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Is there anything we could do?

(16 Posts)
bytheway Fri 09-Aug-19 19:27:25

Dad is 86 years old (we lost mum to cancer 5 years ago) and we are 5 siblings who live between 40 and 300 miles away.

The thing is Dad is getting more and more difficult to deal with. Since Mum died he has made little effort to get out and make friends despite offers from us to accompany him to men's groups (not interested) he has one family friend he spent a lot of time with but she now has dementia and its looking like she will be going into a home soon and i know he now finds it difficult to be with her anyway.

We all make the effort to see him when we can and he is often staying at one of our homes.

My brother was making efforts to get him into assisted living near him but it seems he does not qualify yet as apparently he needs a social services referral and anyway there are currently no rooms available. When brother explained this to him he said he didn't seem bothered, jut shrugged.

It's also been noticed by 2 of my siblings that he is sometimes sleeping downstairs, as he is getting unstable on his feet and that he sometimes smells (we think some nights he can't be bothered to climb the stairs to get in the shower or bed as he's tired or just not feeling steady enough) so he's just sleeping on the sofa and using the downstairs w.c.

He's also recently be diagnosed as having the start of cataracts. He is staying at my brothers this week and he tells me how rude and ungrateful Dad is being - I've heard this from another sister too.

Brother also said that he seems dis-interested in everything and wont make any decisions. In brother's words 'I could ask him if he wants to jump off the bridge and he would say if you think I should'

The thing is if we try to involve the caring services/social services we know he will go ballastic.

I really don't know what I'm asking here but just wandered if anyone has any advice

J52 Fri 09-Aug-19 19:36:18

You sound a lovely caring family.
If he’s safe in his own home and is eating a reasonable diet, then he seems to know his own mind.
DH’s grandmother was like this, quite happy in her own home until 93 when she had heart failure in her sleep. She wouldn’t have any help either and rarely went out, other to do her small shop. But she did keep her house very tidy.

Lessismore Fri 09-Aug-19 19:50:39

My get services involved now...whether or not he agrees. Sorry. it's very tough. Also get Power of Attorney in place.

Washerwoman Fri 09-Aug-19 19:59:19

Oh dear.Poor you.I posted on the Carers section about the frustration of mum refusing any help.She is 97 and only this year have we got her to accept a little help. Just a couple of hours of cleaning.Hygiene in her kitchen,and fridge in particular were really deteriorating along with her eyesight.
A friend nearly had a breakdown driving to and fro ,and dealing with the mental strain of her mum's amazing independent spirit - or stubbornness one might say !We have been lucky in that we all live fairly close.So you have my sympathy.Do check out the Carers section for support and words of wisdom.All the best.

MissAdventure Fri 09-Aug-19 20:03:34

If your dad is able to make his own decisions, and is of sound mind then there is little you can do.

I can't say I blame him for not wanting to join groups, and so on.

All you can do is keep a watchful eye, or maybe suggest a cleaner?

At least a cleaner could check on him, and it may make him more open to the idea of having someone in in the future.

MiniMoon Fri 09-Aug-19 20:03:41

If he has no signs of dementia, it sounds to me as if he is depressed. Has he seen his Doctor lately? I would be inclined to make him an appointment, and go with him to see his GP.

bytheway Fri 09-Aug-19 20:21:07

Hi all, just to address a few comments - Dad does have a cleaner - she is a lovely young lady who we've know for years and she does let us know if she see's anything she thinks we might want to know about.

I'm afraid Dad is of the generation who was give short shrift to being told he may be depressed, i have suspected that myself and probably not surprising given the way getting older affects some (a lot?) of people.

I was thinking if he's happy to stay at home maybe we could a get stair lift so he can get to bed at night...or sell the house and move into a bungalow prehaps.

MissAdventure Fri 09-Aug-19 20:27:43

Does he have room for a bed downstairs?
Moving seems a lot of upheaval for him.

bytheway Fri 09-Aug-19 20:39:32

Yes i guess he would have room for a bedroom downstairs but not sure if he would be happy to do this. food for thought though, thanks for the suggestions

MissAdventure Fri 09-Aug-19 20:44:43

It's difficult isn't it?
We've had a few threads on here about independent parents who just won't give in and accept help.

Good luck! flowers

Callistemon Fri 09-Aug-19 20:48:35

If he doesn't want to go out and make new friends at 86 then I wouldn't try to make him - he is probably content at home.

Can you sort out a bed downstairs for him and would installing a shower be possible?

You all sound very concerned and caring and do have him to stay with you all in turn so can keep an eye on his hygiene then at least.
I think putting his name down for an assisted living place near one of you is a good idea if you can push for it - but I know how difficult it can be to persuade an older person to do what you think could be best for them.

Good luck.

trisher Fri 09-Aug-19 21:10:56

Have you checked out sheltered housing for him? There are lots of buildings now, some offer independent housing with some support and the opportunity to have more support if needed. They differ widely on the opportunities they offer for socialising. Most want you to fill in a form and say why such housing is needed, they then do a check and home visit to check things. But you do have to wait for a vacancy. A downstairs shower seems a good idea.

Bordersgirl57 Fri 09-Aug-19 21:46:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Callistemon Fri 09-Aug-19 22:26:12

You can install showers which fit into the corner of a room, I think, I suppose if there are water pipes nearby.

That being said, nothing would induce my MIL to sleep downstairs although there was room. Nor would she ever consider a sheltered bungalow.

Tangerine Fri 09-Aug-19 22:31:28

I do feel sorry for you. I did not have the exact problem you have but similar.

People sometimes just give up if one half of a long partnership dies and it's very sad.

agnurse Fri 09-Aug-19 23:00:51

Might it go over well if you suggest to him that he go for a checkup? It's quite possible that he is depressed, but it is also possible that the issues are being caused by a physical issue (e.g. electrolyte imbalances, infection, poor nutrition, anemia, or hypothyroidism). You may need to have someone accompany him to the appointment - if he truly is developing dementia or something, he may not be a reliable historian. (Often people with dementia forget that they forgot something or got lost for example. Their insight is often very poor and it makes them unreliable historians.)

If your dad is determine to have full capacity, he does have the right to live at risk. That's his choice.