Sunday, July 13, 2008

Old people!

My folks finally got a home health aide, and after trying a few people they happily settled with Melissa, a young woman studying to be a nurse.  She was good to Dad, there when he needed her but not overly solicitious - which works for them.  Everything seemed to be going fine.  She was on vacation when we were there recently which I was upset about but knew that since my niece was staying there, she would get to meet her and see the interactions. 

About a week after we left, Mom and Aisha and Isabella went to a family party leaving Dad at home with Melissa.  M didn't have her car that day and was getting picked up at night by her sister.  When mom and Aisha got home, the house cleaner was there with a story about cops showing up at the house, and something strange going on - but it was hard to get a full story. 

The next day, Melissa told mom that her sister's car had been sideswiped by an unknown hit and run driver who had then abandoned his car and run into the woods, because he was being chased by the cops.  The story was strange and disconnected and odd and had my hackles up.  Thankfully it had Aisha's hackles up also, she called the police and got the full report a few days later.  Turns out that Melissa's boyfriend was driving the sisters car, was speeding and the cops saw him and chased him.  He slammed the car into my folks driveway, hitting their mailbox,  and then jumped out and ran into the woods.  Of course the cops chased him and caught him and also found some cocaine in the car.  

So this nice girl, who is studying to be a nurse, lied to my parents and has now been fired. Dad was upset, everyone was upset and we've had to get the house locks changed and keep a closer watch on everything.  Who knows how many times this guy was over when Dad was sleeping and Mom was out.  Did he case the joint?  Two old people are just sitting ducks in a big house without anyone around.  I'm worried and upset, my brother is beside himself and my sister is worried.  I truly wish that I could get them to move into an assisted living place but they refuse. 

There isn't much I can do long distance, they do have someone else helping out - an older woman who seems steady. But their faith has been shook at little - and my faith in the company that hired this girl has been shook also. It just doesn't get easier! 

I'll go down for a week later in the summer, but it's just not enough!  I'm going to go back to a three day weekend once a month with them, and that will have to do for now. I want to be a good daughter...but also have to earn my living up here...have my own obligations etc etc etc.

Old people can so easily be taken advantage of!  I don't think that Mom would have followed up on this story if my niece hadn't been there....  


Fern said...

oh dear, Mim

Debra Kay said...

Mim-I feel your pain. I had hoped to find a home health care person to assist John on his errands, etc. but there just wasn't anyone I would trust.

Daddy goes for his tests tomorrow-and has to be off caffeine today-so Mom was going to give him white tea for lunch...NONONONO.....

I know that we are all lucky that I can be here, even though my "job" is very non-specific.

There's always a twist. Even though I am here-you know I struggle with how much presence is acceptable and how much is overkill and invasive to me.

And there is a bit of ego involved. I don't miss corporate America, don't want to go back, EVER, but walking away from it took some courage and sacrifice that my parent's will never understand. From their perspective, I "came home"....from mine I left everything familiar and went into the unknown. Now, I've always wanted to do just that, but I thought it would be Africa or Australia, not Oklahoma.

Humans are probably the only creatures that have to learn how to age and die with every generation.

sukipoet said...

Goodness. This is quite traumatic. I feel the agency is to fault here for not checking this person out well enough. So difficult, tending to the elderly or what i mean is finding the "right" solution for such situtations. Too bad they are so against assisted living. my mom was gung ho for that but Dad refused. Dad died but now Mom has me here for daily stuff but I can't do nursing kinda things if it comes to that need. Sending prayers. Be well, Suki

sukipoet said...

Debra Kay I also left my known world to come up here and help out with Mom, SIL who looks like she's soon to die, and now my ex-husband who was just diagnosed with lung cancer (for him I mostly am supportive with visits now and again, nothing big.) Take care, Suki

Mim said...

There is a temptation to chuck it all, sell the house etc and move down there to be there when needed but good sense gets in the way of that move. it just wouldn't work for us. if the worst comes to the worst, then I will find an assisted living up here, and they will have to move up! I have friends who had to do that with their folks, and in the end it worked out fairly well.

We'll just have to see how it all goes!

We all have alot on our plates don't we? Deb with her parents and John, and Suki - goodness alot going on up there in NH.

Hugs to us ALL!

ksklein said...

Hugs to you all. I´m glad my mom still is very fit and will stay so (hopefully) for many more years to come.
Honestly I think that the girl could have still been good and/or that the agency just can´t have an idea about everything that goes on in other people lives. I´m not defending her in any way, but I would understand her lying. I guess she must be a young person who is afraid of losing her job, because of a stupid boyfriend. After all she didn´t do anything wrong except for the lying. On the other hand, if she really let her boyfriend in, it´s another story.

