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Questions tagged with 'elderly' at Ask MetaFilter.

older | 1 | 2 | 3 | (Page 4)

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    Asking for a friend: I am looking for a good book that deals with navigating the waters of adults relating to their elderly parents, especially in regard to ways to have healthy communications between them. I'll take whatever has worked for you or someone you know.
    Thanks as always for your help.

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    My mildly depressed, intensely private, hypochondriac and cynical but otherwise physically healthy 82-year-old dad got sick in early April, and has been in a steep nosedive ever since. The immediate threat to his recovery seems to be loss of appetite; he eats and drinks a fraction of normal, is dehydrated and has lost a bunch of weight. Is there some strategy or specialist we should be applying that we don't know about? Right around the first of April my dad started turning yellow. His bile duct was restricted, but the root cause evaded every non-invasive diagnostic approach for a few weeks. Surgery finally revealed a cancerous gall bladder, which was removed. He still needs chemo, if we can get him healthy enough to tolerate it.

    Trouble is, he isn't eating or drinking much despite a lot of cajoling and offers of foods he's always liked. Nothing appeals, and various flavors of indigestion cause him to lose some of the little he does consume. My mom says he's eating about 10% of normal. He's become frail, hollow-cheeked, sunken-eyed, and isn't getting better. The gall bladder surgery was almost three weeks ago. He's very weak, and has fallen a few times. This morning he fell out of bed, hit his head, and bled a lot.

    Dad has always been uncannily physically healthy; this is the first time he's ever been in a hospital as a patient. However he has also always been a hypochondriac, obsessively thinking and reading about illnesses that might eventually kill him. He distrusts service providers of every stripe, from doctors to plumbers, and is always resistant to getting help. When considering his current circumstances, his hypochondria sets him up for fatalistic confirmation bias; his worst fears seem to be coming true, which is both miserable and validating.

    He has a surgeon, who's seeing him for follow-ups. He has a regular GP he's seen for years. An oncologist is on the horizon, but hasn't been seen yet. A physical therapist visits the house a few times each week. The medical team clearly knows he's not eating enough, but none of them seems to have done much more than to tell him to eat more. Is there anything else we can do for him? Some specialist we should ask to see? In case it comes up, his insurance is pretty good, and he lives in a state where medical marijuana is still illegal.

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    I am looking to replace a Wii that had been in use in my skilled nursing facility. We used a Wii on occasion for resident activity and exercise. We'd like to start the same kinds of programs, but Wiis are old and graphics are bad. I would love to get a similar system that is controlled by motion, is accessible to people who have never played video games, and can be used by people with dementia. Things that are challenging include finger or hand dexterity, complicated controllers, and hand-eye coordination. What would you use, savvy gamers and helpers of Metafilter?

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  • 07/06/18--18:00: What car should my mom buy?
  • My 68 year-old mother is finally ready to upgrade her car. Yay! But, as always, there are snowflakes... Background:
    My mother is 68 years old. She is retired. She is tall. She is a woman of size. Her mobility is limited. She has had both knees replaced, has arthritis and often doesn't feel too good. She doesn't drive much. Most days, she probably drives about 10 miles. She drives to various doctor's offices, to the grocery store, and to shuttle around her grandkids on good roads in the suburbs of the DC metro area. She's currently driving an ancient shitwagon hand-me-down American sedan that's 20+ years old and has no air conditioning. She is not very financially savvy or techno savvy. I can drive her to dealerships and help with figuring out logistics and internet research. I would like to get her in something newer as soon as possible, as she has been sick and going out in the summer heat is making her worse.

    Safety and reliability are the two biggest priorities, both for her sake and because she often transports her young grandchildren. She also needs excellent air conditioning. The southern heat makes her feel sick and prevents her from going out. She needs good visibility - not a car with thick pylons obstructing the rear view or excessively small windows. Simplicity - she doesn't need tons of gadgets to learn and panels to distract her. Lots of legroom and seatroom, and a very adjustable steering wheel/column. She has a hard time getting in and out of small cars like my Prius, and can have a hard time buckling her seatbelt if there's a large central console between the driver's seat and passenger's seat. The car needs to have room for two kids, two car seats and gear for the kids.

