Elderly and my Pop

I have previously written posts about my Pop but today I needed to write once more, so forgive me for not having a ‘cheery post’ to submit tonight. I simply need to be able to talk about how I feel.

I am watching my father decline rather rapidly. It is the most heart breaking thing I have had to witness (apart from having to hold my 16 year old dog as the Vet put her to sleep) and anyone who has cared for their elderly parents will know what I am writing about. This.. this is something almost unbearable to face.

He will be 86 in July my dear Pop.  Pop

The last few weeks he has been experiencing so much trouble walking, he struggles to actually raise his leg to place one foot in front of the other. His hands also shake uncontrollably and he is embarrassed to eat in public.

Thankfully they are only a seven minute drive from where we live, so I am visiting as much as I can, helping in whatever way I can. Mum is also struggling with walking but currently she is managing better than what Pop is.img012

They both are so frustrated with life. The last couple of days I have heard mum say,  “If I could end this I would, I can’t do what I use too, I hate being this way”.  This afternoon around 4pm mum phoned,  just as Mr. S and I were heading out to watch a Movie. The call of help – “Dad had a lie down in bed and he is standing but can’t walk”.

Mr. S. and I drove over immediately. Dad was standing holding onto his walker, his whole body shaking. I gave him some pain killers and helped him onto his chair, his middle back and hip are hurting and he has sciatica symptoms. The issue is that he is not walking or able to exercise and his muscles are seizing up. After making sure he was comfortable (as there was really nothing else I could do to help), we went to the pictures (the whole time me watching Oblivion) thinking of how he was. As soon as it was finished, I went back to see him.

Dad in the Middle

Dad in the Middle

He was standing cleaning his teeth holding onto the basin. I asked him if he wanted to get his pyjamas on so he would be more comfortable. Then I changed him, taking off his glasses, his jumper, undoing his shirt and slipping his pyjama top on carefully and very gingerly. I then took his track suit pants off (sweat pants) and put his PJ pants on.

This gorgeous man, my father, telling me it was all right for me to see his ‘privates’, thankfully no embarrassment from his side and certainly none from mine.

Then I gently rubbed some pain cream into his back and put his dressing gown on before helping him back to his chair.
He sat there shaking his head, feeling so depressed about how he had become, how he felt that life was not worth living anymore. This is the hard part, watching the man that you have idolised since you could remember feel that their life no longer holds any purpose.  I gave him a sedative, which I told him to take 20 minutes before he went to bed to help him get through the night without pain, I turned down his bed and placed a pillow for him to put his legs on. I gave him a drink of water. I watched as mum put her arms around him and stroked his white hair with tears in her eyes saying “We are here for you”. It is so hard to be strong in front of them, I turned my head not to show my tears. He replied “My girls”.

I have tried to talk them into moving into an Aged Care facility, but mum unfortunately is being a little stubborn and refuses to move anywhere.  Granted uprooting yourself from your family home at their age is a difficult proposition. I worry constantly about how they are coping and I feel guilty that I am not there 24 hours a day to help and support them. My life is now centred on being there for them whenever I can, this is what a child should do, as our parents age, we are the ones who then have to nurture them,  as they did for us all those years.

I wrote a card for Pop some time back and he must have misplaced it and I found it on his bed head this afternoon. I wrote what I thought of him as a father as a man as an individual. This soft spoken caring human being who has never said a wrong word about anyone in his life, who has always tried to be there for everyone is now in need of my help. He said  “I read your card Ginger” (my nickname) you have a way of making a grown man cry”.  I just hugged him and tears came to both of us. I sat in front of him and told him I know how frustrated he must be feeling and that he has to think that now he is in this stage of his life that he is limited with what he is able to do. I told him not to get depressed about his situation or mums, but to try each day to simply do what they can and what they aren’t able to do, I am there to do.

I fully understand why the elderly want to pass from the earth plain, to obtain relief from their suffering, from the embarrassment that they feel of no longer being fit and able without requiring or asking for help.  It’s humiliating for them. For so very long the mere thought of either of my parents passing has made me almost physically ill. No one wants this, no one wants to say goodbye to those that they love. Now though I understand, when I watch them, barely able to walk or in pain, now I understand…it terrifies me beyond belief,  this is something I hide in the back of my mind wishing for it to go away, to bring me back the parents that I had, for their sake not for mine. Sadly I know this will not happen and they will decline further and all I can do as their daughter is to be there.

We can say they have a ‘good innings’ but that does not bring me comfort.

