Mom has alz, but Dad's driving me crazy

rdetmoritaOctober 24, 2005

My Mom has moderate Alz and has been living with my family for over a year and a half. Her condition has stabalized with proper diet and meds.

My dad who also lives with us as been stubborn and demanding. It has gotten to the point where he does not want to live with me anymore and frankly, the feeling is mutual.

My dad wants to get his own place and take care of my mom, but it was his inablility to do that prompted me to bring them into my house.

Any suggestions or advice?

Richard

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fairegold

Maybe your Dad needs to get out of the house more, and do some more things on his own. Does your community have a Senior Center? Our local one has a lot of activities including lunches Monday thru Friday. Classes, volunteer work. How is you Dad for driving? Meals on Wheels usually needs drivers.

It sounds like Dad is not getting his mind out of the house, so to speak.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2005 at 1:10PM
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rdetmorita

Dear Fairegold,

Thanks for your imput.

We tried to have him get out and socialize more, but he prefers to stay at home and work in the yard. We asked him to volunteer at the day care my Mom attends, but he says that he is too busy.

The main issue is how to do tell a person, they can no longer take care of himself and his wife. He still believes that he can live on his own with my Mom and take care of all of their needs.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 10:16AM
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fairegold

It seems that most older people, when faced with the loss of their independance, have great problems dealing with it. When we asked my father about giving up driving (he was 93), he was in tears, saying that would just kill him. He drove until the day before he died, no accidents luckily, but I was so scared for him. The sight of my take-charge, strong father reduced to that emotional state when faced with giving up driving really shook me.

Now I'm taking care of my 95 yr old Mother, altho she lives in a senior apt complex, now with assisted living. I've had to take all financial matters away from her because she was driving me crazy, not understanding the bank statements, obsessing about every penny. Her finances are just fine, but she would not leave it alone. She was upset if the SS check was deposited to her account on the last day of the month instead of the first of the next month, because she was sure "they" would take it away from her. I suppose I took the checkbook more to save my own sanity, but it is, again, one of those independance issues.

Most senior complexes like where Mother lives do not accept AD residents (even tho many of the residents are in early stages, I am sure). So that would not be an option for you.

What about trying out an apartment close to where you live, if you could do a month-to-month rental, and let your father give it a try? Possible? Maybe with a visiting aide part of the day?

But there is no easy answer for your question of how you tell someone that they can no longer take care of himself. It's got to be the hardest time of life, in so many ways. Especially for us kids, who remember when our fathers were larger than life and took care of us.

One thing to watch out for is the depression that comes along with this. Is your father on anti-depressant medications? Mother just went on medication this past summer, after saying she didn't need it and then calling me to say how she wanted to die. (I needed medication after those phone calls---if she hadn't taken the medication, I would have!) Depression in the elderly is way under-diagnosed and treated, I have learned. It's an issue you might explore.

Keep in touch here on this board. No easy answers. I have often thought that it is a different mind game for you and me dealing with a healthy older person as we are, than dealing with an AD patient. Very different, no less difficult.

I recently found that our local Alliance on Aging in Monterey County has a peer conselling group for caregivers who are NOT dealing with alz or cancer patients, like you and me. There are other support groups for specific diseases, but this one fits my needs. It's been my life-saver. So call around and see if you can locate a support group for yourself. It's worth it, I assure you.

Helene

    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 12:46PM
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asolo

Troublesome situation...and touchy, from your description. Other than sympathy, I have no particular solution. I do have this opinion: Your primary obligation (IMHO)is to your own family's well-being. Certainly your folks are entitled to care and respect from you and your family but NOT at the expense of your and your family's own well-being. From your post, I can't determine whether or not the situation is at a make/break point of decision. However, if tough decisions are required, you and yours deserve priority. Sorry for your difficult times.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 12:50PM
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scotland

I fear that you don't any options that will make everyone happy. The loss of independence is devastating for some people. You dad had a life he liked, and that disappeared with your mom's illness. Your mom is doing well right now because you're making sure she gets what she needs and that wasn't happening when she and your dad were on their own. I doubt your father would find an assisted living arrangement any more acceptable. If your dad is saying that he doesn't have time to volunteer at your mom's daycare, he either 1) doesn't wish to see her in that setting or 2) has invented so many tasks to make himself feel useful that he thinks he is too busy. Maybe if you pitched him helping at at the daycare because they *needed* him instead of him needing the interaction. He still wants to feel productive.

My father is being a nightmare about moving out of the assisted living facility and back into his house, and about getting his car back. He "doesn't belong with those people" in the home, who he views as not being able to take care of themselves. His Alzheimer's has progressed to the point that half of the time, he can't figure out how to open the car door and get in, but by golly, he wants his keys! He's doing so much better now that he's getting his meds and eating when he should. Losing his independence has been really hard for him. I pity my daughters when it's time for me to lose mine. I'll be a real pill.

I agree with Fairegold that depression might be at play here, but am at a complete loss as how to broach this with your father. Seems like that would go over like a lead balloon.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 5:08PM
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Logfrog

How old are your parents? Is it possible that your Dad is also beginning to show a little dementia?

    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 5:17PM
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barker_tx

we have a similar situation w/my Dad, 92 and Mom, 88. Mom has very advanced MS - for years they had 'day helpers' to cook, clean, do laundry, help Mom. Now she is totally helpless - can't even feed herself.

For several years they have had 'live-in' help - originally just 4 days a week, then 5...not on weekends tho. They depended on my sister (who lived nearby but had a pretty much full time job) and me (live 20 mins away and have a full time job). then sis moved 6 hours away and Mom was very seriously ill Feb 04 (almost died). that's when we insisted on 24/7 help - we basically gave him a choice - put her in a nursing home and use up all the $$ or keep her at home (and use up all the $$$) with live in help. This past summer he 'decided' they only needed a live in 5 days - no week end help - after only a couplc of weeks he then decided to have a helper in for 4 hours on Sat and 4 on Sun - which then progressed to 6 hours and now they have help except for 2:00 PM Sun to 8 AM Mon.

He has a hard time admitting he can't take care of her like he could 30 years ago.

If your Dad is 'too busy' to help out at the center, you might remind him that he would be too busy to take care of Mom, who will certainly need more 'tending' to than the few hours he would be volunteering.

Sometimes you just have to 'put your foot down' and say, NO, that won't work.

Good luck, Carolyn

    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 9:08PM
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rdetmorita

Dear Friends,

Thank you for all your "saged" advice. Sounds like there are hard decision to be made. It is so helpful to hear similar stories. Thank you for sharing them with me and all who need them. God bless you all.

Also, my mother is 83 and my dad is 86. You are correct about the early signs of dementia. He has begun to take Aricept. His decision making continues to baffles me and in his eyes it is never wrong or his fault.

Once again thanks,

Richard and Diana

    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 10:50PM
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fairegold

You have your hands full. Keep yourselves healthy and strong, and take time for things that are just for you. And pat yourselves on the back for doing a great job with the circumstances. And look for more opportunities to keep your own personal lives on keel, as well. It doesn't get any easier, so keep looking for support in your community, here and everywhere you can find it. We all need each other!

Take care,
Helene

    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 11:29PM
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Logfrog

At his age, and with some dementia thrown in to make things worse, his view of reality is not the same as yours. In his world, he can still take care of everything just like he could when you were the child. You'll not have much luck changing his viewpoint. You are going to have to switch roles and be the Big Bad Parent and he is the little kid that doesn't understand. First and foremost, take care of yourselves.
Frog

    Bookmark   October 26, 2005 at 8:22AM
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