[NSR] Dealing with a parent with dementia and end of life
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Ossessionato
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Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:01 am quote
Just received this email from my stepmother. My dad who I have a complicated relationship with (left when I was a baby, back in my life in my 30's) is nearing the end.

I'm a bit torn up about how to deal with this. We have made amends but I do feel quilt for not seeing him as much as I could/should have. Has anyone else here defat with this sort of thing? If so do you have an advice or insight? I think I'm just writing this more as a way to get me to think about it more than anything else.

This is the email I received . If it reads a little strange it's just because I removed all the names.


Just wanting to thank you for the lovely birthday card you sent.  And, I hope you have a great one on Monday.  This year for me is very different.  he doesn’t even know it is my birthday. You will not recognize him now. This is how I have described things.
 
In the blink of an eye, my world changed from glorious technicolour to a muted grey. I blame it on the falls. Who could believe the impact of falling out of bed would have such a tremendous outcome? My soul-mate, my hero, my husband and the love of my life suddenly disappeared into the hollow chambers of dementia.
Who is this man aimlessly pushing a stable walker around the house? Sometimes he pushes it sideways, sometimes backwards.  A reminder to him that it is a front wheel drive will alert him to turn it around to safely reach his destination.
 
And then there are the delusions and hallucinations; people appear out of nowhere, writing on the wall, lines and pullies on the windows keep him up at night and confused during the day. Our bungalow has become a two story house in he’s mind. All typical reactions to a concussion and vascular dementia.  Some days he is quite clear and I feel perhaps the concussion is lifting then then voila, the confusion rears its ugly head in a flash.
 
This charming, intelligent man cannot focus on watching his favourite television programs anymore.  Always a movie buff, his mind wanders so readily, he misses what it is all about.  A tragedy for someone who spent his life working on sound in the film industry.
 
It's the lack of sleep that makes it so difficult. he will wake up, look at the clock and exclaim, “It’s 3 o’clock, time for tea”.  His days and nights are frequently confused.
Luckily, he can still shave himself, but his balance is so bad, he requires assistance in showering.  Preparedness in managing the aging process is key.  We have a raised toilet and handy grab bar, a shower with shower seat and grab bars. The amount of time spent caregiving has taken over my life.
 
I spent my career as an eldercare consultant providing solutions to those living and dealing with various forms of dementia.  Now I am living it 24/7. What an incredible picture is presented when a loved one enters this realm of uncertainty! Life changes in a flash. Creativity in managing day to day living becomes paramount.  How to get through the next 24 hours is a challenge? Reactions to situations is never normal.
 
FYI applications are in for long term care as of late December.  I am working on getting him into Respite for a couple of weeks, so I can have a break.  Yesterday when the LHINs coordinator came to have him sign the papers, he refused.  Now I am not sure when I can get a break.  Thankfully Ralph is here Monday Wednesday and Friday from 10 – 4 or 5.
 
, I am certain you are in the throws of assisting your father to care for your mother and it is not easy.  Watch for caregiver burnout in your dad. 
 
I am not complaining, merely explaining.
 
Love,
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Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:22 am quote
Harbinger, you are not alone. We're thinking of you, and your stepmom. A lot of us have gone through similar situations.

I'm not gonna offer a lot of advice here -- I'm not sure what I have, and it's hard on a cell phone -- but maybe I'll send some PMs your way when I get home tonight.

JKJ
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Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:30 am quote
JKJ-FZ6 wrote:
Harbinger, you are not alone. We're thinking of you, and your stepmom. A lot of us have gone through similar situations.

I'm not gonna offer a lot of advice here -- I'm not sure what I have, and it's hard on a cell phone -- but maybe I'll send some PMs your way when I get home tonight.

JKJ
Thanks and yeah it's good to know I'm not alone.
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Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:56 am quote
We are going through this end of life but not as profoundly. Two years ago my Dad was riding his motorcycle twice a week, now he isn't steady or mentally aware enough to leave the house. Both parents are in their 90s and my Mom is not yet ready to surrender her independence by having a caregiver in the house. My siblings are not united in what to do and a family conference is forthcoming. It just isn't something we were prepared for and opinions are divided.

