pretty much what the vet has told FR; however, in the end, the vet actually charged for the office visit but not for the euthanasia.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on January 28, 2016, 01:45:17 pm
I suppose vets would like cats to come in and have regular checkups and booster shots and all that, but if your cat is happy and healthy, why bother? Even registration is optional for cats. Mine does have a microchip in case she got away.

While I was talking on the phone, Diva jumped down from her chair, dragged herself through the kitchen and hall and into the laundry room and used the paper around her litter box. Good kitty!!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on January 28, 2016, 10:11:21 pm
I don't think so. It could just be, Not yet.

But no, it was FR who didn't follow through, not the vet. The vet presumably said now was fine, hence the 24-hour window for doing it.

Quote
A veterinary practice is a business, same as any other business. Things can be done if a pet owner can't afford it, but FR clearly can afford it.

I'm not saying they should give free services just because the person is grieving. But one diagnosis of "this pet is ready to be put down" seems like enough. If the pet needs to be rediagnosed on the second examination, perhaps just in case the pet's time actually hasn't come and euthanasia isn't appropriate, that implies the first diagnosis was incorrect, and had FR acted on it within the 24 hours she would have euthanized her pet needlessly.


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on January 28, 2016, 10:50:31 pm
I'm not saying they should give free services just because the person is grieving. But one diagnosis of "this pet is ready to be put down" seems like enough. If the pet needs to be rediagnosed on the second examination, perhaps just in case the pet's time actually hasn't come and euthanasia isn't appropriate, that implies the first diagnosis was incorrect, and had FR acted on it within the 24 hours she would have euthanized her pet needlessly.

Or, it can simply confirm the first diagnosis.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on January 29, 2016, 09:13:46 am
Our cat goes to the vet once a year for a check up and a grooming, but I suspect if the grooming wasn't needed, the vet trips would be less.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on January 29, 2016, 09:48:50 pm
Coincidentally, there was a story on NPR today about a dog flu virus that was going around. The story ended with the recommendation to have your dog vaccinated only if he/she goes to indoor doggie day care often.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on January 29, 2016, 10:55:23 pm
I wish I could put Charlie in doggy daycare. He's a very social, high-energy Jack Russell terrier, and although I'm lucky enough to often work from home, at least two or three days a week I leave in the morning and don't return until (at this time of year) after dark. I feel so sorry for him, sitting around all day, alone and bored.

In nicer weather, I at least take him for a walk pretty much every day, at least 30 minutes and often 60. But in winter, I wimp out. It's cold, dark and the sidewalks are icy.

If only I could afford to take him somewhere where he could play with other dogs all day! He'd be in heaven!

Plus, on days when I am home he constantly wants to play "sock chase," a game in which he grabs one of the fuzzy socks I've given him to play with and runs around the living room with it and I chase him around the chairs or wrestle it away from him and throw it for him to go fetch. Let's just say he's entertained by this for longer periods than I am. I indulge him now and then throughout the day, but I've also got work to do. And in between he frequently perches on the chair next to my desk, at best looking at me longingly with big sad eyes, at worst barking in my ear.





Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on January 30, 2016, 12:59:05 pm
R. has a high-strung border collie and the vet advised day care for him one or two days a week. That way, R. can get things done and the border collie gets time with his buddies, gets all tired out playing, and gets some training. But if that is not in the cards for you, you can do things like off-leash dog parks and a dog run in your back yard. Also, herding dogs and terriers need to have jobs to do, or else they develop neuroses from boredom. The simplest thing is a bone that they can chew on. You could also give them a place where they can dig (terriers are bred to ferret out rodents). Fetch is good but requires a lot of your time too.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on January 30, 2016, 03:15:51 pm
you could get one of these things.



[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDTsDxhmNVY[/youtube]

Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on January 30, 2016, 05:12:18 pm
R. has a high-strung border collie and the vet advised day care for him one or two days a week. That way, R. can get things done and the border collie gets time with his buddies, gets all tired out playing, and gets some training. But if that is not in the cards for you, you can do things like off-leash dog parks and a dog run in your back yard. Also, herding dogs and terriers need to have jobs to do, or else they develop neuroses from boredom. The simplest thing is a bone that they can chew on. You could also give them a place where they can dig (terriers are bred to ferret out rodents). Fetch is good but requires a lot of your time too.

It's not so much the exercise -- my backyard is fenced, so he can run around there if he likes. But he doesn't do that much, because what he really wants is social interaction (dog or human). Every few weeks I take him to stay overnight at a friend's who has two dogs and he gets so excited that when I open the car he dashes to the front door and starts flinging himself against it and barking, and when the door opens he scurries inside and immediately begins to play.


you could get one of these things.

It looks like in most cases, it still needs a human sitting there feeding the ball into the funnel. And the actual throwing of the object is really not the biggest part of the problem  :laugh:

But that dog that stood there dancing from one leg to the other with excitement was cute.


The temperature right now is above 40, so I'm going to take him out for a walk.



Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Penthesilea on January 31, 2016, 03:35:19 pm
One easy method to entertain a bored dog is scattering his food all over the garden (house if there's plenty snow).
Of course it has to be dry food and it works only with a greedy feeder.
I used to do this with my Mäxi. He was so greedy, he would have done three somersaults for the tiniest morsel of dry food, lol. Sometimes I threw out his food in the garden by the handful, so it scattered all over the place. That gave him 30 to 45 minutes of hard work, sniffing every inch of the garden. Intensive nosework (literally translated, I don't know the technical term in English) is hard work for a dog.
After that he was always full, happy and knackered.

Mental work is also tiring for dogs. Try teaching him tricks. Clicker training, dummy training are good methods, but you can of course work according to your own ideas. The thing is, 10 or 15 minutes of something that really strains him (mentally or bodily) make him more tired than one hour of jumping after socks inside the house. Jack Russels are high-energy dogs and like you already said, he can easily outplay you with the sock game.
It's also good to have a "start" and "finish" command, so he knows when a session of fun begins/ends. Then you have to be consequent and not throw the socks a single time after saying the finish command, no matter how much he tries to manipulate you into throwing one more time. After a while, he will know and hopefully accept it.

Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on January 31, 2016, 08:18:27 pm
I think after a while, the dog would learn to put the ball in the right area.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on January 31, 2016, 10:46:08 pm
One easy method to entertain a bored dog is scattering his food all over the garden (house if there's plenty snow).
Of course it has to be dry food and it works only with a greedy feeder.
I used to do this with my Mäxi. He was so greedy, he would have done three somersaults for the tiniest morsel of dry food, lol. Sometimes I threw out his food in the garden by the handful, so it scattered all over the place.

This is a great idea, only with Charlie it would have to be treats or nuts or bites of meat or cheese. He does not get excited about dry food. I know some dogs immediately scarf down whatever dry food they're given, but Charlie lets his sit and kind of grazes on it when he's in the mood. (It might have something to do with the fact that I usually give him a bite or two of whatever protein food I eat, plus half a treat as a reward when he comes back in from peeing or pooping outside.  ::) )

Quote
. Intensive nosework (literally translated, I don't know the technical term in English)

I can't think of anything more specific than sniffing or searching, neither of which packs as much meaning into one word as German does -- as usual!

Quote
Mental work is also tiring for dogs.

A dog-loving friend gave me this tip years ago, and I think you're absolutely right. She recommended a toy that you put food inside, and the dog has to figure out how to get it out. Good idea, but I've never seen one.

Quote
Try teaching him tricks. Clicker training, dummy training are good methods, but you can of course work according to your own ideas.

Though this sounds kind of labor intensive for me. To be honest, Charlie barely knows "sit" and "come" because I've been too lazy to teach him and because he's smart and amiable enough that he usually gets the gist of what I want and tries to do it, and if he doesn't he's small enough that I can pick him up. But he does know a few commands. He knows "no," and when he's going outside and tries to take a sock with him, I can say "drop the sock" and he immediately does it.

I think he's forgotten the word "walk" because I haven't dared use it around him in years. But don't even think of saying "squirrel" -- or even anything that sounds remotely like that word. I feel too guilty using that word to trick him to go outside, but really all I have to do is look out a back window and gasp or call his name in a hushed, urgent tone.

Used to be, when he got into things he shouldn't I would tell him to drop it and he'd veeerrrry slowly, very reluctantly, very guiltily do so. Then I would give him a treat as a reward. So eventually he came up with an idea -- he'd go find something he knows he shouldn't have (like, say, the cardboard from a toilet-paper roll), then come into my office and ostentatiously start chewing it where I could hear him. I'd tell him to drop it and he'd eagerly do so, awaiting his treat.

It took him a little longer to figure out that trick than it took my son with his sticker chart. Cy learned after a day or two that if he was doing something naughty but stopped when I told him to, he'd get a sticker. This method was based on advice from a therapist. He quickly learned to start doing a naughty thing on purpose, just so he could obey me and get the sticker. Charlie took more like months or maybe even a couple of years to learn the same lesson. But apparently even my dog is smarter than that therapist.

Quote
It's also good to have a "start" and "finish" command, so he knows when a session of fun begins/ends. Then you have to be consequent and not throw the socks a single time after saying the finish command, no matter how much he tries to manipulate you into throwing one more time. After a while, he will know and hopefully accept it.

Another excellent idea!  :D


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on February 01, 2016, 09:30:36 pm
Quote
... I usually give him a bite or two of whatever protein food I eat
Sounds like it would turn into a big problem fast, like the dog jumping up on your chair or on the table, demanding your food!

Quote
...But don't even think of saying "squirrel" -- or even anything that sounds remotely like that word. I feel too guilty using that word to trick him to go outside, but really all I have to do is look out a back window and gasp or call his name in a hushed, urgent tone.
:laugh: :laugh:

Quote
Used to be, when he got into things he shouldn't I would tell him to drop it and he'd veeerrrry slowly, very reluctantly, very guiltily do so. Then I would give him a treat as a reward. So eventually he came up with an idea -- he'd go find something he knows he shouldn't have (like, say, the cardboard from a toilet-paper roll), then come into my office and ostentatiously start chewing it where I could hear him. I'd tell him to drop it and he'd eagerly do so, awaiting his treat.

... learned after a day or two that if he was doing something naughty but stopped when I told him to, he'd get a sticker. This method was based on advice from a therapist. He quickly learned to start doing a naughty thing on purpose, just so he could obey me and get the sticker. Charlie took more like months or maybe even a couple of years to learn the same lesson. But apparently even my dog is smarter than that therapist.
Occasionally, therapists have dumb ideas and I think this is one of those occasions!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on February 02, 2016, 11:49:18 am
My cat has made a miraculous recovery! Well, she is not yet back to normal, but she is acting more and more like her old irascible self! She's walking around, though weaving like a drunken sailor. Her vitals are pretty much normal (temperature, heart rate, appetite, peeing/pooping). She has resumed waking me up extra early (like 5 am) crying for food, and, for once, I don't mind it so much. She has lost weight, though, and now fits snugly on my lap as I work at my computer. I'm so glad I didn't rush to "put her down" as they say. She brings so much joy and companionship into my life.

Last night I gave her a proper bath. Like most cats, Diva doesn't like water, but she has come to trust me since I give her at least two wipedowns with a hot damp cloth every day (called "oshi" in Japan). She even started purring during the bath!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on February 02, 2016, 12:25:12 pm
My cat has made a miraculous recovery! Well, she is not yet back to normal, but she is acting more and more like her old irascible self! She's walking around, though weaving like a drunken sailor. Her vitals are pretty much normal (temperature, heart rate, appetite, peeing/pooping). She has resumed waking me up extra early (like 5 am) crying for food, and, for once, I don't mind it so much. She has lost weight, though, and now fits snugly on my lap as I work at my computer. I'm so glad I didn't rush to "put her down" as they say. She brings so much joy and companionship into my life.

Last night I gave her a proper bath. Like most cats, Diva doesn't like water, but she has come to trust me since I give her at least two wipedowns with a hot damp cloth every day (called "oshi" in Japan). She even started purring during the bath!

That's amazing!  :D
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on February 02, 2016, 05:30:35 pm
that's great! 
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on February 02, 2016, 09:35:28 pm
Sounds like it would turn into a big problem fast, like the dog jumping up on your chair or on the table, demanding your food!

Nah. Charlie's way too polite for that. Even when he's sitting on my chair with me and then I bring out a plate for myself (to eat while watching TV), he jumps down from the chair -- and goes to sit a few feet in front of me and watch me with a plaintive expression.  :laugh:

He's 7 1/2 years old, so I don't expect he'll start doing anything differently anytime soon.


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on February 02, 2016, 09:39:07 pm
My cat has made a miraculous recovery! Well, she is not yet back to normal, but she is acting more and more like her old irascible self! She's walking around, though weaving like a drunken sailor. Her vitals are pretty much normal (temperature, heart rate, appetite, peeing/pooping). She has resumed waking me up extra early (like 5 am) crying for food, and, for once, I don't mind it so much. She has lost weight, though, and now fits snugly on my lap as I work at my computer. I'm so glad I didn't rush to "put her down" as they say. She brings so much joy and companionship into my life.

Last night I gave her a proper bath. Like most cats, Diva doesn't like water, but she has come to trust me since I give her at least two wipedowns with a hot damp cloth every day (called "oshi" in Japan). She even started purring during the bath!

Great news!  :D

Good thing you didn't take advantage of the vet's 24-hour free offer!  ::)



Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on February 03, 2016, 12:42:16 am
Great news!  :D

Good thing you didn't take advantage of the vet's 24-hour free offer!  ::)


Right! Except that it wasn't a free offer. They would just waive the $75 examination fee. I would still have to pay for the euthanasia. And the cremation is also extra.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on February 03, 2016, 09:07:21 am
Either way, glad to see she's doing better!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on February 03, 2016, 05:59:31 pm
A friend of mine just learned that her older dog has cancer. That's sad, but what's perhaps sadder is that she has another, younger dog, and the two of them are extremely close. The two dogs are Charlie's best friends, though of course their own best friends are each other. They sleep on top of each other and everything.

For my human friend, losing the dog will be hard but not unexpected. For her other dog, though, I would think it would be baffling and tragic.

Even Charlie would probably notice Riley's absence and be sad.

Sometimes I wish I could deal with another dog (financially or in a practical sense, I can't) so Charlie would have a playmate and not get bored and lonely when I'm at work. But the downside is a scenario like this.




Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on February 03, 2016, 07:19:21 pm
For my human friend, losing the dog will be hard but not unexpected. For her other dog, though, I would think it would be baffling and tragic.

It probably will be. My cousin Mike had two dogs, and when the older one died, the younger one wandered around the house looking for his buddy. The survivor made a new friend as soon as Mike got another dog to replace the deceased--although, of course, you can never replace a deceased pet.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on February 04, 2016, 09:14:26 am
THere's a website that discusses the benefits of having other pets in the room for home euthanasia.

http://peacefulendings.net/pets-present-euthanasia/
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on February 04, 2016, 01:35:06 pm
It probably will be. My cousin Mike had two dogs, and when the older one died, the younger one wandered around the house looking for his buddy. The survivor made a new friend as soon as Mike got another dog to replace the deceased--although, of course, you can never replace a deceased pet.

Yes, I have a friend who's done that -- kind of braided her dogs, so that when one dies she gets a new one and always has two. But what if my friend with the sick older dog doesn't want a new second dog?

Luckily, she learned that the cancer hasn't spread, so her dog is undergoing surgery. That's better news, though I hate to imagine what that will cost.  :-\




Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on February 04, 2016, 02:40:44 pm
Yes, I have a friend who's done that -- kind of braided her dogs, so that when one dies she gets a new one and always has two. But what if my friend with the sick older dog doesn't want a new second dog?

Then I guess she'll just have to deal with her surviving dog's grief as well as her own.  :(
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on February 04, 2016, 10:17:20 pm
Then I guess she'll just have to deal with her surviving dog's grief as well as her own.  :(

Right. And I think dog grief is worse. People expect to outlive their dogs. When Riley dies, my friend will know it's coming, will possibly even make the decision herself.

But dogs have no expectation (as far as we know) of death and its inevitability.

So when Riley suddenly isn't there, Dukey won't know where he's gone, or if he's coming back. He'll not only be seriously grieving, but he'll be eternally bewildered -- or at least until he forgets, assuming he eventually does -- by Riley's disappearance.

Luckily, for the moment Riley is home and recuperating from surgery, annoyed that he has to have one of those cones around his neck.


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on February 05, 2016, 09:51:15 am
Gld to hear he's recupping!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on February 05, 2016, 11:17:01 am
Luckily, for the moment Riley is home and recuperating from surgery, annoyed that he has to have one of those cones around his neck.

I've heard them called "Elizabethan collars," but I don't know if that's the real name for them.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on February 05, 2016, 11:20:42 pm
In my neck of the woods, they're called "the cone of shame".

An interesting thing happened tonight. My brother and his wife are in town to celebrate my mom's 89th birthday. Unfortunately, most times when they visit everything turns upside down in a way. It's the first day of their visit but things have started going south already. I invited Mom and them to dinner at my house and everything was going well until at 7:30-ish, I advised them to start heading out because "in an hour or two, it's going to start freezing and will get icy." Maybe I should have drawn them away from Mom's hearing before I said that. Everyone bundled up and started up the stairs. There are about eight steps up from my house to street level. My brother held Mom's arm and she had her cane. I went behind them but shone the flashlight on the ground in front of them. My brother's wife went ahead. At the top of the steps, she said, "Okay, this is completely iced over." We came on and there was no ice, but my mom stiffened up and had to be coaxed up the last few steps. When she got into the car, she said, "This is horrible." It completely negated the whole day for me, although I realize that just isn't fair.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on February 06, 2016, 11:34:41 am
An interesting thing happened tonight. My brother and his wife are in town to celebrate my mom's 89th birthday. Unfortunately, most times when they visit everything turns upside down in a way. It's the first day of their visit but things have started going south already. I invited Mom and them to dinner at my house and everything was going well until at 7:30-ish, I advised them to start heading out because "in an hour or two, it's going to start freezing and will get icy." Maybe I should have drawn them away from Mom's hearing before I said that. Everyone bundled up and started up the stairs. There are about eight steps up from my house to street level. My brother held Mom's arm and she had her cane. I went behind them but shone the flashlight on the ground in front of them. My brother's wife went ahead. At the top of the steps, she said, "Okay, this is completely iced over." We came on and there was no ice, but my mom stiffened up and had to be coaxed up the last few steps. When she got into the car, she said, "This is horrible." It completely negated the whole day for me, although I realize that just isn't fair.

Forgive me for having to ask, but I'm not sure I understand your reaction. Was the whole day negated because you were upset that your mom seemed out of touch with how much ice there actually was?  ???

Maybe it's common for older people to become deathly afraid of falling on ice. My mom used to literally drive the car to the end of the driveway to get the mail from the mailbox in the winter. It was just an average-length driveway, maybe 40 feet or so at most. At the time I thought that was very weird, but now I kind of understand it. Her mobility was poor--she didn't use any walking implements but she walked very slowly and stiffly due to arthritis. And for an older person, a broken hip can lead to a nursing home or even death. Eventually she did break her hip (indoors) and did wind up in a nursing home, never to emerge.

On the other hand, my aunt broke her hip indoors, too, and it wound up being good for her, paradoxically. She went to a nursing home and was in some kind of twilight state of consciousness for six months. She says she even "missed" her birthday. But when she came to, she had lost her taste for hard liquor. Which was good, because she had been drinking too much for years, especially after she lost her partner--they used to have martinis every night at 5, but my aunt was taking that tradition and extending it to an unhealthy amount. Anyway, she continued to live in the nursing home for a while, so although she would still have some beer or wine when she went out for dinner, the environment didn't really allow for drinking on a daily basis. Now she's in assisted living, and last I heard she's doing fine.





Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on February 06, 2016, 12:51:00 pm
Well, maybe I did exaggerate a little...it didn't ruin the entire day, but it was very discouraging. You are completely right, old people are terrified of ice, etc. What really got to me was my brother and his wife's insensitivity. She said, in what I imagined was an accusing voice, "Okay, this part's completely iced over" right before my mom was going to step on it. But when I shined my flashlight on that area, it was just wet, no ice. Maybe because she lives in LA, she doesn't even know how to recognize ice. Nevertheless, I'm not going to invite them to my house anymore until spring, so there!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on February 06, 2016, 01:03:00 pm
I'm sorry to hear your mother's birthday dinner ended on such a sour note.  :(
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on February 06, 2016, 05:57:03 pm
Well, maybe I did exaggerate a little...it didn't ruin the entire day, but it was very discouraging. You are completely right, old people are terrified of ice, etc. What really got to me was my brother and his wife's insensitivity. She said, in what I imagined was an accusing voice, "Okay, this part's completely iced over" right before my mom was going to step on it. But when I shined my flashlight on that area, it was just wet, no ice. Maybe because she lives in LA, she doesn't even know how to recognize ice. Nevertheless, I'm not going to invite them to my house anymore until spring, so there!

Ohhhhhh, OK. I thought it was your mother who said the area was completely iced over -- I missed that it was actually your SIL. Well, maybe she meant no harm, or really did think it was icy. But if it discouraged you that much I'd say you're well within your rights to take a long break between invitations!  :)


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on February 08, 2016, 10:12:54 am
I'd wait until Spring as well!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on February 08, 2016, 04:33:39 pm
This topic can be helpful as a place for us to commiserate with each other, but the main purpose of it is to share ideas and resources. I would do well to keep this in mind!

That said, I need to pass along another anecdote from this past weekend's visit from well-meaning siblings. Unfortunately, the same day my brother and his wife came to town, my mother came down with a cold. It was very unfortunate because she had been very jazzed up and with-it while getting ready for his visit, but then turned into a practically helpless person who couldn't even put a complete sentence together once they arrived. Obviously the cold and subsequent lack of a proper night's sleep affected her physically and mentally. She complained of a terrible cough also but I only heard her cough a couple of times during the 4 days they were visiting.

Just before they left, my brother and his wife mentioned that when they had arrived at Mom's apartment, she was coughing really bad. So, they said that they had gone out and bought her a selection of over-the-counter cough and cold medicines and left them in her room. They admitted that they knew that such things were not allowed in assisted living facilities. Mom must have a doctor's orders or prescription for anything she takes, even mouthwash and vitamins. Her medicines and supplements are dispensed by a nurse from a locked room in the main office. So, I rushed over to her place and confiscated the antihistamine tablets and the cough suppressant liquid. It looks like she took one dose of the Delsym 12-hour cough liquid plus one of the prescription strength antihistamine 10 mg tablets, probably together. I left her the cough drops although I have my doubts about them too. I'm a person who doesn't even take aspirin very often, so this rattled me to the core.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on February 09, 2016, 09:26:59 am
It makes no sense that your family would give her those drugs.   They need to learn to be better caregivers.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on February 09, 2016, 10:24:08 am
Odd that residents-guests-patients-whatever they call them aren't even allowed mouthwash, but I'm sure some of them are so out-of-it that they would drink the mouthwash, which would not be a good thing.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on February 09, 2016, 01:26:43 pm
Sad story! It's too bad it impaired your mom's enjoyment of their visit. The cough would have been a problem, too, but obviously something the staff should have been assigned to manage.

You created this thread and so are entitled to define its purpose and content, but I think it's a great place for commiseration, which caregivers can always use. Ideas and resources are helpful but since we all have quite different caregiving experiences and/or duties as well as different geographical locations, our needs and resources may not often overlap.

So I'd encourage you to come here for commiseration whenever the need arises!  :)


 
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on February 09, 2016, 10:37:09 pm
Odd that residents-guests-patients-whatever they call them aren't even allowed mouthwash, but I'm sure some of them are so out-of-it that they would drink the mouthwash, which would not be a good thing.

Yes, I'm afraid you're right, plus they might over-use the mouthwash or just dump it down the drain because they don't like the taste. I have been through this...found a whole tube of toothpaste in the trash because the taste wasn't to Mom's liking!  >:(
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on February 10, 2016, 09:10:23 am
When left to their own devices, personal  care/hygene and even nutrition will go out the window.

I remember before my grandmother was in the facility, we went to visit her at home, and found very little food in the refridgerator, it was all food grandpa liked.

Grandma had been buying herself popcicles, and that's what she was sustaining  hersef on, claimed  it was all she wanted.

Mom went out and got some real food for grandma, and also got some popcicles that had more "substance" to them.  She got ones made of pudding so that gram would get some diary into her, and some made with real fruit, so she'd get  the nutrition in  her from the fruit.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on February 21, 2016, 02:39:59 pm
Oftentimes I forget to check in mom's fridge when I visit her. This time I remembered and I found some soup that had mold growing on the top of it and a strange-looking tupperware full of some unfamiliar stuff. Mom said they were "pickled peanuts" and that I had given them to her. I had no idea that pickled peanuts are a real thing and have never eaten any, much less given some to Mom. What probably happened is that another resident got some, couldn't eat them or didn't like them, and gave them to Mom. That kind of thing happens all the time.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on February 21, 2016, 04:33:01 pm
I think I'm going to tell my dad to get a grab bar installed in the bathroom, and that he should let me know how much it costs, and I'll write him a check, and that will be his birthday present this year.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on February 21, 2016, 07:43:59 pm
Not a bad idea.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on February 25, 2016, 06:25:39 pm
Mom has a grab bar in her bathroom that also functions as a towel holder. She claims it is too slippery and the towel has a tendency to fall on the floor. Always bothering me to have it replaced and I understand she also nags the maintenance man about it too.

When my brother was visiting, mom asked him to buy her a new toilet. She claims this toilet is too low, she wants a higher one that is easier to sit down on and get up from.

