HELP - need knowledge!!

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How can a caregiver who is just beginning, find out how to do it and what to say and do correctly?? My husband and I have been caring for his parents, who have alzheimers. In Jan we are going to move into their basement and care for them on a daily basis. They are still capable of physically caring for themselves and my father-in-law is in the first stage. We are still working so I will eventually have to get daytime help with thier care. What all do we need to know about this disease and about the legal aspects for care?

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That's alot to cover....and alot to deal with --two with Alzheimer's? If there is one thing I can suggest that you do first and foremost is get in touch with a senior resource center in your area. You can collect all kinds of free information about long term care and also talk with a social worker. If you want more specialized help and someone to help you plan things out and maybe even help you with some of those things, contact a Geriatric Care Manager. They are nurses or social workers specially trained in Geriatric Care and they should be able to help you plan out how you can effectively care for your parents long-term.

Alzheimer's is very hard to deal with- even with just one person. If you are both working I don't know how you're going to be able to watch both of them. Alzheimer's in the early stages can include: wandering, fits of anger, confusion. You'll have to retrofit your home for safety and keep a close watch on them. As the disease progresses it can be extremely difficult.

You can go to this national website to find one near you.
http://www.caremanager.org/
I read lots of books on the subject of Alzheimer's Disease, and learned so much. I also attended and still attend Dementia and Alzheimer's Support Groups. They are a wonderful source of comfort, strength, and support. I have made some wonderful friends there, and feel so nurtured there. It's a perfect place to connect with others going through the same or similar experiences. This site has been extremely helpful, as well. I am so thankful for all the precious people here, who share their hopes, hurts and experiences. What a blessing. There's some great videos available from the Alzheimer's Association, from local libraries, and some great info available for free from the National Institute of Health. They'll mail you pamphlets that will answer many a question, and guide you along the way. Take care, and know you're not alone.
Dear Teristeve,
I am in total unison with arose4yu & secretsister. My mom moved in with my family after dad died. I had always said that I would do whatever I could to prevent my mom from going into a nursing home. You can have all the love and all the time in the world, but with this illness it is so difficult. They will eventually need 24/7 care, eyes on, as well as them being "totally" dependant on you. Your state should have a program where if they qualify through your Human Services, you can get home services to come in. They base it on income & their level of care needed. They will set them up individually for what is called a "Goold Assessment" to decide how many hours of help they need. Even then, it isn't easy because not only physically, but mentally it will get difficult. My heart goes out to you. Whatever you decide to do, Don't ever beat yourself up mentally when that time comes when you just can no longer care for them. There is so much I want to share with you. Just sit down with your husband and really talk about it. Here is a website called EverydayHealth.com that I receive so much helpful information from. I had just received this information and copied and pasted it here for you. We will be praying for all of you. We are all here for you! This is such an awesome support group. Don't ever hesitate to get on here and just say, I need to talk. I have learned that this website is filled with a special group of caring people. (Just always remember, You & Your Husband need to be taken care of too) I hope this website helps you. Take care & like the others have shared, You are not alone and we are here for you! Here's the article:
What Is Alzheimer's Disease?
Alzheimer's disease is one of the most serious and progressive forms of mental deterioration known as dementia, and the most common type of dementia to affect older people in America. Alzheimer's impacts a part of the brain that controls cognitive function, including memory, comprehension, thought processing, and language capabilities. All people who develop Alzheimer's disease become unable to care for themselves once the condition reaches its final stages. Learn more about how Alzheimer's disease affects the brain and who is at risk for developing it
Hi Teristeve, I read the reply's you have received-and I think that they are very valuable ones. I was a sendary caregiver, and found this disease to be quite complex-especially as the progression takes place. Yes-you and your husband need to equip yourself with as much knowledge as possible -so to prepare you, as well as others; and also to learn about the importance of NOT neglecting your own health-which can easily be done. My best of thoughts go out to you and yours...This online message board I think is a wonderful tool for caregives and their families. I have personally found a great deal of support and information from the Alzheimer's Association-and would strongly recommend you contact them, if you haven't already..they also have a 24 hour hotline. Again - best wishes!