    My mother is retired and lives on a fixed income. She receives a pension from the labor union that she used to work for. She told me that she could put down $1,000 and could pay $230 per month. She belongs to a credit union. I'm not sure how good her credit is. I believe she declared bankruptcy when I was a child and hasn't used a credit card in many years. She owns a condo but hasn't paid it off yet.

    What's the best plan of attack here? New, used or lease? What makes and models should we be looking at?

    I want her to test drive a Kia Soul because it was ranked #1 compact car by US News and World Reports, and her local dealership has models advertised online for just under $15k as well as great reviews as a dealership on Yelp.

    Regardless of model, I was thinking a new car would provide the most peace of mind and warranty protection.

    But she loves station wagons, and has always wanted a Subaru Outback (despite the fact that she has never driven one). I'm going to take her out to the Subaru dealership for a test drive as well, but am worried about the expense. New Outbacks are much more expensive than Souls, and I feel uneasy putting her in a used car because of the difficulty she would have if there were surprise maintenance issues.

    She also wants to test drive an Accord and an Element because they got top ratings from Consumer Reports.

    Hope me, Metafilter! I know exactly what I would buy for myself, but I'm so worried about getting my mom a safe car that's also a good deal that also accommodates her specific needs that I'm spinning around in circles at the moment.

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    My 91-year-old Grandma has been moved into assisted living this past week. She lives across the country, far away from all of us family. If we were to transfer her here, what would that process look like? How do we find a good facility, how do we charter the flight, how do we X Y and Z? Lots of questions! My grandma just turned 91 a few weeks ago and unfortunately has had a string of recent bad health situations piling up.

    First some background -- she is my paternal grandmother and both of her children have passed away (my dad & uncle). It's just us three grandkids left in her lineage, me (in central NC), my older sister (in IN), and my brother (NC also, but unable to help out at the moment for Reasons.)

    She was very, very diligent for the last decade in getting her will, power of attorney, health care power of attorney and all other logistical matters very much buttoned up. We had a big celebration for her 90th birthday last year in Arizona and made sure all the paperwork was in place as needed. THANK GOODNESS.

    In January she sold her home and moved into a retirement community. Then, about three weeks ago fell and broke her pelvis, and at the same time started experiencing debilitating sciatica and also what appears to be peripheral neuropathy in her fingers and toes, which is causing a loss of fine motor control. She went to a rehab facility for a couple of weeks to try to get some dedicated help with physical therapy for the pelvis and sciatica. It was determined she would need to go into assisted living.

    So, on Thursday she was transferred into an assisted living facility. And, by the way, she's still with it mentally, 99%. My sister flew out this past weekend for two nights, to get the remaining logistical items taken care of and check on her wellbeing and figure out the bill paying and talk to everyone around her who is helping out.

    And that's the thing -- she has some people around her who love her, and we have a caretaker who does the errand running. But they're not family. And they shouldn't be expected to do all the things family would do in that situation. I feel like this is the time where she should be close to us here in NC.

    I've been doing some research today regarding the possbility of transferring her from Arizona to here in North Carolina. She'd have me close by, my mother (even though my parents split up when I was 19, my mom and her still keep in touch and love each other). Also, she'd have my stepmom, who loves her so dearly and also wants to help take care of her. All three of us live here in Winston-Salem, NC, and could be advocates for her care on a day-in-day-out basis.

    We're all three willing and able, and my brother will be able to help after a while, as well. Grandma now laments that she didn't move out here after my uncle passed away, to be closer to us. She really wants to be here. And my sister in Indiana is a busy physician, wife and mom of three kids, so the most logical place for Grandma is here in NC.

    My grandma has financial means. Financial means to do the move, even if we needed to charter an air ambulance-type set up, which might be the best option. She has long-term care insurance that she paid into for decades which kicks in after 90 days to pay 100% of her assisted living costs.

    So what is my question? I'm looking for anecdotal stories of anyone who has gone through this themselves -- transferring a frail but mentally with-it loved one from assisted living states away to assisted living nearby. How did it go? How did you find a quality assisted living facility near you? Are there reputable third-party services that can help us evaluate the myriad facilities?

    When you did the transfer, what would you have done differently? Did you charter a flight, or was your loved one able to fly commercially? If you chartered a flight, what kind? Just a regular private plane, or an air ambulance kind of set up? How did you move your loved one's possessions? (There aren't too many at this point.) Anything you didn't consider, logistically? What tips or best practices do you know of, or any resources that we should look into? Center for Aging in her community? Elderly ombudsman of some sort?