Also, she put a sign on her door asking whomever to replace the hand shower thingy in her bathroom with one that has a longer hose.

She also thinks it takes too long for the water to heat up so she can take a shower, so she'd like the water heater replaced with a more powerful one.

Other than that, the bathroom's perfect! Now, on to the rest of the place...
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on February 25, 2016, 08:15:13 pm
When my brother was visiting, mom asked him to buy her a new toilet. She claims this toilet is too low, she wants a higher one that is easier to sit down on and get up from.

You can buy devices that raise the seat of an existing toilet without having to replace the entire toilet--an expensive and inconvenient proposition, to be sure. My maternal grandparents had one of those things years ago.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on February 25, 2016, 08:15:52 pm
Other than that, the bathroom's perfect!

:laugh:
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on February 25, 2016, 10:30:23 pm
Mom has a grab bar in her bathroom that also functions as a towel holder. She claims it is too slippery and the towel has a tendency to fall on the floor. Always bothering me to have it replaced and I understand she also nags the maintenance man about it too.

When my brother was visiting, mom asked him to buy her a new toilet. She claims this toilet is too low, she wants a higher one that is easier to sit down on and get up from.

Also, she put a sign on her door asking whomever to replace the hand shower thingy in her bathroom with one that has a longer hose.

She also thinks it takes too long for the water to heat up so she can take a shower, so she'd like the water heater replaced with a more powerful one.

Other than that, the bathroom's perfect! Now, on to the rest of the place...

Could you step in and ask the management whether it's possible to get them replaced? If they say yes, then you can expect it to be done. If not, then you can tell your mom to stop bugging them and deal with the annoying feng shui, or if it seems like a real problem you can figure out a different solution.

If she's living in a place designed for older people, they really should have those things figured out or be ready to fix them. If the toilet really is low your mom probably isn't the only one who has problems with it.


You can buy devices that raise the seat of an existing toilet without having to replace the entire toilet--an expensive and inconvenient proposition, to be sure. My maternal grandparents had one of those things years ago.

Yup. You can buy them at Target, I think. A few years ago I was on vacation with a group of friends who went horseback riding and two of us were thrown by our horses. One of them was me, but I was only bruised. The other broke her pelvis and was taken off the trail on a stretcher. She spent the rest of the vacation in a chair on the porch of our cabin. We had to help her to the bathroom. She had problems with the height of the toilet seat, so we bought one of those toilet-elevating gizmos at either a Target or somewhere similar.



Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on February 26, 2016, 09:49:19 am
(http://www.rehabmart.com/include-mt/img-resize.asp?path=/imagesfromrd/IND-ZCHRTS01.jpg&width=200&height=169)


(http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/NTAwWDUwMA==/z/KPkAAOxygPtS-puP/$_3.JPG?set_id=2)
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on February 26, 2016, 07:07:59 pm
I'm glad I didn't post about this on my blog, where I'd have to endure looking at pictures of toilet accessories! But thanks for doing some research on it...now I have no excuse but to get this potty business done! I don't for a second think this will put an end to the complaints though. I can just hear her now asking for a heated toilet seat with padding and a backrest, and a gold plated flush lever, no less!!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on February 27, 2016, 12:39:03 pm
(http://www.einteriorsgh.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/bathroom-accessories.jpg)
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on February 27, 2016, 10:06:45 pm
Thanks a whole heck of a lot, friend!!

These "granny pods" are being advertised as an alternative/solution to nursing homes. There's only one problem. No nurse! These are small homes that you build in your back yard and you install your elderly mother there. But people don't think about the fact that you then need to interact with your elderly relative several times a day, which mostly means dealing with crises and cleaning up after them as you would a baby.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: brian on February 28, 2016, 12:20:07 am
We were extremely lucky although it was a financial drain on me for a few years. My sister lives in a unit block (I think you call them a condominium- apartments but privately owned). She and her husband own a 3 bedder but we were able to buy a 1 bedder on the same level for my mother at the end of 1999. Mum lived there until 2006 gradually becoming more dependent on my sister. An intercom meant she only had to press the button and my sister would run down the corridor (usually about 2am) to take her to the bathroom. We had one of those toilet seats ( I guess my sister still has it) I have the special seat for sitting in the shower and use it as a bathroom seat. By the end, my sister could not really leave the building so I went 2 or 3 days per week and sat with Mum. I was only working part-time by then. It was a 2 hour train ride each way or about an hour and a half by car which I usually only did on Sunday. We had a lady stay 4 hours one afternoon per week but Mum was not so comfortable with that as having one of us.
Mum never complained about anything and would have gone into a nursing home. Her name came up several times but my sister stuck it out and she died in her bed with home nursing sisters present. We think she chose that time as being less bother for us. In the last week I stayed, sleeping on the lounge knowing the end was near. I had to give her 4 hourly injections with morphine. Mum was one month short of 97.
The only real downside was my sister has severe arthritis and crooked fingers. She could not have the necessary operation because she would have been unable to bath and generally assist Mum. She had one operation 6 weeks ago and her finger had a pin until last week and she still has a hand splint. But at 81 years old herself now, it will never be as good as if she had had the operations 10 years ago.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on February 28, 2016, 06:50:35 pm
These "granny pods" are being advertised as an alternative/solution to nursing homes. There's only one problem. No nurse! These are small homes that you build in your back yard and you install your elderly mother there. But people don't think about the fact that you then need to interact with your elderly relative several times a day, which mostly means dealing with crises and cleaning up after them as you would a baby.

Yes, exactly. Why I wish I knew how to convince my dad to sell the house and move to a retirement community. So if he ever again wakes up in the middle of the night having trouble breathing because of his congestive heart failure, there will be a nurse on duty he can call, instead of having to call 911 himself and then wait for the paramedics by himself.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on February 29, 2016, 01:08:20 pm
These "granny pods" are being advertised as an alternative/solution to nursing homes. There's only one problem. No nurse! These are small homes that you build in your back yard and you install your elderly mother there. But people don't think about the fact that you then need to interact with your elderly relative several times a day, which mostly means dealing with crises and cleaning up after them as you would a baby.

I think people who have those are generally people who want to interact with their elderly relative. And some have small children, so they get a built-in babysitter.

But yeah, if your elderly relative is in need of nursing car or help with ordinary daily activities, assisted living is probably the better choice.




 
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on March 08, 2016, 01:11:28 pm
(http://www.rehabmart.com/include-mt/img-resize.asp?path=/imagesfromrd/IND-ZCHRTS01.jpg&width=200&height=169)

(http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/NTAwWDUwMA==/z/KPkAAOxygPtS-puP/$_3.JPG?set_id=2)
When my bro was here a week or so ago, he went to a medical supply place and bought an elevated toilet seat like the first example that friend Chuck so helpfully posted. But the maintenance man refused to install it because he said it was "unsafe". When I took it back, the sales lady rolled her eyes but allowed me to exchange it for one that looks like the second model. That one will probably also be unacceptable to the maintenance guy, but he's not running the show. Well, maybe he is, but I will duke it out with him if I have to!!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on March 08, 2016, 04:04:40 pm
I hope it gets installed soon, so your mom can be comfortable.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on March 22, 2016, 11:23:24 pm
The new and improved "throne" seems to be acceptable, although Mom would prefer to have a fluffy plush seat lined in lavender maribou.  ::) Seriously, folks, you have to keep a sense of humor about these things. And then there's me, used to having my toilet be a pile of hay in Nepal. Could there ever be such a mismatched mother and daughter?

So I'm a little down in the dumps today. Elderly people often have infections and communicative diseases. Even more so, young people. Very young people. When I went over to babysit my grandsons and 6-month-old granddaughter today, I just had a feeling that she was harboring a cold. Though charming as usual, she was a bit fussy, and I had to use a half of a large box of tissues to keep her nose clear. Just an hour after the babysitting, I could feel myself coming down with a cold. I was wracked with shivers, burdened down with exhaustion and very thirsty. I had to take a 2-hour nap before beginning my work. It meant I didn't end my work day until after 9 pm but that's okay, since I often worked that late when in the corporate world.

Yesterday I had different health problems. Heart palpitations, coughing and general exhaustion. I consulted my doctor this morning and found out to my surprise that it's nothing serious. I've never had those symptoms before and it scared me. The whole episode left me vulnerable and wide open to the attack of cold symptoms. I hope it's better from here on, but they're predicting a blizzard tomorrow and I'm supposed to take Mom to a dental cleaning appointment.

Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on March 23, 2016, 08:50:19 am
Ugh.......hope you all are feeling better soon.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on March 23, 2016, 09:33:11 am
The new and improved "throne" seems to be acceptable, although Mom would prefer to have a fluffy plush seat lined in lavender maribou.  ::) Seriously, folks, you have to keep a sense of humor about these things. And then there's me, used to having my toilet be a pile of hay in Nepal. Could there ever be such a mismatched mother and daughter?

Well, to be fair, you're also mismatched by 20+ years and some health problems. But your mom doesn't sound like she was necessarily the pile-of-hay type even in her younger years (me neither, to be honest).

Quote
So I'm a little down in the dumps today. Elderly people often have infections and communicative diseases. Even more so, young people. Very young people. When I went over to babysit my grandsons and 6-month-old granddaughter today, I just had a feeling that she was harboring a cold. Though charming as usual, she was a bit fussy, and I had to use a half of a large box of tissues to keep her nose clear. Just an hour after the babysitting, I could feel myself coming down with a cold. I was wracked with shivers, burdened down with exhaustion and very thirsty. I had to take a 2-hour nap before beginning my work. It meant I didn't end my work day until after 9 pm but that's okay, since I often worked that late when in the corporate world.

Yesterday I had different health problems. Heart palpitations, coughing and general exhaustion. I consulted my doctor this morning and found out to my surprise that it's nothing serious. I've never had those symptoms before and it scared me. The whole episode left me vulnerable and wide open to the attack of cold symptoms. I hope it's better from here on, but they're predicting a blizzard tomorrow and I'm supposed to take Mom to a dental cleaning appointment.

Feel better soon! I hate all those aches and pains that seem to pile up with aging. I've got something wrong with my left leg and my right wrist and my left hip and ... yuck. Plus, we too are predicted to get a snowstorm.

Oh well, hopefully by the weekend both us and the weather will be better!  :D


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on April 15, 2016, 02:08:05 pm
Mom has been taking the lower dosage of Coreg since Wednesday and she woke up today and had no dizziness!! I am vindicated! (Well, it's actually a little too soon to say.)
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on April 16, 2016, 02:12:46 pm
Good news!  Thanks for letting us know!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on April 18, 2016, 11:43:05 am
The latest Mom mystery grew over the weekend. I began to get calls from her saying that the doctor's office called and they wanted to see her right away. She began to get very agitated and seemed to think she was very sick. I probably didn't mask my irritation enough and this made things worse. I didn't believe that the doctor's office would call her on a Sunday. I told her several times that I would call and set up an appointment but I didn't.

So, the mystery was solved when I got a call from the physical therapist on Monday morning, wanting to set an appointment. They HAD called her on Sunday and had confused her and them both.

I had them use my phone number instead of Mom's to communicate, as when various professionals call her she gets the info all garbled and is confused and angry.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on April 19, 2016, 08:04:18 am
At least you solved the mystery.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on April 27, 2016, 11:41:35 am
Super sleuths make the best caregivers, I'm finding. Once you think you have solved a mystery, it just gets deeper and more gnarly.

My mother has started to call me in the middle of the night and very late at night, very agitated. THis is known as Sundowner's Syndrome and is an ordeal for the person AND the caregiver. Last night's call was from my very disgusted mother saying that her phys therapist didn't show up yesterday morning and she had spent the whole day waiting for him.

So I called the main office and they read me his detailed notes. It is clear that he had visited and worked with her. So, maybe she lost track of time. Her short-term memory is pretty much gone, so that could have been a factor as well.

But the bottom line is, she suffered. And there's not a damn thing I can do about it.  >:(
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on April 27, 2016, 02:18:04 pm
damn, sorry to hear that.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Penthesilea on April 27, 2016, 05:27:23 pm
Quote
My mother has started to call me in the middle of the night and very late at night, very agitated. THis is known as Sundowner's Syndrome and is an ordeal for the person AND the caregiver.


Yes, it is. I remember times when my mother called me twenty or thirty times a day (or night), only to scream at me for whatever imagined reason. :P

If it gets too bad you just have to protect yourself. An overly exhausted caregiver can't provide the help necessary.
Depending on how often this happens and how often and what times she calls, think about putting off one of your phones (the one she uses). Either put off your cell-phone from, say, 9PM and tell all your contacts to use your landline after 9PM. Or vice versa. Granted that she has help other than you available in an emergency case.
I hope it won't get that bad with your mother, but it's a thought to keep in the back of your mind.

When my mother finally moved into a locked ward the first thing I decided was to not give her a private phone connection. Pure self-defense. Oh, sweet relief.

Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on April 27, 2016, 09:34:54 pm
I guess I was lucky. My mom never called me. When we talked, it was always me calling her.

Her Alzheimer's involved dementia, of course, but thankfully not mood issues. When I asked if she'd had a good time when my uncle was in town, she said, "He was here? Hunh. He never visited me." Like, yeah right -- that was the whole reason he went there. But she seemed only mildly miffed about it.


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on April 27, 2016, 10:00:13 pm
This isn't a caregiving issue because I'm not this person's caregiver, but it's been mystifying and upsetting me for the past two days and since I don't have a blog and don't want to derail someone else's blog, I'm posting it here.

Yesterday, I saw a news item about a mail carrier in my area who'd been charged with DWI. She was in her mail truck, was seen almost hitting another car, then slammed into a stop sign.

Her blood-alcohol content was just under .30 -- that's more than 3 1/2 times the legal limit. It's pretty much "she should be taken to a hospital" level. According to google, .30 can put you in a coma, and .40 can kill you.

It was 11 a.m.

The woman was my childhood best friend.

Same name, including middle name, same date of birth. She lives near where we grew up. A couple of TV stations had the police mug shots. She didn't look good, but it was definitely her. Very haggard, angry. But then, who looks good in a mug shot when they're super drunk and just had a car crash.

It is so weird I can hardly get my mind around it. We were best friends as little kids, then again in junior high. Her family lived next to mine, so I knew the whole family pretty well, including her 5 sisters. Then they moved to a different town. We reconnected in college, lost touch again, then reconnected about 18-19 years ago when we discovered we were living in the same part of town and had sons the same age. She was married, working as a flight attendant, had the one son. She was always extremely responsible, hardworking, frugal, etc. She drank, but just a normal amount.

After we'd hung out on and off for a year or so, she mysteriously stopped speaking to me. No explanation. She moved from our neighborhood to a suburb about 10 miles away without even mentioning she was moving. I haven't seen her since.

The few people I've talked about this with seem to assume her worst problem is the DWI. It's not. She will have a record, may go to jail for a few days, will lose her license for a while, etc. She'll lose her PO job, and losing a job at 59 is a problem.

But if you're drinking heavily enough to have a .30 BAC at 11 a.m. -- you've got a serious, serious problem. Like a potentially fatal problem.

One of the news stories quoted an anonymous friend saying she'd had some hard times lately. But what?? What could have caused her life to go so wrong?


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Penthesilea on April 28, 2016, 02:12:37 am

I'm sorry to hear your (former) friend has such problems.

Quote
The few people I've talked about this with seem to assume her worst problem is the DWI. It's not.
[...]
But if you're drinking heavily enough to have a .30 BAC at 11 a.m. -- you've got a serious, serious problem. Like a potentially fatal problem.


Yes, I totally agree.

One of our profs at university called it the difference between drunken drivers and driving drunks. A drunken driver is just that, a person who consumed alcohol but still is driving a vehicle (which of course is dangerous and possibly fatal). A driving drunk is a professional alcoholic who just happens to be driving a car when caught.


If you have 0.3 (that's 2.37 ‰ for Germans, Swedes, etc; I had to google it) at 11 AM you are a driving drunk, not a drunken driver. If you are still able to operate a car at all with 0.3 you are a serious alcoholic. I hope for your friend that being caught and losing her job is rock bottom and a turning point for her, not just anther step on a downward spiral. :-\

I can relate that you wonder what caused her life to derail.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on April 28, 2016, 09:23:08 am
I guess I was lucky. My mom never called me. When we talked, it was always me calling her.

Her Alzheimer's involved dementia, of course, but thankfully not mood issues. When I asked if she'd had a good time when my uncle was in town, she said, "He was here? Hunh. He never visited me." Like, yeah right -- that was the whole reason he went there. But she seemed only mildly miffed about it.


Thankfully, when grandma's dementia was bad, she was in a facility, and really didn't have access to a phone.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on April 28, 2016, 09:28:53 am
This isn't a caregiving issue because I'm not this person's caregiver, but it's been mystifying and upsetting me for the past two days and since I don't have a blog and don't want to derail someone else's blog, I'm posting it here.

You are always able to post something like this to my blog, as long as you want comments on your posts.  I don't consider my blog "sacred" in any way, and wouldn't mind at all if people posted to it with topics like  yours.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on April 28, 2016, 09:56:54 am
You are always able to post something like this to my blog, as long as you want comments on your posts.  I don't consider my blog "sacred" in any way, and wouldn't mind at all if people posted to it with topics like  yours.

Good to know, Chuck, thanks! I thought maybe you'd be hospitable that way, but didn't want to assume/impose. I'll keep that in mind for the future.  :D



Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on April 28, 2016, 10:07:35 am
One of our profs at university called it the difference between drunken drivers and driving drunks. A drunken driver is just that, a person who consumed alcohol but still is driving a vehicle (which of course is dangerous and possibly fatal). A driving drunk is a professional alcoholic who just happens to be driving a car when caught.


If you have 0.3 (that's 2.37 ‰ for Germans, Swedes, etc; I had to google it) at 11 AM you are a driving drunk, not a drunken driver. If you are still able to operate a car at all with 0.3 you are a serious alcoholic. I hope for your friend that being caught and losing her job is rock bottom and a turning point for her, not just anther step on a downward spiral. :-\


Good way to distinguish them. Someone who is that drunk at 11 a.m., at work, is probably drunk much of the time. In fact, it's odd that nobody noticed it at work earlier, though I have another friend who works at the post office in a different city who had a coworker who frequently came to work drunk. Maybe the PO doesn't really crack down on that?  ???  Her coworker eventually fell down the stairs in her home and died.

And someone who's drinking that much is on a dangerous path -- if not from stairs then from the effects of the alcohol itself.

Quote
I hope for your friend that being caught and losing her job is rock bottom and a turning point for her, not just anther step on a downward spiral.

I know. Seems like it could go either way, doesn't it? If she was already dealing with hard times, then the expense of the DWI, shame, possible jail time and job loss certainly won't make her feel better. But maybe she'll realize she needs help. Luckily she comes from a big family; hopefully they'll be supportive.



Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on April 28, 2016, 10:25:52 am
I define this topic very broadly. It's for anyone who gives care or cares about someone else, a pet, a cause, or even the planet. We have similar sets of needs, starting with taking care of ourselves, retaining our sanity, making sense and meaning out of it all.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on April 28, 2016, 11:26:27 am
This isn't a caregiving issue because I'm not this person's caregiver, but it's been mystifying and upsetting me for the past two days and since I don't have a blog and don't want to derail someone else's blog, I'm posting it here.

Yesterday, I saw a news item about a mail carrier in my area who'd been charged with DWI. She was in her mail truck, was seen almost hitting another car, then slammed into a stop sign.

Her blood-alcohol content was just under .30 -- that's more than 3 1/2 times the legal limit. It's pretty much "she should be taken to a hospital" level. According to google, .30 can put you in a coma, and .40 can kill you.

It was 11 a.m.

The woman was my childhood best friend.

Wow. I don't wonder you're mystified and upset. I'm sorry to hear your old/former friend has come to such a pass.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on May 09, 2016, 10:03:18 am
My ever-so-helpful brother in LA didn't call or write me for Mother's Day (and as of 5:30 pm, he hadn't called or written my mother either) but he did text me a link to an article about how nursing homes are turning to eviction to get rid of difficult patients. Nice.  :P
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on May 09, 2016, 02:19:05 pm
Geeez....sounds like a bit of a jerk.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on May 19, 2016, 10:52:37 pm
I had a strange dream. My mom has been wanting to get her eyes checked. Unfortunately, her insurance only allows her to get her eyes checked once every 6 months. So, I'm in the uncomfortable position of having to stall her for 2 months before she can get her eyes checked again. She actually called my daughter complaining that I was neglecting her from taking her to an eye exam. My dream last night my brother was supposed to go to a doctors appointment but refused to go. I ended up pushing him in the door in a major effort. I woke up with my heart pounding and I realized I was enraged. It was quite scary.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on May 20, 2016, 12:43:28 pm
I hate nightmares like  that....I had a family based one last night, my mother was telepathically telling me to call my brother, which I didn't want to do, and she wouldn't let me sleep until I agreed, and we were having this silent argument through telepathy.

lol
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on May 21, 2016, 11:03:12 am
Wow, let us know how the call to your bro works out!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on May 21, 2016, 09:33:13 pm
I"m not calling him, I've got nothing to say to him.   I don't mean that in a "we're fighting" way, I mean it in a 'there's nothing to talk about" way.  We see each other's posts on FB and that'show we're in touch.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on May 22, 2016, 10:45:46 pm
Ohhh Kayyy.  :-\ Elaborate if you'd like.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on May 23, 2016, 10:16:10 am
Nothing sad, just two very different people.

he's into sports, married, likes action and war movies, goes out drinking with friends, likes bathroom humor.

I like reading, single, watch comedies and horror, stay at home type, likes sexual or religious humor.

There's just not a lot of commonalities to talk about.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on May 26, 2016, 01:20:43 pm
I've come to really appreciate how well my bro and I get along. When we were little we fought, and even into high school we had our spats over use of the car or whatever, but by then we had friends and social activities in common (we're a year and a half apart in age). Now we share a lot of friends, and although he's different in some ways (doesn't read that much, probably isn't quite as political as I am, is a geologist) we have enough in common that when we visit it's yak yak yak yak. As Lee can attest.  :laugh:

But then, he has tons of friends in general -- and friendly friends, at that. I feel like I'm losing mine. A couple of once-close friends are now more distant (though we're still on friendly terms) for reasons I don't fully understand, and others are perfectly friendly but have become more of homebodies. That and my relative isolation at work have made me feel really lonely at times when the kids are away at school. And soon they'll be away-away -- and both swear they will not be living in Minnesota.

That's the main reason (that and the climate) that I keep thinking of moving to Denver. I'd know Lee, my brother, and a couple of other people, and hopefully I could meet their friends, who seem a bit more active and outgoing than my own.

I interact with a lot of people on FB whom I've never met in person. Or, in some cases, just met once. I got one of my part-time jobs thanks to a referral by a woman I'm friends with on FB (we have mutual friends) but have never met in person.

Then there's you guys!  :D ! As on FB, I haven't met you all in person, but one of you I'm hoping to meet in a couple of weeks!  :D






Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on June 07, 2016, 10:51:10 am
What caregiving issues would we like to talk about? It can involve pets too. Maybe, I don't know, new cars as well!  8)
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: brian on June 07, 2016, 03:24:35 pm
My sister and I chat on Skype every morning for about 20 minutes or more unless I am going out. Due to the time difference, I ring her at 7.45am my time but 5.45am her time. She gets up early to go down and collect the newspaper in her 8 storey unit block before someone steals it. Her husband does not get up until about 8am so we have the time to ourselves.
We are completely opposite on politics so we usually avoid talking about that. Sometimes we argue and she has hung up on me but the next day we contact again as if nothing has happened. She is 10 years older than me and sometimes hassles me over health matters or tells me what to do which can be irritating.
She was upset when I told her I was moving to NZ but now accepts it was the best decision for me. We do miss going to the movies together. She sometimes goes with her girlfriend while I go by myself. Her husband has completely different tastes in movies. She visits me for about 10 days each year but will not leave her husband for any longer. He is showing signs of early dementia which is worrying.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on June 08, 2016, 08:49:04 am
I think my dad may be going off the deep end.....he wants to vote for Trump.

::)
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on June 08, 2016, 11:05:33 pm
 :-X
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on June 09, 2016, 08:56:43 am
exactly
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on June 15, 2016, 12:03:13 am
I'm thinking maybe I should keep my mouth shut more often. After taking my mom to her latest teeth cleaning appointment, I made some offhand remark about how she needs to keep her remaining teeth because that's the only thing her false teeth can attach to (she doesn't have enough jaw bone left to attach false teeth to). Later that same evening, her false teeth mysteriously disappeared. After ransacking her apartment and putting out an all-points-bulletin to the staff, we had to conclude that they had somehow disappeared in the trash.

Then, a couple of days ago, I asked mom how she was coming along with the exercises that the physical therapist had assigned her. "Oh I haven't been doing them," she said. "Why?" I asked. "I just didn't feel like it." she answered. So I said that if she didn't do her exercises, I wasn't going to take her to my house for events or to my daughter's or anywhere, because it was just too much work to try to get her in and out of the car and to the location, etc. She looked thoughtful. So, today, I dropped by to give her some things she had requested and she says, "Someone took the exercises out of my room." I looked everywhere and they were nowhere to be found. Must. Keep. Mouth. Shut.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on June 15, 2016, 09:02:15 am
(((Lee)))
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on June 15, 2016, 10:53:01 pm
Thank you, dear friend.  :-*
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on June 16, 2016, 09:06:30 am
Hope she becomes more cooperative soon!!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on June 16, 2016, 09:24:48 am
That's too bad about her false teeth.  :(
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on June 16, 2016, 11:05:49 am
I'm going to have to talk to the home where she lives about not taking away her trash. It's another thing I'm going to have to take on myself.  :P
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on June 17, 2016, 11:52:31 am
Yeah, that may be a smart thing to do.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on July 21, 2016, 04:25:09 pm
Just two days after I took mom in for her final fitting on her new false teeth, the old dentures were found. The cleaning lady was cleaning under the sink in her kitchenette, behind the pipes, and found them pushed back next to the wall. Amazing! I asked mom how they could have gotten there and she didn't have a clue.

