Advice Hour


Français : Une cannette de Coca-Cola italienne...

I can’t seem to lick this problem, so once again, I am coming to you for advice. You have Al

English: Vintage cars from Scottish Extravagan...

who is mentally 10 years old, and physically 57 years old. You also have a stubborn man who is angry when he can not do things for himself, like he used to due to the Parkinson’s Disease.

Now take one regular size bedroom and in this room is his bed, bedside table, recliner, commode, another end table, television shelf stand, and one dresser. On everything that is able to hold anything coca cola and vintage cars sit. Every nook and corner on the floor, closet clothes are being forced to move closer and closer due to his collectibles being stored.

Now that you have pictured this room, the icing on the cake is, the nurses thinks he needs a bigger path to walk in, because he has his walker in his room, and he is considered a high risk fall person. You have me who has used the cars as a bribe in order for me to get to run to Wal-Mart, plus I have a tendency to have spoiled him this year, because of his advanced stages of his illness.

We have a storage shed outside also, that I have packed some of his collectibles up in bags and taken them out there, but they are being squeezed in between shed stored items. He has been telling therapists that I won’t let him have any cars for a while, and he is agitated at me for not letting him get them.

How do I get out of this mess? How do I keep him happy, the nurse happy, and Al safe when walking? I have asked Al if he would consider selling any of his items, in order to make room for new cars,and his answers for years have always been no, these are his!!, and we already have placed shelves up to help too.

The problem is that Al’s mentality only sees that he likes these cars and he wants them, pretty black and white for him. Sometimes I get confused with his mentality, not being sure if this is a throwing fit game, in order to get his own way, or if his mentality is actually not letting  him feel the reasoning that I am explaining to him. I also get concerned, because Al throws fits like an adult and not like a ten year old. I do see this comprehension as a growing problem with Parkinson’s, but I still need to get this issue fixed. It is driving me crazy, him being upset and  crying and me overly explaining. Ideas for me?

40 thoughts on “Advice Hour

  1. I think you might have to put your foot down with Al, Terry, for your own sanity, because it doesn’t seem to matter what you do, he still cries and has tantrums. The clutter in his room is obviously becoming a hazard in terms of him not being able to get in and out and around his room easily. Is there any way shelves could somehow be put on the walls and his collection could be displayed that way? From what you have written about Al so far, and his recent rapid deterioration, physically and mentally, it seems to me that you will have to start saying NO more often and then withdraw from him (into another room?) until he gets over a tantrum. I am loathe to give advice but you asked for suggestions so those are mine. I hope this is okay. Sending huge love to you my friend.
    Oh yeah, while I’m at it, please think of your own happiness, Terry. You are trying to make Al etc. happy – what about you?

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    • I think you are right Julie. I need to do what is right. Say no, and leave the room. As far as the shelves go, we can put up more shelves but then we have to find some place for the things that are on the walls. This is just getting darn ridiculous, just out of hand!!!! I don’t think much about me, don’t know why, guess my mind is always on paying bills, going to doctors, cleaning, feeding, and Al

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      • I wish I knew. We tried making him a part of the solution when he was having a “good” day. You know, making it his idea and trying not to push any buttons….wish is SO hard not to do! We eventually ended up in care center and were forced into choosing the favorite things then. Which he had no problem doing. We just assured him everything else was boxed up when he needed it. It is just so hard and I truly do feel for you…. ♥

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      • I have explained to Al that if he goes to a placement, he could take his favorite items but not all, and for this reason, we should think ahead and be prepared by placing some items away, but my problem is where to place it. I really don’t have any room left anywhere. I understand him, but he has so many items that are duplicates, and if he would just rid of these, it would help

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  2. I agree with stuffitellmysister, and have mentioned those very words to my husband over the past weekend: Al is clinging to one of the very few things he has some control over in his life.

    As to where to put it all… Well, my husband is a pack rat and I’m a recovering one. In a very tiny 740-square foot apartment, we’ve implemented many creative storage ideas, particularly since we can’t affix anything permanently there, as we rent.

    I think I remember seeing a team of helpers out there to install a ramp for Al earlier on your blog (or I think it was your blog). Is it possible to get a similar set of help to custom build bookcases floor-to-ceiling on one wall, with shelves that are ideal to store those cars and nick-nacks? They would only have to be deep enough to park a small car. For the stuff already on the wall: install swing panels (like cabinet doors) or slide panels upon which you can affix the “wall hanging” items. These panels will cover the shelves, yes, but Al can be assured that his precious treasures are there in easy reach behind the panels. (These also keep dust bunnies under control so you don’t have to dust each item and the shelves as often.)

    If you are successful in this, it may be a good half-step for when he has to only have a few of the favorites and the rest will be stored. He may not see them, but he will know they are safe.