first you needto get with elder care, they set up their banking accounts as you being the personal rep's. There is a book called 36 hour book it deals with Alzheimer' s and also has some interesting stories, plus some legal info you will need to know.It comes in paperback form. every state has its own laws on the elderly. Also before hand check out some day care places in advance in case you may need help. have the house child proof, with high locks, safe bathroom use. and also call the alzheimer's assocation they have great helpers on the phone 24/7 and also have safe return. You need to learn about the illness, it takes time but with love, care and concern you can try only your best. the disease affects people in different ways. Sometimes they act normal and in one minute you on sitting on a time bomb. just be patient, patricia61
If there is a support group for Alzheimer's caregivers in your area or a chapter of the Alzheimer's Association you need to get in touch with them. They can provide more insight in one meeting than you could hope to obtain by reading a hunderd books. In my area the groups are often led by Geriatric Nurses or similar professionals so they provide excellent and workable techniques in dealing with some of the common problems you may face.
Also be sure to get your in-law's finances and estate in order while they can still function. You will need Power of Attorney, a Living Will, and a Living Trust if they do not have these. An Elder Law attorney can help you with these. But get this done ASAP if not already done.
Finally, don't be afraid to ask for help. Get friends, neighbors, relatives and anyone else involved. Ask for help with specific tasks like sitting with mom while I take dad to a Dr appointment or pick up some groceries while you are out shopping. People will pitch in if you ask for specific help but will not volunteer if they are afraid they might get trapped into a long term commitment.
Wow. Those are all good answers and good advice. But I am guessing that you have your hands full, and time is not a luxury you have much of. In other words, sitting down and going through all the information, books and pamphlets will take hours even days. I would recommend you find a "Geriatric Care Manager" (one person mentioned the Alzheimer's Association - they might have list of some GCMs in your area). It may cost you 2 or 3 hundred bucks, but they will give you a "Geriatric Care Assessment" for your wife's parents that covers everything you will ever face, and have options for you to consider for each case. It is well worth your time, money and sanity. Just bite the bullet and make that one investment. Heck, you will save the cost of the assessment based on the anticipated expenses that the "GCM" warns you about. good luck.
If your mom or dad have Alzheimer's already in some states it may be too late to make up a durable power of attorney will, but you can be the legal rep on there direct depopist checking account with paper work from the doctor. You have to be sworn in by the social sercurity office and approved. Your names can be added to the house and bank accounts if they are not that ill. that will also help. But remember if they have to go into a special place later on they can not have too many assets. elde care can help and social services. The Alzheimer's assocation is a grat place to start, they have support grous, i still go my mom just passed, they have the 24/7 phone line to call. patrica61
Thank you - all of you - for your input and suggestions. They are so valuable for us. We have read a lot of articles about alzheimer's and dementia. We have been caring for them daily for the past 2 years, just not living day to day with them. I think it will be quite an adjustment for my husband and me. We have been married for 42 years and are just now able to get away from our jobs for a little R&R. I have gotten some family members (my children) to volunteer to help us out 2 evenings during the week so we can grocery shop,etc. I do realize that we will not be able to do this the remainder of their lives as their diseases progress. We have and are in the process of visiting establishments in order to make the decision when it is time.

Thank you and I will continue to keep on asking and contributing as time goes on. We are determined to bring a little joy into the end of their better days of life.
As others have said this site is a Godsend for us now and former caregivers no one understands what it is like unless they have walked in our shoes-I still feel such a connection even though I am now a widow but have made so many good friends here I still come on from time to time and you will know when the time comes that you no longer can do it but make sure you let others know when that time comes I was waiting for others to tell me when I could no longer care for my husband by myself and I great counsoler told me I had to rescue myself and when I did others agreed with me which was two years after I really knew it was too much for me.

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