I have a theory of how this happened and I'll tell you if anybody's interested. Meanwhile, I'm going to keep the spare teeth for safekeeping.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on July 21, 2016, 04:56:50 pm
Just two days after I took mom in for her final fitting on her new false teeth, the old dentures were found. The cleaning lady was cleaning under the sink in her kitchenette, behind the pipes, and found them pushed back next to the wall. Amazing! I asked mom how they could have gotten there and she didn't have a clue.

I have a theory of how this happened and I'll tell you if anybody's interested. Meanwhile, I'm going to keep the spare teeth for safekeeping.

Oh, do tell!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on July 21, 2016, 05:41:04 pm
I fancy that I'm being Sherlock here, and you know what he said that, when every theory that proves false is stripped away, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. So, I'm guessing that after mom lost her teeth and everybody was looking all over for them and I started taking away her trash and inspecting it, she found her teeth somewhere. She decided to hide them where nobody could find them. But the cleaning lady did, and since the cleaning lady knew about it, she couldn't just hide them again. This is a symptom of dementia; poor decision making and wanting to cover up any flaws.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on July 21, 2016, 08:36:54 pm
very possible.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on July 21, 2016, 08:50:52 pm
I think that makes sense.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on July 23, 2016, 10:16:23 am
After mom's false teeth were found, my daughter found something she had been looking for for two months: her Bluetooth device!

She was sitting at the kitchen counter and her daughter was crawling on the floor. Daughter came around the corner with the Bluetooth in her hand. . .an item that had been missing in action for several weeks!

I wonder what tooth-related thing will show up next!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on July 23, 2016, 11:41:16 am
After mom's false teeth were found, my daughter found something she had been looking for for two months: her Bluetooth device!

She was sitting at the kitchen counter and her daughter was crawling on the floor. Daughter came around the corner with the Bluetooth in her hand. . .an item that had been missing in action for several weeks!

I wonder what tooth-related thing will show up next!

Hope it's not a tooth-ache!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on July 25, 2016, 11:07:55 am
Ugh, don't even go there!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on December 06, 2016, 08:19:53 pm
Hope it's not a tooth-ache!

I do have a toothache after a fashion. Up until last spring, I was having problems with teeth and jaw aching when I woke up in the morning. After I met and started getting serious with R., that went away. But as of November 9, it's back and I realize I've been clenching my teeth in the night.  :-\
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on December 06, 2016, 11:35:19 pm
I do have a toothache after a fashion. Up until last spring, I was having problems with teeth and jaw aching when I woke up in the morning. After I met and started getting serious with R., that went away. But as of November 9, it's back and I realize I've been clenching my teeth in the night.  :-\

Darn. I'm so sorry to hear that. Isn't there something you can get to use at night so you don't clench your teeth in your sleep?  ???
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on December 07, 2016, 01:20:11 pm
My dentist could make me a mouth guard but it is very expensive. I have a soft mouth guard that is used for teeth bleaching and I tried using it but I couldn't sleep very well with it in my mouth. The real solution is to destress my life. I was making progress on this until November 9, but since then I have had a major setback!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on March 12, 2017, 12:40:08 pm
I'll try to put this topic back on track on the subject of caregiving. I look through last year's posts, and compare the situation then and now, and I can see that my mother is doing better (knock on wood). It's not all a straight line decline. She is having more problems expressing herself and her walk is very halting, but she is not having the "sundowner" problem anymore, is not throwing away valuable things, and is fairly upbeat most of the time. I, in turn, am more relaxed and am not blowing things so out of proportion. Maybe part of it is that things are so much more grim on the national front and I realize that I have to count my blessings where I can!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on March 13, 2017, 09:54:01 am
I'll try to put this topic back on track on the subject of caregiving. I look through last year's posts, and compare the situation then and now, and I can see that my mother is doing better (knock on wood). It's not all a straight line decline. She is having more problems expressing herself and her walk is very halting, but she is not having the "sundowner" problem anymore, is not throwing away valuable things, and is fairly upbeat most of the time. I, in turn, am more relaxed and am not blowing things so out of proportion. Maybe part of it is that things are so much more grim on the national front and I realize that I have to count my blessings where I can!

Good news on all fronts! Except the national one, of course.

I guess this kind of comes under the topic of caregiving, since it's about your daughter. Are you and she getting along OK these days?




Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on April 11, 2017, 09:11:37 pm
Took my mom to the cardiologist today. He only sees her every six months, so he notices the changes more. He is reducing her dosage of coreg, which makes me hopeful. Over the years, he has reduced her medications more and more. I am of the opinion that these meds are more trouble than they're worth. 
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on April 11, 2017, 09:28:07 pm
glad to hear that the meds were able to be reduced!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on April 12, 2017, 09:08:45 am
My dad is beginning to complain that he thinks he's overmedicated.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on April 12, 2017, 12:52:40 pm
It would be very difficult for you to go to the doctor's with your dad and ask the questions, Jeff, but that's what I had to do with my mom. I also found it necessary to make a chart of all the meds she was taking, the dosages, and pictures of what they look like and she keeps a copy, I keep a copy and the home keeps a copy. I bring it to each doctors appointment and we go over it. I refer to it every time I order refills for her. I also check the side effects and keep links to the med descriptions in the chart. I don't use the literature that comes with the meds because it's too generic. The side effects are the same for almost any medication. Of course, you know all about these meds from your work and personal life, so that wouldn't apply to you, but for me, who hardly ever even takes a painkiller, it's crucial.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on April 12, 2017, 01:31:55 pm
My dad is beginning to complain that he thinks he's overmedicated.

Of course, he may only think he is.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on April 13, 2017, 10:29:27 am
I'm currently working on a newspaper story about the financial burdens of caregivers. I've talked to a couple of people who wound up in dire straits because they had to step out of the workplace, either fully or part time, to care for aging parents, and the caregiving itself can be expensive.

I've also talked to experts who say that while every case is unique, often there are options people may have and actions they should take. But windows start to close. For example, if a parent has early stage Alzheimer's they can appoint a family member to have power of attorney. But if the parent is too far along it's too late for this, which greatly complicates matters.

If I could sum up their advice in one sentence: As soon as you can in the caregiving process, go see an elderlaw attorney and/or other eldercare specialist.



Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on April 13, 2017, 11:12:55 am
It would be very difficult for you to go to the doctor's with your dad and ask the questions, Jeff, but that's what I had to do with my mom. I also found it necessary to make a chart of all the meds she was taking, the dosages, and pictures of what they look like and she keeps a copy, I keep a copy and the home keeps a copy. I bring it to each doctors appointment and we go over it. I refer to it every time I order refills for her. I also check the side effects and keep links to the med descriptions in the chart. I don't use the literature that comes with the meds because it's too generic. The side effects are the same for almost any medication. Of course, you know all about these meds from your work and personal life, so that wouldn't apply to you, but for me, who hardly ever even takes a painkiller, it's crucial.


Lee's right, sometimes, you have  to be there.   My mom is pretty open, so I know how her health is, dad keeps that information close to the vest.  He would never discuss this.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: brian on April 13, 2017, 05:03:40 pm
My sister and I exchanged Enduring Powers of Attorney many many years ago even though neither of us have signs of dementia. The solicitor at the time did make it clear to us that we needed to be very trusting of each other.  There is a complication now that I live in NZ and all my physical assets are in NZ. I have not yet got round to do anything about that.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on May 07, 2017, 08:27:22 pm
I'm a little worried about myself. Yesterday, I took my mom to see my son's baptism. I was worried to see her very feeble minded and when we came back, she had trouble with the most basic things, such as dressing and toileting. She also could not express her wants and needs. I came home and sent an email to my brother and sister detailing the problems. After that I carried about as normal, but after about an hour, I realized I was depressed about my mom. Very depressed. The evening was pretty much a bust. This morning I woke up and realized that I can't let myself get into such a state. I took Mom to church and she was much improved. Aside from not being able to express herself, she was functioning normally. But it's hard to shake off the scary feeling of being so depressed. I'm not usually that kind of person.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on May 08, 2017, 10:28:59 am
I'm a little worried about myself. Yesterday, I took my mom to see my son's baptism. I was worried to see her very feeble minded and when we came back, she had trouble with the most basic things, such as dressing and toileting. She also could not express her wants and needs. I came home and sent an email to my brother and sister detailing the problems. After that I carried about as normal, but after about an hour, I realized I was depressed about my mom. Very depressed. The evening was pretty much a bust. This morning I woke up and realized that I can't let myself get into such a state. I took Mom to church and she was much improved. Aside from not being able to express herself, she was functioning normally. But it's hard to shake off the scary feeling of being so depressed. I'm not usually that kind of person.

I think depression in that situation is a completely normal response. {{{{Lee}}}}


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on May 08, 2017, 02:52:04 pm
Katherine is right.  No one wants to see a parent go through this.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: brian on May 08, 2017, 02:56:49 pm
I think depression in that situation is a completely normal response. {{{{Lee}}}}

I agree. I would be more worried if you did not feel a bit depressed. Occasional depression based on real events is a normal part of the human psyche. It is continual feeling depressed or depression based on no reason that is clinical. Even the latter should not cause alarm if not too prolonged as sometimes we cannot put a finger on the actual cause of a feeling of depression.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on June 10, 2017, 09:40:29 pm
Quote
I feel completely exhausted and in despair about her situation, and worry that if I had a gun, I would put it to her head and then my head!

I'm sorry you're having to go through this, but that's a less than optimal solution.

And I'm sorry that your siblings seem so unhelpful. Yesterday I had dinner with a friend whose mother is 90-something and has had a broken pelvis and other health issues (not cognitive, though) and needed a lot of help. My friend and her mother both live in Minneapolis, and her children are all adults, so she moved into her mom's apartment and took care of her for quite a while. But her siblings, one of whom lives in Northern Minnesota and the other in Massachusetts, frequently travel here to pitch in.

Refresh my memory -- is your mom in assisted living? If so, you can have them professionally assess her to see what other assistance she may need. A housekeeper, a memory-care unit ... whatever. You of course have to pay for any additional services or care. But that's what they're there for.

Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on June 10, 2017, 10:11:51 pm
I'm so sorry to learn all this.

It sounds as though the time may have come when she needs a higher level of care.

How could the people who run the place where she lives allow her apartment to get in that condition?
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on June 11, 2017, 01:40:49 pm
Lee, I'm sorry I accidentally modified rather than quoted your earlier, long and important post. I may need some extra care myself. Here it is, in its entirety:
    
Quote
Re: On Caregiving
« Reply #162 on: Yesterday at 07:40:29 pm »
   
Reply with quote Modify message Remove message Split Topic
I sent this message to my siblings several hours ago, and I have not heard anything back.

Saturday morning, I went to try again to pick up a urine sample. Mom wasn’t in her room so I searched all over for the sample bottle but couldn’t find it. She had left out some containers of yogurt so I put them back in the fridge. Several times during the day I tried to call her but she wasn’t answering her phone.
 

Finally around 2pm I received a call from her phone. It was the lady at the front desk, who said Mom had heard my voice and wondered where I was there at the home. She handed the phone over to Mom and, as I talked to her, I figured out that, by “voice” she meant “ringtone”. She was hearing the phone ring when I called her, but she didn’t know what it was or how to answer it.I rushed over.

I asked mom why she was carrying around 3 remotes and a phone in the pocket below the seat of her walker. She said, “to keep them together.” I tried to explain to her that 2 of the remotes were not needed (and I put them away where hopefully she wouldn’t find them) and that the third one should bvb vbe used with her TV, and that the phone was separate. Then, I tried to get her to use her phone. I said, Mom, I’m going to call you on your phone and I want you to pick it up, open it, and answer.” I called her, the phone rang, and she just sat there looking at me. I said things like, “I hope Mom picks up her phone”. “Mom, pick it up.” Etc. She just blankly looked at me. I said, “mom, look at your phone! Pick it up!” and she instead looked at her TV remote or the call button necklace around her neck. Finally, I got her to pick up her phone after 4 tries.

I found her room in disarray. I stepped on something in the living room, it turned out to be the spring that goes in her toilet paper dispenser. After a lot of searching I found the other two parts of the dispenser, one on the table, and one in her chair. I put it all back together and put it back in the bathroom with a roll of toilet paper. Towels and washcloths, most of them dirty and wet, were strewn about the place. I put them all in the dirty clothes basket. I put wet wads of toilet paper in the trash. Trash cans were placed in odd places, and one was in the kitchen area, with unusual things in it like placemats and clothing. There were clothing items heaped on it. I also found items of clothing on the closet floor, in all the kitchen cabinets, thrown over chairs, and in the bathroom. So many items of clothing! With great difficulty, I figured out which was dirty and needed to go in the laundry basket and which was clean and needed to be hung up.


Since her TV wasn’t working, I led Mom out into the lobby area outside her door where some TVs have recently been installed. I turned the channel to the Rifleman which Mom said she likes. I told her to sit down on one of the comfy chairs. She started to sit down on top of the remote which was lying on the table in between the comfy chairs. I said, “Mom don’t sit down on the table, that wouldn’t be comfortable!” She said that she would sit down on the cabinet that is just under the TV. I finally got her to sit down on a chair and made sure that she was able to get up again. That’s where I left her. I feel completely exhausted and in despair about her situation, and worry that if I had a gun, I would put it to her head and then my head!

Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on June 12, 2017, 01:14:10 pm
No problemo. I have almost every post I make in my "Captain's Log" for 2017. It's 38 pages long already!

Well I did one thing right, I think. I changed the ringtone on Mom's phone to be an old-fashioned BRIIIING BRIIIING. That was what finally got through her head that that little black object was a phone!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on June 12, 2017, 10:11:28 pm
How could the people who run the place where she lives allow her apartment to get in that condition?

This is a good question.  Isn't there someone who would monitor this?
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on August 06, 2017, 09:36:14 pm
Single friends with no children, read this: http://www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/info-2016/caregiving-tips-when-aging-alone.html?cmp=SNO-ICM-FB-AO-CG&socialid=787791923 (http://www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/info-2016/caregiving-tips-when-aging-alone.html?cmp=SNO-ICM-FB-AO-CG&socialid=787791923)
Even if you have children, if you don't think they'll help you out when you're old, read the article!

My elderly mother needs help every day. I'm shocked by how she's treated when I'm not there to put a word in. And there's lots of paperwork. It's funny that the first question asked on all these forms is Are you working? Mom hasn't worked in 50 years. And the second question is Is your spouse working? My stepfather died 15 years ago.

Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on August 06, 2017, 10:07:11 pm
Single friends with no children, read this: http://www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/info-2016/caregiving-tips-when-aging-alone.html?cmp=SNO-ICM-FB-AO-CG&socialid=787791923 (http://www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/info-2016/caregiving-tips-when-aging-alone.html?cmp=SNO-ICM-FB-AO-CG&socialid=787791923)
Even if you have children, if you don't think they'll help you out when you're old, read the article!

My elderly mother needs help every day. I'm shocked by how she's treated when I'm not there to put a word in. And there's lots of paperwork. It's funny that the first question asked on all these forms is Are you working? Mom hasn't worked in 50 years. And the second question is Is your spouse working? My stepfather died 15 years ago.

A very interesting read. Thanks for sharing that. But, my goodness, "unbefriended" is a terrible thing to call people. Like Scrooge before he saw the light.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on August 07, 2017, 10:18:51 am
Thank you so much for sharing that, Lee! I haven't read it yet but will, and may even write about the topic for the paper.

In my other job as a copywriter, among my other duties is writing brochures for patients about medical devices. Most of them are pretty big-deal devices for serious conditions; implanting them may involving brain surgery or heart surgery. So the brochures almost always suggest lining up a caregiver, having that person go to doctors appointments with you and help you while you're recovering. They also often include instructions for the caregiver on how to help the patient.

I often say, what if this person doesn't have a caregiver? What if s/he has no spouse, either no children or they live somewhere else, no really close friends they could impose upon to that degree? The person giving me the assignment, generally someone in their 30s, will kind of shrug, like, well, pretty much everyone has somebody. But I don't think that's true for many, many people.




Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on August 07, 2017, 10:27:40 am
Thank you so much for sharing that, Lee! I haven't read it yet but will, and may even write about the topic for the paper.

In my other job as a copywriter, among my other duties is writing brochures for patients about medical devices. Most of them are pretty big-deal devices for serious conditions; implanting them may involving brain surgery or heart surgery. So the brochures almost always suggest lining up a caregiver, having that person go to doctors appointments with you and help you while you're recovering. They also often include instructions for the caregiver on how to help the patient.

I often say, what if this person doesn't have a caregiver? What if s/he has no spouse, either no children or they live somewhere else, no really close friends they could impose upon to that degree? The person giving me the assignment, generally someone in their 30s, will kind of shrug, like, well, pretty much everyone has somebody. But I don't think that's true for many, many people.

I agree, of course. And even though I have friends whom I'm sure would be willing to help, they have their own lives with their own issues. Who knows what might be going on with them when I might need help? (That might sound selfish, but that's sort of my point; you hate to ask/impose.)
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on August 07, 2017, 10:31:44 am
Sadly, you are right, friend. At the rehab center where I go twice a day, there aren't many people like me. Maybe two or three other older ladies, (we caregivers are often daughters). While I'm helping my mom eat in the dining room, some ancient person taps me on the arm and will ask me to help them "get out". Or, they will silently implore with their eyes. It's heartbreaking, really. I've learned to harden my heart and concentrate as much as possible on Mom.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on August 07, 2017, 10:46:31 am
Very interesting read,  Lee.   Thanks for sharing!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on August 07, 2017, 10:47:33 am
But, my goodness, "unbefriended" is a terrible thing to call people. Like Scrooge before he saw the light.


I get your point,  but I must admit, your description made me laugh.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: brian on August 07, 2017, 02:57:26 pm
I have that problem. I have a sister but she lives 3000 miles away in Sydney, Australia (and is 83). I do have lots of friends (mainly women). However there is one guy, Jim, married with 3 adult children and 8 grandchildren who all live in Australia. We became friends about 4 years ago and he helps me organise a walking group. We have never discussed my sexual orientation but I did hear him talking to others at the time SSM was passed in NZ and he said something like "Why not, it has been going on for years and years.' He must know about me as all the women do (and women talk ;D  )

Anyway I have an inguinal hernia and have been to the hospital twice but they always say it is not bad enough to operate but they also say it is day surgery (my father was in hospital for about 10 days but that was in the 1950's) and I must have someone stay with me that night. I joked to Jim that I nearly put him in for the job and he said "of course I will".  Last year I had eye cataract surgery and again the hospital said, you must have someone stay the night. However my surgeon said not necessary (it is not a full anaesthetic) but the hospital must not know. I could not therefore ask them to call a taxi. However Jim came and picked me up (he had to wait nearly an hour as my op was delayed). We went home and he sat for an hour over a coffee then rang me again about 7pm to see i was ok. My sister sent him a card of thanks.

However an occasional thing like that is quite different to becoming permanently dependent which worries me no end.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on August 07, 2017, 03:35:48 pm
Sadly, you are right, friend. At the rehab center where I go twice a day, there aren't many people like me. Maybe two or three other older ladies, (we caregivers are often daughters). While I'm helping my mom eat in the dining room, some ancient person taps me on the arm and will ask me to help them "get out". Or, they will silently implore with their eyes. It's heartbreaking, really. I've learned to harden my heart and concentrate as much as possible on Mom.

You mean, they expect you to come and feed your mother/help her to eat?

It wasn't that way where my grandmother was.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on August 07, 2017, 05:09:16 pm
Where your grandmother was, did they have a staff person to sit with each resident to help them eat? That could be a very expensive proposition! If I didn't come over to help my mom, somebody would probably help her with a few bites as they were going past, but she would pretty much be on her own. I've watched others at the table struggling, some who have hand injuries but were still trying to eat by themselves. Occasionally, I've arrived late and a staff person has cut up her meat for her, but she has to spear it and put it in her mouth herself.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on August 07, 2017, 06:52:30 pm
Where your grandmother was, did they have a staff person to sit with each resident to help them eat?

My grandmother was able to feed herself until her Alzheimer disease advanced to a critical state. I can't say how exactly things were accomplished, but I do know my dad was not expected to show up to feed her.

My grandmother--and my grandfather until he died--was in a community affiliated with the Mennonite Church. She was always treated with respect and compassion, and she certainly did not suffer from lack of nutrition.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on August 07, 2017, 10:00:32 pm
Mom was so much better today. It's clear that the Norco painkiller does not agree with her. I left several messages with her doctor and social worker, none of which were returned. I will persist tomorrow and make sure she doesn't receive the Norco again. Another name for it is Vicodin.

I came over to help her eat at lunch and dinner but it was mainly to keep her company. She was able to feed herself. I encouraged her to eat all she could, and I think she ate more because I was there. Is that so bad? My daughter urges me to hire someone to make these trips. My friends urge me to abandon her to the care/no care/maybe care of the staff.

Can I tell you a secret? (That's what blogs are for, aren't they?) I'm actually enjoying this time, to focus on what is really important to me. And that is, my mother and my work. I would add my garden, but it's been raining so much that I haven't been able to get out into my garden, and it's been self-sustaining. I discovered that I've been spreading myself too thin, trying to stay in touch with all my friends, my boyfriend, church, my volunteer activities, etc. It's a relief to say to everybody, sorry, can't get together, my mom needs me.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: brian on August 07, 2017, 11:09:29 pm
Whenever my mother was in the public hospital, my sister went each day for breakfast and lunch and I tried to be there for dinner. I was still working part time and lived 80km (a 2 hour train journey away.) The nurses were too busy to do anything more than put the meals in front of the patients. I saw other patients trying to feed themselves and it was heart breaking. Mum was almost blind and quite deaf but her mind was better than mine. I would set up the table next to the bed with her watch, glasses,  water etc, so she could reach them in the night, before I left to catch the train. However I did not take her to the toilet (not until the last week or so). Mum was on oxygen and so getting around was a chore. One night I asked a nurse to take her to the toilet as I wanted to catch my train (only went every hour). She sang out down the corridor to another nurse. "Come and take his mother to the toilet , he wants to catch the train" It was so embarrassing.

For most of the time we were able to keep Mum at home in her apartment on the same floor as my sister. She rang early (2-3am)  in the morning and my sister did not answer but ran down the corridor to take her to the toilet. This went on for many months. My sister got all her meals and I went down 2 or 3 times per week to give her a break. We did have a carer (paid by the government) in for a few hours one afternoon a week so my sister could go shopping especially if I was working full time.

Where my sister lives, the lady in the apartment underneath is a close friend. Her husband (87) has been in a wheelchair for several years. He is now at the end, apparently no longer conscious. The government  pays for a carer to be with him at night but as she is not a qualified nurse she has to wake the wife every 4 hours to give him morphine (I did that for my mother for her last week.) It is just dragging on and on. It is ridiculous, both my sister and I campaign for euthanasiia. There is a private members bill coming before the NZ parliament soon but the do gooders are kicking up a stink.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: brian on August 08, 2017, 04:37:47 am
My sister has just emailed me, the husband of her friend passed away at 12.30pm today so the ordeal is over.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on August 08, 2017, 09:16:31 am
I'm glad to hear your mother was better yesterday.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on August 08, 2017, 09:57:34 am
Thank you so much for sharing your experiences, brian. It really helps put things in perspective. I was starting to think maybe I was doing something wrong by visiting Mom so much. Now I think I'm on the right path.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on August 08, 2017, 10:45:29 am
I agree, of course. And even though I have friends whom I'm sure would be willing to help, they have their own lives with their own issues. Who knows what might be going on with them when I might need help? (That might sound selfish, but that's sort of my point; you hate to ask/impose.)

You belong to a church, though. A church community can really step up at times when a member needs help.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on August 08, 2017, 11:00:17 am
Where your grandmother was, did they have a staff person to sit with each resident to help them eat? That could be a very expensive proposition! If I didn't come over to help my mom, somebody would probably help her with a few bites as they were going past, but she would pretty much be on her own. I've watched others at the table struggling, some who have hand injuries but were still trying to eat by themselves. Occasionally, I've arrived late and a staff person has cut up her meat for her, but she has to spear it and put it in her mouth herself.

I interviewed a woman who opened a new kind of assisted living center after watching what happened to her mother. Her mother kept being put in confined lonely "memory care" areas, she'd get enraged and act out, then get kicked out of the center. Finally she wound up someplace where they basically kept her drugged and drooling, completely out of it. Determined that others shouldn't suffer the same fate, this woman, Judy, spent years studying and talking to people and raising money. She quit her business job and opened a home where staffers were trained to spend time with residents, talk to them, treat them like regular people. Staffers brought their children and pets to work. It went so well in terms of residents' happiness and life satisfaction that Judy opened a second house. She planned to have four in all. But the business model just didn't work. Judy lost the homes and her life savings. The place was bought by a company that said they'd maintain her vision but Judy thinks they have not. The economics of it don't work.


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on August 08, 2017, 12:00:09 pm
When my grandmother was in the facility, I believed she was always better off when my mother was there.  Not because the place was bad, in fact, it was a great place, but because the staff had their limits, and I know my grandmother got better care from my mom, who was able to focus on her 100% when she visited.

