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Sick Elderly Parent Refusing Help

Here is the scenario... Mom is 90, dementia, troubles getting up on her own, walks with walker, totally dependant on dad for everying including meals, trips to and from bathroom, getting into and out of bed, 3 minute memory.    Dad is 93, stubborn, really hard of hearing, feeble, insists on staying out of a nursing home, had heart cath yesterday and will receive 2 stints next week Wednesday. His kidney function is 1 step away from dialysis.  He is slipping on hygiene care for both mom and himself. becoming overwhelmed with financial responsibilities.  Surgeon sent him home yesterday with orders to get help for mother for the next few week, 2-3 pound lifting restriction, no strenuous activity.  He refuses help. He has always been able to do it and he will still be able to do it.  "Just because I am 93 doesn't mean I can't take care of my wife".  He is totally ignoring the surgeon, the nurses and his 3 kids.  He knows better then all of us.  PLEASE HELP!   He doesn't want anybody coming into the home because he doesn't like strangers in the house.  Do the three of us siblings have rights to intervene against his will or are we stuck living with his poor choices.  We have been after him to make a Plan B in case of this happening and we have been told that we all just being negative.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Regular Contributor


This seems like an impossible situation. So many aspects for you to cope with! I don’t know what your financial situation is, but my siblings and I combined resources and used an agency ( Home Instead) to help with my 90+ mother. 

I know he doesn’t like strangers, but maybe you or one of your sibs could  interview the person and go “visit” with your parents a couple of times to get acquainted. Realistically, I don’t think I would feel comfortable with a total stranger coming in to my house to help me with such personal care, but I think I’d feel better if that person was brought over a couple of times first and visited. My suggestion is to have someone come 2 hours 2-3 times a week to help with light housekeeping and hygiene. 


There is also the resource that can connect you to resources in your community. 


On on a side note, it seems like he is getting very aggressive medical care for someone 93. Is that what he wants? Or is he being carried along by the doctors orders? Too often it seems like we put people on a medical conveyor belt and they never get the chance to really choose which interventions make sense to them.


Good luck.




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