I live with and take care of my 92 year old father. Always an optimistic, strong and youthful spirit it's been a shock to see how much he's declined in the last few years. When I was living down south, 5 years ago, my mom's health suddenly declined over a few months and was ultimately diagnosed with dementia and lost the use of her legs. I moved back up to take care of them.
In the last 5 years, he's lost and is still losing, his wife and my mother, a piece at a time to dementia. He had cancer which went into remission, but after 2 rounds of chemo. He only has one good eye, the other being a prosthetic from having glaucoma in his teens. That eye needed cataract surgery last year, but there were complications and he almost lost it which would mean complete blindness. The eye is better now, but not the sight it once was, shifting and changing every day which terrifies him. And to top it all off, he was hit by a car over the summer. Took a bump on the head which worries me but seems to be better, and the car ran over his ankle, breaking many bones causing him to have surgery and be laid up in rehab for 2 months...
His body now is doing much better, he walks on his own and his vitals and blood work are good. But massive and chronic fatigue haunts him. He can barely function. Over the years he developed an increased anxiety, depression and was talking to a family "friend" who was a psychiatrist, useless because she didn't treat him just pat patted him and told him to "hang tough." Completely ineffective and useless.
I urged him to talk to someone, for us to seek out professional psychiatric help but he dug his heels in and refused. Finally and in the last week, he's gotten so depressed and tired he gave in and told me I could talk to his primary doctor. I did, and shared all that my dad shared with me over the years, and what's been going on. The doctor knew about the fatigue but didn't realize my dad's mental state at the level it's been.
He has a few good psychiatrists he can recommend for my dad, and he's going to get back to us next week.
It's so hard living with a father who has been a rock, positive and amazing; a shining example of a successful and loving life, now so broken. I feel like he's being sucked into quicksand and I'm doing everything I can to save him, but he's still slipping and there's nothing I can do.
I suppose part of this is age. 92 is going to show tiredness, exhaustion, struggle to find purpose. I try to inspire him, motivate him, get him involved in things he loves, talk to him. anything... but all he wants is to just to sleep.
It's also really hard living with someone with depression and all the issues facing him. It's hard for me not to be affected by it. I am taking care of him, and handling everything which I am happy to do. I love my parents. I find myself finding ways to buffer, or balance my space... doing things outside part of the day or getting together with friends, then coming home to spend time with him. It's become so emotionally exhausting, I have to do that for balance.
It's just so sad because I feel like every day that he wakes up is a gift, a blessing and a chance to live and spend time with each other. Watching him sleep the days away is so sad, and I feel like if he dies, he'll die a sad broken man, relieved he doesn't have to wake up anymore.