My dad was always self-efficient until his 80s. Since then, my husband and I have had a lot of experience taking care of my father who will be 90 at the end of May 2013. I have stayed with him at his house before I married again, and he has also stayed with us at our house.
My father has had to have several surgeries, ranging from minor to major heart surgery and other hospital stays, which is why he needed some home care.
My husband and I decided a long time ago that we would always take care of our parents when they could not. It is a decision that is not to be taken lightly and without a lot of thought. The following experiences, although somewhat humorous, will give you an idea why.
Dad does not like to take medicine of any sort, even aspirin. So when it came time each day to take his pills, he would look into the little pill cup and ask what each one was for and why he had to take them. Then he would state that he did not need to take them since he was fine!
When he was well enough to stay home by himself, we got him a pill holder so that he knew which pills and when to take them. Each week when I came to visit I would set them up again for him. But after a couple of weeks he announced that he was no longer going to take any pills since he was okay! Oh, did I say he is a diabetic and tends to have high blood pressure?
Meals and Eating
We understand that the elderly sometimes will start to eat a lot less due to lack of appetite and slowly becoming less active. This was never the case with Dad.
He has always been a good eater and has been cooking for himself since my mother passed away. But he has now stopped cooking and pretty much stopped eating. He only wants to eat sweets!
I have cooked meals and frozen them for him in meal containers, but he no longer likes to eat frozen food. He believes that frozen food does not taste good and goes bad after one month. He is afraid to eat anything more than a day old, and he will not eat any chicken since he watched a program on TV about how they process it. About the only meat he is willing to eat is bacon, ham, and sardines. We have tried to talk him into the meal programs for the elderly who live by themselves and living with us but the answer is always “no.” I am fine!
So you see taking care of Dad or the elderly is challenging but also rewarding at the same time. It is not for everyone and takes a lot of patience and understanding!