I feel your pain.
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Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:05 am quote
Re: [NSR] Dealing with a parent with dementia and end of lif
Harbinger wrote:
My dad who I have a complicated relationship with (left when I was a baby, back in my life in my 30's) is nearing the end.
If it helps, my father left when I was 2 and then reappeared when I was in my 30's just before I got married. There's obviously nothing you owe them for your upbringing but, equally, you wouldn't be here at all without them. I found I quite liked the guy but deep down you don't forgive. At the same time I did find it amazing that my mother and him ever thought they'd work as a couple. He's still working in his 80's (he enjoys what he does) but obviously things can change in a moment at that age. His new wife is younger than me but I can't see her really enjoying a nursing role.

The real question is what exactly are you being asked for? Does your step mother just need you to sign your father into care? Are you being asked to pay for the care? Does she just need a night off? Forgiveness?
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Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:16 am quote
Re: [NSR] Dealing with a parent with dementia and end of lif
robinm wrote:
Harbinger wrote:
My dad who I have a complicated relationship with (left when I was a baby, back in my life in my 30's) is nearing the end.
If it helps, my father left when I was 2 and then reappeared when I was in my 30's just before I got married. There's obviously nothing you owe them for your upbringing but, equally, you wouldn't be here at all without them. I found I quite liked the guy but deep down you don't forgive. At the same time I did find it amazing that my mother and him ever thought they'd work as a couple. He's still working in his 80's (he enjoys what he does) but obviously things can change in a moment at that age. His new wife is younger than me but I can't see her really enjoying a nursing role.

The real question is what exactly are you being asked for? Does your step mother just need you to sign your father into care? Are you being asked to pay for the care? Does she just need a night off? Forgiveness?
I'm not being asked to do anything. Just looking for how others have dealt with it or similar situations. I do know she is the only one in his will and gets it all which also causes a few mixed emotions. I don't need the money but I have other siblings that could. He never paid alimony though had a successful career is Hollywood. He did try to make amends when he came back in my life.

*EDIT*

I had a pretty shitty life for a good chunk of it. I have made something of myself and am by most peoples definition "successful" . The emotional scars of growing up with a single mother on a nurses salary and 4 kids is still there. She was a very pretty woman and never dated after my dad left with us. So I guess what I'm asking is how to deal with a difficult situation. I'm sure I'm not the only person here who has been down this road. Or maybe just talking to myself here as a form of therapy.

Some people here may think why I don't a I just talk to some friends instead of a scooter message board. Hell they'd have a point but the thing is I am a very solitary person by choice. Not dysfunctional by any means but I prefer the group here to "talk" to. Besides the pool of knowledge here is better than any I can think of. I don't belong to FB or any other social networking site and the ones out there for this sort of thing are honestly pretty lame.
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Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:45 am quote
Hi Harbinger,

The feelings you have are normal - guilt, anger, sadness, etc. It's a difficult, shitty situation that many, if not most, of us have to face at some time in our lives. I am glad you are bringing it here. This is a good group.

If you ever feel you want to talk with a professional about this, "I know a guy" in Toronto. He rides a Harley, but otherwise he's OK. PM me.

You are not alone.

Last edited by mpfrank on Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:46 am; edited 1 time in total
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Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:45 am quote
double post
Ossessionato
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Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:53 am quote
Sorry to see what you and your family are going through Harbinger.
I can commiserate about emotional scarring from childhood; actually in my sphere there are very, very few who had a 'good' childhood. I sat with a good friend of mine some years ago and we thought about all our friend group, and discovered that only one had what could be considered a 'Ward and June' sort of happy family arrangement. I guess my point is, it can be amazing how similar all of our mutual miseries are.

That's maybe not the best way to put it....
*Ahem*
You're exactly right about MV folks being of the good sort.
Every one that I have met, I came to liking. For most, there is a strong liking.
Something quite therapeutic about this place.
Ossessionato
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Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:07 am quote
Madison Sully wrote:
Sorry to see what you and your family are going through Harbinger.
I can commiserate about emotional scarring from childhood; actually in my sphere there are very, very few who had a 'good' childhood. I sat with a good friend of mine some years ago and we thought about all our friend group, and discovered that only one had what could be considered a 'Ward and June' sort of happy family arrangement. I guess my point is, it can be amazing how similar all of our mutual miseries are.

