My father-in-law, 91 years old, has been having some major health issues lately. He has been in and out of the hospital, first home for a few days, now in a 'transition center'/rehabilitation center. He has had a heart condition for awhile but with the emergence of 'shingles', it may have made it worse. He has had his ups and downs. The medicine given at the hospital for the shingles may have made him retain fluid; he went home for a few days then back into the hospital since the fluid retention was not lessening at home and making him feel sick. That was taken care of but then the arm with the shingles was not moving well, he could not use it. So they started physical therapy, PT, to help. In the meantime, appetite and wanting to drink has been up and down. Back to the hospital after some type of 'spell' but sent back to rehab after a few hours. Also, a little confused about where he is and what day it is (which is normal).
The other day, I stopped by to visit and ended up watching him in PT. His physical therapist gave him a good workout!! So we walked him back to his room and I visited for a bit. He seemed fine, tired but kept up with the conversation pretty well (had a hard time finding the right words sometimes - who doesn't) but right on with the talk. Strangely enough, a short time after I left, he had another 'spell'; I was told his blood pressure dropped quickly but doing better by the end of the day.
Just wanted to set the background to my saga. A year ago, I dealt with mom - similar scenario in and out of the hospital, rehab, therapy, etc. My husband has 3 siblings; one sister lives out of state while the others are local. I have a sister-in-law, (my husband's brother's wife) who lives near my in-laws; we are about 45 minutes away. She has been helping out with the doctor visits for quite a while for both my mother-in-law (90 years old; she had 2 heart valve replacements - 1st one didn't take - a couple of years ago) and father-in-law, which is wonderful!! She has been doing a great job and I commend her for it!! My other sister-in-law, my husband's sister, has moved back into the area to help out and has been a great help with the cooking and errands, etc. My husband stops by to help as well and relieve his sister so she can have some time off. I guess my situation is that having been through a similar situation recently, I tend to have 'opinions'. My husband's sister has called to talk to me about offering my opinion (unfortunately I also compare to my mom's - probably not the best thing to do). Most times my opinion I feel is valued. I know my husband and his siblings have to come to agreements on how things will progress. I just let people know that I can help if needed but try to stay out of final decisions except to ask if everyone is in agreement and do his parents feel the same. I also try to remind people about paperwork for the nursing home and/or hospital, power of attorney paperwork for healthcare or otherwise, asking about talking to the pharmacy when he was home, reminding people to ask for VNA services before going home, etc. So I haven't figured out if I am better being an 'out-law' and staying out of things, or keep voicing my tales of caring for an elderly parent. I don't think they feel I am interfering but is the comparison/I just went through this/I am somewhat more familiar with this, the best way to offer my '2 cents'. Anyone out there want been through this and want to offer me some advice??
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4 Signs of Caregiving Stress Overload
ElderCarelink email posts 4 signs that should not be overlooked by you, the caregiver, or a close family member or friend. They report that even though the immediate caregiver may not be helping in direct care, the mind is never far from the needs of the older person, thinking about meals, falling, medications. Take the opinion of a family member or friend if they are telling you that you are stressed. Four signs: you skip your own physicals; you isolate yourself from others; you eat and/or drink too much for good health; you are short tempered with the elder, your spouse or your children. If any or all of these sound familiar, take a break no matter how short in order to recharge. For more information on caregiver stress see ElderCarelink
You can check out my ranting and stream of consciousness writing about looking at adult service providers with Will.
A Caregiver's Poem
I was looking through a 'Caregiver's Blog: Senior Care Support' and came across a poem that was shared by a writer, Dana, from the blog. The poem was written by Becky Netherland and Dana's grandmother shared it with her. I thought it was great and there is not much to say about it - just read!!! Enjoy!!
(picture from Caregivers Blog)
I’ve traveled paths you’ve yet to walk
Learned lessons old and new
And now this wisdom of my life
I’m blessed to share with you
Let kindness spread like sunshine
Embrace those who are sad
Respect their dignity, give them joy
And leave them feeling glad
Forgive those who might hurt you
And though you have your pride
Listen closely to their viewpoint
Try to see the other side
Walk softly when you’re angry
Try not to take offense
Invoke your sense of humor
Laughter’s power is immense!
Express what you are feeling
Your beliefs you should uphold
Don’t shy away from what is right
Be courageous and be bold
Keep hope right in your pocket
It will guide you day by day
Take it out when it is needed
When it’s near, you’ll find a way
Remember friends and family
Of which you are a precious part
Love deeply and love truly
Give freely from your heart
The world is far from perfect
There’s conflict and there’s strife
But you still can make a difference
By how you live your life
And so I’m very blessed to know
The wonders you will do
Because you are my granddaughter
And I believe in you.
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