If I could be by their side all day to help them I would, but as I am working now it is an impossibility. Tomorrow morning I am going over to do the weeding and mow the lawns and just be with my mum and dad.

Oh my darling Pop I wish that you weren’t facing this part of your life as you are, knowing that you were once able bodied, I understand how this must be tearing you apart inside.

I love you, I adore you, I am so proud of you and I am here for you……..your Ginger. xxx
Pop

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36 thoughts on “Elderly and my Pop

  1. xx So sorry, I can relate although my mom has been able to recover from her shattered femur, but it so hard to watch them age.. Much love to you Rams..big hugs..

    • Thank you my darling. It is SO tough, I am glad your mum is recovering well, it makes us as their children feel so useless though doesn’t it. Thank you for your love and hugs – appreciate is so very much xx

  2. Hugs and prayers to you and your family. It would seem that you are doing all that you can do, I do hope that you and your family can find some peace.

  3. Mumsy I can’t help the tears I have right now for you.
    I dread this day and don’t want my mum to age. But I know nothing can stop that. I love you and hug you. Xxxxxxx

  4. This brought tears to my eyes as I can so relate to your feelings. My mom is 86 and dad is 85 and while they are doing well for their age, they seem so old now. I pray for strength for you as you go through this time with your parents.

    • Hello darling, I do remember the post you wrote about your parents and that they live some distance from you, which must make it hard also. Thank you for your prayers and lovely thoughts, time dos not stand still unfortunately. xxx

  5. My darling, I know exactly what you are going through. My mother in law is the same, she now, no longer recognises the children, a flash here and there but that’s it. She is in an aged care facility but I worry about her quality of life, she is the same age as your sweet pop.
    Your post touched my heart, for I feel about my parents, even my dad who is no longer with us, the same way. It is so, so difficult to watch them struggle and then I wonder how it will be for me and my husband when we age. We are not going to be these young and spright beings all our lives. Lately, it is as though all my friends have the same worries. One even lost her mom to heart disease.
    All I can say is, hang in there, love you and what a wonderful daughter you are!!
    xxxx

    • I am so sorry for your mother in law my sweet, mum’s memory is not great and it is difficult watching the two of them ‘vanish’ before my eyes. Mr. S and I also reflect on how we will be when we get older, how we will cope. Thank you, I am trying to hang in there and spend as much time as I can with them. I try to be, it’s simply ‘a given’ to look after them so I can only try and help them as much as I can. Thank you darling, love you too xxx

    • Indeed it is Ivonne – Thank you hun, I have always been close to them, as I have grown along side with them, our relationship has maintained its strength and I am blessed. xxx

  6. They say the price of a long life is old age and that’s so true. I’m sorry you’re going through this, I know how rough it is. It’s incredibly difficult to know how to emotionally support a loving parent when they feel they are so much less than what they were. You are an amazing daughter and please don’t forget to look after yourself as well xx

    • Thank you Jude, normally I am able to handle most situations that I am confronted with, this however is emotionally pulling me in every direction. I haven’t heard that saying but yes how true it is. Thank you for being so kind and for wishing me well, I will look after myself, for if I don’t I won’t be of any use to them and I cannot have that happen. xxx

  7. I have no words to fit Mumsy, nothing magical that eases the pain and frustration, only to know that your love is so special to them. *hugs so much*

    You be strong, for you are the daughter of two very proud wonderful parents.

    • I was doing okay till I read this, now I’m in tears. His back is a little better today, but tonight mum was on the phone crying saying he is wanting to give up… I am trying so hard to be strong.. I am.. but it’s killing me not knowing what more I can do. Thank you Amb…I need the hugs right now. xxx

      • awww, well hugs more. I know it is a daily pain for you to see him tormented so. All you can do is make him as comfortable as possible, to allow him as much pride as you can… and remind him how much you love him.

      • I am trying, I wish they would consider moving into Aged Care, I am not working tomorrow so I will try and talk to mum again about it. I tell them every time I talk to them or see them how much I love them, dad want’s to go… for he feels he is growing weaker, but he said he doesn’t want to leave mum or I…and that tears at me even more. Thank you sweetheart, love you for your kindness. xx

      • tis such a hard time of life. In aged care they may be able to enjoy things a bit more with less worries. It admits though, that you can not do what you once did.. and that is a hard admission. You take care of yourself too though please, do some fun things too. Love you. 🙂

      • Yes a very hard admission, one they recognise and acknowledge, but mum feels safe in her own home and unfortunately will not be swayed, however stronger measures are now needed, for if dad is unable to regain the strength to walk and is needing a wheelchair, mum does not have the strength to help him. I still have to live yes, but my ‘fun’ is now on the back burner for the time being until I have a solution to help them. xxx

      • yes, tis time. Is aged care easily accessed? no long waiting list?

