Dealing with ageing family members

Fwiffo

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My parents are getting older and I was going to write a lovely essay on my observations but I'll get straight to the point. They keep saying they won't repeat the sins their parents or older family members committed, but I see it happening every day. Note everything said here they warned me wouldn't happen to them. What do I do?

- My mother forgets what day it is. If I come home to see her on a day other than Saturday she automatically thinks it's Saturday

- My father repeats stories. I don't know if he ran out of things to say but some of the stories begin the same way and are told with nearly the exact same words.

- They can only handle one event a day. Lunch. See a show. Go see my brother at his flat. That is easily 6 hours strung together but somehow for them it's three separate days

- They're clearly very used to each other to the point they mimic each other's behaviours. I brought them to a restaurant once a bit early for our reservation and we had to wait at the bar. There were only two seats and an empty corner seat because some gent went to the bathroom. My mother came in and tried to make it a seat of three but I took her coat off the gent's seat and said I'll stand. My father came after going to the bathroom and did the exact same thing.

- They chastise older family members for being cheapskates and worried about money but then go around to three or four grocery stores to find cheaper pre-made rotisserie chicken or frozen back ribs.

- They have heat up to almost 22c. In spite of complaining about cold temperatures they also can't stand heat past 25c.

- They keep saying old people don't have new stories so they keep repeating them but every weekend I hear some story that I've heard before from the 1980s or 1970s for the 99th time.

- The smallest things require a lot of planning and interrupts their routine. A landscape person has to come in the afternoon instead of the morning.

- My father is afraid of the smallest things like the car breaking down, etc. He will go to great lengths to ensure everything logistically is perfect including delaying travel due to potentially inclement weather.

- In the winter they just sit around in their house and then they say they sleep very little (well they didn't exert any energy). They stopped shoveling snow for anything they believe the city should shovel for them because that's worthwhile use of tax money.

- They feel "dressing up" is a chore

- My mother forgets entrees in the oven or microwave. She frequently forgets near expiring food in the fridge before going on holiday.

- My father is knackered after cutting the grass or using a snowblower. I don't know how you can be knackered using a snowblower and we've nearly landscaped all the grass out of the lot.

- They criticize or make not so subtle comments about other people (class distinctions, dress, they're old I'm not) in public

- They will repeat the story to you as if you weren't there when you were clearly there.

- Large gatherings (friends and/or family) and society affairs are too tiring for them

- They can be very indecisive at times which is not what my father ever was.

- My mother jumps from one topic to another without really giving any context. Only my father understands because he was around during the day to understand what would come back to the forefront of her mind.

- They are obsessed with staring at their tablets to the point they hide in different rooms around the house watching YouTube. We don't actually ever talk except over meal times or tea.

- My mother is afraid of using too many utensils because the dishwasher is broken (they don't want it replaced) so they keep reusing a few of them over and over. We have a full set of Royal Doulton and a casual set.

- My mother is growing and not in a good way. My father is shrinking. He's at least 20 kg off what he used to be when he was my age.

- My father has this cough that never seems to go away. The other day I wanted to talk to him over lunch and he choked on something and couldn't speak the entire meal.
 

Thruth

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My parents are getting older and I was going to write a lovely essay on my observations but I'll get straight to the point. They keep saying they won't repeat the sins their parents or older family members committed, but I see it happening every day. Note everything said here they warned me wouldn't happen to them. What do I do?

- My mother forgets what day it is. If I come home to see her on a day other than Saturday she automatically thinks it's Saturday

- My father repeats stories. I don't know if he ran out of things to say but some of the stories begin the same way and are told with nearly the exact same words.

- They can only handle one event a day. Lunch. See a show. Go see my brother at his flat. That is easily 6 hours strung together but somehow for them it's three separate days

- They're clearly very used to each other to the point they mimic each other's behaviours. I brought them to a restaurant once a bit early for our reservation and we had to wait at the bar. There were only two seats and an empty corner seat because some gent went to the bathroom. My mother came in and tried to make it a seat of three but I took her coat off the gent's seat and said I'll stand. My father came after going to the bathroom and did the exact same thing.

