This is so hard. My dad lives alone quite well, but his eyesight is failing and he knows he won't pass the next driver's test. For now, he won't give it up, but only does close to home during the day. It worries me! Now he is talking about selling his home and moving to a retirement community, but he knows he would hate it! And the area where he lives doesn't have taxi service. My next task is to check with senior services for the aging in his area and see what they recomment.
Thanks for your thoughts. Fortunately there is a new Taxi service near Dad, and he didn't freak when I brought him the info. Also, he is now accepting of my stopping at the post office and picking up his mail (home delivery is problematic) plus he has decided that shopping with me is easier and more fun! Now if I can just schedule these shopping trips into work schedule and the 1.5 hour drive to his house we will be that much better off.
Another wonderful thing is that he loves to buy me lunch! I love my dad, but as so many, I get caught between so many things pulling at me. Right now I am about 12 hours away with work. I do envy those of you who have siblings to share this all with, or who have supportive community around their parents. Another of my friends is so grateful for the church community who are supporting her recently widowed mother who is 800 miles from her.
New to the forum; looks like it has the potential for being a great resource. My parents are both in their upper 80's, and still drive, although only locally. As the daughter who lives closest, I'm often the one who takes them to doctor's appointments in the city. I broached the subject of them getting a handicapped placard (in MA, it's just a hangtag for the rearview mirror) and met with incredible resistance! I even put it to my father that it would be helpful to ME if we could park closer at times when parking is a problem at some of these places I have to take them. No luck! Any suggestions?
I've been in your shoes, as the daughter in town. I was able to enlist the help of my father's doctor in getting the handicap hang tag. Give the doctor's office a call and let them know you want the doctor to discuss it with your parent on the next visit. When the recommendation comes from the MD it is easier for the parent to accept it--after all you are still the "kid". Good luck. One other piece of advice, if you don't do yoga now, you might want to start. It strengthens your back for the extra physical efforts you'll need as your parents age, plus it gives you a place to unwind.
I heartily agree with Knitter on getting the doctor into the mix. Only way I could get my parents to agree to get one. Now they love it and won't leave the house without it.
Also if your parents are needing help around the house (i.e. housework, laundry, meals on wheels) have the doctor mention it to them. I fought for years to get my Father to get some help. He takes care of my mother who is a full invalid. He finally listened when the doctor told him that he had to have help in order to continue caring for my mother.
Be sure to have your parents tell the doctor that you wish to be able to discuss their medical conditions with him. This will save you some headaches down the road too.
Be sure to have your parents tell the doctor that you wish to be able to discuss their medical conditions with him. This will save you some headaches down the road too.
I have to chuckle about this comment....that was a battle that was hard fought! I had to convince them that I would NEVER call their doctors without asking them first. They finally relented, and of course, now, they are always having me call their doctors with questions, or to interpret something that they weren't sure they heard right. (for example: my father, who is 88, announced that the doctor had told him that he had "chronic bulimia" and that was why he was tired all the time. Turns out, the doctor told him he had chronic ANEMIA! Have to admit that it made for a good laugh)
Accompanying my father through his visits to the Dr. during his chemo treatments has become vital to helping my parents. As they age things can be "misheard" or "misunderstood". They simply must have someone there to help them understand and to help get their questions answered.
One thing that we must be careful of is to not turn our own lives off and stop enjoying ourselves as we step into the role of caregivers. Older parents may be come spiteful when you explain your not going to be there for the weekend etc. Patience works best here. That and taking time for yourself makes it much easier in the long run.
Hi all, I am new to this website and hope that you all will have some thoughts for me. I am the only child of 2 elderly parents (87 and 91) and a nurse (which sometimes makes things worse). I am making all the health care decisions now, since my dad has some dementia and my mom looks to me for the decisions. My dad has ulcerative colitis with flairups a couple times a year. The flairsup are getting closer (usually it was every 6 months but now closer to every 3 months). The doctor wants to start him on a drug that will compromise his immune system. I have second and third thoughts about doing this. In addition, the prescription when we received it said to use gloves when handling the pills. My mom will be the person handing out the pills to him and she has lymphoma. I don't know what to do at this point. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
I'm not a nurse but work in the medical field at a big trauma center as a clerk and I don't think that I would subject my father to that kind of medication. Can't they do any type of surgery that would help him with the colitis? There must be some other way. Have you looked into Herbal medications? Maybe that would be a better way to go. I hope you find an answer that is better than the one you are contemplating at the moment.
I can relate to your having second thoughts about your father's treatment. I suggest that you get a second and third physician's opinion and do some research on the internet. When my father was diagnosed with anemia after having his pacemaker/defibrillator replaced, the doctors put him through all kinds of tests and bloodwork. When they could find no cause for the condition each doctor forwarded him to a different specialist. He saw his G.P., Renal specialist, cardiologist, oncologist, etc. The final straw was when the oncologist wanted my 93 year old father to go for a colonoscopy. My dad said " The colonoscopy doctor said that if I lived this long without a colonoscopy I don't need one" I was there when the doctor said that. The anemia improved on it's own. I said to my dad, " How many 93 year olds do you think these doctors have treated? That's why they don't know how to treat you and they each pass the buck." I had told each of the doctors that I thought he might be anemic due to blood loss during surgery but they said I was wrong. After the pacemaker/defibrillator was replaced my dad had major bruising in the area. The surgeon couldn't understand why. I had to say 'Maybe it's because my father takes Plavix" and the surgeon said "Maybe, but I doubt it". The doctors don't know everything. Follow your instincts and do some research.