That's maybe not the best way to put it....
*Ahem*
You're exactly right about MV folks being of the good sort.
Every one that I have met, I came to liking. For most, there is a strong liking.
Something quite therapeutic about this place.
Yes, MV has a great group of folks. There may be a few that aren't so much but what family doesn't have a few of those? The real trolls the mods and the karma system do a good Job of keeping them under the bridge.

Thanks Sully.
mpfrank wrote:
Hi Harbinger,

The feelings you have are normal - guilt, anger, sadness, etc. It's a difficult, shitty situation that many, if not most, of us have to face at some time in our lives. I am glad you are bringing it here. This is a good group.

If you ever feel you want to talk with a professional about this, "I know a guy" in Toronto. He rides a Harley, but otherwise he's OK. PM me.

You are not alone.
Thanks for the kind words Frank and I will keep the Harley rider in mind. I may need it at some point.
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Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:22 am quote
Not sure I have any useable advice... My family is dealing with a somewhat similar issue with my mom, who is 85 now and will most likely need to be moved into some type of assisted living. She's been 'alone' for many years, and likes things that way. And finding a place for her is proving difficult She & my sister are both about 430 miles away from me, neither the sister nor I have a house suitable for mom (she can't deal with stairs). I don't know what is going to happen, and it worries me. And my younger brother died, unexpectedly, about 3 months ago - so, the hits keep on coming...

I'm really glad your dad has someone who can/is willing to help with him. I feel your pain, too...
Ossessionato
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Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:34 am quote
Dude, that is one complicated soup you're being served.

I've dealt with end of life issues on and off for the past 20 years (not my own, but my first wife, my Dad and my second mother in law). Each situation is different, but the real complicating factor here is dementia, which makes everything more difficult.

Hang in there....and don't feel like you're burdening us with your issues. We're all in this together, kinda.
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Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:04 pm quote
Larrytsg wrote:
Dude, that is one complicated soup you're being served.

I've dealt with end of life issues on and off for the past 20 years (not my own, but my first wife, my Dad and my second mother in law). Each situation is different, but the real complicating factor here is dementia, which makes everything more difficult.

Hang in there....and don't feel like you're burdening us with your issues. We're all in this together, kinda.
Yeah it is.

Funny as kid I adored my dad and the VERY few times we heard from him were the biggest thing. It wasn't until I was grown up I learnt he never paid alimony even though he made good money and was successful. He lived in the crazy world of the Hollywood movie industry so maybe that's part of it. I've had some long talks with him and it really is a different world and Hollywood is so very much smaller than you think.
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Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:59 pm quote
Oof. Yeah.... Wish I had advice because I'd take it.

So much of this is already on my mind this week Imma gonna write out what I think I think....

I think we humans are innately driven toward two contradictory social desires: the need for justice, and the need for love.

As social animals, both are necessary and encoded in our DNA.

And when those we love treat us unjustly...our wires cross in innately irreconcilable ways, and we sorta have two re-separate the two. We can't stop loving and we can't stop feeling violated, and our minds spin and spin and spin on those contradicting forces.

What I'm finding though, in part through lots of living, in part through lots of reading, and in part through a fair amount of counseling, is that obsessing on justice leads to anger and anger to depression, and learning to accept the pain of love is the only road out of that downward spiral.

In other words, I'm working on hard on simply accepting that I've been fucked over and then realizing it doesn't really matter, and that embracing love -- instead of a seething desire for justice -- is the only way to regain happiness.

I'm not religious but I certainly see the wisdom in how that message drives Judaism, Christianity and Islam: it's just practical psychology.

You're wired to love your father. Be at peace with all the grief that entails. It doesn't need to make sense for it to be true...because it's a natural emotion, not a logical construct.

And there will be no justice for his errors. That's just never going to happen. Somehow we need to find a way to be at peace with that, as well.

That's where my head is at, at least...and I hope this didn't come across as preachy. I totally suck at everything I just said. But I am grateful I forgave my own dad before he died, and that after over 20 years I'm finally learning to forgive my first wife.

