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Shippy's avatar

What funny things did your elderly parents do?

Asked by Shippy (9852 points ) December 31st, 2012

My dad would come home from the Mall, with yellow streaks down the side of his car, which meant he had been parking in the trolly bay again.

But the best was, he began shoplifting, at the age of 80. He was so deft at it, I was totally impressed. I’d shout at him that I would not help him should he be caught.

One day, he got some cut slices of cold meats from the Deli Section. He was holding them in his hand looking naughty. I pointed out, figuratively that there was a camera right above him, whereupon he acted like he was blowing his nose, sound effects and all (into the ham slices wrapped in tissue). Then pocketed it like a handkerchief. Oh what fun he was loll.

Any one else got fond memories of their aging grandparents or parents?

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34 Answers

KNOWITALL's avatar

My grandfather was married to my grandmother for over 50 years, then she passed away, and he turned into a Senior Center Man-ho. It was hilarious and kind of creepy, but after all those years with gma and raising six kids, he deserved some fun.

TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

My grandfather used to be the one that would get all excited about the child train and not me as he would insist I had to go on it even if I had no desire to. He also managed to be shown a red card when I was playing football (soccer) as a kid.

Basically the ref was older than he was (and he was about 70 at the time) and he disagreed with a decision and got in a shouting match with the ref who then showed him a red card as he was our team physio meaning he could no longer come onto the pitch to treat us.

Coloma's avatar

My fathers grave marker says ” Still doin’ pretty good!” lol
Yeah, humor runs in the family

bossob's avatar

Besides believing that everything he sees on Fox News is the God Honest Truth?

My Dad got a concealed carry permit at age 84. My step-mother is scared to death about it, and keeps hiding his pistol. He goes looking for it, thinking that he just forgot where he had stashed it last!

Coloma's avatar

@bossob Oh wow….dementia and guns doesn’t seem to be a good combo. lol

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@Shippy At the age of 80, your father suddenly began shoplifting? Stealing sliced meat, looking naughty, and pretending that he’d been holding a handkerchief?

Was your Dad ever tested for Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of dementia? His behavioral changes sound too drastic to have been merely funny or goofy.

My Mom’s in the sixth of Alzheimer’s seven stages so, these days, I’m very sensitive about this topic.

flutherother's avatar

My grandfather put used scraps of soap into a little wire box with a handle which he shook in water to make a lather. He also switched off his car engine when going downhill.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@flutherother I heard about shutting the engine off, it supposedly saves quite a bit of gas $ I hear. :)

My grandpa also refused to buy hair shampoo after grandma died, and said for only a few strands bar soap works just as well.

Sunny2's avatar

Their drinking schedule was, to me, phenomenal: 2 Bloody Mary’s in the AM, 2 martinis with olive juice in the evening and wine with dinner. Then, highballs in the evening. I couldn’t keep up with them. They never seemed drunk.

flutherother's avatar

@KNOWITALL They knew how to economise in those days. My grandparents were experts at it though they weren’t badly off.

Shippy's avatar

@PaulSadieMartin Unknown to me he had several small strokes over a period of time.

Shippy's avatar

also with a mother with severe dementia you have to laugh right?

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@Shippy So sorry to hear that your Dad had suffered a series of small strokes. No wonder his behavior changed so dramatically.

Laugh? I don’t know…sometimes I can find levity in things, but sometimes not. Late this afternoon, I found out that she’d defecated in her bed last night (she’d covered the mess and neatly made her bed, so nobody knew). I just gave up New Years Eve so that I could clean up, scrape dried feces from her bedlinens and mattress pad, wash everything until the stains were gone, and air-out the foul smell in her room. I love Mom, and I do these things willingly, but I’m not in much of a giggly mood right now.

Bellatrix's avatar

@PaulSadieMartin that’s so sad. I’m glad she has such a caring son to help her through this.