- They chastise older family members for being cheapskates and worried about money but then go around to three or four grocery stores to find cheaper pre-made rotisserie chicken or frozen back ribs.

- They have heat up to almost 22c. In spite of complaining about cold temperatures they also can't stand heat past 25c.

- They keep saying old people don't have new stories so they keep repeating them but every weekend I hear some story that I've heard before from the 1980s or 1970s for the 99th time.

- The smallest things require a lot of planning and interrupts their routine. A landscape person has to come in the afternoon instead of the morning.

- My father is afraid of the smallest things like the car breaking down, etc. He will go to great lengths to ensure everything logistically is perfect including delaying travel due to potentially inclement weather.

- In the winter they just sit around in their house and then they say they sleep very little (well they didn't exert any energy). They stopped shoveling snow for anything they believe the city should shovel for them because that's worthwhile use of tax money.

- They feel "dressing up" is a chore

- My mother forgets entrees in the oven or microwave. She frequently forgets near expiring food in the fridge before going on holiday.

- My father is knackered after cutting the grass or using a snowblower. I don't know how you can be knackered using a snowblower and we've nearly landscaped all the grass out of the lot.

- They criticize or make not so subtle comments about other people (class distinctions, dress, they're old I'm not) in public

- They will repeat the story to you as if you weren't there when you were clearly there.

- Large gatherings (friends and/or family) and society affairs are too tiring for them

- They can be very indecisive at times which is not what my father ever was.

- My mother jumps from one topic to another without really giving any context. Only my father understands because he was around during the day to understand what would come back to the forefront of her mind.

- They are obsessed with staring at their tablets to the point they hide in different rooms around the house watching YouTube. We don't actually ever talk except over meal times or tea.

- My mother is afraid of using too many utensils because the dishwasher is broken (they don't want it replaced) so they keep reusing a few of them over and over. We have a full set of Royal Doulton and a casual set.

- My mother is growing and not in a good way. My father is shrinking. He's at least 20 kg off what he used to be when he was my age.

- My father has this cough that never seems to go away. The other day I wanted to talk to him over lunch and he choked on something and couldn't speak the entire meal.
You don't say how old they are.

You need start planning for the inevitable move if their health and/or cognitive abilities decay to the point where trying to keep up a house without you or your family helping out becomes onerous.

The inevitable sale of the house unless you want them to have home care and meals on wheels.

That move could be a condo/apt with or without supported living. One of those well senior complexes.

Even think about LTC even if it is still far off.

Wills, power of attorney done ahead of time makes life easier. Trying to get power of attorney when they go off their nuts is harder.
 

Rambo

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My parents are getting older and I was going to write a lovely essay on my observations but I'll get straight to the point. They keep saying they won't repeat the sins their parents or older family members committed, but I see it happening every day. Note everything said here they warned me wouldn't happen to them. What do I do?
as someone's who's currently taking care of an aging parent, and living in an old people's community, I can try to give some insight on this. a lot of it just comes down to them being old and you being younger. i've noticed the first hand shift in a LOT of the things you mentioned, and while it frustrated the ever loving shit out of me at first, its just how things are now that old age has crept in.

- My mother forgets what day it is. If I come home to see her on a day other than Saturday she automatically thinks it's Saturday

- My father repeats stories. I don't know if he ran out of things to say but some of the stories begin the same way and are told with nearly the exact same words.
these could be signs of something mental but since its individual i'd say its just a sign of them getting old. i get "what's today?" constantly. now if your mother starts forgetting what year you're in, or your father starts forgetting those stories, then i'd say you should have them in for an exam.

- They can only handle one event a day. Lunch. See a show. Go see my brother at his flat. That is easily 6 hours strung together but somehow for them it's three separate days
this is just how it is now and you have to try and get used to it. they get tired easily and don't do much. you'll talk to an older person and ask them what they did today and they'll say "i went to the store." that's it. sometimes a big day of activities can require an extra day of recuperation. you know how they say you need a vacation when you get back from your vacation because it wore you out? that's every day now.

