I know you all love to hear about my family, so I’m sharing an update today on Thanksgiving and my parents. My family members were all home for the holiday and we did all have a feast together so I’ll share that too. When parents are elderly, you just have to take it one day and holiday at a time. We never know when things are going to change drastically and the holidays as we knew them are definitely different now than before. But we are grateful to still have them both here with us.
I’ve been taking lots of pics along the way, as we have been outside a lot during this fall season. Dad dearly loves the outdoors and they have a nice patio in his memory care area and can go out there on his own, so we often go out there to sit and visit.
They both are doing pretty well considering their age and ailments. Mom is still content and has healed up nicely from her broken shoulder. I did an update on their one year anniversary at Dogwood if you missed that one. We are still so happy that we moved them when we did.
They are both content in their surroundings. Mom continues to have lots of friends and participates in many of the activities. Dad just looks forward to his 3 meals a day, but mostly stays to himself. He likes quiet more than a lot of noise, so doesn’t sit in front of the TV or hang out with big groups.
It’s nice to have a comfortable outdoor space to retreat to and he does that often even when we aren’t there.
Dogwood decorates for all the seasons and makes it nice for the residents.
They had a nice celebration for all the veterans and dad’s picture was on the wall. He liked that and walked over to see it.
Mom found a picture of him in his army uniform in their photo albums, so they scanned it and hung it on the wall with the rest of the veterans represented. They did a nice celebrations of the veterans with many family members there and it was well received.
Daddy can still talk about his army days and remember much of where he went and what happened back then. He was in at the end of the war, so didn’t see any combat and we are thankful for that.
The week before Thanksgiving, Dogwood invited all the family to come for a Thanksgiving meal together. It was very nice and they do a really good job of making things very special for the residents and families. We are grateful for them and all they do to make life as normal as possible for those in assisted living and memory care. Dad was happy to be in mom’s dining room for a change instead of his side in memory care. Mark went with me and we had a nice visit.
We got a picture after dinner by the fireplace to remember our day. This was about the only real family picture I got for Thanksgiving this year. Dad didn’t get to be with us on Thanksgiving day so I’m glad we had this one.
We had a bit of a scare the weekend before Thanksgiving, when mom went over that Sunday morning and found dad lethargic and weak. He had a hard time getting up and going that morning and was sitting at the breakfast table after breakfast. He sat there the whole morning until lunch and ate his lunch, but still didn’t want to get up and go. He was just weak and had no energy, so we decided to take him to the hospital. At that point, an ambulance was called and I had them take him to Northside Cherokee Canton where he was admitted that night for observance and tests. My sister drove in just in time to meet me and go to the hospital with dad where we admitted him on that Sunday evening and he stayed for 3 nights.
Dad has had A-fib for years (maybe 20 or so) and has done really well for all these years and managed by a cardiologist. He’s been on a blood thinner all this time too and has had regular checkups by his cardiologist. They say he’s still doing really well for his age.
Northside did tests and confirmed that dad’s heart is pumping at only 50% what it should be. He was dehydrated too and they gave him fluids the first day, which seemed to perk him up by the next day. They didn’t find anything else alarming, but none of us really knew about the 50% diagnoses part until then.
This was right after he got back from the hospital. He still wasn’t up to going with us for Thanksgiving day, so I picked mom up and we had Thanksgiving lunch at Bruce’s mom’s house, Doris. She lives in an over 55 community in a nice home with an open floor plan and has a much bigger table and area for all of us to sit, so we had lunch there and it was delicious. We 3 girls all cooked the meal and we were proud of ourselves.
Here’s my plate! As you can see, we didn’t go hungry!
Bruce borrowed my electric smoker and cooked the turkey over there. It turned out so yummy! We are going to do one just like it for Christmas.
I made a homemade from scratch NY style cheesecake that I hadn’t made for years and it was yummy too. I’ll share the recipe with you later on if you’re interested. I served it with pureed strawberries.
Renee, Alex and Philip visiting at Dogwood one day.
Renee and Bruce went home on Saturday and Lauren and her family stayed until Sunday, so we got in a few visits. Dad was napping here and Lauren was getting her Christmas cards done.
Little Alex is a big hit, she’s so cute.
Iris loves to play games and she and mom played Rummikub a few times. She also likes Bingo a lot.
The girls hung out in mom’s room and wrote on her white board. Lauren’s family stayed next door at Holbrook. They have hospitality suites that they rent out to family and guests, so that worked out great. They had a 2 bedroom and it was perfect for their family of 5. And they could just walk over and see mom anytime.
Mom saw them before they left on Sunday and Lauren got this shot of mom with Alex. So cute! We love having them all home and they are coming back for a few days before Christmas too.
