Friday, October 5, 2012

Thinking Out Loud




Today is a day I will not forget. It is October 5, 2012.


 At 10 o'clock this morning my brothers and sisters and I will be taking my father to Camp Hill Veterans' Hospital in Halifax.


Two weeks ago Dad sent in his application and he heard this week that there was a room available for him.


Since my mother died five years ago, Dad has very slowly become more and more immobile. Also he had a few 'episodes' and ended up in the hospital for a week each time to determine what had happened. Each time it was his age that caused either a mini-stroke or his blood pressure to drop very rapidly.


Over these five years we, the family, have been there for him in whatever capacity we were needed.  In the past year and a half we were there with him overnight. You see, there are six of us living in the area and we all pitched in as much as we could.


As the months moved on this year things were getting more demanding and Dad required someone to be in his house all day and all night. We hired an agency to fill in the days.


In June of this year I wanted to find out some information from DVA (Department of Veterans Affairs) and during that talk with a 'councilor' I was told that Dad qualified for immediate entry into the veterans' facility here in Halifax.



Because he was in WW2, he qualified for care. 
I approached the family about this. There were mixed reactions.



Dad is 96. To say that everything ran smoothly would be a lie. The emotions involved in considering and approaching a parent about their future in a 'nursing home' emots all sorts of reactions.


Suffice it to say that here we are today witnessing another 'page' in our father's life. I see this as a positive move for him and the family.


He will be very well-taken care of, with all his needs being met. This 'home' is touted as one with 'platinum care' for veterans. It is federally funded, so there is no lack of money to keep it 'top notch'.


It will be a difficult adjustment for Dad. It is my hope he will see and appreciate the benefits for himself and his family.

As a social worker for this facility told me in July, the family can now get back to becoming his children again, not his caregivers.







52 comments:

  1. a difficult but necessary step my friend
    suffice to say I am thinking of you
    take care















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    1. My feelings exactly, John. Thanks.

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  2. The time has come at last. I think after a period of adjustment he will see that this was in his best interests. I hope Sophie can visit Pops! Am hoping this move will go as smoothly as possible.

    Love the colors of your Virginia Creeper (?) Very beautiful.

    XXX

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    1. Things went very smoothly this morning...he is settling in. This is a huge weight that has been released.
      Yes, it is Virginia Creeper....you know that gal from.....OK I am tired! lol

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  3. My thoughts will be with you today. You are so fortunate to have such incredible care available to him. Not the case, currently, in the USA. And you are even more fortunate to have siblings to struggle through this with you. The decision in some ways is much easier without the input of multiple siblings, but to come to agreement and be "in this" together is the greatest blessing. I admire your father for being able to get there as well. I'm sure it's not easy. So, wishing you a smooth -- if not easy -- day and some peace of mind.

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    1. This particular facility is top notch for the veterans. The 'others' in town, the ones the rest of us will be applying for, have an OK reputation.
      Thanks Mitch, it took three months but he got there.

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  4. This always difficult for everyone involved including your dad but you can rest easy knowing he is safe and well cared for. When you see him you can enjoy each other's company with no other pressures. Take care.

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    1. That is so true. When I see him I will not have to worry about this and that. What a relief! Thanks for this.

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  5. You're are the best children ever! Seriously, I hope that my kids turn out like you and your siblings and take such good care of me if and when I need it. Your Dad is the luckiest Dad in the whole wide word to have you kids to love him.
    Your Friend, m.

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    1. They will be Mark! No worries! We learned from my Dad and Mom, they set a good example about caring for one an other. How could your children not do otherwise because of your and Fred's example. It's all about good parenting.

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  6. I'm so glad you and your siblings have this option for your dad. It sounds like it is going to be best for everyone. Sadly, that is not the case here, and nursing homes, more often than not, are horrible places. It's so wonderful that your father will be treated with the dignity and respect that he deserves.

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    1. Thanks Lisa, it is the best for us all here.
      Now if more people DEMANDED that the nursing homes in the US and Canada were better, then just maybe they would get better. VOTE VOTE VOTE and demand it!!

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  7. thinking of you and your Family today, this is never easy, even if for the best

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    1. You are correct. It is not one bit easy. But what in life is? Especially the big 'stages' we all go through. Thanks.

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  8. this is NEVER an easy decision, but caregiving gets to a point where it is in the best interests of all involved. i wish you and your dad the best during this adjustment, and hope that he finds some new friends there, and some interesting things to do.