And when she visited, she always made sure it was during one meal time, so she could eat with her mother, and she could help feed her and get more food into her.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on August 08, 2017, 12:26:03 pm
And when she visited, she always made sure it was during one meal time, so she could eat with her mother, and she could help feed her and get more food into her.

When both my grandparents were still living and capable, my dad and I were able to join them in their retirement community for Thanksgiving dinner one year. Same deal when my mother was in the hospital over one Thanksgiving.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on August 09, 2017, 10:24:16 pm
Believe it or not, I'm heading off to bed. It's 8:23 in the evening. Exhausted, trying to care for my mom.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on August 09, 2017, 10:40:11 pm
When both my grandparents were still living and capable, my dad and I were able to join them in their retirement community for Thanksgiving dinner one year. Same deal when my mother was in the hospital over one Thanksgiving.


Ah, ok.  Whenever my mother visited, she was allowed to sit with her mom in the eating area (not sure what they called it) and they would give mom a plate of whatever they were serving for lunch.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on August 10, 2017, 10:01:43 am
When both my grandparents were still living and capable, my dad and I were able to join them in their retirement community for Thanksgiving dinner one year. Same deal when my mother was in the hospital over one Thanksgiving.

Ah, ok.  Whenever my mother visited, she was allowed to sit with her mom in the eating area (not sure what they called it) and they would give mom a plate of whatever they were serving for lunch.

Of course we had to pay for that dinner with my grandparents. Mennonites can be pretty tight-fisted.  :laugh:
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on August 10, 2017, 10:20:41 am

Ah, ok.  Whenever my mother visited, she was allowed to sit with her mom in the eating area (not sure what they called it) and they would give mom a plate of whatever they were serving for lunch.

I've done that too, with my mom, and it reminded me of the classic joke. "The food in the dining area is terrible!" "Yes, and such small portions!"



Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on August 10, 2017, 07:44:27 pm
Of course we had to pay for that dinner with my grandparents. Mennonites can be pretty tight-fisted.  :laugh:

lmao!   The facility always gave my mom the meal, there was no charge.


I've done that too, with my mom, and it reminded me of the classic joke. "The food in the dining area is terrible!" "Yes, and such small portions!"

:laugh:
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on August 10, 2017, 10:16:26 pm
You belong to a church, though. A church community can really step up at times when a member needs help.

Sorry, Katherine, I missed this post. I do hope my church community would step up and help.

I seem to remember writing a long time ago that I thought this was one reason to be a member of a church.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on August 11, 2017, 12:21:45 am
I always take my own meals when I sit with Mom in the dining room. I could not abide all that mushy food and doughy stuff, although they are much better than most. I do help myself to an iced tea. They have the best.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on August 11, 2017, 09:26:02 am
I always take my own meals when I sit with Mom in the dining room. I could not abide all that mushy food and doughy stuff, although they are much better than most. I do help myself to an iced tea. They have the best.

That Thanksgiving Dinner with Grandma and Grandpa was actually pretty good. Mennonites might be stingy when it comes to money, but they're good cooks.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on August 11, 2017, 12:40:49 pm
That Thanksgiving Dinner with Grandma and Grandpa was actually pretty good. Mennonites might be stingy when it comes to money, but they're good cooks.

 :laugh:


I actually tried some of the food once when I was there, Lee, and it wasn't bad at all, actually.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on August 11, 2017, 12:43:31 pm
Sorry, Katherine, I missed this post. I do hope my church community would step up and help.

I seem to remember writing a long time ago that I thought this was one reason to be a member of a church

An aunt gave me that advice a few years ago. I have thought about joining the Unitarian Church partly for that reason, but there's not one especially close to me and I'm lazy on Sunday mornings. If I were more inclined toward Christianity, I'd go to the church right behind my house. It non-denominational (it's called City Church), but it seems pretty liberal and community friendly. They let my neighborhood's community garden use a chunk of their property.

When my mom's Alzheimer's started to become obvious, her Unitarian pastor sought me out and invited me to coffee to discuss it. The pastor shared her own experience with her mother-in-law. And I'm sure I've told this story a million times, but after my mom died they let us use the church for her memorial even though she hadn't attended in years. My brother and I mainly just wanted to use the space and didn't expect anything more than that. But the pastor, who had never met her, gave a beautiful eulogy based on a long conversation with me and a look through some of her papers. They supplied AV equipment so we could play her favorite Joan Baez songs. And the church ladies made bars!


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on August 11, 2017, 01:52:08 pm
An aunt gave me that advice a few years ago. I have thought about joining the Unitarian Church partly for that reason, but there's not one especially close to me and I'm lazy on Sunday mornings. If I were more inclined toward Christianity, I'd go to the church right behind my house. It non-denominational (it's called City Church), but it seems pretty liberal and community friendly. They let my neighborhood's community garden use a chunk of their property.

So am I. If the church where I'm a member now wasn't just around the corner, I probably wouldn't be attending either.

Quote
When my mom's Alzheimer's started to become obvious, her Unitarian pastor sought me out and invited me to coffee to discuss it. The pastor shared her own experience with her mother-in-law. And I'm sure I've told this story a million times, but after my mom died they let us use the church for her memorial even though she hadn't attended in years. My brother and I mainly just wanted to use the space and didn't expect anything more than that. But the pastor, who had never met her, gave a beautiful eulogy based on a long conversation with me and a look through some of her papers. They supplied AV equipment so we could play her favorite Joan Baez songs. And the church ladies made bars!

That's very nice about your mother's memorial. Our family plot is more than an hour's drive away, in my parents' home town, so my aunt arranged for the use of the social hall in her church for a lunch after the burial, and the church ladies did the cooking. It wasn't just sandwiches and chips, either. It was a regular, hot, dinner-type meal.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on August 12, 2017, 12:32:33 pm
Sorry, Katherine, I missed this post. I do hope my church community would step up and help.

I seem to remember writing a long time ago that I thought this was one reason to be a member of a church.

I was thinking later -- I'm pondering your issues when I'm not even online!  ::) -- that you also have your leather club and watering hole. I'm not sure how much people at either place would step up if you needed help, but it's nice to be part of communities.



Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on August 12, 2017, 02:24:58 pm
I was thinking later -- I'm pondering your issues when I'm not even online!  ::) --

Awww.  :-*

Quote
that you also have your leather club and watering hole. I'm not sure how much people at either place would step up if you needed help, but it's nice to be part of communities.

The club as a whole, less than you might expect. I know I could call on my friends Jim and Mike.

The Watering Hole, at least two of the guys who work there who have become pretty good friends (good enough that I've actually been told I'm missed when I'm away for the weekend). Maybe also one or two drinkin' buddies.

That's actually not a very large support group. I might turn to them first, but if they can't help for whatever reason, I could turn to the church. Churches have committees who do this sort of thing.

Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on August 12, 2017, 05:15:13 pm
I might turn to them first, but if they can't help for whatever reason, I could turn to the church. Churches have committees who do this sort of thing.

Exactly. They don't even have to know you, just that you're part of the community.

If something terrible happened to me, the newspaper union has a committee that would probably send flowers. Yay. I mean, it's nice, but it's no church committee.




Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on August 12, 2017, 06:46:39 pm
Who knows what might be going on with them when I might need help? (That might sound selfish, but that's sort of my point; you hate to ask/impose.)


I've often  had this conversation with a friend of mine.  She's married, but (by choice) has no children.  Now, she wonders what will happen if her husband dies before her, and tells her nieces that they're in charge of her when she needs to move to an old folks home.

I'm just going to die, and then be  found two weeks later, being eaten by my cats.  :laugh:
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: southendmd on August 14, 2017, 12:31:08 pm
I'm just going to die, and then be  found two weeks later, being eaten by my cats.  :laugh:

OMG, Chuck, that made me choke!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on August 14, 2017, 01:19:42 pm
OMG, Chuck, that made me choke!

Probably make the cats choke, too.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on August 14, 2017, 06:51:44 pm
OMG, Chuck, that made me choke!


:laugh:

Nice to know it got a reaction!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on August 14, 2017, 06:52:08 pm
Probably make the cats choke, too.

Excuse you?!?!?!?!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on August 14, 2017, 08:28:58 pm
Excuse you?!?!?!?!

What? You think you're delicious?
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on August 15, 2017, 10:16:21 am
What? You think you're delicious?

 :laugh:

Well, how delicious does he have to be? I don't know firsthand, but catfood doesn't seem particularly delicious.


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on August 15, 2017, 11:49:52 am
Backing up here, Chuck, you have cats? I would love to hear more about them!!

Oddly enough, after the eclipse my Brokie buddies and I are headed up to the Big Horns to look at a property. . . an off-grid home with a big shop, a fleet of vehicles, and space for an airstrip! Perfect retirement home, although the closest hospital is a ways away in Worland.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on August 15, 2017, 01:21:28 pm
Oddly enough, after the eclipse my Brokie buddies and I are headed up to the Big Horns to look at a property. . . an off-grid home with a big shop, a fleet of vehicles, and space for an airstrip! Perfect retirement home, although the closest hospital is a ways away in Worland.

Maybe that's where the air strip comes in.  ;D  Seriously, though, how far away is "a ways"?


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on August 15, 2017, 06:28:44 pm
What? You think you're delicious?

We must be.  Cannibals, some aliens, and zombies eat us for a reason!  Maybe we taste like chicken.

:laugh:
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on August 15, 2017, 06:29:47 pm
Backing up here, Chuck, you have cats? I would love to hear more about them!!

No, not now anyway.  My apartment building is pet free.

I was talking about waaaaay in the future when I'm much older, and living somewhere else.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on August 15, 2017, 06:34:49 pm
We must be.  Cannibals, some aliens, and zombies eat us for a reason!  Maybe we taste like chicken.

:laugh:

How about rattlesnake?  ;D
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on August 15, 2017, 09:23:19 pm
Maybe that's where the air strip comes in.  ;D  Seriously, though, how far away is "a ways"?


Quite a ways. It's about 15 miles into Ten Sleep, and 20 or 30 miles to Worland.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on August 15, 2017, 09:29:58 pm
I'm really scratching my head to try to find uplifting stories about caregiving these days. But, here's a start. I was talking with the CNA (my life is full of acronyms right now. . . CNA means clinical nurse assistant, who is the closest I'm ever gonna get to my Mom's doctor right now). And she was advising me to get mom to drink more water, because dehydration might be contributing to her symptoms. I showed her mom's big jug of water she was issued when she came to the nursing home. I had replaced the transparent straw with a big green Starbucks type straw so that mom could see it. The CNA looked at me and said, "That is brilliant!" I was so proud of myself. And mom even laughed.

But, when I went over there today, the straw was gone. I'm going to go buy a pack of them.

So, I could write thousands of words about all the terrible things that have happened. But I think, for the time being, I'm going to let the straw story stand.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on August 16, 2017, 10:32:41 am
I'm really scratching my head to try to find uplifting stories about caregiving these days. But, here's a start. I was talking with the CNA (my life is full of acronyms right now. . . CNA means clinical nurse assistant, who is the closest I'm ever gonna get to my Mom's doctor right now). And she was advising me to get mom to drink more water, because dehydration might be contributing to her symptoms. I showed her mom's big jug of water she was issued when she came to the nursing home. I had replaced the transparent straw with a big green Starbucks type straw so that mom could see it. The CNA looked at me and said, "That is brilliant!" I was so proud of myself. And mom even laughed.

But, when I went over there today, the straw was gone. I'm going to go buy a pack of them.

So, I could write thousands of words about all the terrible things that have happened. But I think, for the time being, I'm going to let the straw story stand.

I'm sorry to hear how terrible things continue to be, but I'm grateful to you for sharing.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on August 16, 2017, 10:33:28 am
Quite a ways. It's about 15 miles into Ten Sleep, and 20 or 30 miles to Worland.

Fifteen miles? For Wyoming isn't that practically next door?
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on August 16, 2017, 12:20:58 pm
Fifteen miles? For Wyoming isn't that practically next door?

Yes, but in a medical emergency it could be endangering, I suppose, depending on what kind of roads. If it's all freeway and you're in an ambulance, it might be OK.

A friend of mine lives in rural northern California half an hour from the nearest drugstore. She seems quite happy there, but I couldn't live like that.


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on August 16, 2017, 01:21:06 pm
Yes, but in a medical emergency it could be endangering.

Seriously, I have wondered about that. Given my age and state of health, and other reasons, I have more or less given up my idea of retiring to Wyoming.

I think I remember there's some kind of medical facility in Buffalo; I can check on that, but, still. ...
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on August 16, 2017, 06:37:23 pm
I'm really scratching my head to try to find uplifting stories about caregiving these days.

Well,it's a hard topic to be uplifted about.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on August 17, 2017, 12:15:39 pm
Seriously, I have wondered about that. Given my age and state of health, and other reasons, I have more or less given up my idea of retiring to Wyoming.

I can think of plenty of other reasons not to move from Philadelphia to Wyoming when you retire. But if you moved to, say, Cheyene, I'm sure you'd be safe, medically speaking.

After college I took a job at a newspaper in Crookston, MN, a town of about 8,000. The nearest large-ish city, Grand Forks, ND, was 30-45 minutes away. I was in good health, but as far as I know Crookston had a perfectly good healthcare system. I think they'd be able to handle anything short of maybe some unusual urgent condition that would require a helicopter ride to a big city or the Mayo Clinic.



Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on August 17, 2017, 01:43:36 pm
I can think of plenty of other reasons not to move from Philadelphia to Wyoming when you retire.

I can, too.

Quote
But if you moved to, say, Cheyenne, I'm sure you'd be safe, medically speaking.

You been a Cheyenne? They ain't got nuthin' there for boys like me.

Actually, I think there's no there, there.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Penthesilea on August 17, 2017, 02:34:58 pm
Actually, I think there's no there, there.


I like the way you worded this. And true.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on August 17, 2017, 03:22:28 pm
Actually, I think there's no there, there.

I like the way you worded this. And true.

Thank you, but I stole it from Gertrude Stein, the American writer and expatriot (lived in France, hung out with Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, and so forth). who said it about Oakland, California, where she grew up.  ;D

(Stein was also a lesbian, btw.)
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on August 17, 2017, 06:52:37 pm
You been a Cheyenne? They ain't got nuthin' there for boys like me.

:laugh:

*Waves to Chrissi!*   Good to see you!!!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on August 17, 2017, 11:38:12 pm
Thanks for the comic relief. It was a roller coaster ride today. I received a call just as I was pulling up to Mom's rehab center, telling me that I would be required to pay $2K for two weeks worth of copay rehab, due on Sunday. That took the wind from my lungs and I told the person so. She then suggested that I look into alternatives "such as hospice". Said I, incredulously, "You're telling me to put my very much alive mother into hospice?" She then apologized. After thinking about it, I agreed to paying the $2K because it buys mom 2 weeks more of therapy. Later, the manager of Mom's assisted living home arrived to make her own assessment as to whether mom could come back or not after her rehab. They put mom through her paces. Stand up, turn around, put your hand here. Sit down. Stand up. Scoot forward. Lean to the right. Swivel. Lay down. Get up. One, two three. The manager whispered to me, "She's not ready yet" but said she would return in a week or two to make a new assessment. I feel that she's on our side. Hopes and prayers.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Penthesilea on August 18, 2017, 02:43:20 am
Thanks for the comic relief. It was a roller coaster ride today. I received a call just as I was pulling up to Mom's rehab center, telling me that I would be required to pay $2K for two weeks worth of copay rehab, due on Sunday. That took the wind from my lungs and I told the person so. She then suggested that I look into alternatives "such as hospice". Said I, incredulously, "You're telling me to put my very much alive mother into hospice?" She then apologized. After thinking about it, I agreed to paying the $2K because it buys mom 2 weeks more of therapy. Later, the manager of Mom's assisted living home arrived to make her own assessment as to whether mom could come back or not after her rehab. They put mom through her paces. Stand up, turn around, put your hand here. Sit down. Stand up. Scoot forward. Lean to the right. Swivel. Lay down. Get up. One, two three. The manager whispered to me, "She's not ready yet" but said she would return in a week or two to make a new assessment. I feel that she's on our side. Hopes and prayers.


Gosh, what a dreadful situation. I really can't imagine all the things you have to do and pay for yourself. And additionally you have to hope that they take back your mom at all! :o
I just thought how this situation would play out over here. Of course your health insurance would pay for rehab.
We also have assisted living. They also don't take in people who have a high degree of dependence when you try to find a place. But once you're there and your condition worsens you can probably stay there for the rest of your life. Or at the very least, they would take you back after hospital/rehab as long as it takes to find another, more fitting place.

At the beginning of her dementia, my mother was still very fit and loved to hike. The social worker at the psychiatric hospital where she was diagnosed had a long talk with both of us separately about her wishes/preferences/lifestyle/etc. And after that started looking for a fitting place for my mother. Assisted living wasn't an option because she managed to escape the closed ward (by climbing like a cat onto a shed, into a tree and down the tree on the other side of the fence!). Even a "regular" nursery would not have been possible, and the closed wards of nursery homes are mostly just one or more closed off corridors. She would have wandered up and down those corridors like a captured tiger.

Anyway, the social worker found a great place for her. Most people there weren't old, but mentally ill and needed to be in a closed off space. The facility was a former castle with gardens that was closed off (with high fences and walls, no trees close to the fence ;D) to the outside, but totally open once you're in. People could stroll around in the gardens or courtyard and several main and side buildings. There were also lots of different activities and my mother was even able to go on a hiking vacation in Italy with a group. They also had a ward for people with high dependence. So while they didn't take in people with a high need of bodily care to begin with, they also didn't have to kick out people once they got older/more dependent.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on August 18, 2017, 06:17:12 pm
Thanks for the comic relief. It was a roller coaster ride today. I received a call just as I was pulling up to Mom's rehab center, telling me that I would be required to pay $2K for two weeks worth of copay rehab, due on Sunday. That took the wind from my lungs and I told the person so. She then suggested that I look into alternatives "such as hospice". Said I, incredulously, "You're telling me to put my very much alive mother into hospice?" She then apologized.


That's a hell of a thing to say to someone over the phone.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on August 18, 2017, 07:55:34 pm
Assisted living wasn't an option because she managed to escape the closed ward (by climbing like a cat onto a shed, into a tree and down the tree on the other side of the fence!).

No wonder you're able to handle hiking around the Wyoming mountains! It must run in the family!  :laugh:
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on August 18, 2017, 10:35:58 pm
As if on cue, Mom has had an emergency starting last night. She began upchucking about midnight and continued throughout the morning. I arrived at 12:25 to sit with her at lunch and found her in her bed, sleeping. I got the update...nobody called me. I went back at supper time. She was up in her wheelchair, but very weak. Later, she began vomiting again. A lot of green stuff. It reminded me of when my cat eats grass and then. . . . The staff came in about 6 pm and said, well maybe her diet needs to be changed. But these things lead to a huge change in mental and physical capacity. I'm kicking myself for going to a book shop event last night instead of supervising her eating.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on August 19, 2017, 11:58:56 am
That sounds very upsetting, Lee. I hope she's feeling better now.  :-\
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on August 19, 2017, 12:12:24 pm
At the beginning of her dementia, my mother was still very fit and loved to hike. ... Assisted living wasn't an option because she managed to escape the closed ward (by climbing like a cat onto a shed, into a tree and down the tree on the other side of the fence!).

Wow, that's really impressive!

Quote
The facility was a former castle with gardens that was closed off (with high fences and walls, no trees close to the fence ;D) to the outside, but totally open once you're in. People could stroll around in the gardens or courtyard and several main and side buildings. There were also lots of different activities and my mother was even able to go on a hiking vacation in Italy with a group. They also had a ward for people with high dependence. So while they didn't take in people with a high need of bodily care to begin with, they also didn't have to kick out people once they got older/more dependent.

That sounds idyllic. Is it still there? What's its name? I just received a writing assignment from a website that looks at big issues from a global perspective. The part I'm working on has to do with aging. This piece will be a more general, overall examination of the issue. But if I ever write about "places that have found great housing solutions for aging people" or something, I'd look into it!

I wonder if other European castles have been repurposed this way. Don't many/most of them have high walls around them? Seems like a great solution.

I'm reading Being Mortal by Atul Gawande, the New Yorker writer/successful doctor/critic of unhelpful American medical practices. It's kind of a depressing book, frankly. But he found a few homes sort of like that -- not in castles, but places that let their residents remain as independent as possible and make their own choices, even if the choices aren't necessarily the safest or most healthy. His point is that the U.S. medical system is trained to prioritize safety and longevity, whatever that might entail, over older people's happiness and contentedness with their lives.


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on August 19, 2017, 03:03:42 pm
As if on cue, Mom has had an emergency starting last night. She began upchucking about midnight and continued throughout the morning. I arrived at 12:25 to sit with her at lunch and found her in her bed, sleeping. I got the update...nobody called me. I went back at supper time. She was up in her wheelchair, but very weak. Later, she began vomiting again. A lot of green stuff. It reminded me of when my cat eats grass and then. . . . The staff came in about 6 pm and said, well maybe her diet needs to be changed. But these things lead to a huge change in mental and physical capacity. I'm kicking myself for going to a book shop event last night instead of supervising her eating.


No one called you when this was happening?
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on August 20, 2017, 06:20:55 pm
No, nobody called. The patients have so many problems all the time, and the nurses just don't call you unless they are at death's door.  :'(
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on August 20, 2017, 09:44:56 pm
Ugh.....that's just sad.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on August 21, 2017, 09:33:00 am
No, nobody called. The patients have so many problems all the time, and the nurses just don't call you unless they are at death's door.  :'(

What about if they fall?

I had a coworker whose mother was in a home. Every time she fell, my coworker got a phone call.

I presume that protected the home from charges of abuse, but, still, that seems a wise policy to me.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on August 21, 2017, 06:16:47 pm
 my mom would get a call if my grandmother fell.   After two falls, she was given a weird contraption to wheel around in, it looked to be made out of pvc pipes.


(https://cdn3.volusion.com/j575u.gtsw7/v/vspfiles/photos/MIL418A4-2.jpg?1381569071)


Gram was able to sit in in, and because it was pvc, it was very light, so she was able to scoot around in it using her feet.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on August 22, 2017, 09:58:21 am
my mom would get a call if my grandmother fell.   After two falls, she was given a weird contraption to wheel around in, it looked to be made out of pvc pipes.


(https://cdn3.volusion.com/j575u.gtsw7/v/vspfiles/photos/MIL418A4-2.jpg?1381569071)


Gram was able to sit in in, and because it was pvc, it was very light, so she was able to scoot around in it using her feet.

A "walker" for adults.

(Do they still have them for kids?)
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on August 22, 2017, 05:43:33 pm
I'm  sure they do!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on August 23, 2017, 09:45:58 am
I'm not sure whether to post this here or the "In the New Yorker" thread, but I'm finishing NYer writer/surgeon Atul Guwande's Being Mortal, and it's excellent, especially good for caregivers.


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on August 23, 2017, 06:08:32 pm
sounds like something to check out.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on August 24, 2017, 09:29:06 am
sounds like something to check out.

Guwande is a very good writer.

He was born and raised in Ohio, just like our friend OCD.  ;D
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on August 24, 2017, 03:56:00 pm
Guwande is a very good writer.

He was born and raised in Ohio, just like our friend OCD.  ;D

Yes, he mentions that, because one of the aging people he writes about is his father.



Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on August 24, 2017, 07:40:35 pm
Ah, OCD......haven't seen him in a while!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on August 28, 2017, 10:14:10 pm
I'm home after another bone-weary day, taking care of my mom. It seems ironic since she's in a major care facility, but she requires more care than ever. At least 6 or 7 hours a day. And then, my brother showed up and needed to be chauferred here and there for 3 days, and now my sister showed up, with the same chauferring needs.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on August 29, 2017, 09:40:02 am
I'm home after another bone-weary day, taking care of my mom. It seems ironic since she's in a major care facility, but she requires more care than ever. At least 6 or 7 hours a day. And then, my brother showed up and needed to be chauferred here and there for 3 days, and now my sister showed up, with the same chauferring needs.

Excuse them. If they're in Denver now, they need to be taking turns with your mother. She's their mother, too. And depending on their other needs while they're there, they should be renting cars, or at least one car they can share.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on August 29, 2017, 11:28:33 am
My sis's husband is driving in today with their car so that will resolve itself. My bro flew back home yesterday. The strangest thing happened: he tried to rent a car but there were no cars available in the whole city! He did uber back and forth to Mom's once but otherwise I chauffered him.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on August 29, 2017, 11:29:45 am
My sis's husband is driving in today with their car so that will resolve itself. My bro flew back home yesterday. The strangest thing happened: he tried to rent a car but there were no cars available in the whole city! He did uber back and forth to Mom's once but otherwise I chauffered him.

Weird. ...  ???
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on August 29, 2017, 12:50:15 pm
My thoughts too. We theorize that maybe a lot of people rented cars to go up north for the eclipse.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on August 29, 2017, 10:11:00 pm
My sister's husband arrived and he drove her over to Mom's rehab center about 5 pm, returning to the motel. Mom was tired and wanted to go to bed around 6 pm but sis's husband wouldn't pick her up until 8 pm, so guess who gets to chauffeur sister around again. Sigh. At least, they're leaving early tomorrow, so hopefully that will be the last of the sibling problems for a while.

Well, at least I've learned how to spell chauffeur.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on August 31, 2017, 10:06:48 am
I'm a little annoyed today, as my sister sent me a review of her visit with Mom (she was here for about 24 hours, total). She has made up her mind that she hates the place where Mom is staying and wants her moved somewhere else. But she also says that "she should have an in home type of care. But I have no clue where that would be."

