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Situation with elderly folks

  1. Apr 3, 2008 #1
    I visited my inlaw father today (84) after surgery yesterday, a new heart valve, one valve repaired, two major and two minor bypasses. There were complications with continous bleeding, but he is stable now, with good vitals. Due to this situation, the inlaw mother, demented to the level that she does not remember her own name, has been admitted to a permanent care taking centrum. But the father does not like that, He has always taken care of her.

    Getting old is nice, being old sucks. You can laugh about it, but it happens to you too, just wait.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 3, 2008 #2

    lisab

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    I'm very sorry to hear this, Andre. So many people are in your situation also, and there never seems to be a good solution. It's sad, and it must be stressful for everyone.

    My regards to you and your family.
     
  4. Apr 3, 2008 #3

    Astronuc

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    Andre, I'm sorry to hear about your in-laws' misfortune. I'll be facing the same with my parents and mother-in-law in the not too distant future.
     
  5. Apr 3, 2008 #4

    Evo

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    Sorry to hear about that Andre, I know you've been spending a lot of time at the hospital.
     
  6. Apr 3, 2008 #5
    Thanks Astro, Lisa and Evo, actually prospects for them surviving are not that bad for the next one or two or few more years and certainly their grandchilds are relieved that granddad is still around, but at what price and effort?

    Pondering a bit about the possibility and desirability of saving lives versus quality of life.
     
  7. Apr 3, 2008 #6

    Astronuc

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    Well that's the struggle we all eventually face if our parents live long enough. My grandfather spent most of the last 3 months in hospital with recurrent lung infections. On the third time, they just let him go according to his wishes. He would have been bed-bound at that point because his knees where shot and his body so weak from months in bed.

    I used to drive a man to a local church most Sundays for a couple of years. He was slowly loosing his memory and could mostly remember old memories from the 1930's and WWII. About two years ago, he stopped calling, and then I learned that he had gone to hospital with a serious illness. He was supposed to then go to a full-care facility, similar to Andre's mother-in-law, but he had a relapse and died within a week. What I learned later was that the had become increasingly disoriented and belligerent, and couldn't recognize his wife or children.
     
  8. Apr 3, 2008 #7
    I was reluctant to tell about the "belligerent" but it shocked my daughter (25) to tears when she was confronted with taking over care of her grandmother in the emergency situation. nevertheless she handled it very well.
     
  9. Apr 3, 2008 #8

    Moonbear

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    Sorry to hear about that as well, Andre. It's a difficult situation to be in, and unfortunately all too common. We had that problem with my grandparents as well. My grandfather had gotten too ill for my grandmother to care for, but she refused to let us move him into a nursing home because it was "her job" to take care of him. She was having her own problems, so could hardly take care of herself, let alone someone else. In a way, we got lucky that my grandfather's illness progressed rapidly, and he passed away before we had to force the issue with them. The next challenge after that was getting my grandmother moved in with my parents. She didn't want to move, but there was no way she could live alone, and was too much of a burden on my aunt who is the only relative who still lived close by and is already taking care of a sick husband while holding down her job...my parents are already retired, so the only ones who could really be with my grandmother as constantly as she requires...she has senile dementia and cannot be left alone. They finally convinced her by promising not to sell the house right away in case the move didn't work out (there was no way anyone was going to let her move back by herself in her condition, but it helped ease the transition for her).
     
  10. Apr 3, 2008 #9
    Thanks for sharing, Moonbear. it's a rather similar story or worse. in Holland there are these facilities to take over care for the demented, if one happens to be on some priority list.

    So, perhaps don't to take things for granted if it's possible to fight for alternatives. If you don't stand up for your elderly relatives, you may find yourself in a loser situation eventually.
     
  11. Apr 3, 2008 #10

    Astronuc

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    By the time I get to point just before I can't take care of myself, I plan to have disposed of my worldly possessions. End the end I hope I have the physical strength to take myself and die in my own way. I sure don't want to die in a hospital or nursing home.