Coloma's avatar

Shutting off your engine going downhill? I’ve never heard of that!
Hmmm….so you save gas but you fly off a cliff because you have no power brakes or steering anymore. lol
That must have been in the good old days before power brakes and power steering huh?

Bellatrix's avatar

My parents both died fairly young. My dad was only 62, my mum much younger. So I would LOVE to have some funny stories. My dad had a wicked sense of humour so I am sure he would have given me plenty to giggle about.

I do remember as a 16 year old being on a bus with him and we got to the top of the hill near our house and he spied some horse poo in the road. He seriously expected me to get a bucket and walk back and shovel it up for his compost heap. It didn’t happen. No way was I going to do that. He did walk back and get it. “That’s good stuff for the garden that is!”

Coloma's avatar

@Bellatrix Haha….I love it!

hearkat's avatar

My grandmother had Alzheimer’s, but she had been a miserable person when she was young, so the dementia only removed her filters for her misery, and she would carry on about what a good-for-nothing my father was and so on… No funny stories there.

I also work with mostly elderly patients, and it is sad to see the decline over the years – especially cognitive. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to greater cognitive decline in people. I have had some patients where it is simply too late to get them to adapt to wearing hearing aids, because they have no tolerance for new things.

I get the biggest kick out of the ones who are still mentally sharp and no longer give a hoot about societal expectations. There are some that I could sit and listen to for hours or days.

Coloma's avatar

@hearkat That will be me, no doubt. haha
I don’t care about societal expectations now, so I plan on becoming even feistier in my old age.
I want to be “Granny” from the Beverly Hillbillies.
I’ll be sneaking in the Happy Brownie mix and there will be riots at Shadey Acres rest home.
We want steak and lobster, 7k a month to live here and you feed us Top Ramen and Jello? lol

gailcalled's avatar

I wish. Both my parents were very unplayful and often earnest.

My mother was trained as an actress, however, and could tell a joke pretty well, but there was never any originality.

Once in a blue moon, she taught my sister and me how to do some tap steps. I remember her shuffling off to Buffalo in our large front hall with the vinyl tile floor.

After she developed senile dementia at 93, she became more docile and mouselike.

burntbonez's avatar

It was so long ago that I forget what they were like during senility. I didn’t see them much as they lived a long way away from me. But I don’t have any funny stories. Sorry.

hearkat's avatar

@gailcalled – I tapped from the ages of 4–13 – taught by a retired Rockette. I miss it.

Coloma's avatar

@hearkat & @gailcalled I won a pet rat in a tapdancing class in 3rd grade, to the old tune of “Spinning Wheel.” My mother was not pleased. No ribbons only a white rat named “Igor.” haha I think my tap/jazz teacher just wanted to get rid of her kids pet. lol

Bellatrix's avatar

@Coloma, a pet rat would have to be one of the most unusual prizes ever won. Did you keep it? Rats are supposed to be very bright and fun pets.

Coloma's avatar

@Bellatrix Yes, I did, he was a great little pet, it was just such a funny prize.
Igor lived for 3 years and he loved his little rat TV dinners I made for him. haha

Shippy's avatar

@PaulSadieMartin My heart goes out to you. I had at one time for many years two parents both with severe dementia like symptoms due to strokes. I’d say for around 8 years I had no life. I would just work then worry and care for them. The worry and sadness was the most difficult part. As a caregiver, I felt so much pain at what was happening to my mother and father that I became a useless caregiver. Plus I was single, and holding down a demanding job. I pretty much feel as though that period for me was the lost years. I got to the stage where I thought I might be very relieved when they died. Instead it had the opposite effect. I plunged into a hopeless depression that I am still trying to get out of five years later.

Do all the things I didn’t do. Find support, even if it is a caregiver great, ask friends for help, talk about it. Understand that possibly it does effect you more than her. In the sense of heartache.Learn to let go of the old person they were, and learn to laugh with them. Humor really got me through the dark days. Get enough rest if you can, eat properly, and make you time for fun and going out. I wish you strength and peace and acceptance during this difficult time. If you cannot get out to a support group find one online, or start one.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@Bellatrix Thank you for the kind words. Actually, I’m my Mom’s daughter! Paul’s my husband’s name; Sadie is our doggie; Martin’s our three-legged cat. When I was choosing an online moniker, I just combined the names of my favorite creatures on earth.

