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Much sadness - Carers UK Forum

Much sadness

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
I have two elderly parents.

I do what I can but my hands are tied.

I feel like I am just waiting for them to die.
Hi Maureen, welcome to the forum. I've lost all four parents in recent years, my mum in law was in many ways more of a mum to me than my own, so I was very lucky. At one time all four were entitled to highest DLA, one too stubborn to apply! What are you finding hardest at the moment? Are yours OK mentally, physically? Stubbornly refusing help?!
It's medical help that's refused.
Tell us a bit more, and we might be able to help. Age, disability, what they are refusing?
My dad just won't go to the doctor at all. He's losing weight. He's not wanting to eat much at all. We do have carers for personal care. To me he appears to be very ill.

I don't think much can be done to be honest. It's just horrible to watch every day.
Dad's 90 & mum is 88. They are just old. Some dementia/comfusion but not all of the time.
Are they registered with a GP practice? If so, in similar circumstances, a doctor or nurse has made a house call, saying something like "we like to keep an eye on our most senior patients to make sure they have everything they need". Where dementia may be involved (has it been formally diagnosed) the surgery has a higher duty of care.
In extreme circumstances, very much a last resort, they can be forcibly removed to a place of safety.
Have you made their surgery aware of your concerns. They cannot divulge anything confidential to you, but they can, and should, listen to your concerns.
Are they claiming Attendance Allowance? Did you know that patients with dementia are completely exempt from Council Tax, backdateable to the date of diagnosis?
Are the carers concerned?
Maureen, am I right in thinking that the word you are not using is the C word? That you are afraid your dad has cancer (weight loss, general ill health, etc)?

Because, if so, then he, too, and his wife, is probably scared of that.

Think about it from their point of view - they are now 'very old' (one becomes 'very old' at 85, according to the doctors), and are on their 'final stretch' of life. Yes, they might last till 100, but they know now that every year of life could be their last.

It could well, and very understandably be, that your parents are prepared to have a 'medicine-free and treatment-free life' that is maybe shorter than the maximum longevity that intense treatment might bring them.

And remember, too, that 'not knowing for sure' whether you have a life-limiting condition can be lot less stressful to endure than knowing you definitely have a life limiting condition.

I guess it all depends on what actually IS medically wrong with your dad, but even the process of finding out could lead to more inner unhappiness for them. While one does not know, one can go on hoping you aren't ill. The moment you get the tests done, you are going to find out, and the answer may not be the one you want

So, they prefer uncertainty and 'being left alone' to having a 'death sentence' pronounced upon them.

OK, that rather begs the question as to whether if there IS something seriously wrong with your dad (whether cancer or anything else), that it can't be successfully treated. Some cancer etc CAN be successfully treated, but until you know what you've got, you can't treat it - and right now it seems they don't want to know IN CASE it is something that can't be treated.

I know that is frightening and frustrating for you, but it is their lives, and none of us knows what it feels like to be that old, and to be facing 'certain death' within a few years, even if they have a maximum life span.

Maybe one practical thing you could do is go to your OWN GP, with a list of your father's symptoms, and see if your GP will tell you what it MIGHT be, and whether, of what MIGHT be, what the treatment is likely to be, and whether it would be successful.

That might give you a little peace of mind, though, in the end, given their age, yes, both your parents are in the final stage of their life - that is something both they, and you, have to come to terms with, and in the end, as I say, it really is 'their call' on how they cope with these final years, and how they chose to live....

Kindest wishes, at a time that is inevitably sad, for growing old and facing our mortality is always 'grim'. But then, remember, they HAVE reached old age - so many do not. (My husband didn't, he didn't see 60 - yet his mother is now 93 in DEEP dementia - not a good fate for either of them..)
Thank you everyone for your replies.

I agree with everything that everyone has said.

I'm happy for my parent's to make their own choices. It's just horribly sad to watch.

I am concerned that it might be suggested that I have neglected them when actually I've given up a lot to support them.
Maureen, many of us have been in similar situations. I was embarrassed at the way my fathef in las lived, especially after mum in law died. My own mum was a hoarder, died with over 60 dining chairs, 10 dining tables, 10 sideboards, etc.! It took me a year to empty it, which had to be done before I could sell it. Elderly people, especially those who lived through the war, can be incredibly stubborn. It's almost impossible to help people who don't want to be helped.