    Thanks for any and all advice! We're not sure of what's going to happen next, and maybe this won't pan out. It's up in the air at this point. But I think my grandma really wants to be out here, and my mom, my stepmom and I really want to be able to help ensure she has excellent and loving care.

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    Will someone be released from hospital if their gastrointestinal bleeding has not been stopped? I know you are not my doctor or my father's doctor but I don't expect medical advice - just your experience on what will happen next. My father has been in hospital for a week. He had only admitted to feeling 'a bit under the weather' for about a week before he collapsed. There will be more inside... Once in hospital he turned out to be very anaemic. They gave him blood and did an endoscopy which discovered stomach ulcers, and told us that explained the anaemia and he'd be fine after 3 days of treatment to get rid of the H pylori that caused them. But then he needed another blood transfusion and then another and another. Finally (yesterday) he has admitted he's been losing blood when going to the loo - he outright lied every time they asked about that, and also convincingly lied every time he was asked if he had any stomach pain. I was there. He should have been an actor, he was totally convincing.

    Dad was starting to seem confused for months and very confused at times in the weeks before this all blew up. I was afraid he had Alzheimers (he's 83) but he refused to see his doctor. Now I wonder if that was just a side effect of his anaemia because since they gave him blood he seems much sharper mentally. So I am not his carer and maybe he has told the hospital not to tell me anything. He will be coming to my house when he leaves the hospital - which they keep saying 'could be tomorrow'. Clearly he is not ready to live alone yet and I wouldn't want him to! But his release from hospital keeps being delayed because they decide he needs more blood - so he must still be losing quite a lot of blood I suppose? The nurses are busy and don't want to speak to me. What if I bring him home and he collapses again? He is not a big man but he was like a dead weight, my husband and I could not lift him. Surely they have to stop the bleeding before he will be safe to leave? Now that I know what a convincing liar my father can be, I am unable to trust what he tells me about his condition.

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    My deceased father used to take care of ALL of their financial matters, aside from a few investments my mom used to have. Since his death, I've realized that she has *no idea* how to manage finances, do her taxes, deal with banks, look after retirement savings, etc. I guess I have to somehow take over and be her representative for these matters, but I have idea how to do this!! I should preface this with saying we are Canadian, so any Canadian-specific advice is appreciated.

    I assume that we need to go to a lawyer and get some sort of power of attorney set up? I'm really confused.

    I wouldn't say that she's "not of sound mind" or anything, but with finances she just does not know what is going on and has not taken any initiative to figure out what's going on. For example, there was a mistake on her taxes this year which caused the government to claw back her Old Age Pension. She didn't notice that the bank neglected to give her the proper tax form to off-set the money she received from my dad's RRSP, so it was counted as income! She didn't show me the letter saying this until today! When I ask her financial questions every answer is almost always "I don't know!" she doesn't know what's going on with her RSPS, which have become RIFS since she's over 71, who knows if they're going to be deposited all at once into her account or slowly! She has no damn idea and neither do i!!! She's 73 never had any inclination to learn how to use a computer, so I do online banking on her behalf... but I'm pretty sure this is not allowed! We need to get this sorted before it's too late, I think.

    Like, it's ridiculous! This is actually causing a lot of contention between us right now. It's very stressful because I just don't know what's going on with her money and I want to make sure that she has enough to live out the rest of her years, but she has no idea what's going on financially.

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    These are two separate relatives who live together and co-caregive. We are slowly changing circumstances so that my husband and I can be there more often, but when we are not, I would like to know (without calling them constantly and worrying when I can't get through). Neither has a smart phone and please believe me when I say neither would adjust well (or at all) to one. Ideally the tracker could give me (75-ish miles away) location data via an app on my iPhone 24 hours a day (like Find My Friends, but for non-smartphone people). So far I've only found options which work for 100 to 500 feet or spyware. Must be small enough to fit unobtrusively into a standard lunch bag (with lunch). Would be wonderful if I could have this data even when I am traveling further away. Going on vacation nowadays is quite stressful because of these worries. Both have health issues (which we are working on), and my disabled relative's transportation support staff is not always reliable (also working on this).

