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testdepth

Trying to make life better for my father who has Parkinson's.

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First the back story:  My father is 78 and has had Parkinson's for about 14yrs now.  He also has short term memory loss and can no longer make decisions for himself so I as the oldest son had to step in and take over.  I moved him into an assisted care facility where about 45 other residents reside and 20 staff members work.  To my knowledge he is the only resident with Parkinson's.  I have tried to get my father interested in doing anything to keep him busy but he just does not seem interested.  Right after I moved him in I took him to get his cataracts removed so now he sees without glasses.  He has no interest in reading or doing much of anything really.  He has lived there 3yrs in June and the staff love him and take excellent care of him.  He used to walk a lot and now not so much.  The staff tries to get him to participate in activities and he has no interest.  I try to take him to our house to visit his grand daughters but he doesn't speak to them and I think he doesn't really remember I am his son.  I guess this is the progression of this disease.  I wish there was something that he could find interest in to keep him busy.  He mostly spends his days eating meals and sleeping.

Has anyone had any success keeping them engaged?

I have a second question regarding a bed.  He seems restless in his current mattress and I want to buy him the best one for this condition.  Any suggestions?

 

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Maybe you could try jigsaw puzzles with large pieces, paint by number, coloring books, word searches or books on tape.  I could be wrong on my ideas since I have no ecperience caring for someone with PD. 

Edited by Serenity Now

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Well your father sounds like he is in about the same stage as my DH. My DH is now in a Health Care facility. He also does not have any interest in anything, with the progression of LBD he no longer can read but does enjoy looking at pictures. He also has had surgery for cataracts on both eyes and his last exam his eyes tested good but with the Parkinson's his perception of where things really are is off. No cure for that. I tired all the above he could not even begin to color in a book, puzzles confused him and he had no idea. They have man activities at the Center and he always says NO when they ask him if he would like to join in. He does enjoy music and they have every week two days where people come in and play and sing. He will join and listen to the music. It is very difficult, I have tried a simple game of Tic Tac Toe and he got all confused. I feel for you, his nuerologist said he is at the stage entering stage 5 and with LBD it will progress even furthur. Right now he knows me and everyone that comes to visit him he still knows. But decisions, etc no longer. I am still seeking things and trying things but pretty much in vain. Good luck and as I said I know where you are. 

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It's a lost cause when the interest is no longer there, the effort is not made, and the mind cannot comprehend what's happening around them.  My aunt tells me to get my mom on a walker but when I tell her she doesn't know how to walk with one the obvious solution to her is to teach her.  How do you teach someone who has no memory bank or the understanding of the goal of the walker?  We all take simple things we do for granted a lot of the times.   It's never that easy.

 

 

 

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You might try a photo album with the names of persons and date taken (or age) in large lettering beneath the pictures.  Include lots of old photos that may rekindle some old memories and some recent photos that might help him recognize newer family members.  My Mom ( memory loss but not PD) liked looking through them on her own and enjoyed it when family members looked at the photos with her.

Music, especially music that was popular during their youth.  The difficult part of this is getting a play back system that your dad can operate.  Might have more luck listening with him and you playing or operating it or perhaps asking a nurse to help him with it.  mara177's suggestion of sing-a-longs and live music is excellent.  You might inquire at your church or other groups (4-H clubs, scouts) if there would be someone wanting to do some community service.  Does a family member play guitar or piano?  When your dad visits your home you might want to have a family sing-a-long.  (My Mom loved this)  Or, perhaps as a birthday present you might want to cough up the money and pay a local group or musician(s) to perform at the health care facility.

My Mom loved to just take a ride in the car.  It didn't need to be any place in particular, just a chance to get out and look at the scenery - maybe a stop for ice cream or something to drink.

It is difficult watching a loved one slowly disengage from life.  I could be wrong but I think is was harder for me to watch than it was for my Mom to experience first hand.  Many times she was content to just sit back and watch.  She sometimes seemed happiest just sitting on the front porch listening to family or friends talk or for someone to just hold her hand.    