- They're clearly very used to each other to the point they mimic each other's behaviours. I brought them to a restaurant once a bit early for our reservation and we had to wait at the bar. There were only two seats and an empty corner seat because some gent went to the bathroom. My mother came in and tried to make it a seat of three but I took her coat off the gent's seat and said I'll stand. My father came after going to the bathroom and did the exact same thing.
this sounds like they're just comfortable together. you might find it annoying, and i probably would to if i was living there, but it sounds quaint to me.

- They chastise older family members for being cheapskates and worried about money but then go around to three or four grocery stores to find cheaper pre-made rotisserie chicken or frozen back ribs.
being old
- They have heat up to almost 22c. In spite of complaining about cold temperatures they also can't stand heat past 25c.
BEING old
- In the winter they just sit around in their house and then they say they sleep very little (well they didn't exert any energy). They stopped shoveling snow for anything they believe the city should shovel for them because that's worthwhile use of tax money.

- They feel "dressing up" is a chore

- My mother forgets entrees in the oven or microwave. She frequently forgets near expiring food in the fridge before going on holiday.

- My father is knackered after cutting the grass or using a snowblower. I don't know how you can be knackered using a snowblower and we've nearly landscaped all the grass out of the lot.

- They criticize or make not so subtle comments about other people (class distinctions, dress, they're old I'm not) in public

- They will repeat the story to you as if you weren't there when you were clearly there.

- Large gatherings (friends and/or family) and society affairs are too tiring for them

- They can be very indecisive at times which is not what my father ever was.

- My mother jumps from one topic to another without really giving any context. Only my father understands because he was around during the day to understand what would come back to the forefront of her mind.

- My mother is afraid of using too many utensils because the dishwasher is broken (they don't want it replaced) so they keep reusing a few of them over and over. We have a full set of Royal Doulton and a casual set.
BEING OOOOOOLLLLLLDDDDDDDDDDDD

I hate to harp, but this is just what these old fucks are like now. and your parents are now, officially, old fucks. you have to come to grips with it.

A couple of things did stand out to me from this list:

- They are obsessed with staring at their tablets to the point they hide in different rooms around the house watching YouTube. We don't actually ever talk except over meal times or tea.
- My mother is growing and not in a good way. My father is shrinking. He's at least 20 kg off what he used to be when he was my age.
these suggest to me two people who are around each other ALL the time. and without the energy to go out and do their own thing a lot of the time, they are seeking comfort in food and dumb bullshit. i see a lot of the olds start to turn into zombies that only come out of their house to go to the supermarket or get the mail. i'd suggest getting each of them involved in separate activities/clubs/lifestyles to get them out of the house and be away from each other. absence makes the heart grow fonder. maybe get them a dog? get them reasons to get out of the house. it helps, trust me. the most active old's here are the ones with dogs. they meet up and walk them constantly. the dogs socialize, the people socialize, everyone's happy.

- My father has this cough that never seems to go away. The other day I wanted to talk to him over lunch and he choked on something and couldn't speak the entire meal.
this sounds concerning to me. i'd get him checked out. they'll probably send him for a battery of tests, which will likely be negative, but it could be something as dumb as allergies. given his seeming advanced age, you're better safe than sorry.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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Wills, power of attorney done ahead of time makes life easier. Trying to get power of attorney when they go off their nuts is harder.
My mum has already put her house in a trust fund. But you're always going to be just one step ahead of the socialist government who will always be looking at ways of taxing your hard earned wealth away before you can pass it on to the next generation.

I've reached the age where my parents, aunts and uncles born 1945-1955 are starting to age and have health problems. My sister says how much my mum has aged, but when I think back to when one of my grandmother's was my mum's age now back in 1980, my mum seems much younger in comparison.