Mainly, tho, sorry for your shit. It's real, and that sucks.
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Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:21 pm quote
Jann Arden (with whom most Canadians are familiar) was quite open and public about dealing with the decline of her mother, who just passed away around this last Christmas. I heard her discuss the situation at length in an early-December podcast (The Business Of Life), and if I recall correctly, she has even published a book on the matter. She's quite articulate and insightful; so, it might be worth looking into her material. I expect that you could track it down through her web sight:

http://www.jannarden.com
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Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:32 pm quote
tdrake wrote:
I think we humans are innately driven toward two contradictory social desires: the need for justice, and the need for love.

As social animals, both are necessary and encoded in our DNA.
I'm fairly sure we all want love and maybe even justice but I'm fairly certain that DNA doesn't give a damn about either
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Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:23 pm quote
Fogie wrote:
Jann Arden (with whom most Canadians are familiar) was quite open and public about dealing with the decline of her mother, who just passed away around this last Christmas. I heard her discuss the situation at length in an early-December podcast (The Business Of Life), and if I recall correctly, she has even published a book on the matter. She's quite articulate and insightful; so, it might be worth looking into her material. I expect that you could track it down through her web sight:

http://www.jannarden.com
Thanks, I'm familiar with here from the RMR (Rick Mercer's show) . I'll look for it.

She and Rick had/have a special bond. It was always fun to watch when she was on.
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Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:51 pm quote
robinm wrote:
tdrake wrote:
I think we humans are innately driven toward two contradictory social desires: the need for justice, and the need for love.

As social animals, both are necessary and encoded in our DNA.
I'm fairly sure we all want love and maybe even justice but I'm fairly certain that DNA doesn't give a damn about either
I'm fairly certain I didn't suggest DNA can give a damn.

But DNA certainly determines what our, and any other, species gives a damn about.
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Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:59 pm quote
Only two siblings left of her gen and there is to be a family reunion in March but my mom cannot attend because she can’t leave her assisted living facility much less leave her room, paranoia, two left of nine but so many of us kids and our families and their families. She doesn’t know who I am she doesn’t know my brothers or where she is. She lost most of her sight and hearing.
Sad but life goes on it is something I deal with and accept in my own way; I do understand now what others deal with, with end of life.
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Sat Feb 09, 2019 3:44 pm quote
tdrake wrote:
robinm wrote:
tdrake wrote:
I think we humans are innately driven toward two contradictory social desires: the need for justice, and the need for love.

As social animals, both are necessary and encoded in our DNA.
I'm fairly sure we all want love and maybe even justice but I'm fairly certain that DNA doesn't give a damn about either
I'm fairly certain I didn't suggest DNA can give a damn.

But DNA certainly determines what our, and any other, species gives a damn about.

I'm confused.
So DNA doesn't give a damn. Got it.
But DNA determines what we give a damn about.

Burns.png

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Sat Feb 09, 2019 4:29 pm quote
Had a few colleagues been through this. Not nice. I'm very grateful both of mine went in their sleep.

Harbinger I hope your time here at MV has prepared you for dealing with that. (stares at the usual suspects). It's a tough road.
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Sat Feb 09, 2019 5:52 pm quote
Another kid from another dysfunctional family, my maternal grandparents did a pretty good job of parenting me, but did some of their own screwing up my head, never their intention. My mother did better with the next bunch of kids but had problems with the existence and reminders of her choices in the past. We were those living reminders and paid the price. Father was not a part of my life, did meet him as a young adult, guilt tripped myself over not doing more to build a relationship with either of them.
No matter what choices you need to make, we will still be there for you, and willing to ride with you, and no matter what choices you make, there is always that ‘what if’ stuff. Maybe your stepmom just needed a sounding board she could trust to just read and say thank you for letting me know, and ask if there is anything you can do, even if it’s just get a meal delivered or some other small thing that will lighten her day.
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Sat Feb 09, 2019 6:25 pm quote
tdrake wrote:
And when those we love treat us unjustly...our wires cross in innately irreconcilable ways, and we sorta have two re-separate the two. We can't stop loving and we can't stop feeling violated, and our minds spin and spin and spin on those contradicting forces.