So back to dad. I took him to his cardiologist after he got back from the hospital. Since he has been back, the workers over in memory care have been having to go in and get him up in the morning to get dressed and go to breakfast. He had been getting up on his own before, but he seems to be more tired. He’s laying back down after breakfast too and napping which he wasn’t doing before. After talking to his cardiologist, they did an EKG test while we were there and he didn’t see anything else too alarming going on. They did add a new heart medication for him to start taking, a beta blocker that is supposed to help his heart function better. His cardiologist said that in looking back at his records that his heart has been pumping at 50% for several years now, so it’s not a new thing. None of us knew this was the case, not even mom, so we all thought the diagnosis at the hospital was something new. So this onset of being tired might be a new normal for dad, we just don’t know. His heart is failing and one day it will probably take him, but we have no idea how long he can last like this. Apparently people live for years with partial heart function. So we leave him in God’s hands.
We were advised to get hospice involved at the early stage and he qualifies for extra care from them so that’s what we are doing. This will get a nurse in to see him once a week at his facility as well as extra care teams that will come in for personal care like shaving and changing clothes. So this will be a welcome addition for dad to get more people seeing him. Even in nice care facilities, they don’t always have enough people to go around for extra care. If he wants to take naps every day, then he should do that and be able to rest when he wants. We hope he will get some of his strength back, but if he doesn’t we just want him to be comfortable. He can still manage to get up and walk on his walker for now. He still has a great appetite and looks forward to those 3 meals a day, so we are glad about that. He needs to do what he feels up to doing and not any more than that. Watching someone get weaker is certainly not fun, but aging in general is a hard road. We are grateful he’s done as well as he has at 95 and we will do our best to make sure he’s comfortable and content in whatever days the Lord allows him to live. We are peaceful and know that God is in control of our days and we leave that decision up to Him. Thank you as always for being concerned about my parents and family. They are loved by so many people!
hearing the dehydration mentioned really seems to be a trend in our later years. This was something that has been mentioned in several family members’ assessments. I have wondered if it is just a lack of interest or forgetfulness. Definitely reminds how important those drinks of water/liquid really can be. thank you again for sharing your family.
Thank you for sharing Rhoda. Aging is difficult, but what a blessing to be given so many years with family! To play games with your great grands is a joy! Bless your Mom & Dad! Blessings on your family as well, for making these difficult years as safe and comfortable as possible. Merry Christmas!
Rhoda, I’m glad to read the update on your sweet parents. We’ve been through these stages too and some days it’s hard. You are always in my thoughts. 🙂
Christy Spurlock says
Love to read the update on your parents! Cherish every moment 💕
I would love the cheesecake recipe! Looks delicious 😋
Carol Heartfelt Whimsies says
Thanks for the update on your parents. I think of them often and keep you all in prayer.
diane in northern wis says
Thank you for the Thanksgiving update. You have a very good attitude about what’s happening with your dad these days. You are right….He is in God’s hands. You are doing all you can to make things as good as possible for him. Enjoy every day you can with your parents. You have them in a wonderful place so you should feel good about that. God bless you all.
Christine Marek says
Thank you for your update on your parents and your family. As we see our parents getting older, medical issues come up when we least expect it and add to that dementia it can be so hard at times. Dementia has stages and he nay have shifted to the next phase. The quiet can be deafening when a parent was such a social person before. I found just sitting with my Mom, holding her hand gave us both calm. I pray your Dad can rest and find the additional medication will give him a boost in energy.
A-fib can be quiet for decades and then start acting up. My Mom had A-fib as well and her heart was enlarged and barely working. Our last ER visit she had an x ray that showed it was twice the normal size. Doctor then told us to take her home, let family know if they want to say goodbyes they need to come and hospice made her very comfortable. God did not take her 3 days later, he has her here with us an extra 7 weeks. My sister had lost her husband suddenly and Mom told Gid she really needed to be here for her and God answered her prayer. God even surprised the chaplain and hospice workers as they had never seen the strength of our Mom and remaining for my sister to have her Mom. Isn’t God amazing!! My Mom was such a lover of Christ since she entered a church at 21. That day she went in looking for someone to help her from an abusive relationship in her marriage. She got her help and shared her faith in Christ till she passed peacefully in our home.
A side note is that sister, she joined Mom and her husband on October 6, 2022. How beautiful that reunion must have been.
I share this because we all reach an age that our parents, siblings, some spouses and friends leave this earth when God calls them home. We are all dealing with these challenging emotional years. In it all we become closer to God on our journey to Home when He sees fit.
Blessings we have both now and in memories.
P.S. I would love your NY cheesecake recipe, it looks delicious!!
Best Regards, Christine
HI, CHristine, what a beautiful story of family and God’s provisions. Yes, He definitely walks with us through this journey and hearing my dad still pray the most beautiful prayers is the best gift for us at this time. Whatever time the Lord allows him to have, we just want him to be comfortable and content where he is.
Rita C at Panoply says
Overall, your parents are doing remarkably well! one of my sisters has had cardiomyopathybsince she was 50, at which time her heart was only functioning at 25% ejection fraction (she’snow 69 and doing very well at about 70%). As I understand it, 50-70% is actually a normal function rate range. I love reading your posts of your parents and how closely your family works to provide them with such wonderful care. Merry December, Rhoda.
ANGIE L SMITH says
Your dad looks so sharp in all his clothes. His bold colors bring out the youth in him. Do you select his clothes?