@Shippy Your words are very wise. I’m sorry to hear that you suffered as much as your parents did. When you were transitioning from a loving caregiver into such deep depression, did you ever let your parents see your frustrations? I try SO hard not to do that; I keep a benign smile on my face to mask any irritation (not a grimace, just a pleasant expression), and make sure that my voice is lilting.

But, every now and then, I break down and show impatience. There are the times when I buy her things that she wants or needs—at some effort and often great expense—and she tells me that her family in California sent her the items (she doesn’t have any family in California). She lives in a luxurious, private, “five star hotel” assisted living facility that costs my brother and me a fortune; one day, when we were sitting outside, she told me that she’s tired of living in an “ugly” building, and that it’s so “ugly” because it’s a government welfare facility. During such times, I just chant to myself, “She can’t help it. It’s not her fault.”

Coloma's avatar

@Shippy
@PaulSadieMartin

I can’t even begin to imagine the stress and frustrations involved in that level of care giving. All of my family members died after brief illnesses, but I can so empathize with your situations. My god, so intense!

Shippy's avatar

@PaulSadieMartin Not sure my methods are the best. But yes, I got so frustrated, so irritated, plus I think what made it worse was I was tired. I was also miserable because I wanted those people back the ones I knew before.

How I dealt with it, was when I was angry I would do a John Cleese. impersonation Fawlty Towers which would set them both off into hysterical laughter. (We were a strange family loll).

But I would release tension that way! Like for example getting them into the car took hours. So I would feign sleep over the steering wheel. This would make my mother pack into giggles. Once my dad sat on my lap in the drivers seat, as he thought we were both going to drive. You know at the time it was so irritating, but look back on these memories with such fondness and I miss them terribly.

Once I left him in the car with strict instructions to stay there. I quickly went to get a big Mac for him, but heard people shouting there is a drunk man. He had tried to follow me and had fallen in the parking lot.

Keep this in mind, they live in the present moment, the moment passes. DON’T personalize anything, because that thought goes quite quickly too. They do though, notice in the present moment facial expressions, so I would always follow with a hug and a kiss. Tell them how much I loved them. My dad hated being kissed!! So I would kiss him all the more. In fact I remember when he got really bad, I was laying with my dad cradled in my arms feeding him bottle, and kissing his head. I thought to myself at that point, at last I was allowed to love my dad and hold him. He really hated that sort of a thing when he was the other dad.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@Shippy You’ve helped me understand something, and I think it will help me a great deal.

My “real” mother was a nasty, mean-spirited woman. She wanted to be the center of everyone’s universe, so all she did was complain and be miserable; she though that she’d gain sympathy and attention by being a brat. Anyone else’s happiness was an affront to her, so she do whatever she could to destroy that person. It was impossible to be nice or kind to her, because she’d just get annoyed.

After she’d developed Alzheimer’s disease, Mom became sweet, gentle, and loving. All of a sudden, I finally had the mother I’d always wanted. She’s always glad to see me, and she treats me so well. In return, I’m completely devoted to her.

When I find myself getting frustrated or losing patience, I just need to remember all of this. Although Alzheimer’s is a high price to pay, Mom and I did repair our broken relationship, start to enjoy each other, and learn how to love.

Coloma's avatar

@Shippy
@PaulSadieMartin

You guys are just destroying me over here. Such bittersweet recollections. :-(

Bellatrix's avatar

My kids would say I am an elderly parent – but then anyone over 30 is elderly I think to them – so, I get people’s gender mixed up on Fluther :D Sorry @PaulSadieMartin. Regardless, I am enjoying your Fluthering and glad you are here.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@Bellatrix Thank you so much. It’s nice to be here.

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