First time caregivers for father with dementia.

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My husband and I care for his father who is 88 with beginning stages of dementia. My father in law used to enjoy going to the VFW to socialize and drink his non alcoholic beer. We would drive him there and pick him up after about an hour or so. Last month we got a call saying he had fell off the barstool when he tried to get up. Needless to say he fractured his back in the process. So much for socializing.
After 2 weeks in the hospital, he went to a rehab facility for 3 weeks and now we have him back home.
His dementia has gotten worse, especially in the evening. He gets sundowners syndrome, where he starts getting delusional and tries to get up and out of bed all through the night. He will fall if he gets out on his own. The hospital bed with rails helps keep him in bed all night, and the baby monitor helps to hear what he's doing. But every moan and groan whas getting us up to check on him. Now we have a camera in his closet looking at his bed with a monitor in our bedroom. It helps alot to be able to see what he's doing. On top of all this he became constipated from the pain meds. We took him to the emergency room yesterday and he is severly impacted. The constipation meds kicked in last night and all day today. Talk about a mess!!! I was up with him all night, and this morning my husband took over so I could finally get to bed and sleep.
It's very hard taking caren of a loved family member, but at the same time it's heart warming knowing we're doing all we'rte capable of. If and when it gets to be too much, we will have to think about other arrangements. We are looking now just to make sure we're ready if needed.
I really appreciate websites such as this one, where us caregivers have a place tob vent, or ask questions or just get support.

Thank You to everyone who contributes.

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Thank you for your replies to my post.
Another thing that helps us out, are our friends we had move in with us.
He works during the day and his girlfriend takes over in the morning hours so my husband and I can get the rest we need for the day and into the nest night.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas.
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Bless you for caring for a loved one with dementia!

A while back there was a thread about what would you do differently based on what you know now. Many caregivers of loved ones with dementia said they would learn more about dementia early in the journey. Me too! I urge you to read about what you can expect from dementia patients, and suggestions about dealing with various behaviors. Not all kinds of dementia exhibit the same symptoms, and if you have an idea of the kind of dementia that is suspected that will help.

Also it can be VERY helpful to have a doctor who is well experienced in dementia and in particular the kind of dementia your loved one has. These are often a geriatric psychiatrist or a behavriol neurologist.

Another helpful thing to do is join a caregivers support group. These online groups are great, but a local organization where you can meet with others is fabulous.
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God bless your tender heart for what you are doing. Sounds like you are very wise. What a wonderful gift you are to this man. I wish you rest, and peace, and patience. Nighttime is rough when Dementia is involved. The camera is a great idea - I wish there was one where I work. Sometimes my little lady surprises me by getting out of bed and onto the toilet very quietly. :-) I check every 15 minutes, and I do NOT do overnights with her. Again - may you be blessed for serving.
Ruth
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