What to do and when??
Hello to all here and wishing you the best of holidays. I am new to this forum and have been looking for a place for some practical advice. From what I have read here, I see much compassion and knowledgeable experience.
In this case, I am not the caregiver, but the daughter. I'll try to keep this simple. My mother has dementia and has been getting worse the last few months. She hasn't progressed to the point that she would be comfortable in a home, but life has become difficult for my dad. Mom still knows everyone, but is unable to occupy herself. She no longer reads, sews, cooks or anything. She needs to be "entertained" all the time. As long as she has people around her she manages quite well. My dad has had non-hodgkins lymphoma for the last 11 years. During this time he has undergone every treatment possible, including a stem-cell transplant last Nov/Dec which failed. It was at that time that we knew Mom could not ever be left alone and had caregivers in to help while my dad was in the hospital for a month. They live 60 miles away and I am unable to do the drop in for a few hours as regularly as would be helpful. At the moment my dad is in the hospital undergoing more chemo and there is a caregiver at their house. Ok, that paints the picture at the moment.
What I need is advice on how to advise my dad. He thinks he can continue to care for her (this is his purpose for continuing treatment - to be with her). I applaud his noble efforts, but it is too much for him. I have pushed for him to have regular help come in, and I believe he realizes that he must. He just doesn't have the strength to take care of both of them. I think that having a caregiver in the home is probably the most economically reasonable solution for now - otherwise it will be living costs for both in a facility because he wants to stay with her.
From your experiences, where do you draw the line and say it's time to move on to a facility? If we could find something for her to do at all that would give him a bit of a break during the day it would be great. The only things I see written won't work - she can't wind a ball of yarn all day... So far, the only solution I see is to have another in to entertain her for a while, but when they have had some help (from a caregiving company), they ended up letting them go because they didn't know what to do with her. It seems the caregivers are there to do things like bathing and dressing (and she doesn't need that much help with those things), but of course cleaning and working aren't part of their job. (They do have a cleaning lady.) I suggested they polish silver one day or something like that, but it doesn't seem to fit in with the job.
Sorry to go on so long. It's difficult being the daughter who can't solve their problems. I just wish I could come up with a few suggestions that would make their life easier.
Thank you for listening.