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Old 12-14-2015, 02:21 PM
 
4,454 posts, read 7,214,972 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by branDcalf View Post
I don't recall if you said you had ever lived in MT, sorry if I missed it. But, if not, most folks just take distance and difficulty in stride.
Born and raised in Lander, WY and college in Bozeman, MT ~ I've spent ~27 years between those 2 places and a few more in remote N AZ and all over AK with my wife as she worked the Indian Health clinics.

If I speak of distance issues, it's the 2,000 miles between my home and theirs (not cheap to traverse).


Mostly what I think about is that my dad is probably pretty close to 300lbs (5'8" and wears 46" pants, I'm just making a guess on weight ~ heavy any way you cut it) and she has a bad hip, so when he falls, she can't Physically move him. If he falls in a way that becomes life-threatening due to the situation, such as into their hot-tub, then that's a TON more emotional strain on my mom. Yes, worst case type scenario and Generally he's simply going to fall, break something and be in immense pain for the half hour till an ambulance can get to them.

In the end, I'm *not* worried about anything specific. I'm trying to get informed, learn about available options and help them move forward into this more difficult chapter. I know they won't move (mom might when she's widowed, maybe... she already seems very lonely), and I wouldn't encourage it anyway as they would be miserable.

As I think about their life now and the challenges it comes down to a couple main things. Their driveway is a PITA to navigate in the winter, but that can be addressed with good winter tires on top of the snow plowing they already contract out. Pretty cheap and easy fix (might help my mom with confidence too).

Next is that they do all their medical and grocery errands in Great Falls, about 3 hours round trip in the winter going over a pass that's pretty well kept Other than in the middle of a bad storm. But they have grocery and medical available 15 miles the other direction in WSS. Again, a solution that works and is fairly easy.

The last is more a year-round thing, and that's maintaining the house and property. Dad had been working on getting the standing dead and fallen stuff cleared back for several years for fire-risks so that should be okay. Not sure what else needs to be addressed for a ~5 acre plot that's 3-sides National Forrest... not water issues (side of a shallow valley, about 200' up from the creek). Road/grading is as-needed. The house was built in 2009 and the builder is in WSS, it was designed to be low maint. and easy to care for (metal roof, color-impregnated fiber siding, composite deck material, the only thing on a 2nd level is the library where they also do jigsaw puzzles and is accessible by elevator. But it's a BIG house and cleaning it was always a 2-person job... they've at least hired someone to help with that.


My next worry will be when neither of them can drive to WSS (about 20~30 minutes depending on day/night and weather).


Anyway... thanks again for the info (Ichoro, that link is especially appreciated! I hadn't found that). The plan is still to talk with them next month, not looking forward to that (who does?). I really Don't know what they want, what plans they have for this time of their lives etc...

In the mean time, I have a lot to learn in case they haven't covered all the bases or are ignorant of some options.

Cheers!
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Old 12-14-2015, 02:23 PM
 
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Try to talk to the housekeeper privately. You might be surprised what he/she knows especially if your parents don't have a lot of other people to socialize with.


I would feel each parent out separately before approaching them jointly. I know I sometimes get totally different stories based on which parent I talk to.


Is your father taking blood pressure medicine? My FIL had heart issues and started passing out. Come to find out he was getting mixed up on his medication, forgetting he took it and took too many causing his BP to drop so low he passed out. Getting him a pill sorter by week day helped. In our case, a child went by each week to do this. But, maybe your mother or even the housekeeper could do it.
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Old 12-14-2015, 04:05 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
17,063 posts, read 17,382,869 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blondy View Post
Try to talk to the housekeeper privately. You might be surprised what he/she knows especially if your parents don't have a lot of other people to socialize with.


I would feel each parent out separately before approaching them jointly. I know I sometimes get totally different stories based on which parent I talk to.


Is your father taking blood pressure medicine? My FIL had heart issues and started passing out. Come to find out he was getting mixed up on his medication, forgetting he took it and took too many causing his BP to drop so low he passed out. Getting him a pill sorter by week day helped. In our case, a child went by each week to do this. But, maybe your mother or even the housekeeper could do it.

Excellent points.
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Old 12-14-2015, 05:54 PM
 
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I live in Montana so I get the issue of distances and remote services.

Your best bet is hiring live in help... that lives in the other house. Help to include household help, maybe meals, wood chores, and snowplowing & weekly driving them to Great Falls--weather permitting. You might be able to get by for awhile with the day cleaner and a as needed snowplow operator. I would suggest a kid to come on a weekend day to do extra stuff like wood stavking. It's good for older folks to have enough people coming and going so they don't decline without anyone noticing.

