Dad's got Parkinson's, Mom got a New Social Life
by Sad and Exhausted
(Deep South , USA)
My parents have been married 50 years with 4 adult kids. My dad has had Parkinson's for about 7 years and finally got to the point where he was falling and hurting himself so much the children had to look into nursing care.
Let me qualify all of that with my mother has never acted like she wanted to be married to my father and even 30 years ago when she complained I offered to help her get a divorce and get half of everything and help her get her own life to which she said I'm Catholic I cannot get a divorce.
Mind you my fathers sins in her eyes were that he was too controlling and not fun and didn't ever want to travel or go dancing. As his Parkinson's progressed we tried to get our parents to retrofit the house and see some physical therapist and neurologists to get ready for the worst part of Parkinson's. Both refused for financial reasons (they didn't want to spend the money, not that they didn't have the money).
My fathers dementia worsened, the Parkinson's medicines made him hallucinate and my mother would aggressively argue with my father who was totally out of his mind during many hallucinations. Their house was falling into disrepair and they were getting violations from the city.
My brother and I paid from out our own moneys to fix the house and had to lie to my parents to get them to agree to fix the house (out of our own money) as they still believe that someone will come to their house and work all day for 50.00...(and they have more money than their kids have).
My mother became more and more antagonistic with my father and a home visiting nurse recommended we find him a nursing home for his own benefit. We found one(and none of them are cheap) that they have to pay out of there own pocket for the care because they own their house outright and you cannot have more than $2000.00 in total assets before the government will assist with the cost.
The nursing home is a dementia ward and is clean and provides medicine and 3 hots and a cot and cable TV but are so overwhelmed with patients, that not much social interaction takes place. Not that my father wants to participate in any social interaction other than seeing his wife, my mother.
Even when the adult kids are there all he asks about is where is his wife, why isn't his wife coming to see him and why does he have to be here. Compared to many Nursing Homes we looked at this was the nicest. So we have convinced my mother to allow him into the Nursing Home because she didn't want to spend the money but then the real drama began.
Once he was admitted into the nursing home, my mother (74 years old) decided she wanted to go to the casino, go to the community center, go out with the other widows in the neighborhood and would not be much involved with my father at the nursing home. My mother has stated dealing with him and his care at the nursing home is like a part time job and she doesn't want the job.
She also doesn't want to let anyone have control of her money so basically she dumped him there and said okay, he's your
problem now. My father is having a horrible time adjusting to living there. He cries everyday, believes his wife has found a new man and is sad and depressed.
During one of my fathers hallucinations, the Nursing Home called my mother in an attempt to get her assistance in calming him down and my mother told the NH to stop calling her, that she doesn't want to be bothered. For my mothers Birthday my father had the kids jumping through hoops to get my mother a birthday gift which we got and had wrapped and ready for my father to give to my mother and she didn't even show up at the nursing home knowing that we had gotten the gift at his request and at the kids expense. She also didn't answer her phone all day when his dementia got worse and he cried and annoyed the staff all day trying to get a hold of her.
The three adult children who live close by all take turns going to the nursing home several times a day to try and keep him calm because the nursing home has given little hints that he may be too much for them to handle and he may have to go to a different, more expensive and further away facility if we can't get him to cooperate..... tell me how to get an 80 year old man with Parkinson's and dementia to cooperate?)
He won't stay in his wheel chair and they don't restrain and he has fallen several times and hospitalized several times and returned to the nursing home. He feels abandoned by his wife and the adult children are exhausted and overwhelmed at the constant roller-coaster of drama and deescalation that we try to provide to keep my father better behaved so he won't get kicked out of the Nursing home.
Our own lives are lost and for the adult children who still have young children of their own it is a betrayal of time and care that the young grandchildren deserve to have from the adult parents. When my father was recently hospitalized after a fall and drop in blood pressure my mother tried to talk the nursing home out of sending him tho the hospital to save money and then didn't even show up at the hospital.
My mother's indifference to my father has made his emotions and behavior 100 times worse than the regular trauma of Parkinson's and dementia and all the adult children are exhausted and ill over it all. And none of the other three siblings will not confront my mother or back me up to confront my mother about helping out more with my father. They figure she's always been selfish and maybe bi-polar & they don't have it in them to confront her about her behavior.
They have asked my mother for more effort in seeing or placating a sick old demented man, (her husband) to which my mother basically said it is her time to have a good time and she is going for it(even at the emotional physical and financial detriment of her children). It takes a a great toll on all the children to watch their father sob for hours because his wife can't be bothered with him anymore.
My mother's response is we should all visit him less and let him get used to it. My life is exhausting and joyless and I am resentful.