My husband found a key and got into the Medicine drawer and took who knows what and how much.

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It is a never ending battle. He is obsessed with taking pills. His mother was too with her Alzheimers. And I am so exhausted that I am having a hard time keeping up with me. After forcing myself to get out of bed and showering, I have to sit back down and rest before I can make his breakfast.

I finally have a M-F caregiver for a few hours. That is stressful in itself because there is a woman in my house, moving things where I can't find them, doing things not the way I do them, etc. etc. I am trying to be patient with her, her mistakes, her dropping and breaking things. After a year of looking, I finally found someone I can afford. I cannot keep up with the house, his regular meals, and him.

She will need a LOT of training and patience on my part. But at least the dishes are done, the floors are mopped, and the dirty bathrooms are clean. That I can appreciate immediately. That feels great.

But I just can't rest with her and my husband, both needing constant attention and my having to correct their mistakes. And my exhaustion is beyond belief. The depression is debilitating just as much.

I am trying to get out of the house to do fun things, but I don't have the energy nor the interest. I just feel like I am losing the fight. And doctors aren't much help outside of medications. I am already on an antidepressant. Medications don't help much with my Fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis.

I am trying to be grateful and positive, but all I want to do is go to bed and stay there forever. How does one keep on like this? How do I go on to keep my husband healthy until he passes? I feel like I will go before him and that terrifies me because there is no one else to care for him.

I don't see any light at the end of this endless, dark tunnel because I will soon have my mentally ill brother to care for as well.

Any suggestions on how to keep ME going? Should I be making arrangements for my husband in the event I get so sick that I can't take care of him any longer? What kinds of arrangements?

Who can help me figure out the financial arrangements for his care? Anybody have a miracle cure? A magic pill? Thanking you in advance for your advice and your support.

13 Comments

First things first, you need to immediately make other arrangements for your brother. You cannot care for two adults 24/7; it is beyond anyone's physical and mental capabilities.

The other person in the house is there to help not cause stress. Make it clear to her what her responsibilities are and there is to be no moving around of anything. Maybe it is time to look for other help if this one is causing you distress. You do need time to just take care of yourself.
You have to let some stuff go. Be specific with what you want cleaned. If something is in the cleaning ladies way, have her put in a clear plastic box, so you can readily find it.

I agree that your husband is going to outlive you, at this rate.

My sister was buried on her 70th birthday. She could not "let go." And she was disabled with RA. But running her life and putting up with mother, hastened her demise.

Mother went to a NH, where she will be 96, soon. She is thriving. She really needed 24/7 care. What is stopping you from putting your husband in a facility? It is hard at first, but it gets better.

If you die, he will be in a NH, within the hour. I think that you have done all that you can physically do. Bless you.
Sorry but there is no magic pill or answer!

I agree with the above comments. You need to make some other arrangements for his care soon before you end up going under totally from the pressure of it all. Your meds alone are not going to help as long as you remain under the same amount of stress that you are under. One person can only take so much.

I am concerned that your husband "got into the medicine drawer and took who knows what and how much." Please call his doctor's office or the pharmacist and ask them for advice about this or call 911 for help since you have no idea what he took or how much. That sounds dangerous to me!

I gather from your comments that you do not have any children, relatives, friends or church members who could help in this crisis situation.

Would your husband qualify for hospice?

Do you have a family CPA or Lawyer who can help you make financial arrangements?

Do you have medical and durable POA for your husband?

Has his doctor said anything recently about the level of care that your husband needs in light of what level his Alzheimer's is?

What resources do you and your husband have to pay for his care.?

Why is your mentally ill brother coming to live with you? You are already not healthy yourself with all of the strain and depression you are dealing with. He really needs to make other arrangements. You have a very big heart to be willing to take him in, but at this point your heart and body are beyond overload.

Do call about your husband taking those meds randomly and take care of yourself. Good luck and keep in touch.
Oh, certainly "No" to any mentally ill brother coming in. He is not your responsibility.
Even if promises were made years ago to your parents or brother himself, things have changed. You cannot physically care for anymore people. That's why promises really shouldn't be made regarding long term care. You just never know what the circumstances will be when the time arrives.

Is this housekeeper a home health aide or is she a maid. In other words, is cleaning her only duty? Take time to map out to yourself first, and then to her, EXACTLY what needs to be done. You call her a caregiver, but then only mention cleaning, so I was wondering. Perhaps it would be best to let her be a caregiver to your husband and then either you do the cleaning or hire an additional housecleaner, such as Molly Maids or some such. They are trained and professional and can get in and out in a short time.

We had a discussion earlier about keeping medicines locked up and out of sight. It sounds as though you need to change the way you store them, if he found the key and automatically knew what it was to open. Did you have his stomach pumped? If he's bound and determined to find and take medicine, there might be a placebo (sugar pill) that you could leave out for him. Talk to his doctor about that possibility. You may need to keep his meds in a locked box inside a locked cabinet inside a locked room.