    In case this is helpful, I intend to use this for answering the following questions:

    Has relative X gone out and is that why he's not answering his phone(s)? [He does not reliably bring his cellphone with him while out and about - he has a land line and two cell phones, one of which is in his car and the other he occasionally remembers to put in his pocket]

    Has relative X had an accident [car stopped somewhere on a road, not a parking lot at a store he frequents]?

    Is relative X occupied at home (napping or possibly has he fallen) and that why he's not answering his phone(s)?

    Has relative Y's transportation service picked him up as promised at the appointed time, or is he waiting on the sidewalk, not calling me because he doesn't want to worry me, and not answering his phone because he accidentally turned down the ringer again?

    Has something gone wrong with relative Y's access to the house, and is he waiting outside (in the heat or in the cold)?

    As you can see, the trackers wouldn't alleviate all worry, but would cut down on some. If the results are worrisome I have folks in the area I can contact to do a safety check if needed, and I have no qualms about calling the police if I need to - they live in a small town and know much of the police/fire/EMT folks in town. I just don't want to be calling in the cavalry every other day because of these worries.

    I would use these trackers with my relatives' knowledge and consent. This would obviously be a temporary measure until I can work out a way to be more present in their daily lives (I live and work in a neighboring state).

    Thank you in advance for any advice you can offer.

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    Happy Friday, AskMe. I really didn't anticipate having to ask this, but… Mom has just been victimized by one of those IRS phone scams making the rounds. What should we do, beyond the obvious? I've written previously about scammers and my mom. This seems to be unrelated, as far as I know. The caller claimed to be working for the IRS, which due to some previous history on our family's part was a great line to use with her. They threatened arrest, and ran her through an elaborate scheme.

    In short, they kept her on the phone for ~3 hours, and managed to get her to pay a large sum via Google Play gift cards. If there's any sort of silver lining, she claims not to have given them her SSN or any other information beyond our current address, though I'm personally a bit worried about that much.

    I obviously need to report this to the IRS. Their web site advises reporting to the FTC and local law enforcement. Beyond that, is there anything else the fine folks of AskMe might suggest? You've been wonderfully helpful for me in the past, and I really appreciate it so very much. I'm taking it as given that the money is gone for good, though would love to hear different.

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    Pretty much what it says, but a few relevant details inside. I understand that it may not be my place to recommend this to my parents, but would like to have this handy just in case. Also, I know one or both of my parents should ask their physician(s) about this. I'm not even sure if couples / marriage counseling is the most relevant but the geriatric part definitely is. Nothing special here, but I would like a recommendation from a Mefite rather than just Googling someone at Yale.

    Parents are getting old. They've been married over 50 years. Sometimes happily--sometimes not. Their health is deteriorating. My mom's long term health problems mean that she is becoming more and more reliant on my dad and much faster than either of them expected. He's doing a pretty good job but it is getting to him. They are struggling with dependence independence, being honest about their actual health with me and my sibling and with each other. Sometimes there is resentment that comes out in bad ways. All of this stuff is pretty much entirely normal. Right? Getting old sucks and care giving can be hard.

    I live far away and see them about once a year. When I was back recently it was really good. They seemed pretty good too, but a bit on their best behavior. My sib who is closer so their visit is less of an "event" maybe sees the rough edges a bit more. They commented on the phone that they "just need help figuring out how to cope with this stuff and maybe help remembering to be good to each other sometimes".

    So, a therapist, counselor, or geriatric specialist who covers that stuff not the physiological seems in order. They have all of the regular dermatology, cardio, oncology, rheumatology stuff well covered. No Alzheimer's or dementia. Just the usual memory issue that older people often have. They've been evaluated and have good regular medical care consistently. One doctor has suggested the Dorothy Adler Geriatric Assessment Center at Yale, especially regarding sleep, but they haven't gone yet. Going to keep bringing that one up once in a while when appropriate.

    Know anybody really good? Thank you. New Haven, Middletown, Clinton area.

    PS: I really do know that this is their issue and I hesitate to get involved at all, so no need to come tell me to butt out. But if there is an opening )and there may be, dad recently opened up just a tiny tiny bit about how hard it all is) I would like to have the info at the ready.

