What will it take to convince my dad he shouldn't shovel snow?

heart attack and triple bypass about 7 years ago. Doctor clearly said no shoveling snow ever again. period. 72 years old. He bought a snowblower about two years ago after me pleading but that's not light work either and it didn't work for the amount of snow last storm nor for this super wet heavy snow. I tried hiring next door neighbor teenager to come over immediately when snowing to shovel but they sent him away. I tried to hire a contractor to do it but, because they can't promise timing, they'd come later in the day after all the shoveling was done. I begged my sister and her husband who live nearby to go there early when snowing so they wouldn't do it themselves but they are both not interested. He just called after shoveling ( it's getting heavy!) and sounded a bit "off". Now, I also find out he is shoveling his school out (he is the lead custodian) tomorrow and did so last storm as well. He wants the extra hours pay. There are plenty of young guys that work for him that he can ask to do it.  I am at a loss for anything else I can do. Except vent and just add it my list of things to worry about... LOL


What a painful situation...I'm sure my father would have been the same way.  At home, I'd say steal his shovels every time you visit.  When shoveling is nominally a part of his work, that is a much harder question.  I bet everyone watching him at work is saying a prayer that he has the sense to retire before he works himself to death...

At some point, if they won't take any useful solution, there is a limit to what you can do, and it sounds like you've tried to do it  (unless you can make sure that the people around him have defibrillator training and equipment...)


It's hard. My old guys still climb rooves (yeah, I'm old fashioned about spelling!) and won't listen to safety messages - in their 80s!

I got a not-too-young male sports physio to talk to them as a group about all the changes that happen with effort of climbing that ladder, keeping their balance, doing the repairs/cleaning, schlepping the tools etc to the eaves then bending over and climbing down again.... It's different when you're 18, when you're 40 and when you're 70. In the group, they didn't have to keep their machismo and could see it was a bit silly to not put themselves in danger but cost the family so much in medical fees if something goes wrong. One or two still do the jobs themselves, the others get family over and work with them. 

Maybe a similar approach might have an impact? I know the doctor's had a word. But that's too formal, and too easy to block out. And if he's with a bunch of blokes he won't feel singled out. I know there are safety sheets for seniors on this matter. 


be careful not to lecture him.  It sounds like he is a man who is used to working for a living.  Can you ask him to do the walk, and let the kids do the driveway?  Don't steal his shovel.  


I'm sure you've seen this:

http://www.talk-early-talk-often.com/snow-shoveling.html 


This seems to be the workplace guideline for working in the cold. If your dad can't, or isn't prepared to, meet these conditions (not suggestions) then he should not shovel. Period. 

http://www.nj.gov/health/surv/documents/coldfact.pdf 


oh, I am beyond lecturing. I just scream now. JK.  What kids? The solution would be my lazy sister and her lazy ex get their a$&?s there. Consider it payment for the 100 hrs a week of free babysitting. But they are both too into themselves. There are no close rlatives that aren't just as old or in worse health ( except for sister). My teen nephew would do it if I asked him but no license and he lives about 10 miles away. And they'd probably tell him no anyway and he'd just go inside. 

He won't retire yet but, yes, that would be best. Poor man has worked like a dog his entire life and it would be nice to see him just sit a bit. But now they have an adult child and her 3 kids to support in addition to having little savings and meager SS.


if I steal the shovels, the man would be out there with his bare hands. 


One heart attack and some kind of multiple bypass later I'll tell you the no shovel edict is not easy to accept

We were stranded due to an overnight storm which caught us at a Motel in Carlisle Pa

Since the parking lot had not been plowed out none of us were going anywhere.

By the end of the day when we could finally exit ,  I took the shovel and began shoveling out the car

Moving with the speed of one of Marvel's Super Hero's my wife grabbed the shove out of my hand

and proceeded to lecture me about how foolish I was.   She was right of course

But it is not an easy thing to accept


Fair enough...not really a serious suggestion!

conandrob240 said:

if I steal the shovels, the man would be out there with his bare hands. 

if it were an emergency situation, sure. But it's nothing but stubbornness going on here. I can easily afford to pay someone for them and am happy to do it. They refused the help. I realize it's hard- heck I am having trouble accepting this 45 yr old self!- and I realize there's nothing I can really do. Mostly just venting.


conandrob240 said:

if it were an emergency situation, sure. But it's nothing but stubbornness going on here. I can easily afford to pay someone for them and am happy to do it. They refused the help. I realize it's hard- heck I am having trouble accepting this 45 yr old self!- and I realize there's nothing I can really do. Mostly just venting.

My (very unscientific) theory about people like your dad is that it will kill them just as fast if you take stuff like this away from them.

I'm thinking this way because I have long experience with a father-in-law that shoveled and used a chain saw well into his 80's.  Now he's 94 and we're about to take away his car keys.   It's the right thing to do, but I think it may kill him.  

This stuff is hard.


yeah, if he couldn't have his car, I do think that would be the end of him. That would be awful. Sorry for your FIL. LOL


There was a Health Day news item this week about the health effects following in the year after seniors stop driving: for many, because they can't as easily get to their doctors or pharmacies, their overall wellness deteriorates and depression or anxiety may increase. 