My sister said Mom "doesn't deserve this. . . .She has always done everything she was supposed to do. It doesn't seem fair." I'm trying not to read that as accusatory. I so wish my siblings were more like your brother, Katherine! The third thing that irks me is that my sister thinks Mom's brain fog is due to some pill she's taking and that Mom could be miraculously lucid if we would just stop giving her that pill. She continues to be in denial that our mom has dementia.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on August 31, 2017, 07:01:01 pm
But she also says that "she should have an in home type of care. But I have no clue where that would be."


Perhaps you should tell your sister:   "If that's how you feel, you're welcome to come, and take her to your place, and use your salary to pay for the in home care."
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on August 31, 2017, 07:52:42 pm
Perhaps you should tell your sister:   "If that's how you feel, you're welcome to come, and take her to your place, and use your salary to pay for the in home care."

If I said that, my brother would beat me up (figuratively) for shaming her. Also, I don't want money to figure into the equation with Mom. I'm of the opinion that people use money as the basis for making decisions too much. My attitude is that there is always a way to make the dollars work if you're savvy. I'm knocking on wood now.

It was another grueling day. I had an appointment with a hospice nurse in the morning. Mom has been admitted into the "hospice program" whatever that is. It started with the nurse interviewing mom and me and looking over her meds. She is taking mom off the two dementia drugs she was taking ("those don't work") and iron, which could irritate her stomach. One or two others will be phased out. No need to overmedicate her. Then, a lady from the church came to visit, which was very pleasant. Then, we wheeled her into the dining room for lunch. Not much was eaten, despite a lot of coaching. But, I have to keep this in perspective. Mom has lost almost 20 pounds since the end of July, but she now stands at 132 pounds, and that is really not a bad weight for a person. It is more than I weigh. So, no need to panic yet. Also, Mom is getting a dietary supplement, like a protein drink, twice a day, so I'm not worried about her not eating enough to keep a bird alive.

But, then a bombshell hit. I wheeled her back to her room after lunch, and terrifyingly, all her possessions were piled on her bed in a chaotic fashion. I went back out to the nurse's station and said, "Um, why are all my mother's possessions piled on her bed?" "Because she's being moved." was the answer. "Oh?" I said in a still, small voice. "Where?" It turned out that nobody knew where she was being moved, only that she was vacating that place. I tried to maintain a calm facade because Mom was nearby and she understands more than anybody might think. I took her back to her room, faced her away from the bed, took out her Bible and began reading to her. About 30 minutes later the social worker came and apologized and said the attendants would put everything back. I told him, "no, I will put everything back in its place. I don't want anyone else to touch anything." I'm feeling a little violated tonight, and when I left, my mom had had a nice shower and was sleeping peacefully but I question my ability to protect her from harm.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on August 31, 2017, 09:29:23 pm
What a dreadful experience!

Dementia is what it is, but being overmedicated certainly doesn't help, especially with drugs that don't work and do nothing, and for which somebody is surely charged, even if it's Medicare.

You should look up hospice.  My grandmother received hospice care.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on September 02, 2017, 10:30:33 am
You should look up hospice.  My grandmother received hospice care.

Yes, you definitely should look it up, Lee. I know what it is and I imagine Jeff does, too, but you need to get the information from a reliable source, with lots of details on how it works in general and in your mom's case in particular.

One of its guiding tenets, as I understand it, is that the person should always be kept as comfortable and happy as possible, so that's good news.

Dementia drugs don't do much good, but I think generally healthcare people believe they're better than nothing. But it makes sense that they would take her off them if she's going into hospice.

Atul Gawande has a lot to say about hospice in Being Mortal. His father was in hospice care, and he followed a hospice nurse around for a day or two to see what her job was like. For the record, he seemed impressed by the care, and to have a lot of admiration for the nurse.

Side note: I talked to a woman yesterday for a story who said that while Alzheimer's cases are increasing in number, that's entirely because older people are increasing in number. (Almost half of people over 85 have some dementia.) But the cases of hospice per capita are decreasing, she said. That really surprised me. I asked her why, and she said nobody knows.

She is not a health-care professional (I'm doing a story on ageism, and she's an anti-ageism activist). I have talked to the guy who heads the Alzheimer's department at the Mayo Clinic before. He's very nice and very frank. I'd like to ask him about this.


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on September 02, 2017, 10:39:29 am
I so wish my siblings were more like your brother, Katherine!

Yes, aside from his ability to commit in a romantic relationship  :laugh: (which isn't my business), he really has no flaws. I am always thankful for how well we get along and how easygoing he is.


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on September 04, 2017, 07:53:37 pm
A scare today. Got a call from Mom’s nurse saying, “She’s breathing sporadically but she’s still warm.” Arrived and Mom was just a little less responsive than yesterday. She would take 4 breaths and then no breath for 30 seconds. She aroused herself and took some of the thickened water, said it was very good. I applied lip balm and read to her many parables of Jesus. No lunch whatsoever. I stayed for several hours and only left after she fell feast asleep and was breathing normally. It’s hard for me to judge but the end might be near.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on September 04, 2017, 08:25:46 pm
“She’s breathing sporadically but she’s still warm.”

My God, what an awful thing to say! Who are these guys?

Why didn't she just come right out and say it, "She's not dead yet"?
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on September 04, 2017, 09:18:02 pm
Why didn't she just come right out and say it, "She's not dead yet"?

Which reminds me of that Monty Python sketch that it would be tasteless to quote here.

I'm sorry, Lee, that must have been scary. "She's still warm"?? Not exactly the best bedside manner.

Keep us posted. {{{{{ Lee }}}}}
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Penthesilea on September 05, 2017, 12:44:44 am
(((Lee))) I'm sorry to hear your mom's state is worsening.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on September 05, 2017, 11:28:08 am
Thank you, these messages are very comforting. I've found as a caregiver that most people do not want to hear about the caregiving experience. You are my true friends for reading and responding. Most people have one of three reactions, I've found. It's either, "Hearing about some elderly person getting close to death makes me think about my own aging and mortality so don't talk about it," or "I would like to help, how can I help, but don't ask me to actually do any caregiving myself" or "You're spending so much time on your mother that you don't have any time or energy left to do things for me." Of course, they don't come right out and say these things but you can tell.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on September 05, 2017, 11:35:22 am
Thank you, these messages are very comforting. I've found as a caregiver that most people do not want to hear about the caregiving experience. You are my true friends for reading and responding. Most people have one of three reactions, I've found. It's either, "Hearing about some elderly person getting close to death makes me think about my own aging and mortality so don't talk about it," or "I would like to help, how can I help, but don't ask me to actually do any caregiving myself" or "You're spending so much time on your mother that you don't have any time or energy left to do things for me." Of course, they don't come right out and say these things but you can tell.

IMO, blogs are at least partly for venting. Oh, this isn't your blog, is it? Never mind. Go ahead and write about it all you want. I'm sure it's good for you, rather than keeping it all in.

As for me, I've got my own old person who may or may not be close to death to remind me of my own mortality, and, this Sunday, boy was it ever!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on September 05, 2017, 04:35:18 pm
I don't even have an old person anymore! I'm starting to remind myself of my own mortality.  :laugh:  Actually, the younger person in my household reminds me of it, too, though not always in straightforward language.


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on September 05, 2017, 09:24:07 pm
I'm thinking about collecting a few tips for what people can do when visiting residents of a nursing facility. It's the little things that make all the difference.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on September 06, 2017, 10:39:58 am
I'm thinking about collecting a few tips for what people can do when visiting residents of a nursing facility. It's the little things that make all the difference.

Excellent idea!  :D



Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on September 06, 2017, 06:43:23 pm
Here are a few examples. A fly was bothering Mom and actually landing on her face and hands. I didn't have my bug jar with me to trap and release it outside, so I swatted at it several times until it got the hint and took off for pleasanter pastures.

I always take lens towelettes to clean Mom's glasses. They get full of fingerprints so she really can't see well at all. I also put eye drops in her eyes. Especially lately because the smoke from all the wildfires is irritating.

I think I mentioned about the colored drinking straws. The plastic drinking glasses are colorless and hard to see, and the straws are also transparent. I brought colored ones in that are easier for Mom to see and so she can get more of the precious water that helps her stay alive. Sadly, both the orange plastic cup and the plastic bag with 6 or 7 drinking straws disappeared out of her room.  :'(

On a more general note, why do tech things always have to be black? Why do they have to be black so you can't see your effing phone in your effing purse? And furthermore, why do black tech things always have to have tiny tiny buttons that are also black and flush with the surface of the effing tech thingy, not recessed or raised? Why o why o why??  >:(
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on September 07, 2017, 09:19:20 am
Why do tech things always have to be black?

Do they/are they? On the subway this morning I saw a young woman with a pink i-Phone.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on September 07, 2017, 10:07:14 am
Do they/are they? On the subway this morning I saw a young woman with a pink i-Phone.

If it was bright pink, that would have been a protective plastic case. Those come in all colors and patterns. But iPhones themselves come in pink-gold metallic as well as regular gold, silver, black and possibly white. Mine is regular gold. When I buy things like that, I do think about making it easy to find them in my purse. It's rarely a problem with my purse, because I keep my phone in a special pocket by itself. I like purses with lots of sections and pockets, also for this reason. And my current purse, while black on the outside, has multiple pockets and sections and is lined in lime green, which also aids findability.

In a marketing training I attended last week, the guy told the story of how Apple decided to distinguish itself by producing its computers in a variety of bright colors. Then they hired Steve Jobs back (after he'd been banished for a while) and he said nope, we're going to make everything white. And to this day, white -- in its products and its stores -- is a big factor in Apple's "brand."

Those are all good ideas, though, Lee. Maybe the next time someone screws up your best-laid plans by taking your mother's colorful straws, for example, you could leave a note, either asking for their return or asking them to please not take her things.

Before you write your book, I highly recommend reading Atul Gawande's Being Mortal. He talks a lot about depersonalization in nursing homes and some successful efforts (by rare administrators, not by patients or families) to fight it.




Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on September 07, 2017, 10:11:37 am

Before you write your book, I highly recommend reading Atul Gawande's Being Mortal. He talks a lot about depersonalization in nursing homes and some successful efforts (by rare administrators, not by patients or families) to fight it.


What issue was that in? I've looked through all my issues but haven't found it. I also looked online and couldn't find it either (I was rushed, as I always am, these days).
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on September 07, 2017, 10:30:42 am
Before you write your book, I highly recommend reading Atul Gawande's Being Mortal. He talks a lot about depersonalization in nursing homes and some successful efforts (by rare administrators, not by patients or families) to fight it.

He was on BBC World News America yesterday evening.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on September 07, 2017, 10:36:04 am
What issue was that in? I've looked through all my issues but haven't found it. I also looked online and couldn't find it either (I was rushed, as I always am, these days).

Sorry, I should have clarified -- it's a book, a really good one. I've talked about it before here, somewhere, and I didn't want to sound like a broken record. (Now there's a saying that won't mean much to future generations!  :laugh:)

He published it a couple of years ago. Parts of it were published in the New Yorker, but some years back. For instance, he wrote some of the "end of life care" stuff back when Sarah Palin was ranting about "death panels." Based on what you've been going through, you might find it helpful -- or not.

He was on BBC World News America yesterday evening.

Talking about what?

Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on September 07, 2017, 10:45:16 am
Okay, I put in a request at the library for it.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on September 07, 2017, 10:54:58 am
Talking about what?

About what you'd expect, considering his book that you recently read: EOL issues, asking patients what their goals are (for the time they have left), will further surgery do any good or just cause the patient needless pain, and so forth.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on September 07, 2017, 07:45:21 pm
There are so many twists and turns every day that it makes my head spin. Today was another stomach-churning day. Mom was sitting in the dining room when I arrived but she was in her trancelike state. I started holding her hand and gently talking to her and trying to wake her up. I noticed that every so often she would have tremors and seem a little distressed. She wouldn't open her eyes or her mouth to drink the water I brought her. Little by little, she started to be more conscious, but would have periods of agitation. I asked her if she was in pain, and she shook her head no. Her food came and I fed her tiny little tastes of chopped up brats. Then I fed her a couple of tastes of potato salad which she definitely liked. But then, more agitation, after which she burped loudly. I was alarmed because she looked like she might gag or throw up. I asked for the nurse to look at her and explained her symptoms and the nurse said, "Do you want me to give her more morphine?"

"Morphine?" I said in a still small voice. "She is taking morphine?" "Oh, yes," said the nurse. "Morphine's part of the hospice care." I staggered about, verbally and finally said, "I'll have to think about that and could you please print out a list of her meds." Ended up in an hour long conversation with the hospice nurse going over the EIGHTEEN meds she is now taking (a large chunk of them are meds for constipation, caused by the other meds). Now, granted, I am a total dummy when it comes to pharmaceuticals, since I take absolutely zero medications. But that is not going to stop me from ploughing into this subject. A care conference is planned for tomorrow at 11:30 and I don't see how we're going to resolve everything in 30 minutes, but we'll try!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on September 07, 2017, 08:38:08 pm
Why is she being given morphine if she's not in pain?  ???

Or is she in pain?  ???

No wonder she's constipated if she's being given morphine. Narcotics are constipating. Even acetaminophen (Tylenol) with codeine will constipate you.

What's going on? Some kind of one-size-fits-all hospice care? This is not right. This is not what hospice is about. Hospice is about individualized care.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on September 08, 2017, 10:11:20 pm
Or is she in pain? If she is, then the philosophy of hospice is that patients should get whatever pain meds they need without worry that they'll become addicted or suffer other ill effects. That's not an instruction to give morphine no matter what, just permission not to withhold it if it's needed.

Of course, constipation is an ill effect of opioids. But I guess I don't know what your mother's medical condition is -- what she is suffering from and whether it involves pain, or how much, so it's hard to tell whether they're giving it routinely or because it's helpful. I'm definitely glad you're in such good health that you don't need any, Lee, but I don't think there's anything wrong with taking them when they're needed or helpful.

I may have missed something, and if so I apologize, but I've seen you mention your mother being kind of absent minded about things but not a more serious physical condition.

Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on September 09, 2017, 02:31:35 pm
Opioids--that's the word I was trying to think of. Thanks, Katherine.

Word-finding difficulty. ...  ::)
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on September 09, 2017, 03:27:24 pm
I may have missed something, and if so I apologize, but I've seen you mention your mother being kind of absent minded about things but not a more serious physical condition.

Mom has had mild dementia for several years. Her breaking her hip in a fall on July 25 exacerbated her condition (as well as the hospital stay and anesthesia) so now she has advanced dementia. Alzheimers, to be exact.

I did get them to hold off on the morphine today, and Mom was much better. I'm going over there at 6:30 am tomorrow, because that's when the new shift makes their rounds and decides what pills or shots are needed.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on September 09, 2017, 03:32:03 pm
Why is she being given morphine if she's not in pain?  ???


After observing the interactions this morning, I now think morphine is given to keep the patients docile.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on September 09, 2017, 06:19:46 pm
Mom has had mild dementia for several years. Her breaking her hip in a fall on July 25 exacerbated her condition (as well as the hospital stay and anesthesia) so now she has advanced dementia. Alzheimers, to be exact.

But that shouldn't cause pain.  ???

After observing the interactions this morning, I now think morphine is given to keep the patients docile.

I don't doubt nursing homes sometimes do that. But that strikes me as an extremely off-label use of the medication. Maybe you could schedule a meeting with her health-care team so they can answer all of your questions about her condition. If she's getting morphine, is it because she's in pain? If yes, from what? If no, then what's the morphine for? Depending on your legal arrangements, you could probably arrange to have all physicians' recommendations be presented to you first (except in an emergency, that is).



Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on September 09, 2017, 10:10:49 pm
The plot thickens! I went over to Mom's nursing home for the second time today at 5:15 pm to help her eat dinner. Afterwards, we watched the fascinating clouds moving in from the SE to the NW. . .clouds from Hurricane Irma, I have no doubt. The weather was beautiful. I think Mom could have stayed outside till it was totally dark, but I took her inside at 7 pm and a nice attendant named Kirsten helped change her and put her to bed. We talked while they were doing that and Kirsten said that, while Mom was very sweet, one time last Sunday when she was strapping mom into the foam wedge, Mom suddenly slugged her! I perked up my ears. Last Sunday was when the morphine was prescribed. Kirsten said she dodged the slug, it was all right, she was used to such occasional reactions, but she was surprised because mom was usually such a sweet and cooperative lady. I said how much Mom dislikes having to wear the wedge at night. Kirsten strategically placed some pillows instead. I was so grateful.


Maybe you could schedule a meeting with her health-care team so they can answer all of your questions about her condition. If she's getting morphine, is it because she's in pain? If yes, from what? If no, then what's the morphine for? Depending on your legal arrangements, you could probably arrange to have all physicians' recommendations be presented to you first (except in an emergency, that is).


This happened on Friday.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on September 09, 2017, 10:40:04 pm
We talked while they were doing that and Kirsten said that, while Mom was very sweet, one time last Sunday when she was strapping mom into the foam wedge, Mom suddenly slugged her! I perked up my ears. Last Sunday was when the morphine was prescribed. Kirsten said she dodged the slug, it was all right, she was used to such occasional reactions, but she was surprised because mom was usually such a sweet and cooperative lady. I said how much Mom dislikes having to wear the wedge at night. Kirsten strategically placed some pillows instead. I was so grateful.

It's nice that in her own way, your mom expressed her feelings! She don't say much, but she gets her point across!  :laugh:

Quote
This happened on Friday.

OK, sorry, maybe I missed something. I know you saw that she was on 18 meds, some of them anti-constipation ones to deal with the opioids that cause constipation. But did they say she had a painful condition that required opioids or not?  ???



Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on September 10, 2017, 09:11:51 am
She don't say much, but she gets her point across!  :laugh:
I have used that Brokieism a lot lately, and I've said it directly to my mom!

OK, sorry, maybe I missed something. I know you saw that she was on 18 meds, some of them anti-constipation ones to deal with the opioids that cause constipation. But did they say she had a painful condition that required opioids or not?  ???
The hospice nurse said during the care conference that Mom had a surgical wound that required pain meds, so I asked why she hadn't received the morphine from 7/31 when she entered the facility. Then, the hospice nurse said that, while Mom didn't say she was in pain, the attendants know that the process of getting her dressed and into her wheelchair would cause her pain, so they give the med proactively. That's when I said I would come in early and see for myself. So, here I am at 6:30 am on a Sunday morning, sitting with Mom. She was awake and took a little water, and now she's sleeping again, but fitfully. Attendants are bustling about getting residents up and into the dining room, but they are leaving Mom alone.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on September 10, 2017, 09:20:54 am
The hospice nurse said during the care conference that Mom had a surgical wound that required pain meds, so I asked why she hadn't received the morphine from 7/31 when she entered the facility. Then, the hospice nurse said that, while Mom didn't say she was in pain, the attendants know that the process of getting her dressed and into her wheelchair would cause her pain, so they give the med proactively. That's when I said I would come in early and see for myself. So, here I am at 6:30 am on a Sunday morning, sitting with Mom. She was awake and took a little water, and now she's sleeping again, but fitfully. Attendants are bustling about getting residents up and into the dining room, but they are leaving Mom alone.

Oh, I didn't even know she'd had surgery! I'm glad you're keeping such a close eye on her and what's happening there. I think most nursing home staffs mean well and care about patients' well-being. But they also want to do things efficiently, and no doubt sometimes the two are in conflict.  :-\



Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on September 10, 2017, 10:38:34 am
But that shouldn't cause pain.  ???

I don't doubt nursing homes sometimes do that. But that strikes me as an extremely off-label use of the medication. Maybe you could schedule a meeting with her health-care team so they can answer all of your questions about her condition. If she's getting morphine, is it because she's in pain? If yes, from what? If no, then what's the morphine for? Depending on your legal arrangements, you could probably arrange to have all physicians' recommendations be presented to you first (except in an emergency, that is).

Only a few moments to write before I need to head off to church. ... Maybe it's too late, but this is why even if you're the next of kin, these days it's absolutely essential to have a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care.

Everyone should have one, even if it just appoints a spouse, a child, a significant other, or a close friend.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on September 10, 2017, 11:33:43 am
Yes, Jeff, you are right. I am Mom's POA and legal guardian. There is an instrument that is all-encompassing and includes PoA for health care, finances and living will. I forget what it's called; I'll look it up.

I bumped the discussion of Mom's surgery on my blog and here it is: http://bettermost.net/forum/index.php/topic,9381.msg685707.html#msg685707 (http://bettermost.net/forum/index.php/topic,9381.msg685707.html#msg685707)
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on September 10, 2017, 12:03:27 pm
Yes, Jeff, you are right. I am Mom's POA and legal guardian. There is an instrument that is all-encompassing and includes PoA for health care, finances and living will. I forget what it's called; I'll look it up.

Yeah, we had that, too. If you do it in a lawyer's office (which we did, though I don't know if you have to) I think they do all three pretty automatically, in one big folder.

Quote
I bumped the discussion of Mom's surgery on my blog and here it is: http://bettermost.net/forum/index.php/topic,9381.msg685707.html#msg685707 (http://bettermost.net/forum/index.php/topic,9381.msg685707.html#msg685707)

Thanks, FRiend! I responded there.

Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on September 10, 2017, 02:15:22 pm
Yeah, we had that, too. If you do it in a lawyer's office (which we did, though I don't know if you have to) I think they do all three pretty automatically, in one big folder.

My lawyer did that when I had a will drawn up.

It's a good idea to review all these documents from time to time. I need to do that myself.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on September 18, 2017, 05:18:42 pm
Mom didn't eat or drink anything last weekend, but her vital signs are all good and she has resources to go on for quite a while, especially since she's sleeping most of the time now.  :'(
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on September 19, 2017, 08:27:10 pm
Sometimes you have to be inventive with food.

My grandmother was never a big eater, and it decreased when she got to the facility.   However, she liked popsicles,  so mom would bring one or two that were made with all natural fruit, so that gram would get some sort of nutrition on days that she wouldn't eat.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on September 19, 2017, 10:00:22 pm
That's a good idea, Chuck.

My good idea was to arrange for the entire family to have a gathering on the patio of mom's nursing home. I made some fruit salad and picked up a couple of rotisserie chickens. Then, because it is Mom's great granddaughter's 2nd birthday in a few days, I made a birthday cake.

The attendants got mom out of bed, dressed her and combed her hair, which annoyed her. I then wheeled her out onto the patio. She gradually gained more and more consciousness while we ate and seemed to like the sound of the children playing on the lawn. We opened a few presents, had birthday cake and then, for the grand finale, my son and daughter performed a concert of gospel songs for her. She really perked up at that and even opened and focused her eyes. She tried to clap at the end of all but the last song. I wheeled her back to her room at about 7 pm and the attendants were all saying wonderful things about our little gathering. I think they are going to be more gentle and compassionate with her now that they know she has a loving family.

I'm home and the cat is eating from a rotisserie chicken carcass. She's happy too. I've made all the loved ones in my life happy so I'm happy.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on September 21, 2017, 09:26:31 am
That's a good idea, Chuck.

My good idea was to arrange for the entire family to have a gathering on the patio of mom's nursing home. I made some fruit salad and picked up a couple of rotisserie chickens. Then, because it is Mom's great granddaughter's 2nd birthday in a few days, I made a birthday cake.

The attendants got mom out of bed, dressed her and combed her hair, which annoyed her. I then wheeled her out onto the patio. She gradually gained more and more consciousness while we ate and seemed to like the sound of the children playing on the lawn.

That sounds really nice. What a great idea.  :D

Quote
We opened a few presents, had birthday cake and then, for the grand finale, my son and daughter performed a concert of gospel songs for her.

Wow, it's very impressive that they're able to do that!

Quote
the attendants were all saying wonderful things about our little gathering. I think they are going to be more gentle and compassionate with her now that they know she has a loving family.


I hope they are nice to your mom but it would be really sad if that's their criterion. If anything, it should be the other way around. (Not that they should be meaner now, but that they should be the most gentle and compassionate with those who don't have loved ones.)

Quote
I'm home and the cat is eating from a rotisserie chicken carcass. She's happy too. I've made all the loved ones in my life happy so I'm happy.

Then we're happy for you!  :D



Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on September 28, 2017, 07:11:51 pm
I'm home and the cat is eating from a rotisserie chicken carcass. She's happy too. I've made all the loved ones in my life happy so I'm happy.

Job well done, Lee!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on October 25, 2017, 10:53:31 am
One of the biggest disappointments to me as a caregiver was hospice. So, here's a little information about them.