 

 

 

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My father has no interest in most things.  He was a very good artist with a pen and I tried to get him back into that but he doesn't want to.  No interest in puzzles, games, reading, TV or listening to his music on a $10K stereo system.  Me my wife and 3 daughters under 16 have tried to engage with him but he just stands or sits around and doesn't talk to anyone.  He told me once he thought I was one of his neighbors just helping him out.  Hard to know whether what I have done for him is so far is all that can be done for him to make his life as good as possible.  Hard when you want your dad to be a grandfather to your kids and he shows no interest. Sucks all the way around! 

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From my observations and experience with DH who is in end stage, there is a time when his brain is no longer capable of the focus to want to do the things you would like him to do or be.  Make sure that the problem is not depression.  Medication can help depression.  If it is the progression of the disease and the brain function is impaired, what is is.  Loving him, taking care of his needs and making him feel secure is about all you can do.  We all want things to be better and feel guilty we can't make things better.  If all the medical cause boxes have been checked--what is is. If his brain were not impaired by Parkinson's, he would be eager to be an interactive grandfather, resume his painting, listen to his music.  We can accept that someone doesn't play the piano anymore when arthritis has gnarled the hands in dysfunction and pain.  We wouldn't force it.  We can't see the plaques and shrinkage in the brain that make function difficult or impossible, but it is real.

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5 hours ago, maral77 said:

Well your father sounds like he is in about the same stage as my DH. My DH is now in a Health Care facility. He also does not have any interest in anything, with the progression of LBD he no longer can read but does enjoy looking at pictures. He also has had surgery for cataracts on both eyes and his last exam his eyes tested good but with the Parkinson's his perception of where things really are is off. No cure for that. I tired all the above he could not even begin to color in a book, puzzles confused him and he had no idea. They have man activities at the Center and he always says NO when they ask him if he would like to join in. He does enjoy music and they have every week two days where people come in and play and sing. He will join and listen to the music. It is very difficult, I have tried a simple game of Tic Tac Toe and he got all confused. I feel for you, his nuerologist said he is at the stage entering stage 5 and with LBD it will progress even furthur. Right now he knows me and everyone that comes to visit him he still knows. But decisions, etc no longer. I am still seeking things and trying things but pretty much in vain. Good luck and as I said I know where you are. 

Thank you very much.  On one hand I know he is in a great caring facility with staff that treat him like family.  I purchased an expensive lift recliner for him as he was having a difficult time trying to stand up.  He only uses it as a regular recliner because he doesn't remember that it will move for him and even though the controller has very few buttons it confuses him so he leaves it alone.  I also bought him a Parkinson's specific walker but he refuses to use it.  There will probably always be that little bit of doubt that I could have some how done more.  I also try in vain as you said.

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Your Dad may be fully content in his present state.   I've become sedentary and it annoys me when well intentioned relatives and friends bug me to be more engaged and do stuff with them.  As Genden noted above, rule out depression which is treatable.  Having done that, let him decide what he'd like to do and don't feel guilty - sounds as if you are doing a great job.

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My father gets flustered and agitated easily when people try to get him to do things even though those may be the best things for him.  He will be 79 in September.  He has had no recent changes in medication.  He has been in assisted living care for 3yrs in June and used to participate in activities and do a lot of walking around the facility.  For the most part his current routine revolves around meals and medication.  If he is not doing either of these he is sleeping.  He quit participating or walking and pretty much stays in his room.

Not sure if I should just leave him be or?

 

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My mom is the same way at home.  She sleeps and eats and sleeps and eats.   I wish she could be more active like watch TV with me or play cards or go out and people watch but she won't.    There are probably things your family would like you to do too but if the interest is not there or the ability is gone then you don't have much choice but leave it alone.  It is probably progression of the disease on the brain.   I always compare this to invasion of the body snatchers.  It's them but it's not them anymore.

 

 

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