But I do notice a decline in certain people when they get to mid-60s or even earlier. My mum is 68 and after a frightening car journey on the M62 from Leeds to Manchester she sold her car and has vowed never to drive again. One of my uncles (not a blood relative) suddenly decided he never wanted to travel by air again and that was it, no holidays or anything and he has just been diagnosed with dementia.

these suggest to me two people who are around each other ALL the time. and without the energy to go out and do their own thing a lot of the time, they are seeking comfort in food and dumb bullshit. i see a lot of the olds start to turn into zombies that only come out of their house to go to the supermarket or get the mail. i'd suggest getting each of them involved in separate activities/clubs/lifestyles to get them out of the house and be away from each other. absence makes the heart grow fonder. maybe get them a dog? get them reasons to get out of the house. it helps, trust me. the most active old's here are the ones with dogs. they meet up and walk them constantly. the dogs socialize, the people socialize, everyone's happy.
As my mother-in-law say's God has a way of getting rid of you if you're no longer of any use.

You definitely need to stay active: physically and mentally. My grandfather despite being a heavy smoker who gave up aged 74 as he had hardening of the arteries in his legs, remained alert and intelligent until the end aged 88. He seemed to defy the ageing process and was always on the go. His brother was similar he had half of his stomach removed in the sixties and had emphysemia for 20 plus years and none of that stopped him from smoking and drinking quite heavily. He would also drive after having a good drink. You have to live life or perish.
 

Fwiffo

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You don't say how old they are.
You need start planning for the inevitable move if their health and/or cognitive abilities decay to the point where trying to keep up a house without you or your family helping out becomes onerous.
Even think about LTC even if it is still far off.
Wills, power of attorney done ahead of time makes life easier. Trying to get power of attorney when they go off their nuts is harder.
I think 68 and 69 or 69 and 70 this year. I don’t know because my parents are vain and they don’t like people advertising their age in birthday celebrations (if any).

I always thought the family house would be kept forever. I don’t have kids so perhaps my brother. Even if I was to buy the house off them I gave them one condition – tell me the plan where you’re going to stay afterwards. As I’ve received no logical answer for years, and they keep moving ahead with selling, I’ve given up. I finally relented last year and said it’s your house and your asset so go do whatever you want with it. My condition was don’t squander it but it’s your right to do so if you want to. They tried staying in a 400 sq ft place in Asia and said they kept bumping into each other. I can’t imagine what a 1200 sq ft place would cost in Toronto or somewhere where it’s 25c year round and not too rainy.

They put each of their parents into senior homes one by one so I’m quite convinced my father would rather die than be admitted into one. They do have a will. I don’t know what’s in it but I remember they visited a lawyer to get it drafted and went through the many permutations.

as someone's who's currently taking care of an aging parent, and living in an old people's community, I can try to give some insight on this. a lot of it just comes down to them being old and you being younger. i've noticed the first hand shift in a LOT of the things you mentioned, and while it frustrated the ever loving shit out of me at first, its just how things are now that old age has crept in.
these could be signs of something mental but since its individual i'd say its just a sign of them getting old. i get "what's today?" constantly. now if your mother starts forgetting what year you're in, or your father starts forgetting those stories, then i'd say you should have them in for an exam.
this is just how it is now and you have to try and get used to it. they get tired easily and don't do much. you'll talk to an older person and ask them what they did today and they'll say "i went to the store." that's it. sometimes a big day of activities can require an extra day of recuperation. you know how they say you need a vacation when you get back from your vacation because it wore you out? that's every day now.
A couple of things did stand out to me from this list:
these suggest to me two people who are around each other ALL the time. and without the energy to go out and do their own thing a lot of the time, they are seeking comfort in food and dumb bullshit. i see a lot of the olds start to turn into zombies that only come out of their house to go to the supermarket or get the mail. i'd suggest getting each of them involved in separate activities/clubs/lifestyles to get them out of the house and be away from each other. absence makes the heart grow fonder. maybe get them a dog? get them reasons to get out of the house. it helps, trust me. the most active old's here are the ones with dogs. they meet up and walk them constantly. the dogs socialize, the people socialize, everyone's happy.
this sounds concerning to me. i'd get him checked out. they'll probably send him for a battery of tests, which will likely be negative, but it could be something as dumb as allergies. given his seeming advanced age, you're better safe than sorry.
The thing is my parents are aware of it. They just subconsciously do it. They are aware of the decline of the family and friends older than them. I called them out on it a few times but it just led to a very embarrassing end to a meal. My father admitted to me that if I tell him something – i.e. hey that rewards hotel I used for you isn’t coming through, or that roofer isn’t going to show up until three months later right in the middle of your overseas trip – he frets about it. He says when he was younger he had five things to worry about. Now because he only has one, it’s a lot of brain and worry power on that one thing.