Vet any live in hire with the local county sheriff.

Are they computer users? I suggest they start ordering nonperishable groceries from Amazon. If the road is plowed, UPS and FedEx will deliver all winter.

I would suggest warmer climate in winter for couple months.

The falling down thing might be from becoming dehydrated. My MIL had the issue because she had been taking heavy dose diuretics. Find out about his meds. Or is he diabetic?

And urge your father to drink lots of water..x amount each day.
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Old 12-14-2015, 06:07 PM
 
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You or your aunt might consider inviting them down south or west to get away from the cold weather for several weeks. We have four households around us that are gone 4 months out of the year. They are all in their 60's and early 70's when they can still be active in warm weather. It might make them more open to moving to be in the warmth and relieved of the responsibilities of living in the country.

They both appear to be fall risks. Either could go off to a nursing home for an extended period while the other is all alone in the house.
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Old 12-14-2015, 06:53 PM
 
1,591 posts, read 820,679 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian_M View Post
. . .
As I said, they won't move. This is their "retirement dream" (or the part of it they managed to complete), . . .

That means getting some in-home care. . . .

I fully expect things to get nothing but worse from here on out. The next fall my dad has may well break and arm/leg/hip (or neck, sheesh) . . .


I wish there was someone I knew who would move in with them. . . .
Quote:
Originally Posted by Windwalker2 View Post
Try to sit down with them and listen to what your parents really want for themselves. What if they have decided to stay there and die there together? . . .
Quote:
Originally Posted by historyfan View Post
. . .

Your best bet is hiring live in help... that lives in the other house. . . .

Vet any live in hire with the local county sheriff.

. . ..
Sounds to me like you've already taken getting assistance well into consideration. IMO, good on ya there. If they won't move, it is the only sure way to prevent an uncomfortable time for one of your parents. You could offer a housing deal in lieu of pay, or partial pay. You might be able to find someone reliable that way, and get a live-in person who could be a full or part-time caregiver as well. Vetting that person, of course, should be a high priority.

I included the "what do THEY want" quote, because I have to wonder. WHAT do your parents want? What do they think is going to happen in the next year? In the next 5 years? I don't know what your Dad did in Nam, but he might have an idea of how bad things can get. On the other hand, your Mom might, too, depending on her background - but I know a lot of people are not as prepared as they think they are. Still, I'm sure you've already planned this into your discussion with them when that ski trip visit happens.

You're right about your Dad being heavy - he is. And that is not good on many counts. As you have already noted.

I usually try to make sure my posts add something to the conversation. Outside of the possibility of offering housing in exchange for some portion of pay for a live-in, this post does not really add to the conversation. But I sure feel for ya. You've got a hard situation coming up. So I wanted to pitch in, at least, in a little "me too" thinking and support. My Mom lost her house because she trusted it to our youngest brother, who drank it away. (Gross oversimplification, but good enough for now) She ended up in foreclosure and without a house. Fortunately, we had brothers and sisters she could live with. But the point in this little digression is that she did not discuss this with the rest of us. She kept it to herself. I did not find out until after it happened. Moral is don't be afraid to ask.
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Old 12-14-2015, 07:52 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
17,063 posts, read 17,382,869 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiero2 View Post
My Mom lost her house because she trusted it to our youngest brother, who drank it away. (Gross oversimplification, but good enough for now) She ended up in foreclosure and without a house. Fortunately, we had brothers and sisters she could live with. But the point in this little digression is that she did not discuss this with the rest of us. She kept it to herself. I did not find out until after it happened. Moral is don't be afraid to ask.
We also had a somewhat similar thing happen to a relative. They were afraid or embarrassed to ask for help and they also lost their home. If they would have confided in even one of the relatives, in a timely manner, it could easily have been avoided.


Please ask your parents all of those tough questions.
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Old 12-15-2015, 04:22 PM
 
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My mom started life as a nurse (all aspects but finished as ER/ICU while doing Life flight in Wyoming), then moved into nursing education, then education administration and finally nursing program development (competency based). She knows what happens in late life and just how bad it can get too... actually, that's part of the reason I'm not hearing much. She had to take care of Her mother and it was very draining. Mind you, she moved her mom to Lander/where she was living and into an assisted living residence (old hospital, the rooms were made into apartments but still had the meals provided and some nurse staffing).

