Both my parents have dementia. Should I quit my job to care for them?


Q: My mom and dad are both getting dementia. I am all alone taking care of them since my sister passed away. I have to consider whether or not to quit my job and take on the job of caring for them full-time. I get sad and frustrated at them both. How do I decide?

A: First, I would like to say bless you and you are in my thoughts. It is very difficult to care for one parent alone with dementia but to have both your parents and to be taking on this task alone is very overwhelming and a daunting task to say the least.

I can not tell you what to do in regards to your job. Look at your own personal situation and know that you still need to take care of yourself also. If you know this is not possible while caregiving for two parents alone, then it may be time to reach out and ask for help.

In regards to dealing with your feelings, the first step is to realize that you have every reason to feel what you are feeling. You are not a bad person for feeling frustrated, sad, resentful and angry.

Find those resources in your area and utilize them. Look for respite, adult care, support groups, home health care, etc. You may also need to look at alternative living arrangements now. No one wants to think about assisted living or nursing homes, but doing it now can make you feel prepared, with a plan for the future. Waiting until the situation arises when you have no choice adds stress to an already stressful situation. Planning for the future now, you will make a rational decision about your parents' future instead of making decisions out of raw emotions.

Again, bless you and take care of yourself because if you do not take care of yourself, it will be difficult to be around to help take care of your aging parents.

Deanna Lueckenotte is the author of "Alzheimer's Days Gone By: For Those Caring for Their Loved Ones." She plans to continue publishing books related to Alzheimer's and caregivers. She would also like to continue her education by obtaining her doctorate in geriatrics.

Alzheimer’s Days Gone By

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I also wanted to say something about their funeral. You can do it without their help. Make it as easy as possible. Simple and quick. I have set it up for my husband or me, who ever goes first. One day - visiting and furneral in the same day. A lot of people are doing this now because of the cost.
My husband's sister has recently been diagnosed with dementia. She has severe symptoms, yet the doctors can't seem to agree that she is "incompetent". She wants to go home from the hospital and they are going to release her soon. They seem to think she can have home health care and get by. She lives alone and has fallen, burned food, forgets to eat, can't balance her ck book, and is paranoid and mistrusting of everyone. My husband has power of attorney, but we are at a loss as to what to do at this point. Why is it so hard to get the Dr's to admit her incapacity?
Like you both my parents have alzheimers. Fortunately, they had long term care insurance which has really helped with the costs. I have them at home and they are both in hospital beds now. I have had caregivers with them for the past 5 years and now have to have 2 at the time due to having to turn them every two hours, keep them hydrated (dehydration is a big problem) as well as UTIs. DO NOT quit your job unless absolutely necessary. You will lose you rmind. It is hard enough with the 10 hour break daily. Also make sure you get the POA, MPOA, and DNRs signed asap. You may also want to make funeral arrangements while they can help make the decisions.