A month ago my mother turned off the wrong light in the kitchen. I don’t know how you can do that after living 30 something years in one house. She turned on the home security alarm with me in it last year. They went out to go shopping by bike, but that was after seeing me in the morning to go upstairs and read. I turned it off but never told my mother.

People their age get ready to run for the presidency don’t they? President Trump, Hillary, Joe Biden. Bernie Sanders is 80 something and still active. Look at Jimmy Carter.

My mother used to go to the local recreation centre to do Zumba or whatever was in vogue. She quit all that because of the influx of Chinese people. She used to go out with her nurse retiree friends but now has become a complete recluse. My father has always been a recluse. I’m afraid if one passes away I’m going to have to spend even more time being around and hopefully have some connection left. It’d be nice if they talked about things in the 2010s so that eventual situation would be easier.

Last year I took them golfing and my father and I were in one cart and I left my mother in hers. Somehow she drove to hole 9 or some other hole when I drove my father to hole 1. He had to later get in and drive her. It’s the same when they go cycling. She never thinks and just follows him. Strangely in the car she figures out the map and he drives. I don’t think my mother can survive without my father. She can barely figure out which bill to pay and definitely doesn’t have a grasp on any of the retirement savings.

Alas, I can’t get them a dog. I got them fish and they said the fish was tying them back from going on 1, 2 or 3 month vacations. A dog would be the ultimate liability. A grandchild they said they’d look after but only for short periods of time. And no, I’m not going to shag some woman just to keep my parents active.

My parents are also not fans of the medical system especially my father. My mother has high iron in her blood and both are borderline diabetic but they are trying to control it through diet. They’re advocates of do not resuscitate.

If I close my eyes, my parents are 40 because that’s when my memories were forming. Yes they are close to 70 now but people don’t decline that quickly. They’ve had no serious illness. Besides some arthritis and knee pain, they’re not in bad shape. They have never had major surgery. On retirement my mother wanted to run an orphanage and teach kids (think Cider House Rules) on some international mission. The closest I got her to it is donating to Kiva. Then she stopped using my money to fund people because she didn’t want to save black people, Muslims and was convinced there are no legitimate poor people in North America. Hence she sits at home.
 
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Fwiffo

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My mum has already put her house in a trust fund. But you're always going to be just one step ahead of the socialist government who will always be looking at ways of taxing your hard earned wealth away before you can pass it on to the next generation.

I've reached the age where my parents, aunts and uncles born 1945-1955 are starting to age and have health problems. My sister says how much my mum has aged, but when I think back to when one of my grandmother's was my mum's age now back in 1980, my mum seems much younger in comparison.
Last year I realized that having my father as beneficiary for everything would ruin them. I've started moving the money around because honestly they don't need a massive tax bill when I pass away. They're also making appropriate plans themselves.

Due to modern medicine and for my father not having to dig ditches like his father there's no reason why they aren't more youthful and energetic than their own parents. The sad part is when they start squandering it.

You have to live life or perish.
Good time to have my first drink in four days.
 

Rambo

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They do have a will. I don’t know what’s in it but I remember they visited a lawyer to get it drafted and went through the many permutations.
i don't know what its like in canada but make sure they have a living will and anything you need relating to resuscitation. doctors will keep the elderly alive here on pain of death unless you have it in writing.

He says when he was younger he had five things to worry about. Now because he only has one, it’s a lot of brain and worry power on that one thing.
exactly my point. he needs other things to occupy his time.
People their age get ready to run for the presidency don’t they? President Trump, Hillary, Joe Biden. Bernie Sanders is 80 something and still active. Look at Jimmy Carter.
this isn't representative AT ALL. for an overwhelming majority here its pretty much down hill after 65. when i meet an older person who's still sharp mentally i'm honestly shocked. seeing people like sanders and biden and carter are more like seeing shooting stars.