    Another idea my husband had: maybe you can take a page from the nursery… Can the smaller models or nick-nacks be converted into mobiles to hang from the ceiling? This way they are in view but out of the way. It can even be a project you two can work on together. He can help group the items for the best way to arrange them. You can challenge your crafting skills with fishing line and glue. 😉

    Just a few thoughts I had…

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  3. Terry, A possible idea for duplicate cars, etc. would be to put them in a plastic storage box of some type. This wouldn’t be for display, but just so he can see they are still there. You could fit more into the same space and maybe put it in a closet or high shelf or even in another room closet or shelf — even a coat closet where he would know they are there, but safely out of the way. Same idea maybe for other things if he will let you store them outside his room but still in the house or garage so he could bring the whole box in to look through and then put them out again.

    It is a fire hazard to have too much stuff in any room without a sufficient path, so I understand the need, but I can see how he wants to be sure the stuff is still his and not gone. He might even rotate what is in his room and what is stored in another part of the house. Good luck.

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  4. I can’t speak to your situation of course, but can try to relate through mine. I have 9 year old and 6 year old boys. So, if we’re saying Al is at 10 on the emotional/mental level now, I will try to convey what I do with my 9 year old. He is a sweet child with a good heart, but I’d be lying if I said he didn’t whine and complain sometimes. He does. During those times, I have a choice. Either give in, or don’t. I’d also be lying if I said I never give in. I do. But not always…and it’s the times I don’t that I think he learns to respect me (and authority) a little more. Sure, there are tears and frowns and sometimes full-out fits. But in the end, it passes. So, while I cannot say exactly what to do because I have not faced your situation, I can simply offer this: Saying no sometimes is not only ok, it’s healthy and even good. For both of you. Better to have a tantrum than to have Al fall down and hurt himself or have something fall off a shelf and hurt him. Hope you can come to a happy medium there. Be strong 🙂 You can do it.

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    • you are so right! Al’s health is most important, and learning to set limits is also vital. I guess he will just have to throw some fits, but hopefully from all of the ideas presented to me, I can make a happy medium and still have us both happy and him safe. It is so hard seeing a man who is a child and then being forced to treat as a child, but I have to start now with changing things here, and tomorrow is the best day to start. thank u so much for your help!

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  5. The has to be a team work – Al has to have a saying to … but you have to talk to him as the child he is today and explain in a way that a child will understand the importance of that you have to clear out some stuff, but that he has a saying in it all. I think you will manage to explain and get him to understand, but don’t talk to him as he is an adult. Good luck.

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  6. having to work with a child in a mans body is not something most of us will ever have to experience. on the forensic unit we did at times have guys who sound much like your brother except they were dangerous. the obvious place to start is with his behavior and your inability to say no. if he were a child you wouldn’t let him have this many toys. saying no is really good for him. i understand due to his illness you are having a difficult time but you are experiencing the down side of your leniancy. the second thought is the over the door storage. they are most often used for shoes but can be pretty handy for other items.. that would get them off the floor and out of the way. is there a way to not take him so often? i know this is inconvenient for you, however, it sounds like something is going to have to change.

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    • i have learned so much from all of you. saying no is something i need to practice starting now. high shelves so he can still have it in his room will work, and again, saying no!!!! thank you. i love the idea of the shoe holder over the door, but unfortunately his bedroom door slides into the wall, so it is hidden, but i love that idea!

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  7. Dear Terry, I haven’t read all the comments, so maybe this has already been mentioned. Or maybe it just won’t work with Al. But here it goes! With my daughter, she likes cars, but also has become good with having pictures of cars to look at. So I was wondering about making an album for him, of some cool cars, maybe even from you going to the car shows and taking pics there .. .or ones you can find online. Just an idea!
    love and prayers!

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  8. Terry,

    I have no great ideas that haven’t already been covered.

    The only thing i wanted to share with you was that as my father grew closer to death i was called upon to make more sacrifices on his behalf. I can tell you without hestitation, as I look back at all that took place I was NEVER ONCE sorry for anything that I did for him, no matter how difficult it was on me. I know that at times Al asks great sacrifice and patience on your behalf, but I truly believe, once he is gone, you will never be sorry. As a matter of fact, you may count it a blessing you were able to show him your love (whether he notices or not) and show Christ’s love to others in the process.

    You have already shown that you know all of these things… you are a living example of it… just wanted to remind you.

    Lord bless you my friend… Continuing to pray daily.

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  9. I’ve read all of the advice …and maybe you can think it all over and make some of them work…I too like the idea of the duplicates having to go…
    One of anything is qute enough…My son who collects as Al does…will even admit that…Maybe telling him if he sells some of the things he cares less about…
    the money he gets… would go for something he really wants… Just a trade off but, a start! …mkg

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  10. You could line the room with shelf ledges, 2 rows at the level above the door and one lower on the other 3 walls and place most of his collectibles on them so they are not low enough to take up room, yet he could look at them. That is the only solution besides storing them away that I can think of. You know what shelf ledges I’m talking about…the kind that they use to put around the top of diningrooms and kitchens to put plates, and kitchen items along for decorations. This would at least handle some of his collectibles and cars. But you would have to put his favorites there and tell him that if he got any more that he would have to make a choice to get rid of one off the shelf so that the new one would have a place to sit.

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