Here in Germany, assisted living can be very very nice. It is like living in a hotel, but still having your own apartment and can still make your own decisions. Is that different in the States?

ksklein said...

Hmmm.... maybe you are right. Having a boyfriend who does things like that and who takes harder drugs is not typical for "normal" girls.

Debra Kay said...

Mim, I was not emotionally invested in Dallas in any way, but you are HOME. That alone is a huge difference. I'd like to find a home some day, but until then I just sort of pitch camp whereever I land. I don't think I've stayed in one place more than 4 years running anytime since adulthood struck.

My favorite book growing up was "Home for a Bunny" which some people took as a search-and I took as more of a travelin story...LOL.

studio lolo said...

Goodness Mim, that's horrific. It's so hard to monitor situations that we're not physically on top of, but even if you were closer this might have happened. What bothers me is the lying this girl did. She had 2 elderly people dependant on her care and she's sneaking her druggie boyfriend in behind their backs. In her defense, she may just feel like he's the best she can get and she'll do anything to keep him and defend him. Been there. But don't involve or risk other people for your bad choices. If she's studying to be a nurse, hopefully that means she's set higher goals for herself and she's trying to make something of her life.
The good news is your folks are okay. Tha bad news is you have to do more interviewing and screening and background checks on the caregivers. There are so many wonderful assisted living places these days. Hopefully your parents will give you the gift of admitting that and moving on, knowing that it doesn't mean giving up their independence. I have no idea how I'll be when it comes to that, but I only hope I have a niece or nephew who cares enough to find out. I'll keep all of you in my thoughts.

Mim said...

You're right Deb - this is my home and I ain't leaving it any time soon. Kerstin - there are some assisted living places that are very nice, similar to hotels in many ways but two old people settled in their houses, they just don't want to leave, and in many ways I don't blame them. What I'd like to get them to do is to move in on a "temporary" basis - once they were in they'd be so comfortable that they wouldn't want to leave.
Ah well, I'm sure I'll be much wiser at their age (yeah - right!)

Lynn said...

Oh what an upsetting story to be sure. I wish our "Angel" Angela, who cared for my mom many years ago when we were at work were available to go to your parents to help out. She was reliable, friendly, and loving with my mom. Perfect in most ways.
I hope your folks find an Angela of their own soon.
I hear you about how hard it must be being far away. We did the hardest thing I think having my mom live with us the last year of her life. Hard as it turned our lives upside down...but best for her I think with her dementia getting worse and worse, and no care homes of any value near by.
Life doesn't get easier in these situations, it offers challenges that are not always easy to meet.
I wish you all, parents, and grown kids the best during these times.

ElizT said...

Such a challenge.
I could go on for hours, having policed my parents' care.
One thing about moving them closer; it was tough for my mother to leave all her friends, but having made the decision she didn't complain.

Debra Kay said...

The benefit to the assisted living situation is that there are more eyes ears and less dependence on one person. Many of them now have kitchenettes, as well as group meal settings.

I figured out with Uncle John it isn't the actual situation that is the horrifying thing-it's moreso the lack of choice. If you can get your parents to see that choosing to go is not giving up, but rather a choice towards continued thriving-that might help.

As children-it's the grey areas that drive us mad. When to step in? I wish I knew the answer to that one too.

Unfortunately, the answer is the same as the answer to all questions-there is no absolute answer, only the path you ultimately take. I always fall back on the comfort of "my intentions were good"-that and chocolate can get you through quite a lot.


Oh-the mystery word is biiknq-a cosmic hint we should both ride more?

Forever Young said...

omg, what a hellsih scenario. i blame the agency, you are doing/ have done all you can really right now. but guilt will only muddy the water, try to stay away from that! maybe 3 day weekends once a month is the answer. but FIRST you have to get back on your feet...sorry it's still so painful....remember dear mim, no matter how much you do, it will never feel like enough. hugs and wfs, lotsa them.

sukipoet said...

Mim I do think the more usual situation is to have the parents move up where the children are. The children are still young, have jobs etc etc. Course your folks have contacts and friends down there too, but when they need help and so much supervision, FLA is a long way away. My friend K. moved her parents up close to her into assisted living and it has been very good for her and them. Even so they are half an hour away which to me would still be too far.

Mim said...

To date, it's been great having the folks down in florida as mom's sister and brother live there, with a ton of cousins all around. But in the long run, they are my responsibility and not my cousins really. The cousins help a ton, we were all brought up very very closly, and our respective parents are more like our other mom's and dads rather than Aunts and uncles... but there is a subtle difference. At this point, dad is so fragile that I don't know how he would make the trip up here but we'll just have to see how it goes. In a way, I knew something like this would happen and that it would take something drastic to happen to make them see some light.