newly diagnosed parent with mid-stage Alzheimer's
Right up until she was 90, my Mom was Ms.Independence - yes, we noted her memory and word recall slipping, but she WAS 90 -- then towards the end of that year, she started to have episodes of depression and an imaginary diagnosis of some kind of auto-immune disease she read about in a home medical book -- her doctor, would check her blood pressure (maintained by HBP medicine) and pronounce her healthy and send her on her way -- this would cheer her for a week or two until the next bout of bowl problems and then she'd be sure the doctor had missed her disease -- this is a year later, and she had a couple of falls -- never breaking anything (because, she says, she's immune because of her disease!), but the last fall did horrible bruising and head trauma when she fell on top of her walker and landed in the hospital, followed by 3 weeks in a rehab nursing home -- I think the fall acclerated her recently diagnosed mid-stage Alzheimer's. That diagnosis was made when we became dissatisfied with the attention of her primary doctor, and made an appointment with a gerontologist who specialized in Alzheimers & Age-Related Dementia. My mom is still in her own home with a live-in health aide -- I usually get down to visit my Mom twice a week, but my sister who only lives a block away from my mom gets the brunt of the caregiving while trying to maintain a 30-hr. week job which she will have to keep for at least 3 more years. Right now there's some new medicines from the gerontologist to try -- our biggest fear/problem is that her recent aggressiveness/paranoia, directed mostly to the health aide, will drive the aide to quit, and then we'll have no choice but to put Mom in a nursing home -- we're hoping the new medicines will kick in and forestall that inevitability for a while -- my sister has a power of attorney, we've been to see an Eldercare lawyer and are working with the gerontologist -- now, it's vacation time -- we all need a rest to recoup our own lives -- my husband and I plan to go away for a week, but I feel terribly guilty putting even more of the burden on my sister -- her son is getting married next month and she's going to have to be away for at least 2-3 days and us for 1 of those days -- I guess I'm looking for someone to tell us if there is anything else we can do, if we should cancel the vacation, and what if the health aide quits suddenly -- how fast would we be able to get Mom into at least a temporary facility with a look to making it permanent. I'm sure many of you have gone through this yourselves -- my own husband saw it with his mother, but it's different when it's your own -- the feelings of helplessness and guilt are overwhelming - help!