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    1. My Dad has always been the 'social' parent. He shouldn't find it too difficult at all, Tony.
      It will take me a few days to de-pressurize. It does 'feel' different already.

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  9. I cried as I read this because I can just imagine all the emotions you are experiencing. I will pray for your Dad. I will pray for you. May you feel peace with this decision. Sending so much love today. Everything will be ok. I just know it.

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    1. Oh Becky! You are such a sweetheart! We will all be fine. Yes, the decision was difficult but the only one to make...considering a number of factors. I never liked (or for that matter even tried) roller-coaster rides and this has been what I imagine them being like.

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  10. I'll be thinking of you and your family as you go through this difficult period of adjustment.
    Beautiful shots of the Virginia Creeper.

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    1. Pat, you are correct, it will be a big adjustment considering all the time and energy being generated to take care of my father for such a long time. Thanks for your thoughts, much appreciated.
      Don't you just love Virginia Creepers this time of year!

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  11. A point comes in almost everyone's life where that kind of intensive caregiving is a necessity. I sincerely believe that professionals provide it best. Both my parents have been in nursing homes in the fragility of old age. I'm glad your Dad can live in such a good place, one that honours his status as a veteran too. Hugs to all today.

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    1. Yes Debra you are right. We all knew this day was coming and here it is. I must say it was Peter Stoffer, our MP here, who told me to get moving on this. He praised Camp Hill to the highest!

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  12. He will be safe and happy once he settles in. What an amazing age and a veteran of WW2 you must be so proud. I hope you are OK. Not at all easy, even when you know it is the right choice. My thoughts are with you.
    Ivan

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    1. Ivan, thanks. I think the timing was right and Dad knew this. Yes 96! The funny thing was his parents died in their mid 50's! Go figure!

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  13. A great age, a Veteran to be so proud of, and be sure that you and yur siblings have done the best you could at the time.I had both my father-in-law and m-in-law here for one year, dearest, gentle, uncomplaining f-in-law died at the end of the first year, and m-in-law lived on from 2003 to November 2011.She had times with other family members,but this was " her home" and she so fiercely resisted any idea of "resthome" suggestions.We had respite care and day care,2 or 3 days each week in a wonderful family run and managed rest home.And an occasional 5 to 7 days stay.You will find it takes some to to adjust,to accept that your Dad is in care,the daily responsibilty has been passed on to others.Believe in yourself, that decisions must be made and that this is for the best.Take care, remember your roles have been reversed for so long now,visit with no regrets, and if there are tears, they will be ones that show your deep love. Greetings from Jean.

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    1. Thanks so much Jean. Good advice from a 'seasoned' expert in looking after parents. It sounded like it went as well as it could. Your in-laws were fortunate indeed to have you and yours.
      I will have no regrets and actually feel good that his every need will be looked after.
      Again, thanks.

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  14. and guess what....they allow DOGS in the building.....HELLO....that means me!

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    1. Now this will be something worth blogging about Soph! I can just see you on an elevator for the first time!!! You will LOVE Dad's new digs!!!

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  15. This is one of the hardest decisions that any family has to face, and yours has faced it head on, and with courage. There will be a period of adjustment for all of you, but this mutual decision is for the best. I have admired your family, and the care they have given your Dad, for a long time now. This decision only seals my admiration.

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    1. Gaye!!! So good to see you! And I needed to hear this as I respect you so much!
      It was not an easy process for the family but we managed to get it done. Dad always set a good example for his kids. It did rub off on all of us.
      I must get hooked up on FB...so I can keep an eye on you!! lol

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  16. This is such a difficult decision for any family to make, but at times, absolutely vital. Your dad needs regular care that you and your siblings can no longer keep up with, and this place sounds like the right one to handle it. It'll be strange at first, but he'll settle in, and you'll be at peace knowing all his needs are being met, and that he's safe and comfortable. A WW2 veteran? Wow, that is something to be so proud of!

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    1. I know the peace will be coming.....I'll have to allow it to fill me up!
      You know Martha, Dad never talked much about the war, other than all the bombing he witnessed in London all around him.
      Thanks for your kind words Martha, much appreciated.

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  17. I looked after my Dad for 6 years before he passed away last year. I miss him terribly and was so moved by your blog, Jim. He was with the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders out of Hamilton. My brother and I are going to the Rembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa this year in his honour because he always said it was the one day of the year he let himself think about the war. Thinking of you and your family, Jim.

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    1. So Francie, you have been there! I am sorry for you loss but you do have those wonderful memories I am sure.
      Thanks.