My mother used to go to the local recreation centre to do Zumba or whatever was in vogue. She quit all that because of the influx of Chinese people. She used to go out with her nurse retiree friends but now has become a complete recluse. My father has always been a recluse. I’m afraid if one passes away I’m going to have to spend even more time being around and hopefully have some connection left. It’d be nice if they talked about things in the 2010s so that eventual situation would be easier.

Last year I took them golfing and my father and I were in one cart and I left my mother in hers. Somehow she drove to hole 9 or some other hole when I drove my father to hole 1. He had to later get in and drive her. It’s the same when they go cycling. She never thinks and just follows him. Strangely in the car she figures out the map and he drives. I don’t think my mother can survive without my father. She can barely figure out which bill to pay and definitely doesn’t have a grasp on any of the retirement savings.

Alas, I can’t get them a dog. I got them fish and they said the fish was tying them back from going on 1, 2 or 3 month vacations. A dog would be the ultimate liability. A grandchild they said they’d look after but only for short periods of time. And no, I’m not going to shag some woman just to keep my parents active.
a lot of this sounds like two people who are wholly dependent on each other. again, some people reading this might think its cute or quaint. others might think its sad. a lot of times they just get stuck in their ways and that's that. its your job to pull them out of it and try to get them to do other things before its too late. it might not work, but at least you can try. how about something like tai chi? or a walking club? chess? mahjongg?
My parents are also not fans of the medical system especially my father.
can't say i blame them for that. especially down here, once you get sent down the medical path its REALLY, REALLY hard to get yourself off it. they just start prescribing you one thing after another and then another pain and another script or another test. you turn into a never-ending money making machine for them.
On retirement my mother wanted to run an orphanage and teach kids (think Cider House Rules) on some international mission.
this. focus on this. on doing something. anything. with her preferred people.
 

fxh

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I mean the book is one of the all time great novels of the last 10 years. To a large extent it’s about ageing. Read it.
 

Fwiffo

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a lot of this sounds like two people who are wholly dependent on each other. again, some people reading this might think its cute or quaint. others might think its sad. a lot of times they just get stuck in their ways and that's that. its your job to pull them out of it and try to get them to do other things before its too late. it might not work, but at least you can try. how about something like tai chi? or a walking club? chess? mahjongg?
It's my job to force them or I can just tell them the harsh reality - please do something to help yourself? I'm afraid if I just tell them the harsh reality my father will go into one of those emotional depressive tailspins.
 

Jan Libourel

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A few thoughts on reading this. While a lot of their behavior seems pretty characteristic of old people in general--forgetfulness, repetitiveness, etc., they seem awfully young by contemporary standards to be displaying such behavior.

I just wonder if they wouldn't be helped greatly by a regimen of vigorous exercise. I actually feel better now than when I retired 7 1/2 years ago, and I just turned 76 on Saturday. Much of this I would credit to a serious commitment to physical fitness.

For the record, Bernie Sanders is not in his 80s. He will turn 77 in September.
 

Jan Libourel

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^Good question. Just an hour or so of vigorous walking every day would be a good start. I know there are a lot of "senior fitness" programs at sundry community centers and such like. They would never appeal to me--I have always preferred to exercise alone--but something like that might be a good start. I bought my mother a treadmill shortly before she died. However, she had had serious health problems resulting from a bungled cancer surgery for the last 30 years of her life. Many was the time I thought she might be dying, but then she would pull through. I really never heard her complain about her situation. She was a strong spirit.
 

Rambo

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It's my job to force them or I can just tell them the harsh reality - please do something to help yourself? I'm afraid if I just tell them the harsh reality my father will go into one of those emotional depressive tailspins.
well you can't force them to do anything. maybe you can tag along on a few things? set them up with some clubs or activities?
^Good question. Just an hour or so of vigorous walking every day would be a good start. I know there are a lot of "senior fitness" programs at sundry community centers and such like. They would never appeal to me--I have always preferred to exercise alone--but something like that might be a good start. I bought my mother a treadmill shortly before she died. However, she had had serious health problems resulting from a bungled cancer surgery for the last 30 years of her life. Many was the time I thought she might be dying, but then she would pull through. I really never heard her complain about her situation. She was a strong spirit.
i see where you get it from
 

Jan Libourel

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well you can't force them to do anything. maybe you can tag along on a few things? set them up with some clubs or activities?

i see where you get it from
Thanks, Rambo, I really appreciate that. Since my father was killed before I was born, she had to play the role of both parents to me. She could be loving, but she was also very tough and severe. In hindsight, she was a much better father than mother to me. I have heard of men wounded on battlefields and in similar situations calling for their mothers. I could never imagine doing that, knowing my mother would merely say, "Suck it up, wimp!"

