Having older parents is tough [Update - father has passed]

So my parents are in their mid 80s, neither in robust health. My dad has had heart disease for 50 years and was told to get his affairs in order in 1974. He’s fought the odds and outlived many peers but it’s not in his favour now.

He’s been sick since returning from Florida in March with a nagging bug which complicates heart failure and fluid retention but thankfully no Covid. He’s been in the hospital once in June but has continued to feel weak. Last night he fell and my brother and I came over to get him and get him to the hospital.

He didn’t want an ambulance since he wanted to be taken to the hospital where his cardiologist works so we drove him down and I was allowed to stay until he was admitted. He spent the night in the ER and is now in the cardiac care unit which does allow visitors.

My brother drove my mom to the hospital and I picked her up and brought her to my place for dinner now that we have practically blown our bubble wide open - I had not been within touching distance of my parents since the last time they left for Florida in February.

With lack of sleep and the stress my mother started shaking uncontrollably at dinner and on the drive home vomited multiple times. I’ve now gotten her in bed and will sleep on the couch here tonight.

I’ve never been this worried about both of them at the same time. Normally only one of them is seriously ill at once. I’m not sure if my dad is going to pull out of this one, and I’m not sure how my mom will do without him after more than 60 years.

Just needed to vent, thanks for listening.

I am sorry, and yes it does suck. Hang in there.

I’m sorry your family is facing such times, feel free to vent all you can, it’s a good strategy.

It sounds like you and your brother have a handle on things, take comfort in that and know this community is always here to listen.

Our thoughts are with you.

So sorry for your troubles.

It’s a tough situation.

Kudos to you and your brother for being devoted kids. As tough as it is, you will be glad you did.
Rant all you need to, that’s what we’re here for.

If you and your brother have someone else to lean on, do so. The two of you are too close to the inner circle and supporting both of your parents at the same time is difficult.

And you’re always welcome to vent here. Someone’s here most of of the time.

I dig. My parents are 85 and 93 and each have a plethora of maladies. My two siblings and I are constantly in touch worrying about them. We try to cherish them as much as possible, as every “goodbye” could be the last one. Ye gods, I don’t want to inherit the title of family patriarch.

We’re here for you, bro.

This is not easy, not fun. But it is some of the most important stuff you’ll ever do. And you’ll feel good about that … some day.

Thanks everyone. My sister would normally be a part of the care package and my parents are officially in her bubble, but as chance would have it she booked a week at a cottage with her kids and grand kids so she is 2 hours away instead of her usual 5 minutes.

My dad’s kidneys are not working well due to all the meds, so it’s wait and see.

His Covid test can back clear this morning, so at least I don’t have to gown and glove in his room. Also a relief for my mom as she likely doesn’t have it either. Covid numbers in Toronto have been thankfully low, it’s the idiots in their 20s that seem to be getting it and there are only 20 Covid patients across all the hospitals in a city of 3M people.

Vent away. That’s what we’re here for. Best wishes for your parents.

Actually, I am in the position of your parents. I’m 83 and my wife 82 and so far we are hanging in there. But I had a heart attack in 1965 and have some other problems as well, as does my wife.

My husband’s father is 90, with Parkinson’s, heart issues, and back and/or shoulder problems, and we’ve seen early evidence of some dementia. His mother is 89, nearly blind from macular degeneration, has a pacemaker, and apparently now has some sort of heart valve issue. They live 800 miles from us, and their closest son has mental and emotional problems, so the help he can give is very limited.

We tried to persuade them to come stay with us, but they don’t want to leave their doctors. Our fear is that one or both of them will die before we can get to them. As things stand now, it would be very difficult to get to them quickly, but we may not have any choice.

Fortunately, my mom is only 2 hours away, and all 4 of my sibs are really close to her - my youngest sis lives with her - and Mom’s doing pretty well for being 86. Still, she’s 86…

Yeah, I know exactly what you mean. It’s scary and stressful.

My dad has now gone the whole day without vomiting, which is huge. My brother just left the hospital and said he’s looking much better. The prognosis on his kidneys is not great long term, but they hope to get some kidney function going for now and then look at dialysis down the road. I can’t see him as a transplant candidate given his overall health so who knows.

He gave me his funeral wishes today, I’m just hoping he hasn’t mentally checked out yet. No one would have thought a Zoom shiva was a thing 9 months ago…

Sounds like 1-1/2 steps forward, 1 step back. I’d call that a victory under the circumstances.

Keep pluggin’.

Make sure Dad, to the degree he’s lucid, understands he’s still got lots to play for. It’s certainly OK for somebody/anybody to decide “game over” at any point in their decline. But it’s a darn shame for anyone to make that decision based on faulty data. I’ve seen it and it isn’t pretty.

He’s in full command of his faculties, no issues there, but he figures his “Best before” date is long past and doesn’t want to be a burden. Generations of Jewish guilt, I guess.

My condolences to all having to go through this. My folks died young and I hence got “spared” some of the challenges you all face. I went through it to a lesser extent when my wife’s parents died in their 80’s. I wish I’d had mine around a few decades longer, the way my wife did.

I’m in a similar but much much less dire circumstances as you, Fins. I think we’re both lucky that brothers and sisters all get along well enough to help each other with situations like this. I’ve heard and seen too many examples of the opposite in families

Yeah, when all is said and done you’ll be glad that you were there for your parents as much as you could be. Losing our parents is sad and the journey there often was as well, but one thing my brother and I don’t feel angst over is not being there enough for our dad after mom died.

So sorry for your troubles, Fin. My parents are long gone, but many of my friends are going through similar scenarios.

My big worry at this stage is in not becoming any sort of burden to my own offspring.


Been there.

Ask your Parents for stories about your Grandparents & Relatives.

Sounds nice in principle.

But consider this by the OP:

Our OP is dealing with Dad half-ass committing suicide in the name of “not being a burden”. That’s one hell of a guilt bomb to detonate over your family on the way out.

The way not to be a burden is not to be stupid stubborn like the 80yos who refuse to sell the farm and move to town or to a care home. I have two friends trying to manage parents like these right now. From 5 states away. It’s effectively impossible, and even given near infinite love and more than adequate money they’re nearing washing their hands of the impossible situation.

Far better instead for the elder to accept the reality of your increasing limitations while trying to do the things you can to stay as healthy & alert as possible. Gracefully drop the things you can’t do and and thankfully accept the help of your kids / whoever.

That at least makes it possible for the kids to have a hope of making your inevitable eventual exit a decent and loving situation for all.