As for my folks going south for the winter? Not likely. They moved from Minnesota and like me, Prefer cold weather to warm. I only visit them in the winter because it's the only way I get to enjoy cold and snow these days. Another complication is that they don't fly anymore, so it'd be someone Else driving them and frankly, *I* wouldn't want to change residences for a few months so I'm sure as heck not going to ask anyone else to do that.

So, the other stuff... they do use the internet (heh, have Fiber to the Home even). I'm not sure if they're Amazon users, but my wife and I are heavy users and can get them going with that.

When it comes to meds, we have an incomplete picture. Unfortunately my folks have a very anti-western medicine viewpoint, mostly driven by my mom's own experiences within the medical field. It's *easy* to see why with the stories my wife brings home from her hospital as well. So he fights meds, fights doctor suggestions (unless it's something they agree with ahead of time) and has called my wife to ask about how to stop taking different meds when the side-effects are bad. It can all wait a month and my wife can get a complete picture.

At least I'm an only child, there's no one else besides the 3 of us to make decisions for the better or worse. My wife's family though, 2 responsible kids (the 2 elder) and one who's lived a life of entitlement. But we are both going to spin the difficulties of my parents into moving her parents to plan ahead and sort things while they're still in full control (they are ~10 years younger than mine).

Thanks for the comments and support. I want what's best for my folks (meaning their interests first), and really the biggest hurdles are getting them to communicate with me and tracking down the different resources available. With your help, that 2nd one doesn't seem like much of a hurdle anymore... but getting parents to talk with their child as an equal? *shrug*
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Old 12-15-2015, 09:20 PM
 
Location: SW US
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I live in a rural area with basically no stores within miles, and have found that Amazon Prime is a real lifesaver. Things arrive at my door two days after I order them.
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Old 12-15-2015, 10:13 PM
 
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Brian M ... sounds like you are dealing with the same parent-child trust issues and aging parent competency concerns that we dealt with a few years ago in our family.

As well, I see so many aging parents for other families here in SE Wyoming presenting the same issues. While the distances from help may not be as remote ... Torrington or Wheatland or Pine Bluffs to the resources of Cheyenne ... the problem(s) remain the same. I see aging, ill folk who insist upon living as independently as possible ... regardless of the adverse affects upon their physical well being on remote ranches. It's a tremendous burden upon their children to try to keep them in those situations. Especially when medical limitations present making their parents continued independence virtually impossible.

It is highly unlikely that you will be able to alter a lifetime of your parents' choices and experiences into a manner that will seem more rational/reasonable to you at this point in time. Your folks have made a conscious, deliberate decision to live out their lives in what may now be a difficult environment to obtain the assistance that they clearly ... from your perspective ... need. As long as they have the financial ability to pursue their plan, you will at best only be a concerned child with their "best" interests at heart. But clearly, their choices have been made and they will aggressively cling to them unless they are forced by other circumstances to revisit their plans.

Typically, it's a major medical event which will trigger their change in plans. When it becomes necessary for full time health care beyond the level which can be reasonably provided by a home health provider (or several, such as "home instead" type services), then their paradigm will change. That's the point at which I generally see Grampa and Gramma finally leaving their ranches ... if they are still alive to do so. Not uncommon to see one hospitalized or heading to hospice while the other is finally dependent upon heading to a full-time nursing care facility.

It's unlikely that this will be a pleasant journey from this point onward for any of the parties ... you or your parents. Your parents may not even see it from the perspective that they are creating a huge burden upon you and the rest of your family. Such is the nature of many family dynamics which bring us down the path of life to these situations.

Likely, at best ... all you can do is express your concern about their ability to deal with day to day living needs and support them in the ways that they will accept. You may find that what you can do is very limited ... no matter what your best intentions are for their well being. You'll not gain anything by putting any more energy/effort/time into this unless your parents have an awakening about what they really want and need leading to a major change in their behavior. Don't count on that happening. Cover the detail stuff ... wills, durable power of attorney, medical directives ... and be prepared to be making more trips to MT than you'd planned on previously to deal with issues that may become emergencies. Time may be of essence given the serious health and situational issues you've mentioned. There will not be an easy way out, the health and living situation has been developed ... either by intent or omission ... over many years. You cannot undo that and likely will find it difficult, if not impossible, to reasonably mitigate. Unless and until your folks are willing to accept the outside help and services they require to live in their current situation, you'll not be successful in changing it. Point them in the direction of the resources they have available and let them "discover" the conflicts that may present for them. If they choose to live in circumstances which you don't agree with, so be it.

Wishing you and yours all the best.
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