I would also suggest that everyone as they get older take one of the driving courses for older drivers. These are not only an excellent source of valuable information but will give you a discount on your auto insurance. Furthermore, it's easier to hear from a non-family member the truth about the challenges of continuing to drive as you age. My own feeling is that everyone should have to take the written portion of the exam every ten years, people with points should have to take both the written and the road test, and that drivers older than 75 (or pick an age!) should have to show evidence of taking one of the courses for older drivers. As a practical matter, I also feel that older drivers should voluntarily take a road course (not retake the test if their driving record is clean, just take a refresher road course.) For example, one of the things I learned is that a very high proportion of fatal accidents involving older drivers occur when trying to turn left against traffic so the advice is: don't do it!
The issue about loss of independence is very real. My late mother used to comment that if she had to wait around for family members to make time in their schedules to help her out, she'd sometimes be waiting a very long time. She did love it, though, when I was available to not only help her with errands but go out and just have some fun! (Given the accident rate of teen drivers, though, I don't know if asking them to shepherd older folks around adequately addresses the problem!)
This should be an object lesson for all of us as we grow older - are we going to behave any differently from our parents?
Excellent points (discussion). I am coming to mistrust my own ability to retain all the things covered with the doctor as well as my own memory and motivation to follow through on every count. For myself, I have started having my spouse accompany me -- both with Internist and with specialist (Urologist, nephrologist SP?). There may be legal issues involved with e-mail and social media in medical (virtual) care but the strengths that are attractive to me is the asynchronous nature (I can ask questions or clarification at my convenience, the medical doctor / staff could do so at their convenience - not like making and keeping an appointment at the office -- not in place of the strict time limit but in addition to the office visit, which I agree is critically important.
One does not have to be older for it to be a good idea to have another in with you when discussing serious medical issues with a doctor. If the findings are not good one may shut down listening while trying to digest the initial statements and miss important information or fail to dig deep enough. I have seen the non-patient add valuable points to the conversation as well as helping to define the implications and choices available. Other than routine doctor visits and simple follow ups on more serious issues, I insist that others accompany me on doctor's visits and have done the same for others in the family. On one particularly important matter, there were three of us firing questions at a very willing and informative specialist. When there are serious consequences, especially life changing or threatening ones, I would do it no other way.
I am also in your shoes- the sole caregiver for my 90 year old mom even though I have 3 siblings who are retired and I am still the one who is working!!!( I retired from teaching in public ed after 32 years and now teach full time again, but in a heavenly private school!)
In order to obtain a disabled tag here in GA, all I had to do was ask Mom's cardiologist ti sign a form and take it to the DMV. When my late husband's colon cancer was demeed terminal, the oncologist wrote the orders for the disabled tag. Both were qualified for the disabled tags due to the fact their health conditions rendered them unable to walk over 20 feet without experiencing medical challenges. My new husband has severe asthma and qualifies for the tag, too, but elected not to get one, which is appropriate for now. When the time comes and he needs it, I will certainly ask for the little tag for him, too!
father in law (who died 1984) who also was a physician - before he got hip replacement with increasing pain with mobility got handicap designation (state of Georgia).
I, too, am in the position of dealing with a parent who refuses to give up driving. This issue can damage family relationships. I wish that we had a system that required professional caregivers to report when individuals cannot safely drive, similar to the requirement for reporting child abuse.
My father has sever glaucoma and is developing macular degeneration. For at least 4 years, he was told by his opthamologist that he should not be driving. My mother was telling everyone that he should not be driving. Two of my siblings agreed, but one sibling refused to accept that he was a danger to himself and others (even after several accidents). I asked my father repeatedly to give up driving voluntarily, but he insisted that he could still drive. After an incident where an elderly woman who could not see well enough to drive, ran into my daughter, her husband, and their week old baby as they were walking across the street, I decided that I had to take action. I asked the state licensing department to review his ability to drive. He lost his license, but still refuses to quit driving. In addition to my father still putting others in danger, I damaged my relationship with my parents and my brother. I had, and still have, the full support of the other siblings. I don't regret reporting my father, but I wish that the cost had not been so high.
I had to do this with my husband, Larry Potter, who has Alzheimer's. I called the doctor out of the examining room and asked the doctor to tell him it was no longer safe for him to drive. He took it better coming from the doctor. For years after that event, he kept asking why the doctor took his license away. Still, it did not create bad blood between him and I as it was the doctor who took responsibility.
Helps to have an outside respected party, I agree.
And shame on you, ideonomy, for getting defensive and going OT. Many seniors refuse to acknowledge their limitations, and that's what we're discussing here. The issue of seniors who are reluctant to face their physical limitations is a difficult situation for all family members.