My mother was able to fly out of Java, pregnant with me, on the night of February 28/March 1, 1942. At the same time, the battle of the Sunda Strait was being fought not too far away. In that battle, two allied cruisers were sunk--the USS Houston and the HMAS Perth. One of the officers on the Houston had proposed to my mother after the death of my father, but she turned him down. Many years later, he wrote a book on the sinking of the Houston and his subsequent experiences as a prisoner of the Japanese and gave a copy to my mother. In it, he inscribed, "To Karen Libourel, the most courageous woman I ever met...." After the Houston went down, he swam for Java with a .45 auto and a Moro knife strapped to his belt. His plan was to try to steal or commandeer a small vessel and sail to Australia to get back in the war, but the Japanese nabbed him as he was reaching shore. I have often thought a man like that would have made a hell of a stepfather.

Another time, a guest speaker at UCLA when I was a grad student there was a man my mother had known in Asia. When I mentioned her to him, he said, "She was the prettiest girl I ever met." Quite a woman she was! She never remarried. I think she felt no man could measure up to my father. After the recent mass shooting at Parkland, I remarked that if had behaved like that cowardly school guard, I don't think my mother ever would have spoken to me again.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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My mother was able to fly out of Java, pregnant with me, on the night of February 28/March 1, 1942. At the same time, the battle of the Sunda Strait was being fought not too far away. In that battle, two allied cruisers were sunk--the USS Houston and the HMAS Perth. One of the officers on the Houston had proposed to my mother after the death of my father, but she turned him down. Many years later, he wrote a book on the sinking of the Houston and his subsequent experiences as a prisoner of the Japanese and gave a copy to my mother. In it, he inscribed, "To Karen Libourel, the most courageous woman I ever met...." After the Houston went down, he swam for Java with a .45 auto and a Moro knife strapped to his belt. His plan was to try to steal or commandeer a small vessel and sail to Australia to get back in the war, but the Japanese nabbed him as he was reaching shore. I have often thought a man like that would have made a hell of a stepfather.
They truly were the Greatest Generation, they all had stories from the war and you just had to respect them as they had a stoicism and strength curiously diminished in these times.
 

Fwiffo

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I think my situation is getting worse. I find when my parents sit at the dinner table they immediately hunch over to consume their food. One time my father choked throughout the whole meal because I was trying to have a conversation over the meal. Discourse is always limited to local and somewhat petty topics that I may or may not have heard many times before. I can almost forget about serious discussions with anything political or geopolitical except a cursory grasp of the headlines on my father's part. My mother's obsession with YouTube means there could be nuclear war and I am not sure she would be aware.

It is Saturday and she thought Tuesday is a week out. Often she has a non sequitur way of speaking that only my father understands.

My father also just ran a red light. He has always been aggressive a driving but he has never made mistakes. I've caught my other family members spaced out talking running lights and stop signs.
 

Fwiffo

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How old are they fwiffs.? In good health?
My mother is turning 70. My father is one year behind her.

Besides what I can only describe as dementia or just not having a lot of mentally challenging things in her life my mother is doing okay. She can't golf anymore or shovel snow or lift anything because one of her shoulders has limited mobility. Otherwise she is okay - no chronic illness just wear and tear.

A few years ago my father started developing this strange respiratory cough that never left him. I thought it was a lingering cold but now it just lingers. He's a borderline diabetic. However, beyond that no issues other than wear and tear of joints. He still golfs with me but gave up racquet ball. My father used to lift his own weight but can barely move anything these days.
 
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