        If they can go in together, to have some burdens taken away from her, Mom can maybe enjoy things more, Dad as well, I am sure he worries too with something happening and her not able to help.

  8. Jen, I loved reading this as I have loved reading your other posts about your pops. I loved it because it was so heart warming to hear of that kind of love you have for your parents and hear you write from your heart. On the the flip side it was equally painful to read because I could feel the sadness that you are feeling and it made me sad right along with you. Even though I have not experienced this with my own parents I was with my grandma at the end and have worked at an aging facility and got close to so many elderly folks and watching them suffer has broken my heart too many times. Wishing you my best Ginger.

    • You made me smile by calling me Ginger, that was so lovely of you. I have always been close to my parents , like many children and it is so difficult to know how to help in times like this. I thought of working at an aged care facility, but then I thought I couldn’t bare the pain of losing people that I get close too. It’s tough being so emotional at times. Thank you Mel honestly, your words meant a lot. xxx

    • I am sorry for bringing tears, I am humbled knowing that what I am experiencing is touching the lives of my friends on WP. We have grown to be a little family and feel for one another and it makes me stronger knowing I have the support from you and everyone. Thank you so much Lyn xx

  9. “All the books about death are written by the living”
    http://www.brianjaystanley.com/aphorisms/ignorant-authors

    I don’t men to minimize your tears at the gradual loss of your father as you know him, spirited and dynamic. Each person has their own reality based on well… reality. But I suggest perhaps a different path for some who can pull it off. I am one of those old people on the cusp of 80. I have a hard time getting put of a chair, I am so weak that I have to sleep after the slightest exertion such as walking outside a few feet. Yet, i want to say, suggest, whatever to get my point across that the mind does not need to follow the body. But unfortunately this is the expectation: the mind follows the body. I see many old people (and most people) who adopt a mind set that has been bequeathed to them by custom, the expectation that once the body goes “downhill” it’s toward the end, as in a juggernaut gaining momentum until the crash of death. This assumption is not made about young people. For young people there is an assumption of recovery and onto the rest of a dynamic life. Old people can have recovery of sorts, even if it’s in outlook, and also be on to a dynamic life. Just because we see the end looming doesn’t mean the end of life for today or even the immediate tomorrow. Today is yesterday’s future. Today is the future. I think what is held as the downhill of life in old people is depression at the loss of physical ability and the unwelcome addition of pain and discomfort that does come with advancing years. And no wonder, anyone at any age would feel depressed if that happened to them. What I am suggesting is, for for all of us to look at the person and not the age.

    • Hello Mizz
      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Though I am experiencing watching my parents decline, more so that of my father, I am proud to say that I re-inforce daily how much he has to live for, how he will continue to be with us for longer than what he ‘anticipates’. I tell him to remain positive, to not get into a state of depression and that by willing himself to be strong his body in turn will become stronger.
      His issues are because he has never been active in his life (desk jobs) as he has aged his activity has slowed down further. I have told him his muscles are atrophying because he is not moving. He realises that he must try and exert himself little by little each day to gain that strength back. He will be doing physio classes once a week to increase his mobility and I have told him I want him to use his walker and walk up and down to the front door as often as he can. He knows he must, though he complains of soreness (because his muscles are not use to it). He will fight because I am behind him every step of the way telling him to do so and not let his brain take over his body. I will continue to support and encourage him as any daughter should. I thank you for commenting and I wish you all the very best as you seem to have a strong spirit. Bless you.

      • Well, Bless you too Mum! No one can have a better daughter than you! It seems you are up against considerable odds. I’d say your father is greatly depressed. I find it an uphill battle to contend with a depressed person. Seems they have to want to take on some optimism. Even being negative is a life force better than depression. My thoughts go with you in your struggle!

  10. I hit the ‘Like’ button tonight as I read this. Because tonight, tis a show of support for you.

    How is he doing today? How is your mum doing today? And how are YOU doing today.

    That you wish to be with him all the time….he knows that.

    I wish words alone could ease the pain in your heart…and the pain and frustration in your parents. I KNOW this is of little comfort at the moment … but … their spirit…pride … grandness…..they live on in you.

    Love

    Katie O

    • I thank you and appreciate always your kind words and comfort. You are sweet for saying what you did..and you know what I do have their spirit pride and grandness and I am patting myself on the back for acknowledging it in myself so thank you Love you too xx

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