What exactly would you suggest Congress do? Congress is in the grips of total partisanship and has been failing for decades to do anything substantive.
My DH and I have faced it with our own parents and seen first-hand who hard it was for them to admit they were beginning to be a danger on the road. We know that eventually, we will face this problem for ourselves as well. We will have to be willing to 'face the facts' head-on, because we don't have children to watch us decline.
Would love for my grandchildren to drive for me. I am 69. Grandson is 6 (in July 7), grand-daughter four years younger. What a neat idea for pairing.
I have certainly dealt with this with my 90 year old mother. She lost the vision in her left eye and was still driving. She bought a new car thinking that would make driving easier, but instead had 2 accidents in 3 months. I had talked and talked with her about the fact that since I came by every afternoon to see her after teaching at my school, I would be happy to take her anywhere she wanted to go. Like your father, she only drive to the bank and the grocery store, but continued driving nonetheless.
I tried to drag her wonderful cardiologst into support the no-driving stance, and he was reluctant! After several visits he finally chimed in to say there was nothing wrong with her heart that could keep her from driving, but that he was worried about it from the perspective of her natural aging and how quickly she could respond in a quick-stop situation. He was sweet and kind and she took that to mean that HE said she could still drive!!! He suggested asking local police about elder driving assessments that actually test one's response time in a simulated driving situation, but we did not have them in our area.
After the second accident, where she only lightly tapped the car in front of her at the red light because "her foot slipped", I had a VERY serious discussion with her where I took a totally new, but honest approach. I was teaching first grade at the time and I calmly told her that this time no one was hurt, but what if next time she had an accident one of my much beloved first graders was in the car and they were hurt? What then? I told her she has lived a very long and healthy life, but how would she feel if in her next accident she maimed on of my six year old students for life? What if their entire life would then be spent in a wheelchair or with leg braces or without legs at all because she felt she HAD to drive to the grocery store? She did not respond at the time( I did not press her for a response-I wanted her to think about it from a different perspective), and the very calm but quiet discussion led to her never driving again.It was never discussed again-ever-and she never even tried to drive again. Of course, I was available daily to ask if she wanted/needed to go anywhere, and that helped her "save face" as she was never in a situation where she felt she had to drive somewhere independently.
She kept the car, and it is still in her garage. Every time we go anywhere with her, we take HER car. That is very important to her, as it helps her feel like taking her somewhere is not a burden if we are using her car! Is it necessary for her to have kept that car for the past three years in her garage? Of course not, but somehow the thought that her car right there for her to hop in to provides her with peace of mind.
So, my advice might be to try a think-about-others discussion apprach with assurance that you have no intention of taking your dad's car away from him, but that you are worried about him AND the people he could hurt!
PS After a five month steady and rapid decline in my mother's health I am moving her into an assisted living center on Monday. HER car is coming with her!!! It is is STILL important to her!!!
You are a wonderful and supportive offspring. Your caring reminds me of my teacher first grade and second grade 1950-51 and 1951-52 Rachel Hall. I loved to stand on the playground with her and have adult conversations.
My parents are both gone now. I admit that I am one of those siblings who lived away from the parents.....My older sister lived with them and was their main care giver. I cannot give her enough credit for doing so. I traveled home as often as I could and would take my vacations there. My older sister became involved in the Senior Advocacy Group that had been formed in the county. She attended a course that made her familiar with all services that are available to the elderly in that area. She is able to refer people to places where they can now get help and while Mom was going through her final illness was able to access those resources for herself. You might want to check through your county or city government and see if they do have a Senior Advocacy Group. These are not paid employees; they are all volunteers who have been recommended by someone and who have undergone training.....
My middle sister (of five) has my mother (age 90) with her. Their address is Haw River. I appreciate your suggestions about sources of good information.
I finally convinced my elderly mother that she should no longer drive with some assistance from her GP, bought her car & gave it to my daughter. I found two other things helped - one is I basically take her wherever she wants to go on Saturdays - hair done, shopping, special errands & any chores she has. Secondly, we bought some "tickets" with a local man who has a business of operating a taxi like service for the elderly. His wife is a social worker for the elderly & advertised for him on her monthly newsletter. It's $25 an hour & we gave her a few of them for Christmas. She also lives in a retirement community five miles from us as we moved her down from Pennsylvania & they provide shuttle service to the doctors & special trips for shopping, but she says it is too demanding shopping with them as they tend to rush them through either Target or Walmart - so I take her.
I don't envy your current position. Have you read Alice Munro (ninth short story in her 2001 book)? I just read it. My own mother is 90 and is cared for (lives at) my sister's (two younger brothers, five younger sisters). Her breathing is somewhat obstructed so she has quit driving by now. My mother calls it (breathing) her "pump." Eyesight: my spouse is 70 and just had her first eye (cataract) surgery, the other one scheduled (May). Her own mother lived to 92 and continued to drive. I went along to do most of the driving on 12-hour drive from Atlanta to the Chesapeake Bay (Virginia's Middle Peninsula). The best to you (all).
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