..... obsessing on justice leads to anger and anger to depression, and learning to accept the pain of love is the only road out of that downward spiral.

In other words, I'm working on hard on simply accepting that I've been fucked over and then realizing it doesn't really matter, and that embracing love -- instead of a seething desire for justice -- is the only way to regain happiness.

Wow, Tom. Pithy stuff. Certainly resonates with me.

I think that guilt comes pretty easily at this point. Kind of a time of reassessing relationships, trying to make them "right." You can't, and have to admit you did the best you could at the time.

I had a difficult childhood with my dad, pales by comparison with others, but still not the easiest. He died suddenly, in an accident, so there wasn't the time to resolve things that might have been possible, but OTOH, he was so out of touch with his feelings, time might not have mattered. Through grieving his loss, I found out that I could work out our issues alone....and letting go of the grievances and sending out love was vital to the process.

I still have my mother, 87 and still independent. Tough bird, lives alone on the farm I grew up on. Spend a lot more time worrying about her, but I still have it easy. Definitely has an aging brain, but pretty sharp, and hopefully keeps it together until the end.

Keep us posted as things progress....clearly you have a good bit of support here from some pretty decent folks.
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Sat Feb 09, 2019 6:28 pm quote
maggiegirl wrote:
Another kid from another dysfunctional family, my maternal grandparents did a pretty good job of parenting me, but did some of their own screwing up my head, never their intention. My mother did better with the next bunch of kids but had problems with the existence and reminders of her choices in the past. We were those living reminders and paid the price. Father was not a part of my life, did meet him as a young adult, guilt tripped myself over not doing more to build a relationship with either of them.
No matter what choices you need to make, we will still be there for you, and willing to ride with you, and no matter what choices you make, there is always that ‘what if’ stuff. Maybe your stepmom just needed a sounding board she could trust to just read and say thank you for letting me know, and ask if there is anything you can do, even if it’s just get a meal delivered or some other small thing that will lighten her day.
Wow, Thank you.

Nail on the head so to speak. Though we were raised by our mother she was apparently never the same after my dad left and may as well have been your grandparents. She screwed with our heads though like what you went through never her intention.
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Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:45 am quote
@tdrake
I'd have a read of The Selfish Gene by Dawkins. It's a short and fairly readable book and one hell of an eye opener.
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Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:20 am quote
robinm wrote:
@tdrake
I'd have a read of The Selfish Gene by Dawkins. It's a short and fairly readable book and one hell of an eye opener.
Aye, that's a good 'un, and yeah, pretty much where I was going.

Really just meant that the behaviors and interests (what we give a damn about) of any organism are genetically innate: my cats don't get to choose whether or not they are obsessed with squirrels and birds, and so too we cannot choose but to love our parents, even when they treat us unjustly.

And it's taken me a lifetime to realize we humans, especially, want contradictory things -- we're programmed to be both selfish (and so we often make shit parents) and loving (and so we get hurt)...and somehow, for me, simply understanding and accepting that the game was rigged from the start (existence wasn't designed to make us happy but to continue given genetic codes, etc.), makes it all easier to accept: I will feel both grief and anger and love all at once, and it will never really make sense.

And that's ok.

Or ok-ish?

No, it's still f----, but so it goes....
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Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:51 am quote
Dealing with aging parents and their needs as they decline is always a challenge. Add to it a troubled relationship with that parent and it becomes even more difficult. Been there done that with my dad though his issues weren't as much dementia though there was some damage that was stroke related (not that he'd ever admit to having had a stroke despite the obvious markers) but he was headed in that direction when he passed away. Despite it having been 10 years since he passed I still have issues related to him that will probably never go away. Sounds like you and your siblings do as well.

I feel for you though even more in some ways I am sorry for your step mother. Being a full time care giver to someone with dementia (my uncle had a particularly bad type) is draining. You could tell that in her letter to you. I suspect she strongly needs some respite even if it is just a weekend away from 24/7 care. It sounded like she was reaching the end of her tether to pour so much out to someone I suspect she doesn't have a close relationship with.

