Home Forums For Caregivers Only How long can Dad live alone?

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    My father is 76 and was diagnosed in Nov. 2012 with Stage IV melanoma. After his tumor to the skull was resected, his scans showed NED, but his latest scans in early March show lesions in liver and bone. He lives by himself, about 25 minutes from me and 10 minutes from my sister, and feels totally fine so far. He will be starting Yervoy next week; we are planning only two cycles of that, and then he will hopefully be eligible for the Merck anti-PD 1 trial. I know that one has to keep a close eye on Yervoy side effects, but many people don’t have side effects until after the second or third dose, and then anti-PD 1 is supposed to have lesser chance of adverse side effects. He’s an independent guy and not a complainer. I’m concerned he might minimize pain or side effects and not tell me or the doctors about them, which could lead to escalation. Of course everyone’s reaction to treatment is different, but should we be thinking sooner rather than later for him moving in with one of us? We all work full-time, so it’s not like someone would be home with him all the time. (I’m hoping to work out an arrangement for leave of absence when necessary, but I don’t think that time is yet.) He likes to visit, but he likes to live his own life at home. Presumably at some point, whether due to disease or the treatment, he will need more monitoring. I guess I am just asking about your experiences and thoughts about this issue. Thanks.


    Good Morning,

    I’m so sorry your Dad and your family are dealing with this. My Dad was 73 when he was diagnosed Stage IV. He also lived by himself and liked it that way. My brother was within 30 minutes of him, but he is a widowed single parent of an 11 year old daughter. I lived almost 2 hours away, but my kids are grown and gone with their own children. My brother and I both work full-time as well. My Dad completed 4 Yervoy infusions. My brother and I accompanied him to each infusion; we drove him to the clinic, stayed for the infusion and then Dad would return to my house for a 3-5 day stay. Even though I was able to go to work, I was around home enough to monitor if there were side effects and cook for him, etc. Dad continued to live at his house primarily until the 4th infusion was complete. He was very fatigued after the second infusion though and would have been better off at my place after infusion #2. We ate mostly chicken, every recipe you can imagine, avoided red meat, avoided raw veggies and raw fruit and therefore avoided colitis. Everybody’s different, so I don’t know what is best for your Dad. As long as he is able to care for himself completely including meal prep and he is safe he is probably fine to be on his own. But I would still recommend staying with him or spending some time with him after each infusion for a day or two to keep an eye on him. I hope your Dad does super great! Best of luck and prayers to you!

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