Hospices are not delivering on their promises: http://time.com/4995043/no-one-is-coming-investigation-reveals-hospices-abandon-patients-at-deaths-door/?utm_source=time.com&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=the-brief&utm_content=2017102511am&xid=newsletter-brief (http://time.com/4995043/no-one-is-coming-investigation-reveals-hospices-abandon-patients-at-deaths-door/?utm_source=time.com&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=the-brief&utm_content=2017102511am&xid=newsletter-brief)
The 4 levels of care hospices must provide are “routine care, which is by far the most common; respite care to give family caregivers a break for short time periods; and two levels of so-called "crisis care," continuous care and general inpatient care, when patients suffer acutely. But 21% of hospices, which together served over 84,000 patients, failed to provide either form of crisis care in 2015”

https://hospicefoundation.org/End-of-Life-Support-and-Resources/Coping-with-terminal-illness/how-to-choose/questions-to-ask (https://hospicefoundation.org/End-of-Life-Support-and-Resources/Coping-with-terminal-illness/how-to-choose/questions-to-ask)
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on October 25, 2017, 07:42:08 pm
I'm not surprised that in our country, hospice care is lacking.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on January 18, 2018, 07:20:14 pm
It seems that the House and Senate have passed a bill to begin to talk about offering services to caregivers:

http://www.nextavenue.org/raise-family-caregivers-act-will-help-family-caregivers/?hide_newsletter=true&utm_source=Next+Avenue+Email+Newsletter&utm_campaign=f1b0383610-01.16.2018_Tuesday_Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_056a405b5a-f1b0383610-165235473&mc_cid=f1b0383610&mc_eid=a194ac8bb9 (http://www.nextavenue.org/raise-family-caregivers-act-will-help-family-caregivers/?hide_newsletter=true&utm_source=Next+Avenue+Email+Newsletter&utm_campaign=f1b0383610-01.16.2018_Tuesday_Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_056a405b5a-f1b0383610-165235473&mc_cid=f1b0383610&mc_eid=a194ac8bb9)

Don't hold your breath, though. They're just going to study it for about 18 months.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on January 19, 2018, 11:09:38 am
It seems that the House and Senate have passed a bill to begin to talk about offering services to caregivers:

http://www.nextavenue.org/raise-family-caregivers-act-will-help-family-caregivers/?hide_newsletter=true&utm_source=Next+Avenue+Email+Newsletter&utm_campaign=f1b0383610-01.16.2018_Tuesday_Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_056a405b5a-f1b0383610-165235473&mc_cid=f1b0383610&mc_eid=a194ac8bb9 (http://www.nextavenue.org/raise-family-caregivers-act-will-help-family-caregivers/?hide_newsletter=true&utm_source=Next+Avenue+Email+Newsletter&utm_campaign=f1b0383610-01.16.2018_Tuesday_Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_056a405b5a-f1b0383610-165235473&mc_cid=f1b0383610&mc_eid=a194ac8bb9)

Don't hold your breath, though. They're just going to study it for about 18 months.

I saw that. But I thought it was encouraging that both parties supported it and recognize it as a problem.

Now if only both parties would recognize the need for parental leave, sick pay, health care ...  ::)



Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on January 19, 2018, 07:39:27 pm
Don't hold your breath, though. They're just going to study it for about 18 months.

Now if only both parties would recognize the need for parental leave, sick pay, health care ...  ::)


dare to dream......
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on January 21, 2018, 10:35:42 am
So last night I went out with my friend who has psychiatric issues, mostly depression and supposedly PTSD. It's her birthday today, so I took her out for a drink and appetizers and then we went to a movie (The Shape of Water -- pretty good!). When I picked her up, I waited downstairs in the car -- she knew I was coming -- called both her cell phone and landline, no answer, finally left the car running and climbed the stairs to her apartment. Her son let me in and I barely caught a glimpse of him before he dashed back in his room (he's 18). She was in the bathroom, so I stood in her small living room and thought, OMG, this is becoming a garbage house. The room was crammed with boxes and bins and stacks of papers and other stuff four feet off the floor in places. It opens to the kitchen and the kitchen was the same way, except there was food involved. On the couch were a bunch of bed pillows, indicating someone spends a lot of time on it. My friend has no job or any other reason to leave the house except to go to her son's hockey games and occasionally out with me (I live about 15-20 miles away). She has no local relatives or other close friends.

Then when we went out she kept talking about her son: Whether he would play hockey in college, all the stuff she's been doing about the autism he just got diagnosed with because he'd started doing poorly in school, etc. etc. I told her I thought her son would be fine, but I am worried about her. She's 60 and hasn't worked at any job in almost 20 years. She gets various forms of public assistance, but is mainly living off money her son gets because his dad died: Social Security and money from the dad's family. When he leaves, she'll have almost nothing. So I keep telling her she needs to find a job. She said she knows, but she can't figure out what would "inspire" her.

I said she can't wait until she gets "inspired." She needs to go door to door at the retail shops near where she lives, or sign up with a temp agency or something. She needs to start getting a paycheck, even if it's a crappy job, and then wait to get inspired. She kind of reluctantly agreed, but I don't think she'll do anything. If someone who is home all day every day can't even keep their house even sort of organized ...

She keeps using her so-called PTSD as an excuse for why she can't do things -- because she has researched on the internet and found what PTSD studies say. So far I have resisted shaking her by the shoulders and saying, yes, but those studies include vets from Iraq who've seen their buddies blow up five feet away or killed children or who knows what, so they skew the statistics.

Now she's doing the same with her son's autism, diagnosed just a few months ago, at age 17 or 18. Her son is ki d of weird, but he does OK in school, apparently has some friends, and is goalie on the high school team that won a state championship. (She lives through his hockey achievements.) In this case, I did tell her I have a friend who struggled with her son's autism all his life. At one point my other friend's son threw her across a room and broke two ribs. She had to call the police and have him put in jail. And so on -- nightmarish trauma for more than 20 years. For the past few, he'd been doing OK but then he mysteriously died at 28.

Deb said, maybe he didn't get the right therapy. I said, oh, he definitely did, she worked with him and lots of professionals all his life. It was a huge and constant struggle. Again, kids like that skew the autism statistics compared to kids like her son, whose weirdness is so mild he didn't even get diagnosed until now.

I've gotten to the point that when Deb says something unrealistic, I cut her off with stark honesty. Josh will be fine. She needs a job. She has no money. She's 60, she can't really wait until she's "inspired." Etc. I know you can't just tell a depressed person to pull themselves together and take some action -- it's hard for them. But she really needs to pull herself together and take action, partly because the accomplishment (even cleaning the living room!) would help her depression. But to some extent she's using the depression as an excuse not to.

Meanwhile, she wants to rent her apartment out for the Super Bowl (her mom owns the building). I said, clearly you're not going to be able to do that. I'm thinking of doing the same but worried I'd have to do too much to prepare for it, and my house is relatively tidy and clean! Apparently there are 41,500 hotel rooms in Minneapolis and they're expecting one million visitors. Houses the same size and distance from the arena as mine are reportedly going for $5,000+ a night.




Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on January 21, 2018, 10:46:15 am
Sorry to ramble on so long.

Oh, one other thing about Deb that I thought was kind of weird. She said she's thinking of tearing down a wall to enlarge her bathroom (she's pretty handy with home-construction stuff) because when she and her son are in it at the same time they're always fighting for space at the mirror and sink. Apparently they share the bathroom -- even when one of them is bathing. She said she doesn't really like it (the bathing part) but he's fine with it. I'm not one to judge other people's private lives, but that seemed a little off to me -- a mom and an 18-yo. Do you think so?

I said, couldn't you just go in at different times? My son has been living with me, we only have one full bath (and a quarter bath), but we're never in it at the same time. My son would get upset if I was in there when he was so much as combing his hair.

She said, you'd think so, but inevitably they wind up having to shower at the same time. I told her that that very day, in fact, I knew my son had to be at work at 5 and therefore that he'd come back from the gym and shower at about 4:15, so I made a point to take my own shower an hour or so before that. Pretty simple! She just looked at me like, well, we could never do that.


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on January 21, 2018, 11:35:05 am
It must be very frustrating to see your friend go downhill like that. You are great to not jettison her from your life. I think it would be best for her to go to the county department of human services to apply for aid and get a caseworker who will act as a "life coach" to help her ease back into the job market and get her personal affairs organized. She most certainly will need training if she's been out of the job market for so long. Since she's internet-savvy, she could possibly work at home. The Dept. of Labor also has workforce centers where you can take some quizzes to find out what jobs would "inspire" you.

I suspect that one of her problems is that she is rusty at interpersonal communications; she is probably terrified of even the idea of working. Maybe since her son has autism, she might have it too. I would regard her messy home and strange bathroom sharing habits as side issues. Getting her out of the house and getting her to accept coaching would be the major tasks at hand IMO.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on January 21, 2018, 11:42:37 am
PTSD, I've learned, is really a thing in non-military life. R. has it; his wife fell down dead in front of him of a heart attack almost 9 years ago. I myself have recurring flashbacks of my mother dying and I think it has changed my personality, maybe just temporarily. I am certainly more subdued. I've heard that treatment is needed for PTSD; that it sometimes does not just fade away over time.

I suspect my ex-husband had it too. His mother and father died in the same month and he was with them. He was grieving, depressed and in a bad mood and I left him alone to his thoughts. I didn't say anything about certain bad behaviors when he was acting Ennis-like. Then one day I woke up and realized that it had been 10 years since his parents died and he was still acting the same way! No way to get it right at that point.

Come to think of it, Ennis had PTSD too, after that horrific scene that his father showed him.  :'(
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on January 21, 2018, 06:33:48 pm
Some people just seem to invite drama into their lives, and I think this Deb does just that.   I have no idea why,  but she has her reasons.

As for the sharing the bathroom thing, when I was at home we never shared a bathroom that way.  If you needed something from the bathroom and someone was in it, you waited for them to be done.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on January 21, 2018, 07:33:39 pm
It must be very frustrating to see your friend go downhill like that. You are great to not jettison her from your life.

Most of her other friends long since did.  :-\

Quote
I think it would be best for her to go to the county department of human services to apply for aid and get a caseworker who will act as a "life coach" to help her ease back into the job market and get her personal affairs organized. She most certainly will need training if she's been out of the job market for so long. Since she's internet-savvy, she could possibly work at home. The Dept. of Labor also has workforce centers where you can take some quizzes to find out what jobs would "inspire" you.

These are all good ideas, though she is aware of them. She's very internet savvy and has designed websites, so something in that line of work is a possibility. She has also done wallpaper removal and installment, so there's that, but she injured her foot a few years ago and can't stand for long periods.

Believe me, I have been encouraging her for years to get out and get a job, whether it's through the state Job Service centers that are scattered around everywhere, or by stopping in to places, etc. At least now she has progressed to the point that we can have a whole conversation about it. Previously Deb, who is not in any way a shrinking violet and would readily analyze every grain of her mental health in conversation, would clam up. She'd literally press her lips together and shake her head and refuse to say anything beyond, "I can't." Now she at least says, "I know I need to."''

She can find all kinds of things on the internet, but she's more inclined to spend the time researching what PTSD sufferers can't do so she can have an excuse for not doing it.

Quote
Getting her out of the house and getting her to accept coaching would be the major tasks at hand IMO.

No, I can suggest it and have conversations about it, but I cannot be her case worker. I should tell her I'm willing to drive her if she needs a ride or company, though. But I'm not going to make it my project to get her to do it. I have plenty of projects of my own.

PTSD, I've learned, is really a thing in non-military life. R. has it; his wife fell down dead in front of him of a heart attack almost 9 years ago. I myself have recurring flashbacks of my mother dying and I think it has changed my personality, maybe just temporarily. I am certainly more subdued. I've heard that treatment is needed for PTSD; that it sometimes does not just fade away over time.

Oh, I agree that it includes non-vets. It also includes rape survivors, abused spouses, etc. But I would think there are degrees, and I think they are probably correlated to the length of time you experienced the trauma. To be a disorder, it kind of has to interfere with your life. If it's just grieving the loss of a loved one or trying to get over a bad experience, I'm not sure it's a full-blown disorder as defined by the DSM or whatever. But even if it is , I would think it would be on a different scale.

So granted, this is definitely interfering with Deb's life (and it certainly did Ennis'). She has something for sure, but I'd call it depression. But one person mentioned PTSD to her years ago, now she spends her days looking for research on the internet showing that people with PTSD have a harder time working (or whatever). So she uses that to explain/excuse her not working. But those research statistics would be based on people whose experiences seem far more traumatic, like the Iraq vet or the gang-rape survivor.

That said, Deb's life has been filled with dramatic incidents of one kind or another. I'd go into them, but I'd be here for the next two hours. Suffice to say she's been through some very weird bad things. So I'm not saying she's had it easy. But up until about eight years ago, she was living a nice life in a smallish Northern Minnesota town. She was enrolled in community college studying something that inspired her, she knew everyone in town and had lots of friends, was active in the youth hockey community, lived in a cute little house that was pretty clean, etc. Then one night the father of her son, an asshole she had left a year or two earlier, wanted the son to stay with him and she resisted and they wrestled and he roughed them both up. Not outright punched them or anything, more like shoved them around as they struggled. She wound up with a few bruises and scrapes. Now to be absolutely clear, I'm not saying that's no big deal or she shouldn't be traumatized by it. But it was one night of very minor injuries from somebody from whom she was already estranged. Shortly after that she moved down to the city, to get away from him, which is understandable. But she has done nothing ever since. So I guess it was the trigger of her trauma. It doesn't make sense that eight years later she can't get a job because of that one night, which is what she blames. Though I guess if you added up all the traumas she has endured and this one night was the last straw (which it wasn't, because she's had more things since), it might make sense.

Quote
I would regard her messy home and strange bathroom sharing habits as side issues.

Agreed on the bathroom habits (I just thought that was kind of weird and wondered what you all thought), but I think her messy home is a fairly central issue, because it's a symptom of how much she's struggling. She's literally home all the time, sitting in that living room that you can hardly walk through. Normal behavior would be to spend the time cleaning and organizing, because it needs to be done and then she'd feel better. But for the first time last night I started worrying that her mental health is getting more out of wack, way beyond my ability as a friend to help.

She was seeing a therapist she really liked, but I don't think she's seeing him much anymore. Anyway, I thought it sounded like he kind of enabled her excuses. A good therapist needs to help her get past the excuses and make real progress. My last therapist certainly did.


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on January 22, 2018, 07:03:49 pm
I think her messy home is a fairly central issue, because it's a symptom of how much she's struggling. She's literally home all the time, sitting in that living room that you can hardly walk through. Normal behavior would be to spend the time cleaning and organizing, because it needs to be done and then she'd feel better. But for the first time last night I started worrying that her mental health is getting more out of wack, way beyond my ability as a friend to help.

The first thing that crossed my mind when I read your initial comment about the living room was: hoarding. Or, at least she seems to be on the way to it.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on January 22, 2018, 07:58:35 pm
The first thing that crossed my mind when I read your initial comment about the living room was: hoarding. Or, at least she seems to be on the way to it.

I have a friend who out-and-out hoards: she'll find some piece of junk and think she can find a use for it, and her house is very messy, too, but her mental health otherwise seems fine. This friend's stuff is mostly papers (not newspapers, but pieces of paper), so it seems less about hoarding in the sense of collecting new things than it is about never going through or organizing the old stuff. I mean, I have that problem to some degree -- my office needs straightening up, and I've always got my stack of unfinished New Yorkers, but my living room is neat and the other rooms are only mildly messy. And I think degree matters. In her case, the sheer scope of the mess was alarming.

I think things like this can often be tied to mental health. As you and I have discussed, Jeff, merely accomplishing some household straightening task can improve your mood. But also, if you literally almost never leave the house, you're home all day surrounded by major disorder and yet you don't do anything about it, that's a sign of almost debilitating depression.



 
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on January 23, 2018, 10:31:44 am
I think things like this can often be tied to mental health. As you and I have discussed, Jeff, merely accomplishing some household straightening task can improve your mood. But also, if you literally almost never leave the house, you're home all day surrounded by major disorder and yet you don't do anything about it, that's a sign of almost debilitating depression.

Agreed! I just reacted to your mention of the "living room you can hardly walk through." That brought to mind photos I've seen of places with huge stacks of newspapers and other stuff that threatened to collapse and bury you alive.

Sometimes when things are left go for a long time for whatever reason, it can be difficult making a decision on where to start. I haven't really done any housework since my dad went into the hospital now a little over a month ago (!). At least I was able to decide that this weekend I need to start with the bathroom and the kitchen.

I have a hallway that you can hardly walk through, but that's because one wall is lined with computer paper boxes that hold part of my model train collection. At least the hallway is tidy!  :laugh:
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on January 23, 2018, 10:54:43 am
Sometimes when things are left go for a long time for whatever reason, it can be difficult making a decision on where to start.

I know what you mean. My office is like that.

Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on January 24, 2018, 07:15:39 pm
I think things like this can often be tied to mental health. As you and I have discussed, Jeff, merely accomplishing some household straightening task can improve your mood. But also, if you literally almost never leave the house, you're home all day surrounded by major disorder and yet you don't do anything about it, that's a sign of almost debilitating depression.


It definitely is a sign of something.  My grandparents' house was a complete hoard,  there was one room that was so full of clothes, we couldn't walk into it.   It was all grandma's doing,  but her hoard was due to her extreme anger towards my grandfather.  It was her revenge.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on September 01, 2018, 01:18:21 pm
R.'s mother fell yesterday and couldn't get herself back up. She wasn't wearing her Medic Alert bracelet so she just had to lie on the floor until R.'s sister came for her usual daily check-up. Now, she's in the hospital. I had to give R. a stern talking-to because he was going on about his problems with his mom, his inability to make a decision about moving her out of the house, and going through a mental inventory of her belongings and what they would fetch. I tried to refocus him back onto his mom and sister. I don't know if it worked but he did go over and visit her in the hospital yesterday evening.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on September 01, 2018, 05:24:50 pm
As someone who has gone through the belongings thing, I can make it easy for him: the answer is probably zero.

You can barely even give china away, let alone sell it. I still have my grandmother's 12-setting nice Spode china and am planning to give it to the woman who's cleaning my house to get it ready for sale. She's from Mexico and goes to church every day. She says many of the people at her church are migrants and could really use household items like dishes. So at least it's going to people who can use it.

You can sell silver if it's sterling. It gets melted down. For a long time I thought my grandmother's was plate. Then one day I put on my reading glasses and, wow, it's sterling! I sold it for $500.

If his mom has a lot of nice stuff, the simplest thing would be to hire someone who does estate sales. They'll take a big percentage but they'll handle all the details of pricing, displaying, advertising, etc. Trying to sell things by the piece or hold your own sale is pretty time consuming.


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: brian on September 02, 2018, 02:46:40 am
We found the same when my Mother died, very sad as such lovely things that she had treasured. One dealer gave us a small token amount to take them off our hands but said he would have to find somewhere to store it. When my sister and I went overseas we bought Mum dolls dressed in each country's native dress. Mum had a special cabinet for them and always worried about what would happen to them. Being a school librarian (although I was secondary), I was able to advertise on the School Librarian's lists and it finally went to a Primary (Elementary) school where they were wrapped in it, do not know what has happened 12 years later.  We had a small plaque "In memory of.." put in the cabinet and paid for delivery although it was in the same trip as delivering Mum's night 'n day bed to my home (she had bought it so I could stay overnight with her). My old lounge was in bad repair. That night 'n day bed later came with me to NZ and is my main TV lounge but has not been used as a bed since Mum died in 2006.
I am horrified to think that someone would be discussing what will happen with his Mother's things before she has died. You might have private thoughts but not openly discuss it. (Unless his Mother wants to discuss as with my Mother's dolls).
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on September 02, 2018, 09:44:12 am
Regarding my own mother's things, I am very lucky. She painted for years -- big oil paintings, mostly of buildings. Her main job was as an advertising copywriter but her paintings were not amateurish. She used to display them in exhibits and juried shows. In high school, I became friends with a girl whose parents, I later discovered, had one of my mom's paintings hanging in their house.

I really like the paintings and have them all over my own house. I have a few other things of my mom's, too, but whenever I have to get rid of anything of hers I don't feel as bad about it knowing that I'll always have the paintings. They meant more to her than a vase or something.

Yesterday a couple of friends came over to do some small repairs around my house. The man, a friend since high school named Terry, sidelines as a handyman. When he left he said that when I die he wants the painting she did of a porch, from the perspective of someone on the porch looking out on the ocean. I said I'd put his name on the back and I think I'll do that. My brother will probably take most of the paintings but wouldn't begrudge Terry, who is his friend as well.

Of course we don't know which of us will go in what order. Terry smokes cigarettes, but he's in better shape than me. It's sad how when you pass 60 you start thinking about things like that more seriously. But then, any of us could get hit by a bus at any time.


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on September 02, 2018, 10:08:19 am
I agree with you, Brian, that I wish people would not obsess on their relatives things as the relatives lie in a hospital bed. Things are things, and people are human beings (at least most of them, anyway). I'm trying to get my friend R. to see that. He says that he's only thinking about the value of his mom's things because he wants to sell them to get more money for his mom to be able to pay her nursing home bills. However, new developments are that R.'s mom is probably headed for hospice. She fell because her blood sugar levels were very high, who knows for how long, and that caused a lot of damage.  :'(

That said, your points about how times have changed and people don't value old things is spot on. The eldest daughter in my mother's family had some lovely silver, china, glassware and such. Somehow I ended up with most of it. My mom was trying to raise money (although she had plenty, she thought she was destitute) one time so I paid her $1K for the china and $500 for the silver. I had seen several sets of silver go to other members of the families and started thinking maybe I wasn't going to ever get any! I still have the silver and use it quite often. I gave the china to my daughter as a wedding present. She has it all packed away (with 4 small children!) and only uses the gravy boat. I also gave her lots of crystal glassware. I have many other things of value but nothing you could sell to raise $Ks quickly except my real estate and car. Even then, you would get pennies on the dollar.

I'm not a collector; can you really make money doing that? Recently I ran across a half dozen comic books I bought in the 1980s. All of them except one were worth $1-$2 dollars today, the same as when I bought them. One is supposedly worth $200-$300 but I wouldn't know how to go about selling it.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on September 02, 2018, 10:24:30 am
Could you try eBay? Or there are probably sites for that specific purpose.

I'll have to say I myself rarely used my grandmother's china. It's lovely -- and it can even go in the dishwasher! -- but it's just easier to use my regular plates, I almost never throw formal dinners, and the china is harder to eat off of because of its bumpy ruffled texture.

But, like your daughter, I do use the gravy boat. Plus a couple of serving dishes and a few little plates.

I have a box of crystal champagne glasses. I haven't checked yet, but they may be easier to sell than the china. However, they're the old style of wide flat champagne glasses, whereas flutes are now preferred.

I tried selling some of the china to Replacements.com, which buys things buy the piece. Pieces in my Spode pattern was worth anywhere from zero to $3 to $10 to maybe $40, depending on the size and the quantity they have in stock. I realized that by the time I paid to have them professionally packed and shipped I might just break even.



Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: brian on September 02, 2018, 06:16:00 pm
I collect Hummel figurines https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hummel_figurines, although I think I have enough now. I bought the first when I visited Bavaria in 1974, 76 and 80. Some I bought for Mum and have inherited them (My sister took the Royal Doulton and I  took the Hummel) Now they are too dear there now but I have picked up some on Trademe (NZ version of Ebay)
My mother also had 2 Chinese vases which my sister took and had in her entry vestibule with a tile floor.. My Brother- in-law came home slightly drunk one night and swung his arm around, so one ended up in a million pieces. Another reason for disliking him (there are many). I saw similar advertised for about $1000.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on September 02, 2018, 10:31:32 pm
If I had a set of china that valuable, and four small children, I'd keep that china packed away, too.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on September 03, 2018, 12:45:15 am
I have a box of crystal champagne glasses. I haven't checked yet, but they may be easier to sell than the china. However, they're the old style of wide flat champagne glasses, whereas flutes are now preferred.

Use them as dessert glasses then! That's what I do with mine!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on September 03, 2018, 10:31:42 am
That would be a great idea, except I never make that kind of dessert. I pretty much never make sweets, period. I might buy a bakery cake for a family birthday. Some years around the holidays I might bake a batch of cookies, but even then I'm more likely to make cheese straws (I have a great recipe, obtained when I lived in New Orleans).

But I agree that if I ever were to do that, those glasses would be a cool way to serve it.

One dessert that would be good this time of year is grilled peaches or plums, perhaps with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream. Those would be good candidates for the champagne-glass treatment!  :D


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on September 04, 2018, 03:49:39 pm
If I had a set of china that valuable, and four small children, I'd keep that china packed away, too.

I would too!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on September 04, 2018, 09:07:33 pm
I think these days most people keep the china packed away whether they have small children or not. That's why nobody wants to buy it.





Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Brown Eyes on September 04, 2018, 10:28:45 pm
Hey Friends,

I'm jumping in to this thread... maybe for the first time?  For selling things like china and silverware, etc. I would recommend maybe looking beyond estate sale people and try to find a good local gallery or auction house.  Most regions have at least one or two good auction houses, and you may get better results.  Or... even have an antique dealer look at what you have.

Also, that's very cool K!  I didn't know your Mom was an artist.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on September 05, 2018, 08:51:16 am
Hey Friends,

I'm jumping in to this thread... maybe for the first time?  For selling things like china and silverware, etc. I would recommend maybe looking beyond estate sale people and try to find a good local gallery or auction house.  Most regions have at least one or two good auction houses, and you may get better results.  Or... even have an antique dealer look at what you have.

Thanks for the suggestion, but I don't think anyplace would be excited about china and silverware because so many people have them. I talked at length to a guy who runs an antique consignment shop and he can't even find a place for his own silverware.

Quote
Also, that's very cool K!  I didn't know your Mom was an artist.

Thanks, A! If you'd asked her, she'd have told you she was an advertising copywriter, but she had studied both advertising and art in school and for an amateur painter she was very good.

I have to go into work, but later I'll try to remember to post a couple of her photos.

So glad you've decided to visit, A!  :D



Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on September 05, 2018, 12:14:17 pm
R.'s mother fell yesterday and couldn't get herself back up. She wasn't wearing her Medic Alert bracelet so she just had to lie on the floor until R.'s sister came for her usual daily check-up. Now, she's in the hospital. I had to give R. a stern talking-to because he was going on about his problems with his mom, his inability to make a decision about moving her out of the house, and going through a mental inventory of her belongings and what they would fetch. I tried to refocus him back onto his mom and sister. I don't know if it worked but he did go over and visit her in the hospital yesterday evening.