I understand the 50% heart capacity. When we found out about my mother’s, it was at 15%. Her fatigue and swelling resulted from the heart being unable to pump at normal capacity. As often as she went to her internist throughout the years, an ECCO was never taken of her heart which would have given some understanding of her discomfort.
There are so many things dietan altered diet can help with this condition. Salt is major. I remember when my sister started reading the labels of foods with a high sodium content that our selection of grocery items changed dramatically. My mother was a bit feisty and said, “I would rather die than have to live without salt.” At 15%, there was little hope that it could be brought to a more normal level. When she did not want to fix dinner, she enjoyed cheese and crackers, which are loaded with sodium.
It is remarkable that your dad is under the care of a cardiologist. I am sure he is giving you this same information. When my dad was in skilled nursing, we had many conferences with the dietician. His dietary restrictions were not the same as my mom’s or your dad, but facilities such as yours are very accommodating with the preferred diet of the residents. They may be already doing this, but I wanted to mention it to you.
I understand how the family comes together when you sense it might be the last Thanksgiving or Christmas with both of your parents.
I appreciate all the details of this chapter in your life and your photos.
All the best,
HI Angie, thanks for all the details on diet and sodium. Mom & Dad have always eaten plenty of home grown veggies and have never lived with a restricted diet at all. I don’t know if his cardiologist ever talked to him about sodium since I’ve only been going with him to appointments in recent years. At this point, I don’t think we’ll be trying to do any dietary restrictions with him. He loves his sweets too and has been eating them all his life. I appreciate the ideas though.
ANGIE L SMITH says
A phrase in one of my sentences was not edited correctly. “an altered diet.”
I don’t have a background in medicine, so I can only speak from personal experience. My Dad was diagnosed with A-fib at the age of 88. We lost him one year later. So it truly is a blessing that your Dad has survived with A-fib all of these years! After his diagnosis, Dad became less active. About a year later he developed pneumonia – it is my understanding that the pneumonia developed as a result of Dad’s inactivity. Dad was treated with antibiotics at the hospital and released early, with a nurse visiting him and in-home care, in order to minimize his exposure to other diseases at the hospital. Dad developed C-diff from the antibiotics, and had to be hospitalized again before he had recovered from the pneumonia. The doctors had to take him off of the antibiotics in order to treat the C-diff. By the time he had sufficiently recovered from the C-diff to go back on the antibiotics to treat the pneumonia, it was too late. We lost Dad.
A few years back, my primary care doctor vaccinated me for several strains of pneumonia. Recently, we moved, and our new doctor vaccinated me with a new pneumonia vaccine that protects against 20 different strains of pneumonia and doesn’t conflict with my original vaccines. If your Dad has not had this newer vaccine, I am wondering if he would be a candidate for it. It could save his life.
Vicki in Alabama says
Oh, Rhoda, you and your family are doing a wonderful job caring for your parents. It is a hard season for all, but what a joy to get to visit often and show them they are cherished. Thank you for the update! Merry Christmas to you and your family! (From a long time follower. I have gone completely off of IG and FB and only follow by your email updates now)
Thank you, Vicki, I can’t say I blame you on getting off those social medias. They can be such time wasters.
So glad to see the update. I love how Lauren brings her family to visit to often. She is really devoted and it says so much for her upbringing. And I’m glad to read that you and Renee and your Mother agree that it is best to just let your Daddy be, and let him rest and nap and eat what he wants. Let him live out his final days or years in life being happy because you know he would not like his good food being taken from him!
Hi Lynne, no he would not. We’re not about to alter his food at this point. Eat all the desserts he wants!
Nancy Cox says
You have a very precious family. I love the fact that you all are so close. I have loved keeping up with them thru the years
Cindy N. says
Rhoda, thank you for sharing your beautiful family and your special times. Love and blessings to all of you.
Reading about your parents brought back many memories of time with my mother. She was in a nursing care facility, for five years and she was on hospice for four years. Those years were very precious Hospice was a great blessing, and the workers became very attached to her as did the nursing home workers. Prayers for all of you.
Despite the bumps in the road with Dad’s health, the Thanksgiving holiday was a definite blast!!
That cheesecake and smoked turkey looked awesome. Hugs to all.
stacey purser says
Thank you for sharing. I know from experience that taking care of elderly parents is tough. Prayers for you all. You have a wonderful attitude for all that is going on. Know you are in my prayers!
Gina D from Texas says
Thank you for the update. Glad your mom is doing so well. Sorry to hear about your dad but you are right – we just take the days that are given to us and are thankful for those. Hopefully they checked him for a UTI – those can cause lethargy and tiredness and increased confusion. Adding hospice will be good for him. ❤️🙏🏻
Glad you got to spend time with them before and during the holiday as well. I hope y’all have a blessed Christmas.
Hi, Gina, they did check him for a UTI and it was negative.
Jeanie Nichols says
Thank you for the update, prayers and blessings to you all. Growing older is a privilege that has been denied to many. Cherish your family.