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    I'm managing a duplex in Massachusetts. I'm not affiliated with any sort of property management company, just doing this as a favor. The tenants one apartment are elderly and disabled. We installed railings for them, they're in contact with their grandkids, and they have aides and probably nurses who regularly come to their home. The problem is, one of them has started screaming and crying during the night. The other tenants had to move their bedroom, and they can still hear the sound clearly in the bathroom. I asked if the elderly tenants could address the disturbance issue, and it's improved a little, but it's still going on. The owners and I are working together on how to best resolve this. What do we do? It's spelled out in the lease that tenants can be evicted for noise disturbances "at the option of the landlord." It does not specify a time period, but my understanding is that in Massachusetts, 30 days is the time period to put in a cure/quit notice. Of course, is an eviction notice the appropriate next step? The more I look at this, the more I'm thinking we should hire a lawyer, but any advice would be welcome.

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  • 12/01/18--21:08: Elderly cat hints
  • Our elderly cat (12-14 years) has gotten noticeably worse in the past week -- not in the 'should we put her down' way, but in terms of personality shifts and grooming troubles. The vet was unconcerned after testing and examination, but how do we deal with it? Current system:
    Feeding 2x daily
    Arthritis pills 2x daily
    Brushing 2x daily
    More water bowls
    No stairs in house
    Subq fluids 2-3x weekly
    Change of diet etc. to help with the vomiting (which still comes and goes)
    Regular blood and urine tests for her kidney failure (currently stage 2)
    Steps etc. to help her get into bed with us
    Lifting her into our laps, as she is reluctant to try to jump into our laps now

    Not really plausible:
    More litterboxes, unless she starts having accidents. We're in a tiny downtown condo.

    -Extreme neediness: yowls angrily if I shower when my husband isn't home. Always on our laps (was previously a "I might let you cuddle me for 30 seconds" cat). Which is fiine, except that I need to do things and she gets so angry and upset and it breaks my heart.
    -"Failures of personal hygiene": Dandruff (not much we can do here). Bits of (non-poopy, dry) litter, dust in fur. Increase in dingleberries being left around house. Smeared... something... on the bed (probably vomit? less pleasantly, possibly poop from her butt). We can wipe her before bed, but that doesn't help with whatever she did in the middle of last night to smear on our bed (again, probably the vomit my husband cleaned up at 2am, but generally she doesn't wake us up when she expels bodily fluids).

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    I'm looking for resources, tips, experiences in dealing with an elderly parent who is making life kind of miserable for those who are becoming increasingly responsible for her care, i.e. my sister. She has her funeral service planned out to the last song but who is mostly in denial/not cooperating in planning what happens between now and then. My mom is 82. She's had atrial fibrillation which is more or less being managed, and suffered a very bad ankle fracture 3 years ago that took a year to recover from and which has left her mobility somewhat impaired. Just a couple of days ago she suffered another fall and broke a rib. She is a lifelong professional musician, piano teacher, and organist and she refuses to retire. She is also starting to suffer memory loss, and we don't know if it's typical 80-year-old senility or something more serious. We lost my dad to Alzheimer's 9 years ago so it's a very sensitive topic.
    My sister lives a few blocks away and shoulders a lot of the burden of helping her out when she needs help. My niece and her bf and their infant live in an upstairs apartment at my mom's house, but they're young and busy and so it's still my sister who is picking up the brunt of the burden. And it is driving her to the point of emotional breakdown because my mom is getting increasingly rude, snarky, not welcoming of help, etc. etc. The latest fall is a bit of a minor crisis point, because at first my mom was not wanting to go to the doctor, and then after the diagnosis was not accepting of the fact that it just might not be a good idea to play the Sunday and Christmas eve services this year, or to, you know, drive around doing last minute Christmas stuff with a broken rib and hoped up on narcotic pain relievers. My sister wound up taking her car keys. My mom has been saying unkind things about my sister behind her back to other family members.
    I've agreed to have a serious sit-down talk with mom and sister while I'm in town for a few days for the holiday. Is there any hope that these tensions can be relieved? I feel so bad for my sister; this has been going on for years (she also picked up a big burden when my dad was sick, and the sacrifices she made while my mom was recovering from the broken ankle were huge...)
    She and my dad were pretty good about the legal side of things, living wills, long-term care insurance, powers of attorney, trust planning for my adult disabled brother. But she's kind of stuck her head in the sand about the logistics of this transitional phase before it gets to that.

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