On Labor Day, I went to the hospital with R. to visit his mother. He had warned me that she "might be gone" before I could arrive, but we went anyway. I was so surprised to find her with good color in her cheeks and talking, although not very clearly. We visited for about 30 minutes with 3 other relatives in the room and I could see that it agitated her when we all talked amongst ourselves. The family talked in one corner about arrangements and logistics while I talked with Mary. We came back after having a late lunch and it was much easier, just the 2 of us with Mary. I got R. to reminisce about growing up in that neighborhood and I could see that she was listening closely. When we left, I told Mary that R. would be back to "regale you with more stories about Littleton" and she gave a happy smile!

So, late that night, Mary died peacefully. Once again, I predicted wrongly. I thought she would recover and be around for many months, perhaps even years.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on September 05, 2018, 04:28:43 pm
Wow, how nice that you were able to lift her spirits on her last day.  :)


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on September 05, 2018, 07:48:54 pm
I'm sorry that R. lost his mom, but you gave him a great gift, a nice time of story-sharing with his mother one last time
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Brown Eyes on September 05, 2018, 08:59:48 pm
Wow, that's very powerful Lee.  Very sorry to hear that she passed on.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on September 07, 2018, 11:23:27 pm
How is R. doing, Lee?
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Brown Eyes on September 17, 2018, 08:56:09 pm
So, I'm jumping in with a puzzle I've been in with my best friend from my Pittsburgh years.  She and her husband were my very close best friends for almost the whole time that I lived in Pittsburgh.  We often spent Thanksgivings together, New Years, etc. hung out all the time.  She was a co-worker and helped me tremendously when I was job hunting - and as is often the case is the main one I'm friends with of the pair... I essentially became friends with her husband through her. And, I haven't had anything remotely like a falling out with either one of them.  And we still exchange gifts through the mail now that I've moved.

But, around the time that I moved, their relationship began for fall apart and they are going through a long rough break up though they are still living in the same house (it seems unhappily, but mostly for financial reasons).  Her father also died not long before I moved, and her elderly mother now lives with them.  Also, things have continued to be very rough at the museum where we both worked.  So, she's been under a lot of stress in various ways for the past couple of years.

When I first moved, we kept in good touch through texts, phone calles, facebook messages, etc. quite regularly.  But over the months it's been harder and harder to get a hold of her.  She can go many weeks before replying to simple texts or answering a voicemail.  I am actually quite worried about her and wish she would talk to me - I keep feeling like I should be doing something to help her with her stress.  And at the same time, I'm getting to the point of being very frustrated at not being able to get in touch very easily anymore - trying not to take it personally.  Often she will say, "I'm sorry I've been busy" when she gets in touch after a long lapse.

I guess I'm looking for advice about the best way to be a supportive friend in this kind of situation.  And, it some ways I don't know how to interpret her standoff-ishness.  I don't want the friendship to drift away or become distant... but it's hard when it's difficult to reach her!

Her husband is fairly active on Facebook so I feel like I'm in better touch with him.  Though I don't feel comfortable really asking him how she's doing since things are so difficult between them.  Awkward!

Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on September 18, 2018, 12:11:25 am
I think what would be good is to text and say "is ____o'clock a good time to talk?" and then call her. Be pretty assertive about it. Then, when you connect by phone, just mostly listen and ask questions. Talk for a short time. Then ask her, "is this a good time to talk?" Can I call again next week at the same time?" Set up a regular routine.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on September 18, 2018, 01:09:48 pm
Good suggestions, Lee.

I have no advice, A, but I have gone through a very similar situation. Mine involves a friend of 45 years, throughout most of which I considered her my best friend. We shared an apartment for a while in college. We were each other's sole maids of honor (there were no other bridesmaids) at our low-key weddings. We went to Italy together twice, once in a group and once just the two of us. We have years worth of in-jokes and other references. She lives pretty far from me (on the other end of the metro area) so I have stayed overnight at her house many times to avoid driving home late.

This woman is prone to suddenly and unilaterally cutting off old friends for a few years. She grew up next to twin sisters who are also in our high-school social circle, and she went for a few years hating one, and then got over that and hated the other, without ever having talked to either of them about her anger but apparently eventually getting over it.

A couple of years ago she became distant to me in much the way your friend has been, A. Finally I asked about it in an email. "Is everything OK?" She replied with a lie, saying nowadays she preferred to just stay home and do crafts rather than socialize. "I've changed ... I hope you can accept this." She allowed that we could have lunch occasionally "as weather permits." It was June.

Finally that fall she confessed that she'd been mad at me ever since the last time I'd stayed over a year earlier. Apparently we'd argued, and she said I was so harsh and condescending she was afraid to say anything. I remember pretty much every detail of that night -- I'd even know how to play fantasy football now if I'd been able to follow her husband's explanation at the time -- but somehow I don't remember any argument. She said it was about -- get this -- nature vs. nurture.

I was really surprised we'd argued at all. I do argue with some friends, but with her I basically agree on most things and haven't harbored any great ill will about anything. That last time I stayed over, we hung around her house until almost noon the next day and everything was perfectly pleasant. But once she told me about the big nature vs. nurture argument I realized that was the last time we'd hung out.

I told her I do have strong opinions on that subject but if I argued with her about them I would also argue with 99% of the population because most people don't share my views (for a sample, see my long comment on a video Clarissa posted on FB just yesterday). So it's possible I did come on too strong. But meanwhile I was hurt and angry that she'd never said anything at the time (so I could apologize) or since. And that even when I asked her outright she lied.

I just let it go and we moved past it and restored our basic friendship, possibly with a little more distance. Then early this year she sent out a group email telling me and our mutual friends that she had quit drinking and joined AA.

So, fine! My ex-husband is also in AA and I see him all the time, so it's not a huge social barrier as far as I'm concerned. Nor did it seem to be for my friend. She rarely attended parties hosted by our mutual friends because she doesn't like driving that far at night. But she did attend a few early gatherings and just didn't drink. She seemed healthy and happy, so I was glad for her.  We IMed on FB fairly often, always in a very friendly way. She suggested we have lunch soon.

Until a couple of weeks ago I've been busy getting my house all fixed up to sell. But finally everything was done, so I suggested we finally schedule that lunch. Here's what she replied:

"I am sorry, but I am not in a strong enough emotional state to have lunch with you. Thank you for asking. ... I should explain what I mean by that. I feel bullied by you. You've publicly shamed my grammar on FB, you screamed at me at Lisa's party, and when I saw you in December, you mocked me again with that screeching mean voice. You seem to have a lot of unhappiness and anger, and you're toxic for me. I have to protect my sobriety, and the resentment and anger I feel towards you is unhealthy. I prayed about this for two hours, then went out and did hard yard work for an hour to let go of my anxiety. I think we should cut our ties."

i was flabbergasted. I don't remember even being angry at her for anything, let alone screaming or screeching. I asked what I'd screamed at her about, what I'd mocked her for, etc., but got no reply. She's right that I do have some unhappiness and anger but they're more about my job, finances and things like that -- I've never felt any ill will toward her. So it was completely baffling. But all I got back wss radio silence.

I contacted a mutual friend who'd been at the December event to ask if she remembered me mocking anyone in my screeching mean voice. She vehemently assured me that I hadn't. We discussed reasons our friend might have acted that way toward me. We came up with a few possibilities but none really adequately explained that bizarre reaction.

I looked up an IM conversation my ex-friend and I had THE DAY AFTER THE DECEMBER EVENT. It's very friendly -- we made jokes, LOLed, complimented each other, etc. It was a perfectly nice conversation! No sign of resentment about my supposed screeching.

So that's the story so far. I think this has been done before, but I'd like to see a book collecting different people's stories about the odd or terrible endings of friendships in their lives.

Sorry to go on so long when the topic was your friendship. But at least you know others in the same boat.




Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Sason on September 18, 2018, 02:30:21 pm
I think a good idea would be to write her an e-mail, where you acknowledge all the stress she lives under, but also tell her that you worry about her and miss her.
Tell her that you want to be a support to her, but don't know how to. Don't ask her why she's become distant, hopefully she'll tell her yourself.
Ask her what would be a good way for you to support her, if she wants you to call or wait until she calls, if she wants texts or if they add to her stress, if there's anything practical you can do now that you live far away etc.

Hopefully she'll be able to tell you how to keep in touch with her without overwhelming her.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Brown Eyes on September 23, 2018, 09:07:41 pm
Hey Everyone,

Thanks for all of your words of advice, and I apologize for leaving this conversation hanging for a bit.

K, as to your good friend who grew distant and perceived an argument differently than you did... I do sometimes really worry with my friend if she's just decided she doesn't want to stay in touch too much (for reasons that aren't apparent to me).  Honestly, the idea of setting up a set conversation time, etc. is very appealing, but even getting her to reply to a text can be hard.  Even when SHE sets us a time to talk she is sometimes mysteriously not available.  Sometimes it almost feels like being "ghosted" by a friend... though it's not entirely that bad, because we do still connect sometimes.

Yesterday was her birthday and we texted back and forth, and then I called and it went to voicemail.  I'm going to Pittsburgh next weekend for another friend's baby shower and this friend in question will also be there.  We've made plans to go out to dinner following the baby shower.  So that will be good to have a chance for a real conversation.

She knows I worry when we go through long stretches with little communication, and I pretty much know she feels guilty about it.  The staying in communication issue is snowballing into its own stress on the friendship in some ways.  And honestly, sometimes I get really angry feeling neglected as a friend (though I don't express that to her).  I think maybe inevitably this friendship will drift away, but it's very sad to me. :-\

It will definitely be interesting to see how dinner next weekend goes.



Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on September 23, 2018, 09:38:41 pm
Please keep us posted!  I'm glad you have the chance to talk with her.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on September 24, 2018, 09:26:01 am
I agree, and if nothing else the dinner could at least help clarify the situation.

It sounds possible that she's under so much stress -- the breakup, her mother living there, her dad's death, work issues -- that she just doesn't have the mental/emotional energy to focus on someone no longer living in the same city. That's sad in itself, but at least you'll feel better for having cleared up the mystery, and hearing a "it's not you, it's me" explanation from her.

If you sense that she's being evasive about why she's acting that way, you could try to gently press her on it. If it does have anything to do with you as opposed to her (though it doesn't sound to me like it does) she's not doing you any favors by not being honest. But more likely it's reasons involving her, and you could make clear that she has your support and understanding while she goes through all this.

It can be hard to keep friendships going when you're no longer living in the same city or working at the same place. You have fewer common references, you tend to focus on what's there in front of you, etc. Sometimes, though, it seems like when you get back together in person you can immediately connect the way you did before. I hope that's what happens in Pittsburgh.


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on September 24, 2018, 10:02:06 am
I hope she doesn't find an excuse to back out of dinner.  :(
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on September 25, 2018, 06:05:15 pm
Yeah, very true.  Keep us posted!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Brown Eyes on October 11, 2018, 11:11:05 pm
Hey Everyone,

Sorry for the delay in the update.  The trip back to Pittsburgh went pretty nicely.  It was fun to see old friends there for the baby shower and Lucy along with her elderly mother did go out to dinner with me following the shower.  It was a pleasant visit and actually nice to see her mom - I'd spent a fair amount of time with her also over my years in Pittsburgh.  

I get the sense that Lucy is, in general, just pulled in a ton of different directions and frazzled by a lot of stress.  One weird thing that happened is that towards the end of the shower, not long before we had planned to leave to head to dinner, a friend called her and needed a ride home from work and all of a sudden she wanted to postpone dinner by over an hour.  It's hard to explain easily the dynamics there in a message like this but it caused a slight bit of tension.  I ended up reminding her that I'd driven from Delaware that day to see her (in addition to the baby shower). I brought a ton of birthday presents for her because the visit happened shortly following her birthday - which was part of the reason for going to dinner.  And ultimately she did go and give her other friend a ride and dinner was delayed.  Again, it was odd.  (And it may seem petty, but the thought did pass through my mind... "oh so you answer your phone for that friend."  :-\ )

After dinner we did have a chat about trying to keep in touch more often/ more easily.  I get the sense that she feels a little guilty about not being good at replying to texts and voicemails.  Though it's kind of a bummer to think about a friendship turning into an obligation or a guilt trip to maintain.

Ultimately I don't know how things will play out. Hopefully at some point when the current stresses in her life ease up somehow things will get better. It turns out that she and her husband are officially separated (and he even has a new girlfriend now) but he's still living at her house - causing a lot of awkwardness.  Plus taking care of her mother is a lot of work with the current situation.  She certainly knows that I'd like to be there for her - but I think keeping in touch for a while will continue to be a challenge.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on October 12, 2018, 09:23:25 am
Sorry for the mixed outcome, A. I'm glad you had some fun. I feel bad for you, arriving with a bounty of gifts and eagerness to renew ties with your friend and then having a less than satisfactory experience.

It does sound like her life is kind of a nightmare right now. Caregiving for an ailing relative can take a lot of time and emotional energy. And the situation with her husband is really beyond what anyone should have to go through. Can they not afford for one of them to get a separate small apartment or something? Well, I guess it would have to be her husband, since she needs to stay with her mother. And maybe finances are an obstacle. But still!

As for answering the call, she may be more likely to pick up for a quick call from a local person than from an old friend in another city that would entail a longer conversation. That said, why didn't her friend just Lyft or Uber? I mean, that costs money too and I don't want to seem elitist if they're really strapped for cash. But at least around here, I can get most places I'd want to go for $15 or so during non-peak hours. And that seems immensely preferable to delaying dinner with a friend who is visiting from out of town.

Do you know anything about this friend? Is it just some regular friend, or could the relationship be part of what's complicating her life?


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on October 12, 2018, 06:58:21 pm
(And it may seem petty, but the thought did pass through my mind... "oh so you answer your phone for that friend."  :-\ )


I don't think it's petty, I would've had the same thought.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on January 09, 2019, 12:02:15 pm
There is an article out today on the construction of small auxiliary dwelling units for people's aging parents. In all of these articles, I've never seen mention of the investment of time it takes to have an aging parent living with you.

https://www.nextavenue.org/accessory-dwelling-unit-help-aging-parent/?hide_newsletter=true&utm_source=Next+Avenue+Email+Newsletter&utm_campaign=702e0b9a80-01.08.2019_Tuesday_Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_056a405b5a-702e0b9a80-165235473&mc_cid=702e0b9a80&mc_eid=a194ac8bb9 (https://www.nextavenue.org/accessory-dwelling-unit-help-aging-parent/?hide_newsletter=true&utm_source=Next+Avenue+Email+Newsletter&utm_campaign=702e0b9a80-01.08.2019_Tuesday_Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_056a405b5a-702e0b9a80-165235473&mc_cid=702e0b9a80&mc_eid=a194ac8bb9)

I think it's very important that people's eyes are opened to the large amount of time a parent will need. There are the big stuff--medical appointments, monitoring pill taking etc.--and the small stuff--fixing the electronics they've broken, entertaining them, etc. Once a parent is living with or near you, they will expect you to be their chauffeur. The middle of the night stuff and the long hours in a waiting room. On top of that, children, siblings and partners are very adept at fading away when the responsibility of caregiving looms. Out of sight, out of mind.  :'(
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on January 10, 2019, 09:53:28 am
Actually there are tons of articles on that topic if you look them up via "caregiving" or "family caregiving" (as opposed to the paid professional kind). It's a big issue in journalism about aging. I'm sure NextAvenue has many and I've written a few myself. Caregivers sacrifice time, financial security and emotional well-being.

In one story I wrote, a woman lived with her mother, who had dementia. Because the mother had lived in a small rural town, the woman felt she couldn't move the mother into the city where she herself lived and worked, so they moved to the outskirts of the metro area. The woman had to quit her job in favor of one where she could work remotely but for half the pay, because her mother couldn't be left alone. But if she put her mother in long-term care so she could get a better job, the mother would have to spend down all of her money to qualify for Medicaid. And because they were living in a home with a reverse mortgage, the woman would have been left homeless (and possibly car-less, because her mother owned the car).

Another woman I talked to for that story called me from a homeless shelter. She had quit her job at a convenience store to care for her mother, and when the mother died the woman got evicted.



Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on January 10, 2019, 02:47:29 pm
Actually there are tons of articles on that topic if you look them up via "caregiving" or "family caregiving" (as opposed to the paid professional kind). It's a big issue in journalism about aging. I'm sure NextAvenue has many and I've written a few myself. Caregivers sacrifice time, financial security and emotional well-being.
Are there enough articles that describe the sacrifice in time and well-being? The examples you cite are primarily economic. Caregiving is so intense and so expensive, that most people would choose "family caregiving" over institutional care. But isn't "family caregiving" misnamed for the most part? The vast majority falls to the one person who is willing to take on the job. Others may mean well, but they think their role extends to a 10-minute phone call on Sunday afternoons.

In one story I wrote, a woman lived with her mother, who had dementia. Because the mother had lived in a small rural town, the woman felt she couldn't move the mother into the city where she herself lived and worked, so they moved to the outskirts of the metro area. The woman had to quit her job in favor of one where she could work remotely but for half the pay, because her mother couldn't be left alone. But if she put her mother in long-term care so she could get a better job, the mother would have to spend down all of her money to qualify for Medicaid. And because they were living in a home with a reverse mortgage, the woman would have been left homeless (and possibly car-less, because her mother owned the car).
Maybe some agency or organization is needed to counsel people who are facing these decisions. Here, it seems to me that the answer would have been to sell the house, move the mother into long-term care in the city near where the daughter was living/working, have the mother transfer ownership of the car to the daughter, spend down her money on the care facility and buying other approved items such as burial services, and apply for Medicaid. Then, the daughter would not have to destroy her life and the mother could get the professional, 24/7 care that she needed.

Another woman I talked to for that story called me from a homeless shelter. She had quit her job at a convenience store to care for her mother, and when the mother died the woman got evicted.
Convenience stores always need personnel. . .am I dense or am I right in thinking the daughter could get another job after the mother's death?

The idea of trying to provide in-home care without family or home health aide support, while "working remotely" is a recipe for disaster. It may make sense economically, but there are other considerations than economics. Too many people, most of them women, are being sacrificed needlessly. In many respects, caring for an ailing parent is more difficult than caring for a newborn.

I wonder if it would be helpful for me or someone to write a play-by-play article on life with your aging parent. 6 am: the parent falls out of bed. Etc.



Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on January 11, 2019, 10:54:29 am
Are there enough articles that describe the sacrifice in time and well-being?

Yes. I've written some, a colleague who also writes about caregiving has written some -- and that's just at one medium-size newspaper. One source I've often turned to in caregiving stories is a University of Minnesota department head who puts out a newsletter for caregivers. The AARP has a lot of material. I'm sure NextAvenue has a bunch. There are whole websites about it. If you google it I'm sure you'll find plenty. This could get you started: https://www.google.com/search?q=%22family+caregiving%22&rlz=1C1EOIJ_enUS750US778&oq=%22family+caregiving%22&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i65j0l4.8331j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 (https://www.google.com/search?q=%22family+caregiving%22&rlz=1C1EOIJ_enUS750US778&oq=%22family+caregiving%22&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i65j0l4.8331j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8)

I can't remember where now, but recently in a conversation we were noting that some caregivers don't even like the parent they're caring for, but do it anyway. Extremely stressful, either way.

Quote
The examples you cite are primarily economic. Caregiving is so intense and so expensive, that most people would choose "family caregiving" over institutional care. But isn't "family caregiving" misnamed for the most part? The vast majority falls to the one person who is willing to take on the job. Others may mean well, but they think their role extends to a 10-minute phone call on Sunday afternoons.

Yes, that often happens. Of course, families vary quite a bit, so in some cases the siblings share. More women do caregiving and when men do caregiving for a parent it often involves paying for a service rather than performing one.

Quote
Maybe some agency or organization is needed to counsel people who are facing these decisions.

Yes, there are a bunch. I of course didn't realize that when my mother was ailing.

Quote
Here, it seems to me that the answer would have been to sell the house, move the mother into long-term care in the city near where the daughter was living/working, have the mother transfer ownership of the car to the daughter, spend down her money on the care facility and buying other approved items such as burial services, and apply for Medicaid. Then, the daughter would not have to destroy her life and the mother could get the professional, 24/7 care that she needed.

They couldn't sell the house because it was on a reverse mortgage. The car was in question because it wasn't clear whether Medicaid patients get to keep their cars (obviously someone knows the answer, but I didn't dig enough to find). Any gifts of money (and maybe cars?) a Medicaid receiver has given to their family members within the past 5 or 7 years (can't remember which, and it may vary by state) must be returned. So the car situation wasn't clear. The house situation was.

Quote
Convenience stores always need personnel. . .am I dense or am I right in thinking the daughter could get another job after the mother's death?

She had little kids. I can't remember all the circumstances but daycare is extremely expensive (though I think poor people can get some help with it).

Quote
I wonder if it would be helpful for me or someone to write a play-by-play article on life with your aging parent. 6 am: the parent falls out of bed. Etc.

Sure. There's always interest in that subject.


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on January 14, 2019, 06:08:34 pm
Actor Rob Lowe has written an article on caregivers in USA Today today:
https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/voices/2019/01/13/rob-lowe-caregivers-social-security-self-care-column/2539450002/?fbclid=IwAR28IaXK_yTLujwBqOemBtzyLrgN6Qge_JOJ-PWB6_xtlflwILoUfpIKXe8# (https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/voices/2019/01/13/rob-lowe-caregivers-social-security-self-care-column/2539450002/?fbclid=IwAR28IaXK_yTLujwBqOemBtzyLrgN6Qge_JOJ-PWB6_xtlflwILoUfpIKXe8#)

I started looking at what's been written on this subject and found that there are two articles that have appeared in multiple publications and I didn't find much else beyond that. Both of the articles could be improved by giving specific examples taken from life. For instance, I received a phone call in the middle of the night from mother one time just to chat. It turned out that she was suffering from Sundowners' Syndrome, but it took me a while to find that out.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on January 14, 2019, 11:35:13 pm
I started looking at what's been written on this subject and found that there are two articles that have appeared in multiple publications and I didn't find much else beyond that.

How are you looking them up? I just now typed "caregiving" into Google and got 115 million results. Many are websites about caregiving rather than articles published in major publications and some may be about paid caregivers but still, there's plenty of info on family caregivers. At least of the kind I've looked for when writing about it; far more than I had time to look at.

I googled my own byline with "caregiving" and got three stories -- one about the financial aspects, one about caregiving in general (with sidebars about specific families) and one about more men becoming caregivers. A colleague at the paper has also written a bunch of good stories because she did a year-long fellowship on the topic, which I'd be happy to PM you links to. There are also whole books, including one published by AARP that we got free copies of at one of the fellowships I attended. If you're interested, I could send you my copy if I didn't get rid of it in my downsizing frenzy.

But maybe you're looking for something more specific?

I haven't read the piece you linked yet, but I've heard that Rob Lowe is a good writer.


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on January 15, 2019, 11:20:46 am
I filtered it more than just caregiving. I think I typed in "moving in with aging parent". But most of the results had to do with moving your aging parent into your home. The concern I have is that, sure, you can install grab bars, but what about the parent needing to grab onto you, both literally and figuratively? Maybe some people can easily adjust but I suspect that for most of us, it's a shock to go from an autonomous person able to "freely move about the cabin" to the claustrophobic feeling that if you step away from your parent for even just a minute they will totally collapse. I don't see this adequately covered.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on January 16, 2019, 04:15:24 pm
I filtered it more than just caregiving. I think I typed in "moving in with aging parent". But most of the results had to do with moving your aging parent into your home. The concern I have is that, sure, you can install grab bars, but what about the parent needing to grab onto you, both literally and figuratively? Maybe some people can easily adjust but I suspect that for most of us, it's a shock to go from an autonomous person able to "freely move about the cabin" to the claustrophobic feeling that if you step away from your parent for even just a minute they will totally collapse. I don't see this adequately covered.

Hmm. Well, I can see why you'd want to focus on something directly relevant to your situation, but filtering it that way not only cuts down on the results, it may cut out results you'd actually like to see that weren't worded quite that way. What if an article called it "living with elderly mother"?

Anyway, as someone who googles things for research all the livelong day, I would suggest starting slightly more broadly, like maybe caregiving and parent. That way, you eliminate people caring for children, spouses, more distant relatives, etc. If those aren't specific enough, maybe try adding "home." What I have found in researching caregiving online is that the official sources tend to paint a slightly rosier picture than reality. I was poking around AARP one day, which has all kinds of, if not outright cheerful at least straightforward and practical info on caregiving. Then I opened a message board and was shocked by all the intense messages from regular people who were exhausted, sad, angry, frustrated, exasperated, etc. People in some cases who sounded almost suicidal. Or maybe matri/patricidal.



Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on January 17, 2019, 10:56:52 pm
Thanks for the searching tips. I was basically looking for articles having to do with the non-economic aspects of caregiving, which I feel are underemphasized.

It seems like you and I read the same AARP article, maybe! I strongly remember something about 3 years ago about caregiving, which painted a misguidedly rosy picture of it! And the comments were a backlash trying to give a more balanced view, but swung the pendulum a little farther to the negative side. I'm interested in presenting a more balanced viewpoint and telling women (since it's mostly women who are facing this) that it's all right if you don't give up your whole life for your aging parent.