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  18. I will be thinking of your family and especially your dad as you all make this transition to a 'new' life. Happy Thanksgiving weekend, you have much to be grateful for!

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    1. Yes, send all that great 'northwest' energy this way, Joanne!! We need it! Yes, we do have lots to be grateful for.

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  19. Crikey, that must have been one of the harder decisions in your life. But you did it for all the right reasons, and it sounds like, after the initial transition, your Dad will probably be happier and safer there. I loved the line where you said 'you can go back to being a child rather than a caregiver'. That sums it up beautifully.

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    1. I feel pretty confident this morning that things will turn out better for him even though he has left his home. Being a caregiver can take it's toll on individuals....there is a balance one must find during this process. I have learned a lot about myself and my family through this particular 'journey'..

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  20. I definitely sympathize with you here Jim. I was my father's caregiver for 10 years after my Mother passed away. The last two were very hard as he started to suffer from dementia and I could get no help. I have 5 brothers and sisters who offered no assistance at all, but I didn't hold it against them, this was my choice and that was theirs. Sadly, I could not convince him to go to a home and he wound up living with us for a year before he passed. The stress this put on my family was sometimes unbearable. I know this is a very hard decision, but believe me when I say, you have all made the right choice for everyone involved! Wishing you all the luck!

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    1. Thanks for this Janet! I needed to hear about your experience. I can't imagine how you did it by yourself! Then again I guess I can....it had to be done.
      This has put incredible stress on my family over the past year. We have all learned through this and it is my hope we will get to appreciate each other's viewpoints.
      Thanks again.

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  21. Jim- I'm sending you big hugs-- I do so understand this deeply emotional decision. I understand that it was probably one of the hardest choices you've ever had to make. I'm sure after the adjustment period that your Father will be happy there- the opportunities for social times with new friends will be great. That you can return to being a son rather than a caregiver is the best for both you and your Father. He is very blessed to have a family who has been so devoted to his care and welfare.

    When it's all said and done-- I think it's important not to have any regrets--- you should have none. Your Dad couldn't ask for a more devoted son--

    Vicki

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    1. Oh Vicki, that hug was just what I needed!! Thanks.
      I have no regrets at all as I see that he will be safe and his every need will be attended to. My Dad has a very devoted family.

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  22. Jim, I have been thinking of you and your father so much lately, and wondering if he was okay. Thanks for the update. Your family is so lucky to have each other. Even though you all must see things differently, you all want what's best for your Dad. I was so glad to read in the comments that dogs can visit. Sophie must be the best medicine ever.

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    1. Thanks Terry. We all agreed that Dad's welfare was number one. It was the different approaches to be taken that caused people seeing things differently.
      He's safe, will adjust and time for family to relax and rejuvenate.

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  23. It's so hard to make decisions about caring for an aging parent. It's always that nagging doubt about whether or not you're doing the right thing. I'm sure it will get easier for all involved after a little time....hoping your whole family transitions to this new phase as easily as possible.

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  24. This is such a difficult situation for everyone. I know how exhausting it is to be a caregiver because it leaves very little energy to actual enjoy visiting.

    I hope your dad's adjustment is going fairly smoothly.

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    1. Hi Cheryl, good to see you again. You hit the ole proverbial nail right on the head! It is very exhausting to maintain this care for everyone involved. So far so good with the 'adjustment' phase. They (staff) say the first 2 weeks are the honeymoon period, the next two the opposite!! We'll see.

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  25. I trust that this facility is close enough for all of you to still visit often.
    Only now, you can visit ad his family, and not his caregivers.
    I know too that he will be more willing to do things for the strangers than he was for you. This will make him feel more independent.

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    1. Good point Stew and so true. He will do 'things' much more readily for strangers.
      The facility is in Halifax and we all (6 of us) live in different areas of Halifax.....some very close to him now and others (us) about 40 minutes away.

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  26. we had to go through this with our mother and i understand about the worry, guilt, and greiving for another layer of letting go. bless you and yours, bless your papa's lil heart... rest assured that even if he cant communicate at some point, he KNOWS deep inside, all the love and caring you, his kids, have for him. beautiful photos in this post, in his honor... just beautiful... really connects with the changes in life we have to the changes in colors on the leaves... and life goes on... xo

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    1. Hey Chris! Good to see you. Thanks for this and I am sure you know how these things go down in a family.
      I hope you are beginning to see a 'light' ahead of you after what you have been through. That French Canadian blood is made of good stuff!! Thanks for taking the time and dropping by here.

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