Sometimes it helps to talk to someone who has had similar experiences but isn't personally involved be tthat a friend, relative stranger (sometimes easier than talking to friends) or a professional. You know how to reach me if that's the case.

You are definitely not alone in this situaiton. Sadly, dementia and related illnesses are far too common as are poor relationships with parents.
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Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:07 am quote
cdwise wrote:
Dealing with aging parents and their needs as they decline is always a challenge. Add to it a troubled relationship with that parent and it becomes even more difficult. Been there done that with my dad though his issues weren't as much dementia though there was some damage that was stroke related (not that he'd ever admit to having had a stroke despite the obvious markers) but he was headed in that direction when he passed away. Despite it having been 10 years since he passed I still have issues related to him that will probably never go away. Sounds like you and your siblings do as well.

I feel for you though even more in some ways I am sorry for your step mother. Being a full time care giver to someone with dementia (my uncle had a particularly bad type) is draining. You could tell that in her letter to you. I suspect she strongly needs some respite even if it is just a weekend away from 24/7 care. It sounded like she was reaching the end of her tether to pour so much out to someone I suspect she doesn't have a close relationship with.

Sometimes it helps to talk to someone who has had similar experiences but isn't personally involved be tthat a friend, relative stranger (sometimes easier than talking to friends) or a professional. You know how to reach me if that's the case.

You are definitely not alone in this situaiton. Sadly, dementia and related illnesses are far too common as are poor relationships with parents.
Thank you, much appreciated. It really is a great group of folks here and I have to say you'd be VERY hard pressed to find a community of vehicle enthusiasts as tight-knit as we are. Funny how a brand of Italian scooters can bring a group like this together with members from across the globe. Think znomit has New Zealand all to himself though....
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Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:12 am quote
Harbinger wrote:
Thank you, much appreciated. It really is a great group of folks here and I have to say you'd be VERY hard pressed to find a community of vehicle enthusiasts as tight-knit as we are. Funny how a brand of Italian scooters can bring a group like this together with members from across the globe. Think znomit has New Zealand all to himself though....
Nah, there are a couple of others including Marcus Argentus who are very hospitable. They really helped us out in 20169 with the scooter rental in Auckland especially when they broke down on us. Maybe we'll see them and Zomit on a future trip.
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Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:27 am quote
tdrake wrote:
robinm wrote:
@tdrake
I'd have a read of The Selfish Gene by Dawkins. It's a short and fairly readable book and one hell of an eye opener.
Aye, that's a good 'un, and yeah, pretty much where I was going.

Really just meant that the behaviors and interests (what we give a damn about) of any organism are genetically innate: my cats don't get to choose whether or not they are obsessed with squirrels and birds, and so too we cannot choose but to love our parents, even when they treat us unjustly.

And it's taken me a lifetime to realize we humans, especially, want contradictory things -- we're programmed to be both selfish (and so we often make shit parents) and loving (and so we get hurt)...and somehow, for me, simply understanding and accepting that the game was rigged from the start (existence wasn't designed to make us happy but to continue given genetic codes, etc.), makes it all easier to accept: I will feel both grief and anger and love all at once, and it will never really make sense.

And that's ok.

Or ok-ish?