An example from today about how people get sucked in. I took R. for his first treatment for prostate cancer. The trip to the treatment center went smoothly and the wait was not intolerable. We were only at the doctor's office for about 2 hours, and I had reading material and a salad to eat that I'd made myself. I was heartened to see R. emerge from the procedure walking normally, all dressed, and not visibly in pain. (Of course, the valium and oxycodone he had received helped this.) We left and were headed to his home but R. announced that he was hungry. . . about 12 times he announced this. I said, "Okay, we can stop somewhere for food." He then proceeded to tell me to turn left here and turn right there and we made our way in a circuitous fashion down neighborhood streets. "This route is more fun!" he said, but I didn't agree, gnashing my teeth.

We stopped at a Whole Foods and he began to shop and stopped to tell several of the staff what he had just gone through. Another hour went by before we exited the store. I found my old resentments at my mother's slowness returning! I was practically fuming, but I tried to hide it. It was about 4:30 pm when we got back to his house and rush hour was in full force. R. kept talking nonstop, apologizing every once in a while by saying "I'm on drugs" but I finally just cut him off and said, "I've got to go."
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: brian on January 18, 2019, 06:00:27 pm
This might interest you. In our local newspaper today

https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/health/life-alone-‘pretty-tough’
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on January 18, 2019, 06:32:54 pm
Thanks for that link, brian! It's a kind of sad story but I'm glad the husband is staying active.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on January 19, 2019, 11:26:27 am
Thanks for the searching tips. I was basically looking for articles having to do with the non-economic aspects of caregiving, which I feel are underemphasized.

Some of them are about economic aspects, but many are not. As I said, there have been a handful of articles on the non-economic aspects of caregiving in my newspaper alone, some of them written by me.

As for the AARP article, I wasn't talking about an article in the magazine or newsletter with reader comments. I was talking about comments on a message board, much like this one except instead of Brokeback Mountain (etc.) the topic is caregiving.

Here's an AARP page that's like a whole website in itself, with a grid of topics you can click on to open up articles on basics, resources, caring at home, caring for someone with dementia, caring for someone with cancer, etc., as well as financial aspects. They're more guides than articles, but there is tons of information on a wide range of caregiving-related topics.

https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/ (https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/)

Here are the first 10 results from a search for "new york times" and "caregiving." Long-distance caregiving. Easing the burden on caregivers. Caregiving for aging parents. Caregivers' isolation. Caregiving sooner than expected. A robot caregiver. Caregiver burnout. Caregiving for a cancer patient. And so on.

https://www.google.com/search?q=new+york+times+caregiving&rlz=1C1EOIJ_enUS750US778&oq=new+york+times+caregiving&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l2.3410j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 (https://www.google.com/search?q=new+york+times+caregiving&rlz=1C1EOIJ_enUS750US778&oq=new+york+times+caregiving&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l2.3410j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8)

Here's a six-page special section from the Washington Post, "CAREGIVING: A Special Report," filled with stories and photos, including one by Rosalynn Carter.

[url]https://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/national/caregiving-a-special-report/864/[/Neurl]

Newsweek has stories (including the Rob Lowe one). Time magazine has stories. U.S. News & World Report? A little skimpy, and most seem to be about finances or nursing homes. But you get the picture. There is no shortage of coverage of this topic. When I've written about it, it has not been a problem of not enough information, it's a problem of too much.

There's a site called caregiver.com, agingcare.com, caregiver.org, caregiverstress.com, dailycaregiving.com. The last one has an article that lists 11 Facebook groups for caregivers.

Not that your article wouldn't be welcome -- it's a topic that people will be hearing more and more about as boomers age. The oldest boomer is only 72, an age at which most people can still care for themselves. Once our generation needs help it will be a full-blown crisis. There are far fewer Gen Xers to perform the caregiving, and they're scattered around the country.

Paid professional caregiving is expensive as it is, and yet the pay for people who do it is so tiny that nobody wants to do it. Except people who have a hard time getting other kinds of jobs. So here's a good idea -- let's kick all the immigrants out of the country!!  >:( >:( >:(


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on January 19, 2019, 04:52:22 pm
Thanks for the searching tips. I was basically looking for articles having to do with the non-economic aspects of caregiving, which I feel are underemphasized.

I hope I didn't come off as too know-it-all-y by suggesting possible search terms and gathering some search results, FRiend. I was just perplexed as to why you weren't seeing articles about the non-economic aspects of caregiving, whereas in my experience they are abundant. In fact, I felt it was the economic aspects of caregiving that were somewhat under-reported, considering how much they contribute to poverty among older women.

But again, I encourage you to write your own take on it! There will always be interest. NextAvenue publishes a lot of freelance work, if that's a place you'd consider publishing your article. They've probably covered this topic a lot, but there is always room for fresh perspectives.

(That's when you're done with your screenplay for the horror movie The Renters, that is.  :D)



Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on January 20, 2019, 12:32:27 pm
Hi friends! I haven't posted until now, because I've been busy searching on caregiving topics! Friend Katherine, thank you for guiding me to these topics. It's a bit like trying to drink water out of a fire hose! It would be great if I could find that one magic article where the reader could spin the dial and have an answer to the question of what to do with aging parent(s) who can't take care of themselves any longer. I haven't found it yet, but I'll keep searching!
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on January 20, 2019, 09:43:03 pm
what to do with aging parent(s) who can't take care of themselves any longer. I haven't found it yet, but I'll keep searching!

Wait, isn't that what most of the articles are about? I mean, sure, sometimes the caregivers are taking care of spouses or other relatives. And sometimes the relatives don't need really that extensive of care beyond a ride to the grocery store or doctor, let's say. Or maybe they're already in an assisted living or something. But I've seen plenty of articles about people caring for aging parent(s) who have dementia or other conditions that prevent them from living on their own. Even situations where the caregivers had to learn some basic medical procedures so they could perform them on their parents.

At one of the events I attended, there was a woman from AARP who had done it, as I recall, three times -- once for her grandma, once for her mother and once for her father. She was very upbeat about it, though. More so than a lot of people would be. Come to think of it, I have at least a couple of friends who have done similar things for their parents and were glad they did. But I think the majority of people find it really hard.

Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on January 21, 2019, 01:27:48 pm
My mother used to suffer from dizziness. I would take her in to the doctor, who would ask numerous questions and take some tests, but we could never get close to an answer. It turns out that one of the major side effects of medicines from aspirin to zygotene is dizziness. Finally, the doctor decided the dizziness was due to a urinary tract infection, or uti. It turns out that uti's are the go-to diagnosis, especially in older women, if you can't find any other cause. So, she would be given antibiotics, and grow resistant to them, and soon we were back at square one.

It was difficult for mom to articulate what she meant by "dizziness". There are different kinds, starting with vertigo. Her brand of dizziness started early in the morning, even before she got out of bed. One time she woke and said the room was upside down. This was a severe hardship because Mom had to be able to get out of bed and go to the bathroom quickly in the mornings.

Finally, it was Mom's physical therapist who figured the mystery out. There were mineral crystals in her inner ear and, when she turned her head, these crystals would bend the little hairs inside the ear and distort her sense of balance. The PT led Mom through a series of exercises or positionings that got rid of the crystals and then she had some relief for a few months until the problem built up again. I learned later that this is a very common and widespread problem.

That's the kind of information I needed to have and would like people to know so they don't have to go through the miserable waits in doctor's offices, the falls, and the brain-wracking that I had to.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: brian on January 21, 2019, 02:18:23 pm
My sister's best friend, slightly younger (my sister is 84) has the same problem and it took a while to diagnose.
When I moved to NZ in 2010, my doctor had to find a blood pressure tablet similar to the one I was taking n Australia but was not on the NZ Pharmacy scheme. He prescribed Cilazapril. All was fine until about 2- 3 years ago when I began coughing badly after every meal. He gave me Omeprazole but no improvement so he increased the dose. I began to think Omeprazole was the culprit as things got worse and stopped taking them. I had a miserable time travelling in UK this year especially going to concerts most nights. I could only eat small meals.  When I came home, he ummed and ahhed as usual then said Cilazapril might be the culprit and changed to Losartin. We are still adjusting the dose  but the coughing is a thousand times improved. On talking to several friends (including retired nurses)  they have said "Oh yes Cilazapril does that"
I guess it is hard being a GP but I  do wish he had thought of that sooner.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: brian on January 21, 2019, 02:46:26 pm
I think I have reported before that my mother died a month short of turning 97.  Her mind was wonderful up until the last few days but she was on oxygen 24 hours for over a year, quite deaf and with macular affecting her eyes. To take her out I pushed the wheel chair and my sister the oxygen cylinder. She lived in the apartment next to my sister and, when the phone rang about 2 or 3 am, my sister would not answer just run down the corridor to my mother's apartment and take her to the toilet. In the last year I went (2 and half hours by train, a little over an hour by car) three times a week if possible ( I was doing casual relief work) for about 4 hours so my sister could go out, mainly for shopping. We did have a carer for 4 hours once per week mainly in case I had work. My sister was 72 when mum died and she really gave up about 2 years of her life for Mum. She need surgery on her fingers (she had been a shorthand/typist) but put it off as she could not have showered Mum with wires on her hand. She had the surgery after Mum died but really it had been delayed too long so only partially successful.
She had cared (but to a much lesser extent) for her mother-in-law (a horrible person) and for her husband's aunt (a lovely lady who had supported my sister but ended up with complete dementia in care but my sister was her main legal guardian). Now she thinks her husband is showing early signs of dementia. Hopefully she is just super sensitive. She does not like leaving him but is doing so for 10 days in March to come and support me as i have a hernia operation.

That is my main worry, being almost 75, no kids, no nephews or nieces, the only relative with whom I have  contact is my sister (and Bil) 10 years older than me.
NZ has a euthanasia law going through parliament. It will be very minimal but a start.
Our bishop (a medical doctor before he became a priest) has been a leading opponent and it is the last straw for me with the church. I tell them they ruined my life with their views on homosexuality and now, when as a result I am left alone, they want to make the end of my life miserable. The biggest mistake of my life was to become a Christian at about age 7. At age 74 I think it is all ridiculous. My best friends have no contact with any church yet are offering to help me with my operation and the aftermath, offering to stay if my sister has a problem and to help with shopping.  The church people who once told me in a discussion over euthanasia that they would support me in old age, have not even bothered to ask why I have not been to church for 6 months (I went to the Cathedral not my parish church on Christmas Eve as I love the music). They are a bunch of hypocrites. Rant over  ;D
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on January 21, 2019, 08:33:54 pm
Finally, it was Mom's physical therapist who figured the mystery out. There were mineral crystals in her inner ear and, when she turned her head, these crystals would bend the little hairs inside the ear and distort her sense of balance. The PT led Mom through a series of exercises or positionings that got rid of the crystals and then she had some relief for a few months until the problem built up again. I learned later that this is a very common and widespread problem.

That is exactly what happened to a friend and neighbor, and he was also given exercises to do. He tells me that so far the exercises have been helpful.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on January 23, 2019, 08:18:17 pm
Another thing I recall is that caregivers and the ones they care for move at different speeds. When I was taking my mom somewhere, I would help her walk out to the car, opening and closing building and car doors, carrying her and my purses etc., and  put her walker in the trunk of the car along with all the accessories, then slide into the driver's seat, stow my purse and look for my key and phone, buckle my seat belt and then turn to Mom as I put the key in the ignition and see that she was practically fuming with impatience at my slowness.

At other times, when I was dropping by the pharmacy with her to pick up a prescription, I was so impatient because on the way to the pharmacy window (which is always at the very far corner of the store from the entrance) Mom would pause at the cosmetics counter and the hair care aisle and the incontinence supplies and the flip down sunglasses section and. . .on and on. I haven't seen this disconnect covered, except to say that your aging parent will not be sensitive to you, they are all wrapped up in their own problems and so you have to be patient and kind. Easy to say, sometimes hard to do. I only developed the maturity to cope with these kind of disconnects about a year before she died. I have to say that it was my faith in God that helped me over the hurdle.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: brian on January 23, 2019, 08:36:03 pm
I am grateful my mother was quite different. She was never impatient and always thanked us for every little thing we did for her. The only thing, and we still laugh about it, is she was very impatient in cafes and really wanted her coffee immediately if not sooner. The other thing was that taking her up escalators was fraught as she would stop as soon as she got to the top not realising there were people behind, we had to almost drag her a few more steps out of the way. Of course, in the last year this was no longer a problem as she could only go anywhere in a wheelchairi so we had to search for lifts (elevators?)
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on January 23, 2019, 11:35:07 pm
Finally, it was Mom's physical therapist who figured the mystery out. There were mineral crystals in her inner ear and, when she turned her head, these crystals would bend the little hairs inside the ear and distort her sense of balance. The PT led Mom through a series of exercises or positionings that got rid of the crystals and then she had some relief for a few months until the problem built up again. I learned later that this is a very common and widespread problem.

That's the kind of information I needed to have and would like people to know so they don't have to go through the miserable waits in doctor's offices, the falls, and the brain-wracking that I had to.

I've heard of this phenomenon, too! It's so weird that you and I and Brian and Jeff have all heard of it, but somehow it eluded her doctors. Go figure. I think you're right that doctors sometimes give women, probably especially older women, some standardized diagnosis without really investigating their problem.

My mom didn't have that problem, but what happened to her was that her doctor diagnosed her with Alzheimer's without telling anyone. Early on, I asked my mom to ask her doctor about memory issues and she said she would, then when she got back from the doctor I asked if she'd asked about the memory issues and she said "What memory issues?"

Eventually I found a prescription bottle of Aricept in her cupboard and I knew what that was for. I immediately switched doctors. I understand that her previous doctor may have been constrained by HIPAA from telling me about it, but surely there would have been a way for her (the doctor) to say she'd like to talk to a family member, gotten my name and my mom's permission, etc. I switched her to a youngish doctor who specialized in older patients and on the very first visit I accompanied her and listened as he told her (gently) he believed she had Alzheimer's. She didn't react and never spoke of it. I don't know if she didn't understand or just didn't want to discuss it. She was a very private person.

The one thing I blame that doctor for, though, is not immediately supplying me with contact info for a bunch of resources. The Alzheimer's Society, for example, would have been a good start! And there are others. The society has a website full of information and guidance, support groups, etc. But I didn't think of contacting them and thus just tried to gradually figure out on my own how to help her.


I haven't seen this disconnect covered, except to say that your aging parent will not be sensitive to you, they are all wrapped up in their own problems and so you have to be patient and kind. Easy to say, sometimes hard to do. I only developed the maturity to cope with these kind of disconnects about a year before she died. I have to say that it was my faith in God that helped me over the hurdle.

Like Brian, I had a different experience. My mother was never impatient. I was kind of impatient myself, because she walked extremely slowly and I would have to slow my pace way down when we went places together. But my mom was mostly pretty cheerful -- especially, surprisingly, as her disease got worse. I often think that Alzheimer's, in and of itself, is actually not a terribly unpleasant disease for the person suffering it. It's awful for the loved ones, who also know the patient would find it awful if she knew what was happening.

Anyway, sounds like you have a lot of material for your article!


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on January 24, 2019, 12:26:44 pm
A slight course correction to a success that gave me more confidence. Mom was always entreated to drink more water but she was not following through. One time as I was handing her a glass of water, I noticed that she couldn't see the straw because it was made of translucent plastic. So I brought her a brightly colored plastic straw and she started drinking water right away.

But then there was another setback. The next time I visited, the straw was nowhere to be found. Of course, the nurses had thrown it away! I put several more in her bedside drawer, but those were all tossed too. I finally hit on the idea of buying her a whole box of paper straws. Every time I went to visit her, I would fix up her glass of water. I think it made a small improvement in her health, and it was a big confidence booster for me. I needed it, because there were a lot of things that caused me to sink into despair.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on January 24, 2019, 01:22:10 pm
But then there was another setback. The next time I visited, the straw was nowhere to be found. Of course, the nurses had thrown it away! I put several more in her bedside drawer, but those were all tossed too. I finally hit on the idea of buying her a whole box of paper straws. Every time I went to visit her, I would fix up her glass of water. I think it made a small improvement in her health, and it was a big confidence booster for me. I needed it, because there were a lot of things that caused me to sink into despair.

My understanding is that dehydration can be a real problem in the elderly. For one thing, some medications they take can themselves be dehydrating.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on January 24, 2019, 08:49:35 pm
There are several more topics that I'd like to tackle here, such as the question of whether gum disease contributes to dementia or vice versa (https://www.bbc.com/news/health-46986709?SThisFB&fbclid=IwAR1DnE9MeXM_klg3bG3lm1uGAlBHDVlKAJNjDMkJiSSCpR72WhUbhIYWcJs). I'm also starting to see a trend. . . my fellow BetterMostians seem to be more well informed than I was when I started the caregiving process. It's true that I was, and still am clueless to many medical matters, because of my lack of direct experience. So, would what I have to write cause the reader to say, "Duh!"
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on January 24, 2019, 11:11:43 pm
My understanding is that dehydration can be a real problem in the elderly. For one thing, some medications they take can themselves be dehydrating.

I've heard this as well.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on January 25, 2019, 04:52:33 pm
Next I'd like to say a bit on the subject of technology. All technology, most notably her phone, frustrated my dear poor mom terribly. Whoever decided that only small black buttons, labeled simply with cryptic arrows or 3-pt. type, should be used on all electronics, while the case itself is also black? Steve Jobs, I suppose. He of the black turtleneck. It's a pity he didn't live long enough to be confounded by his own designs. Sometimes Mom would get so frustrated with her TV or cassette recorder that she would just start randomly pushing buttons, and more than once she threw her phone across the room.

I am no technical wizard, but I had to become one because, of course, no one else in the family had the time, patience or interest. I was especially keen to keep mom's phone working because if I didn't reach her, after a couple of hours I would have to get in the car, go over and find out what she was up to (or down to). The assisted living staff were of little help. If I called them, they would go knock on the door and say, "please call your daughter." Mom would answer, "Okay" and then promptly forget to call me. Or they would put a note by her plate at the next meal. If I met with the manager to voice my frustration, it would have a temporary effect until the next shift change. I think many staff people thought, "Why doesn't she just leave her mom alone, like most people do."  :'(
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on January 25, 2019, 05:20:11 pm
Next I'd like to say a bit on the subject of technology. All technology, most notably her phone, frustrated my dear poor mom terribly. Whoever decided that only small black buttons, labeled simply with cryptic arrows or 3-pt. type, should be used on all electronics, while the case itself is also black? Steve Jobs, I suppose. He of the black turtleneck. It's a pity he didn't live long enough to be confounded by his own designs. Sometimes Mom would get so frustrated with her TV or cassette recorder that she would just start randomly pushing buttons, and more than once she threw her phone across the room.

What kind of phone did your mother have? For some people I suppose it wouldn't matter, but they do make cell phones designed for older persons. My dad has one of these, obtained from his service provider, Consumer Cellular:

https://www.consumercellular.com/Products/901/Details (https://www.consumercellular.com/Products/901/Details)

Of course I've seen my dad's phone, so I can vouch for the fact that the keys are larger than commonly on a cell phone.

But perhaps even this would have been beyond your mother's capability to use. Of course, this phone is no help for TV or cable remotes.

(And don't get me started on the so-called power "button" on the laptop I bought for use at my dad's.)
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on January 25, 2019, 10:29:26 pm
There are several more topics that I'd like to tackle here, such as the question of whether gum disease contributes to dementia or vice versa (https://www.bbc.com/news/health-46986709?SThisFB&fbclid=IwAR1DnE9MeXM_klg3bG3lm1uGAlBHDVlKAJNjDMkJiSSCpR72WhUbhIYWcJs). I'm also starting to see a trend. . . my fellow BetterMostians seem to be more well informed than I was when I started the caregiving process. It's true that I was, and still am clueless to many medical matters, because of my lack of direct experience. So, would what I have to write cause the reader to say, "Duh!"

I don't think so. I already knew a little about that and yet I'm not saying "duh" because the concept surprised and intrigued me when I first heard about it a few years ago. I didn't write an article and I haven't seen one elsewhere. Which is not to say there might not have been some, obviously including the BBC one you linked. But I think you should look into it, if you're interested, because there probably haven't been enough. My understanding -- correct me if I'm wrong -- is that the connection involves inflammation and I don't think people fully understand what inflammation is or what causes it or why it would be associated with dementia and what people can do to avoid it.

You might try looking on NextAvenue and see what they've done on it. I would guess they've touched on it it at some point, but maybe not lately or from the angle you'd take, so you could pitch it to them.

The sad thing is there not many places publish stuff about aging.  NextAvenue and AARP magazine are among the very few, despite the 7 million boomers who are getting old. AARP magazine still pays $2 a word, I think, if pay is relevant to you. (That was the standard rate for a slick national magazine when I was in college, unadjusted for inflation, and now is beyond most writers' wildest dreams.)

Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on January 25, 2019, 10:46:24 pm
Next I'd like to say a bit on the subject of technology. All technology, most notably her phone, frustrated my dear poor mom terribly.

Yeah, these days they have special gadgets for older people. There's some patronizing name for them, like GrannyTech or something.

Once I did a story for NextAvenue about two guys who had literally moved into a nursing home for a month so they could get residents' feedback on their Apple Watch-like device. A wristwatch that was intuitive and useful for caregivers. Those guys werne't condescending at all. I'm not sure whatever happened to their product.

Quote
Whoever decided that only small black buttons, labeled simply with cryptic arrows or 3-pt. type, should be used on all electronics, while the case itself is also black? Steve Jobs, I suppose. He of the black turtleneck.

Actually, I believe Jobs liked white for products. Which is why Macs, iPhones, etc., are usually white.  Personally, I hate it much more than black, partly because it looks dirty more easily and partly because I've just never loved white, that color/absence of color.

Has anyone else noticed that when a character in a movie or TV show opens a laptop it's invariably a Mac? That company must buy as many product placements as they can get. If even the villain opens a laptop, it will be a Mac. Unless the villain is technologically illiterate, in which case maybe Apple pays them to use a PC.  :laugh:



Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on January 26, 2019, 01:02:36 pm
Yes, I've noticed that about Macs in movies. They're ubiquitous.

So, thanks for the link to the phone, Jeff. Here's how my mom would have coped with it. First of all, if she heard it ringing, she would put it up to her ear and say hello. She might forget that you have to flip it open in order to use it. If she figured that out, she would start jabbing the screen with her fingers, thinking it was a touch-screen. The buttons would be a mystery to her. On top, there are 2 buttons that have a dash on them. What's that about? Then there is a circle with an okay in the middle. What's that about? She would have no clue.

The button with the green handset on it should say "call" instead. Sometimes it has the word "send" which would make no sense to her. The button with the red handset on it should say "cancel". On the numeric buttons, there are also letters that are way too small. You have to push one time for the first letter, twice for the second, and so on. This is completely out of most elderly persons' ability.

I learned not to leave a voicemail because it was impossible for her to retrieve it. But doctor's offices, etc. would leave voicemails which led to missed appointments. Thus, I had to make my phone number, her phone number and I became her personal secretary.  :-\
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: serious crayons on January 26, 2019, 05:05:31 pm
Would an iPhone have been better? They're designed to be pretty intuitive.

My mom, when her illness started to advance, forgot how to use her microwave.

In fact, I first began to suspect something was wrong when we went shopping and she couldn't figure out how to use those skirt hangers where a piece of sliding metal squeeze the clips together or releases them to open and shut (instead of, say, pinching together like clothespins). And she had spent 30+ years, until her retirement a few years earlier, working in a department store -- the very one in which we were shopping (she was in advertising, but she shopped a lot).


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on January 27, 2019, 11:26:32 pm
Regarding elders and technology, there is a new item being marketed for grandparents, named "grandpad".

https://www.grandpad.net/


Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Front-Ranger on February 22, 2019, 01:39:35 pm
Regarding ipads, my mom liked to use it to watch movies. She would try to watch movies all the time and would have several windows open at the same time until the whole thing crashed. In general, these devices are designed by, marketed to, and bought by young people so they can send their Instagram/Facebook photos and messages to their elderly loved ones, keeping up the pretense that they are staying in touch with and interacting with them.

Looking back on the years that my mom lived in the same town with me, I would estimate that I spent a large fraction of my time with her trying to hook up, fix, or operate some kind of technology. From computers and TVs to toilet roll holders and all points in between from strings of lights that are motion controlled to light your way to the bathroom and ultrasonic water-spouting whirling self-timing electric toothbrushes. Most of these things were sent by my brother and his wife. Guys in my life and my children were useless to help me manage all this technology. Even a guy my mom hired for $35/hour to teach her how to use her ipad would just say, "What are your questions?" and when she didn't know what to ask, would just put on a You-Tube video.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on February 22, 2019, 02:18:40 pm
Even a guy my mom hired for $35/hour to teach her how to use her ipad would just say, "What are your questions?" and when she didn't know what to ask, would just put on a You-Tube video.

That sounds like me.
Title: Re: On Caregiving
Post by: CellarDweller on February 23, 2019, 03:34:17 pm
Looking back on the years that my mom lived in the same town with me, I would estimate that I spent a large fraction of my time with her trying to hook up, fix, or operate some kind of technology. From computers and TVs to toilet roll holders and all points in between from strings of lights that are motion controlled to light your way to the bathroom and ultrasonic water-spouting whirling self-timing electric toothbrushes. Most of these things were sent by my brother and his wife. Guys in my life and my children were useless to help me manage all this technology. Even a guy my mom hired for $35/hour to teach her how to use her ipad would just say, "What are your questions?" and when she didn't know what to ask, would just put on a You-Tube video.

I've had to spend some time with my mom as well, to help her learn how to use the computer to do basic Word functions, saving pics and docs, and then getting her an email  account and Facebook account.