If, however, they are able to have workable plans put in place before they stop driving, then the effect is almost unnoticeable. oh oh 

Re the snow shovelling, what people forget is that your heart is working twice as hard just to keep you warm. Then you start working, so it has to work even harder. If you have a heart or circulation condition, you're already in trouble without realising it. On top of that, there's a specific anatomical thing that happens when your feet (even well shod) are ankle-deep in cold-wet soil/mud/snow/etc that means the heart has to beat harder to keep the blood from pooling so you don't get frostbite or keel over. 

On top of all this is the sweat factor: you're getting damp on top of your clothes and inside your clothes. He won't shiver, because he's warm from working, but he's still getting too cold for his over-worked heart to keep up. And this is what is dehydrating him. He's probably working faster than he should (because he wants it finished, and he wants to go back inside). So he's no longer making wise decisions. 

As you break it down, every step gets him in risky grey areas should he need to claim insurance. 

What would be wiser would be to work with neighbourhood kids (for example) so he's still doing some but not all, and they're doing the bulk of the heavy work. 

(Sorry: got my Audit brain in gear! Can't wait until Monday is over)


Can you point out to him (at least) that the kids at his school will be upset if he keels over dead digging out their walkways?


You write that the heart attack and triple bypass occurred 7 years ago.  The heart can do a lot of healing in that period of time.  What does your dad's cardiologist  say about your dad's current physical condition?  I would check this out before panicking.


buy him a snowblower !!! It seems from other posting you have financial means ( dual income, vacation often etc) 


Snowblowers can be very heavy to operate and may require more exertion than shoveling.  At least when you shovel, you can control the amount of snow you pick up at one time and take frequent breaks as needed.


Many men prefer to die with their boots on. It's part of their strength, as well as a vulnerability. There's only so much you can do, they do it their way.


Cardiologist says person who had triple bypass and heart attack should NEVER now matter how "healed" shovel snow. He has a snow blower- it's heavy, hard to use, not effective in wet heavy snow like today and he lifts it on and off his pick up to get it serviced, etc


oh, I feel you on this! But not sure what you can do. 


Whether it is your father, sister, or that woman whose ex is moving to California, etc., sometimes despite your desire that others change their self-destructive behavior patterns,  the best that you can do is be there in another ways, e.g. as a good listener, spending time with them in a positive way, etc. Straining too hard to change them may actually take away from that, interfering both with your and their equanimity, and the more subtle help that you can offer in those other ways.


Snowblowers just let you do more hard work faster.


Exactly, sac. I didn't realize how hard they are to use.

Jasmo- meh. I wouldn't change a single thing about my father. He's the best human being that ever walked the face of the planet. I'd like him to not drop dead in his driveway, though.


sac said:

Snowblowers just let you do more hard work faster.

My husband doesn't seem to understand this. He thinks that now that we have one, I can do the snow removal myself when he's at work. Well, it will help now that the driveway is flat, bit still...

Conandrob, I feel for you. It's a huge worry when a loved one is stubbornly courting risk, but if everyone is trying to get him not to do it, including his doctor, I doubt you can do a thing unless local family members will step up and help him take care of the snow. Maybe that is where to focus your persuasive energies?


Jasmo said:

Whether it is your father, sister, or that woman whose ex is moving to California, etc., sometimes despite your desire that others change their self-destructive behavior patterns,  the best that you can do is be there in another ways, e.g. as a good listener, spending time with them in a positive way, etc. Straining too hard to change them may actually take away from that, interfering both with your and their equanimity, and the more subtle help that you can offer in those other ways.

Yep


I will agree with this when it comes to snow shoveling. Unlike unsafe driving, the only life at risk is that of the relative holding the shovel.

carolanne said:
Jasmo said:

Whether it is your father, sister, or that woman whose ex is moving to California, etc., sometimes despite your desire that others change their self-destructive behavior patterns,  the best that you can do is be there in another ways, e.g. as a good listener, spending time with them in a positive way, etc. Straining too hard to change them may actually take away from that, interfering both with your and their equanimity, and the more subtle help that you can offer in those other ways.

Yep

Of course, Long Island getting hit with this next one pretty hard again. Another day of worry!


Relax. Breathe. Your dad is gonna do what he's gonna do, anyway. (maybe just to prove to you that he's still capable)

If your mother is also worried, suggest that she might want to line up with neighbours to connect with whoever they hire, "just in case". Suggest, too, she might like to check over insurance details (to be sure he's not invalidating anything by aggravating a known condition and then [possibly] needing an emergency team). Then accept their decision. They're grown-ups. 

 >smile<  >smile


Hard to be the parent to your parent. Unfortunately I have to agree that if know one else is endangered and you have clearly stated the dangers, you can't stop him from potentially killing himself this way. But I might put it that plainly to him, "Dad, you are going to kill yourself if you keep this up. I know I can't stop you but I wish you'd accept my suggestions because I don't think any of us want to lose you over this when we can prevent it from happening. But it is your choice."



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