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Elderly parents

Going Downhill Slowly

9 replies

FrauMoose · 14/07/2013 22:05

I feel sad/angry/frustrated about the inevitable decline - both physical and mental of my 92 year old father-in-law.

His ear began bleeding some days ago and rather than using any antiseptic cream he has just been pouring olive oil down his ear - because he doesn't realise that that is just what you are supposed to do for ear wax.. And it's still sore so he wouldn't wear his hearing aid. So today at lunch he kept missing bits/nearly all of the conversation. And he forgets to do things/won't do things - so we will have to take him to the GP so he can get his ear looked at.. And we have to prompt him more and more in conversation, because he's forgetting the words for nearly everything. And forgetting what you told him 10 minutes ago, so he repeats the same question. And because he can't hear, he doesn't realise that he has started eating in a really loud slurpy way like a small child. It is just getting more and more exhausting, and less and less pleasurable.

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ExitPursuedByABear · 14/07/2013 22:07

Gosh. 92. He is doing really well.

intarsia · 14/07/2013 22:24

Pleasurable? He's not there for your entertainment, he's an elderly man in the latter years of his life who needs love and care. That's what happens when people get old.
Sorry if this sounds harsh, and maybe you chose your words badly but it's coming across that you find him rather tiresome.

FrauMoose · 14/07/2013 22:47

I don't love him. As a father he neglected my husband badly, sending him away to boarding school at the age of 8 and only seeing him once a year. He beat up his wife.

His work - quite literally - involved interrogation and torture. I have no idea how many deaths and how much suffering he was responsible for.

After that job finished he got into debts and difficulties. My husband found him accommodation and lent him money

In recent years I personally found him excellent sheltered accommodation at a time when he was regularly neglecting himself and making himself ill. because he could no longer look after himself.

It took a year to sort through his possessions and clean his completely run down flat and put it on the market. My husband and I did all the work.

We do his shopping. We take him to medical appointments.

He has been lazy and antisocial and suspicious all his life, which means he has very few friends.

His other son went off to live abroad, so we are the sole people responsible for him. He has no other regular visitors at all.

Yes he is * tiresome. I treat him with patience and decency. I thought I might be able to let off a little steam at the end of an extremely trying day, but if someone wants to get their kicks from being judgmental and righteous about the way they imagine a sweet elderly man is being mistreated by his nasty daughter in law, who am I to stop you?

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intarsia · 14/07/2013 23:45

Perhaps if you had explained that in the beginning it would have been easier to understand?

whataboutbob · 15/07/2013 14:55

You are obviously under a heck of a lot of stress. It s hard enough doing all this for someone you love, let alone a person you don t warm to. My dad has dementia and I ve come to the conclusion that while he wasn t great as a parent, as a person he has many good points and I love him. Having someone become dependent on you does throw your true feelings for them into very sharp focus. Despite the way I feel about Dad I know I won t be able to offer him ongoing care. I fear the effect that would have on me, my kids and my marriage.

FrauMoose · 15/07/2013 15:04

Thank you! My father in law does have some good qualities too. Oddly I think it is often the small things rather than the big ones which seem too much to cope with.

We are going to try and enlist some rather more active support from my brother in law.

I think dementing illness/deteriorating memory does seem to take some of a person's humanity away. Or make it hard to respond to them as if they were the person that they used to be. Everything does just seem to go backwards/downhill.

It is hard to describe just why the fact that he has now started to slurp his food noisily upsets me as much as it does. But I would rather be honest about this. I think that many people who see a lot of a relative in this state understand the difficult and ambivalent emotions that are triggered.

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ExitPursuedByABear · 15/07/2013 20:38

Yeah getting old is crap.

whataboutbob · 15/07/2013 22:02

I agree with you moose. Dementia does make people close in on themselves somewhat, unable to see the bigger picture and others' stake in any given situation. It is not easy by any means and relatives need support not judgment (Unless of course there is outright unkindness and abuse going on). My dad got lost somewhere between my home and the train station yesterday after insisting, against my advice, he wanted to go home on sunday not monday, and I had to take a lecture from a transport police guy. I told him he obviously knows nothing of the endless dilemmas and no win situations the relatives of the demented face every day.

FrauMoose · 15/07/2013 22:25

Thanks bob (If I may call you that.) Although there are tough things about getting old, my father-in-law's physical health is quite good for his advanced age. He's not in pain and there are no serious illnesses. I think in some ways he reminds me of a toddler in the sense that he is rather in the moment and has some of the self-centredness of a small person. A lot of the time I think he is quite contented watching DVDs and dozing/dreaming. He likes the warden of the place where he lives, and physically he's much healthier since he stopped living on his own and poisoning himself with 4-day old chickens. He no longer has to worry about stuff like remembering to lock doors. It's as if he has delegated all the troublesome worrying and transporting, and liaising with doctors and doing things to other people (mainly us).

I do see that when the confusion gets worse, the world becomes a rather scarier place, so I sympathise with the problems you are having to deal with.

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