No, it's still f----, but so it goes....
True, dat.
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Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:32 pm quote
dimentia
Harbinger, sorry to here about your situation, i just went through that with my dad. he was out of the picture for a lot of years and i had gotten used to the fact that it is what it is. we had made an attempt to reconcile a couple of years ago when i was told he was starting to slip and i am glad of that. He had good days and bad days, his wife was at wits end and was ready to put him in a place where they could take better care of him. fortunately he died in his sleep one night last year. it really was a blessing that he was able to stay in his own home and go in peace. I pray that your dad gets to go that way as well. Dimentia is a terrible thing for a family to have to go through and i hope that someday it can be cured.
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Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:39 pm quote
Re: dimentia
mikenpalsie wrote:
Harbinger, sorry to here about your situation, i just went through that with my dad. he was out of the picture for a lot of years and i had gotten used to the fact that it is what it is. we had made an attempt to reconcile a couple of years ago when i was told he was starting to slip and i am glad of that. He had good days and bad days, his wife was at wits end and was ready to put him in a place where they could take better care of him. fortunately he died in his sleep one night last year. it really was a blessing that he was able to stay in his own home and go in peace. I pray that your dad gets to go that way as well. Dimentia is a terrible thing for a family to have to go through and i hope that someday it can be cured.
Thanks Mike. The situation you describe sounds a lot like what is going on with my dad. We're going to see him next weekend and hope to catch him on a good day. A lot of mixed emotions but I think it best I put a lot of that aside, at least for now.
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gt200
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Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:57 pm quote
dimentia
Harbinger, sometimes things from the past should be left in the past, not really worth bringing up and trying to discuss. Your dad is more than likely very confused and may not remember the past anyway. when you go to visit, just focus on the now and try to be his friend.
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Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:02 pm quote
Re: dimentia
mikenpalsie wrote:
Harbinger, sometimes things from the past should be left in the past, not really worth bringing up and trying to discuss. Your dad is more than likely very confused and may not remember the past anyway. when you go to visit, just focus on the now and try to be his friend.
Oh yeah I completely agree. I will be his friend what I meant is I am going to have to deal with it when he's gone .
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gt200
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Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:33 pm quote
dimentia
Harbinger, I thought that when my dad passed i would have a hard time with it. but after a little time i am at ease myself knowing that he doesnt have to suffer any more and also that i may feel guilty because we had such a distant relationship. yes i wish it could have been different, but it wasnt. He chose to leave when i was young and start a new life. i think he had a good life and that does give me peace. but i know he did miss out on many things when i was growing up as i am sure your dad did also, a shame it has to end that way. but sometimes it does. For me i hold the good memories close, the bad ones will fade. you will get through this.
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Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:15 am quote
This can be a very stressful time for loved ones of those with dementia, Alzheimers, and other issues with aging parents.

If you're going to help in anyway take care of your dad, be sure you know his condition, and any verbal queues that can help "reset" him, and be very patient. Many times those needing care and assistance are extremely frustrated with themselves already.

After my dad died, my brother and I were faced with the dilemma of caring for our mother - who was fine mentally, but physically needed help to get around. Dad had been her caregiver and now that responsibility to fell to us. To his credit, my brother took on most of the burden for the day to day stuff and various doctors appointments. He lived 15 minutes away and I lived 3 hours away; it was a big strain him. But I did go as often as I could to relieve my brother and visit with my mom.

I urge everyone who may be facing care for their elderly parents or family members to have a frank discussion with siblings and family members who can help. It's extremely stressful for all involved, including the ones who need care and may fight to keep their independence.

Finally, know that you're not alone. There are lots of resources available for caregivers as well. You can find them pretty quickly online or reach out to social services local to your dad.
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Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:43 am quote
Hi Harbinger,

I read this initially and immediately closed the page and tried to ignore Id seen it.

My mum (late 80’s) is now very frail and has had dementia for at least a decade and a few years more before we realised its onset.
My mum loves us all very much and we loved her equally as much.

My Father however was a violent, aggressive ogre of a man, and whom me and my mother fled from when I was a young boy.
However years of abuse had taken their toll on all my brothers and sisters, my mum and lastly me.

But over the last 40 years we have mostly kept in contact with him, maybe 1 visit per year out of some kind of parental respect I guess.

My Father married again and continued his reign over his new family except his new wife was much tougher and almost an equal match for him in some respects.

Fast forward, and you do your annual visit and think ah he’s an old man, he’s not so bad......but it’s all a bluff, a few hours charades.

Then his new wife suddenly has cancer and you don’t see his compassion, no just utter contempt and irritation at her inability to do things.

When she died a couple of years ago, her daughter (my step sister) told me how awful dad had behaved, and it just confirmed what an awful awful person he still was.

The moment she told me, and bearing in mind the years of respectful visits I’d made, I cut him, all contact, he didn’t exist.

Then fast forward again to last year and his passing.

I went to his funeral and cried my eyes out for days. Not out of sadness at his passing but just out of pure sadness he couldn’t have been a good man and a nice father to us.

