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By worriedaboutdad On 2010.03.20 22:22
Hello! I posted here a couple of times a long time ago. This forum is a wonderful resource. My dad is 80 years old and was diagnosed about 1995. He is a life long farmer (MANY acres) and although it is unproven, i believe this probably played a part in his disease. He has also welded quite a bit over the years (saw that in another post...hmm). Anyway, he is a stubborn old cuss (I mean that with LOVE :) Of course, over the years, the PD has progressed and this is where we are now: tremors basically gone, drooling is awful, eating is very difficult but he continues to feed himself, his eyesight has deteriorated due to not blinking and not closing eyes all the way, freezing has become very pronounced (he often stands in one place for an hour trying to move), balnce and stooping is very bad, frequent falls. I'm sure there is more but you get the idea. Now, this is the good and bad part. He never stops. I know that this is good in that he gets lots of exercise and doesn't sit around and dwell. However, his day consists of getting up no later than five, driving the tractor all over the place, driving a Gator and/or truck up and down the road (main road), scrambling around in a shop with so much junk I don't dare enter, climbing steps, burning brush, you name it! Now, this is becoming dangerous but what do you do???? He lives alone since my mother passed last year. We check on him often and do all the stuff like cook, clean etc. Anyway, recently it has gotten so bad that I worry constantly. I know it is time to try and limit some activity, but his mind is fine and he is I don't really expect a solution. I could just use some support I suppose. Thanks!

By lurkingforacure On 2010.03.21 09:13
I have similar concerns but we are at a different stage. With me, I struggle with letting my husband work as much as he wants, which is very demanding and stressful because of deadlines, etc., or trying to force him to stop. When he doesn't work as much, I find he gets into a funk, because his mind is free to focus on how shitty he feels...when he works (computer developer/architect) it is so intellectually demanding and exhausting that his mind can only focus on the work. He does loves programming, too, the creative aspect stimulates his mind and I'm all for him doing anything he gets enjoyment out of...just wish it didn't come with the stressful components as well. It's a damned if I do, damned if I don't deal: he either has to deal with the mental funk or stress.

I also found if I nagged him to take a break and/or rest, to let this or that project go on the back burner for a bit, the nagging made the stress worse! I talked with his neuro about this and his take was that I should let my husband do what he wants. If he wants to work all day, I let him. If he comes home early and needs to nap, I let him. I don't ask him to do one thing around the house or with/for the kids because he has enough on his plate as it is with just the PD. So I let him do what he wants, because I think, intuitively, he knows somehow what is best for him right now.....the work takes his mind off his condition (as much as anything can) and he does get some pleasure out of it.

You might want to think about what your dad would do if he was forced to not drive his tractor around. He would probably end up sitting around, thinking about his condition, and get into a funk. Perhaps you could safety-proof some of his activities so he could still do things but would not risk hurting himself as much.

I think you are also dealing with what I call the farm mentality. My mom is about your dad's age, grew up on a working farm too, and I swear there is a farm mentality that just won't let her rest or relax. At her age, she still tries to get out there and pull weeds or mow the lawn in her moo-moo (it's awful!)-she will sit looking out her window and list all the things that need to be is hard to stop that when you have lived that way your whole life. I try to let her do a little here and there so she feels like she is contributing and "pulling her weight" but try to dissuade her from things that might send her over the edge. She doesn't have PD, thank heavens, but I think this issue is universal-we all need and want to feel productive until the day we die. I would rather my mom keel over working in her garden, feeling good about herself, than sitting inside looking outside.

That's just my two cents, hope this helps.

By worriedaboutdad On 2010.03.21 19:43
Thanks for the reply. Not everyone understands the farm mentality, but you are right, there is one. He is determined to get out and going everyday and for that I really am thankful. I, like you, have said many times that I would rather him keel over doing what he wants to be doing outside. I guess at this point, I am concerned more about his driving hurting someone else. Now how to explain my next thought.....I feel like he is far worse than he lets on. I guess meaning that most people who have the difficulty getting around that he does, would do far less. Please don't take that negatively toward others. It is just that he pushes himself so much. I am worried about the day that he just cannot go anymore.
On another note, I've read much about dementia here. He doesn't seem to have a problem with that. I guess not all PD patients do. However, when it begins does it begin slowly?

By lurkingforacure On 2010.03.21 21:59
I want to say your dad doesn't have dementia because he's lucky and because he has kept very active. There are a lot of studies supporting the idea that keeping the brain busy staves off mental decline, PD or not.

I don't know about rate of decline. A LOT of PDers get dementia, many more than the docs want to admit. I think you would see signs if that were the case, so google them and just keep watch for them.

My sister in law moved her mother out of her beloved home into a condo in a warmer climate. The mother did not want to move, did not want to change her lifestyle. She died within six months. To this day my sister in law grieves that if she had just let her mom stay where SHE wanted, and not where the family wanted her to be (closer, more convenient to visit and keep an eye on, etc.) she would still be alive. I think she might be right, it has made me think about this issue for my own parents. As long as no one else is in danger or at risk, what harm is there in letting your dad tend the farm he loves?

By LOHENGR1N On 2010.03.21 23:52
worriedaboutdad, I can speak from a patient's view about pushing oneself. I push myself every day. There may come a day when I won't be able to go either, wether from Parkinson's or getting hit by a bus, struck by lightening etc. My point is I'll worry when that time comes. Until then, well even if I have to push myself I can still do most. I won't say I can still do everything I used to be able to do, but damn it I can still do some of those things. I'd rather try to keep active, in my opinion if I don't push then I'm letting the disease win. This might be considered a form of denial by many if it is so be it. That's just the way I'm made. Over these years of being here on the forum it seems many of Us patients are the same. If there was a dime donated for every time I've read about a "stubborn" loved one by a caregiver we'd have some well funded research going on.

Lurking has sound advice to google dementia and read up, but as you say He doesn't sound like it's anything to worry about now. Take care, best of luck and hang in there.

By worriedaboutdad On 2010.03.22 19:53
Lohengrin.....I hope I didn't offend you by saying my dad is stubborn. It is, in fact, one of the things I admire most about him. I do want him to continue to push as long as he can but it doesn't stop the worry I'm afraid. I have said that I would rather find him passed away out and about somewhere. I do believe that but it still makes me anxious about that becoming a reality. He is superhuman in my eyes. If I were in his shoes (or yours) I very possibly may have laid down by now. Again, I hope my posts did not offend or hit nerves. I would not do that intentionally.

By LOHENGR1N On 2010.03.22 23:45
worried, no offense taken at all. In fact one of the perks (now who would think that Parkinson's facial masking had any perks hey) with our deadpan expression is family can't see the smirk I'm feeling as they walk away throwing up their hands mumbling about My being so stubborn. Another of my favorite perks is watching them squirm after they deliver the punch line of a joke and are met by a blank stare lol. Ya just gotta love it. Again no offence taken or tender nerves here. Take care, best of luck and hang in there.

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