    I kind of like the idea of lighting my own funeral pyre, and if that doesn't work, I'll let the vultures (or sharks if I'm as sea) have a feast.
     
  12. Apr 4, 2008 #11

    Mk

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    Perhaps I am similar but opposite. I want to go for as long as possible whatever the stakes.
     
  13. Apr 4, 2008 #12

    wolram

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    I am so lucky, mom is 83 dad is 82 he still works week ends and public holidays, mom used to work at a home for the incurables, i found it a sad and happy place, sad because some of the patients had no one, and happy because a visit all ways showed how plucky they were,
    all ways a smile and a chat from those that were not to ill, i hope if i do end up in a home i
    will have some one to visit me.
     
  14. Apr 4, 2008 #13

    Integral

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    Glad to hear that your father-in-law is doing well. Hang in there it can be worse.

    My brothers 75 year old mother-in-law went in for "nice but not necessary" heart surgery last month and never regained consciousness from the anesthesia. The same week our 80yr old mom was in the hospital also. (She is now out and doing much better.)
     
  15. Apr 4, 2008 #14

    Moonbear

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    I don't really think I understand the reason for undergoing surgery that's not "necessary" when you're that old. It seems the risks of the procedure far outweigh the benefits of any added longevity at that point.

    It was all I could do to convince my mom and aunt to stop pressuring my grandfather into getting treatment for bladder cancer at 92 when he had decided he didn't want to bother any more (if he hadn't had a pacemaker installed, he'd have already been dead about a year earlier, it was already his 3rd or 4th battle with cancer, and treating the cancer would have left him without a bladder and undergoing chemo, either of which were almost certain to kill him as quickly as the cancer would...and if he survived, what sort of life were we prolonging for him?) I have to wonder how many of the elderly end up prolonging treatments under the pressure from relatives who aren't ready to let go, even when treatment may not only prolong a bad quality of life, it may make it worse.

    For my other grandmother, the worst was the onset of dementia, when it would come and go in episodes with intervening mental clarity. When she was fully lucid, she was unfortunately all too aware of the losses of memory in between. She also had neuralgia of her facial nerves after a bout with shingles, but said she'd rather be in pain than know she was losing her mind...what's the point of prolonging life when half the time you don't know what's going on and the other half you're in agonizing pain? That's when I'd want someone to step in and tell the doctor to crank up the morphine drip as much as necessary to keep me comfortable, and put the embalmer on call so they can get to my body in time for it to be useful for science or med students.
     
  16. Apr 4, 2008 #15

    mheslep

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    Andre - very sorry to read here of your family troubles. I wish you peace with the decisions that lie ahead of you.
     
  17. Apr 6, 2008 #16

    ~christina~

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    Andre-That's sad but I hope for the best with your inlaws.

    being old doesn't suck I think-I know this old guy who still works and he is 93!! yes, he still works but his mind is sharp because of it, but sometimes stubborn. I think his doctor is killing him though. He gave him these drugs which make his blood really thin and it makes him have complications with excessive bleeding from his cuts. When he was admitted to the hospital the doctors there said he only needed 1 pill while his regular doctor said to take 3. He's basically afraid he'll get a stroke if he doesn't take the medication...and we can't convince him otherwise.

    Basically if you don't use your brain it'll go on you...:wink:
    (so don't sit at home and do nothing when you get to retire everyone o:))
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2008
  18. Apr 6, 2008 #17
    Thanks Christina, unfortunately the situation lingers on. Not looking good.

    I wholeheartely agree with the mind sharpening idea. In the good old days the mid eighties, I programmed a graphic version of the memory game on the Atari ST for the kids, simply because it was not available yet. When it was all done, all of a sudden I could beat my kids with the game (occasionaly), but I had practiced a lot during debugging and yes I know a few very senior citizens approaching the nineties who are still razor sharp analyzers and writers. They are my role models.
     
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