Time has now passed and I have been totally able to move on from any sort of grieving. I’m still bitter about how he’s moulded and potentially ruined our personalities, but that’s life and we are all dealt cards in one way or another.

The point is, what you are feeling is normal, you have to go through it, it’s a crappy period in your life, but it won’t last forever and then time will be on your side to mend any hurt.

My biggest positive is I’ve not continued the gene and broken the cycle being the best dad to my boys I can be.

I’m sure you’ve got positive traits due to your background too.

Anyway you have to walk this walk, so do it your way.
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Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:10 pm quote
northernerbill wrote:
Hi Harbinger,

I read this initially and immediately closed the page and tried to ignore Id seen it.

My mum (late 80’s) is now very frail and has had dementia for at least a decade and a few years more before we realised its onset.
My mum loves us all very much and we loved her equally as much.

My Father however was a violent, aggressive ogre of a man, and whom me and my mother fled from when I was a young boy.
However years of abuse had taken their toll on all my brothers and sisters, my mum and lastly me.

But over the last 40 years we have mostly kept in contact with him, maybe 1 visit per year out of some kind of parental respect I guess.

My Father married again and continued his reign over his new family except his new wife was much tougher and almost an equal match for him in some respects.

Fast forward, and you do your annual visit and think ah he’s an old man, he’s not so bad......but it’s all a bluff, a few hours charades.

Then his new wife suddenly has cancer and you don’t see his compassion, no just utter contempt and irritation at her inability to do things.

When she died a couple of years ago, her daughter (my step sister) told me how awful dad had behaved, and it just confirmed what an awful awful person he still was.

The moment she told me, and bearing in mind the years of respectful visits I’d made, I cut him, all contact, he didn’t exist.

Then fast forward again to last year and his passing.

I went to his funeral and cried my eyes out for days. Not out of sadness at his passing but just out of pure sadness he couldn’t have been a good man and a nice father to us.

Time has now passed and I have been totally able to move on from any sort of grieving. I’m still bitter about how he’s moulded and potentially ruined our personalities, but that’s life and we are all dealt cards in one way or another.

The point is, what you are feeling is normal, you have to go through it, it’s a crappy period in your life, but it won’t last forever and then time will be on your side to mend any hurt.

My biggest positive is I’ve not continued the gene and broken the cycle being the best dad to my boys I can be.

I’m sure you’ve got positive traits due to your background too.

Anyway you have to walk this walk, so do it your way.
Wow, thank you Bill for opening up and to be honest it helps me to know many of us have had hard relationships with our parents and are not alone. The "perfect" family often portrayed in the media and things like adverts and Mother's Day and Father's Day can really mess with our heads. I know it messes with mine.

I'm sure that was very hard for you to write though I'm hoping in some ways it felt good to put pen to paper so to speak.

Thank you to everyone that has contributed.
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Fri Feb 15, 2019 11:49 pm quote
I have the same issue with my mother. Dementia. She lives with my older sister and we have caregivers take her to an adult day care center six hours a day five days a week to give my sister a break. She can never be left alone. Some suggestions: put a tracking device on his wrist, keep a log to track his meds, get alarms on the doors so that you know if he walks outside, get some care giver help if he can afford it, try to visit him when he is lucid, and love him for the time he has left. Also, set up a durable power of attorney and a separate power of attorney for health care decisions. Make sure he has a will, a living trust, or other arrangements.
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Sat Feb 16, 2019 4:42 am quote
bean counter wrote:
I have the same issue with my mother. Dementia. She lives with my older sister and we have caregivers take her to an adult day care center six hours a day five days a week to give my sister a break. She can never be left alone. Some suggestions: put a tracking device on his wrist, keep a log to track his meds, get alarms on the doors so that you know if he walks outside, get some care giver help if he can afford it, try to visit him when he is lucid, and love him for the time he has left. Also, set up a durable power of attorney and a separate power of attorney for health care decisions. Make sure he has a will, a living trust, or other arrangements.
Oh, he has all that. We're seeing him tomorrow and one of my sisters is visiting to help out my stepmother for a few days. My stepmother stepped away for a few minutes to do some laundry. My dad tried to shave himself... paramedics were called to stop the bleeding.
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