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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Didn't See This One Coming

Semper Gumby, our motto (Always Flexible).  It has been put to the test once again.

My 97 year old father has had some serious health issues that have changed his lifestyle, the last one was when he fell and broke his hip while visiting us last summer.  The hip is doing very well, but it came with a variety of new challenges, he needs a walker and wheelchair to get around and no longer can dress or bath himself, let alone drive a car or cook meals.  He's also having some mental decline with memory issues.  He can no longer live by himself.  The "joys" of getting older.

We had worked out a  good plan to take care of him with my brother and SIL, rotating Dad back and forth every couple of months between their home in NJ and our home in South Carolina.  Unfortunately that didn't work out, because my brother still works, so a lot of the care issues fell on my SIL.  After a couple of weeks they realized they could not handle Dad's care.

The solution?  Dad is back here with us in SC permanently.  It is a new challenge taking care of him, nothing we can't handle with both of us retired, but it requires one of us (usually me) to be with him at all times.  I handle the dressing and bathing and Marti ensures we provide Dad with his favorite meals and oversees all his meds and health care needs.

Basically, it has locked us down and we can't go anywhere and do things like we used to unless we bring Dad along with us.  Every time we do take him out to eat or shop it tires him out so mostly we stay home.  So the Journey sits in a nearby storage lot unused.  I do go there and check on it, run the generator and engine every couple of weeks and take it for a short spin.  I can't let it be neglected.  We do miss our travels in it and are not able to make any travel plans in it for the foreseeable future.

So it's a lot of sitting with Dad watching Hallmark movies along with a steady diet of Wheel Of Fortune and Jeopardy at night.  It's hard seeing Dad decline after being an amazing brilliant man, but Marti and I are happy to be able to love and care for him in these twilight years. Family first.

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.   


  1. From experience you will have no regrets...

  2. So wonderful that you are there for him and be able to help him in his time of need. Take care of your Journey and hopefully someday you can once again travel some more.

  3. Holy crap, he's 97! Sounds to me like he's had a fantastic life, and the decline is to be expected. I'm sure he is glad you are there when he needs you.

  4. We totally understand. So many people asked us on the blog and in person--"aren't you guys going south this year." Well, no, we aren't--Mike's Dad was 96 years old and in mid July he decided he was done with living and went steadily downhill from there. We hired caregivers and cared for him in his home until he died October 25. Up until about three weeks before his death he was discussing the stock market and President Trump with Mike--sharp as a tack. Our thoughts are with you both as you care for your father.

  5. Even though it is impeding your travels at the present time and your Father may seem to be loosing ground deep down he knows you are doing your best for him. We can only hope to live as long as he has. Appreciate every moment you can with him.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  6. Have you considered starting Hospice to get some help from them. They sent over someone once a week for my mom so my husband and I could go out for dinner. They will also help with bathing so you can get a break. Wonderful organization.

  7. Second the hospice recommendation. As your brother found, caring for a declining elderly parent is difficult and extremely taxing. You two need some breaks so you can protect your own health mentally and physically. Your dad is so lucky to have you both. Wishing you all the best in these life challenges.

  8. I am so sorry to hear that. You know we have been dealing with much the same issue ourselves. Luckily Mom had bought nursing home coverage which gives us help 6 hours a day 7 days a week. We found out that Hospice will help too. We have someone from Hospice come three times a week to bathe here, which is a huge help. I understand they will provide someone to give you a break and will just sit with them too. They don't have to be terminal to qualify. Marti may also know that but I thought I'd put it out there.

  9. Definitely understand your family issues. Hospice was a great help with my Dad when he was in his last days. Will someone in your church family come and sit with him a few hours, just so you and Marti can get out to dinner by yourselves? Care for the caregiver is so important :)

  10. Paul and Marti,
    God bless the two of you for taking such good care of Dad. Please look into available help for your sake, and treasure the time you still have with him. We all face this either for a loved one, or to be the one who needs care. Best wishes!

  11. It is great that you are there for your father. I am sure he is thankful for your willingness to suspend your plans to care for him. He is very lucky to have you both.

  12. Life has its seasons and we all go through them. We understand as we just went through the final season with my mother. While it is difficult and trying, you will be glad you get the chance to make Dad's final days the best possible. But don't forget to take care of the two of you!!!

  13. If your Dad is a veteran and served during a war or conflict, he maybe eligible for the VA's Aid & Attendance and Housebound program. I know several older veterans who have found this to be a real life saver

  14. It's been a long time since I stopped by. Sorry to hear about your Dad's decline. How wonderful you can care for him at this time. I chuckled a little as we helped out caring for my husbands Dad towards the end before he passed. We also watched (and still do with his step-mom) Hallmark movies, Judge Judy and Blue Bloods with a little Dr. Phil thrown in. Take care of yourselves and you'll be back on the road in time.

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