Try to find time to do something that is relaxing for you, even if you can't leave the house. Whether it be television, music, reading, sewing or crafting. When the weather warms up, perhaps yardwork would be relaxing. Invite the neighbor or friend over for coffee, nothing fancy, just companionship.

We all wish there was a magic pill. Dementia affects everyone around a person, throw in other ailments and sometimes it is just too much for one person to take care of. Yes, you should consult with someone regarding protecting your assets in the event of placement in a facility. Good luck, hon. We may be in different boats, but we're all floundering around in the same ocean.

I looked at your profile and saw that you have been the caregiver for a number of family members with "three to go". That's insane. If at all possible, your husband and brother need to be in care facilities. No one could do this alone. Do you have any friends or relatives who can help you make this happen?
WOW, Flem. While there is a need for some control, you have to let some things go. Do not stay in the home, or get a nap or something when the caregiver is there. Are you sure it is her moving things? My Mom is a constant mover and rearranger, always trying to get things just right. And it never ends. On the medication, you need to put that key in a place where it will not be found, or accessed, around your neck? in your shoe? My mom does the same thing and will take meds if I do not have them secure, because she doesn't remember taking them already.

Your husband is very sick. You cannot keep him healthy until he passes. If you pass before him, you need a plan in place that someone, probably a facility will care for him. And it sounds as if it is time for him to be placed now, while you have some sort of sanity remaining. And do not start to care for another. Care for yourself.
I'm not going to address the issues the others have - I think they've covered them well. I'm going to offer a suggestion to you. I also have fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis, and suffer from depression. Getting out of bed is hard. The hardest thing I do is take a shower. It exhausts me. What helps? Going to water exercise classes. Now I'll be honest with you - I haven't gone in a very long time, but if you've got a caregiver coming in, and you can find water exercise classes specifically for arthritis sufferers or for seniors (they make sure the exercises are low impact and the water is warm enough), I guarantee it will help you. Both the physical ailments and the depression. The hard part is getting the motivation to do it. Good luck.
I also have fibro and the host of other accompanying conditions that go along with it. I can tell you a trick I learned. Take baths....do not shower. Showering wears you out almost immediately. I fill the tub while I'm in it. I lay back to wet my hair I sit up to shampoo it, lay back to rinse it and sit back up. Then I add Epsom salts. I soak for a bit then wash with a poof and bathwash. Not as clean as a shower, but you don't get wiped out. Try it. Seriously! Hth!
Thank you all so much for your suggestions and support. We do not have any relatives who can take care of him when I pass. He will definitely be put into a NH right away and I feel so bad about that.

His OCD has been a real problem because of his constant search for pills to take. He even uses 4 tea bags instead of one per cup of water. I had to also hide all the herbal/medicinal tea bags because we don't know what is causing his stomach issues. I took him to the doctor for that and the missing toe nail which I did not know about. We don't know what happened to the toe nail nor can we identify what is causing his loose stomach.

The caregiver is getting into the mode of keeping an eye on him as her first and most important priority. She just started cleaning and reorganizing things (I have been very negligent in that area) while he sits and watches TV for hours. And I have no idea why she disconnected my printer and put it away and the cord in a different place. I know that my messiness and disorganization are a real problem for her. She is trying to please. But, I am working with her on just taking care of my husband and making his meals, (the two things I was having the hardest time doing). It is taking time to train her but she seems to be getting the hang of it.

I will definitely try the baths. And I will check into the aquatic center here in town. They sound very relaxing. It is just stressful to have another person in your house when all you want is to be alone and quiet.

I also will go to the nearby Alzheimer's facility I had my MIL up to last year when she passed. It is an excellent home. Expensive, of course. But I will try to see if I can arrange something for him. The only other locked facility in my area is quite a distance away for me to visit every day. Plus, it smells bad and the care is not compassionate. I would need to be with him every day to make sure he gets good care, but the drive would be difficult.

My brother has no one else who wants him. He is very difficult. I am his POA. But I know that I will have to bring him to my state and find a state facility for him. I will have to visit him and hope to keep him safe and healthy there. The facilities in his city are Horrible!!!! Ten days in a psyche hospital resulted in such injuries that he required 20 days in a regular hospital. It was a nightmare! The facilities in my state are much better, but not great. That is going to be a very hard thing for me to have to do since he will call and beg me to bring him home. I practically raised him.

I do have a POA and Guardianship for my husband in our Revocable Living Trust. But how do you know when it is time for a facility? He found a check in the mail, went to the bank to cash it and bought groceries while I was asleep. Then the next day, he can't count the money in his wallet. One day he is clear and the next he is in another world. He is incredibly clean and can still feed and clothe himself. But he cannot cook nor think logically, nor remember, nor take care of himself. He cannot talk to express what he wants.

When he is clear thinking, he will not do well in a facility. He will be clever enough to find a way out. As law enforcement, I am sure he could pick the locks. That is my dilemma. He is at such a difficult stage of dementia. Smart enough to get into trouble, but cannot care for himself any more. I just don't know if he is ready for a facility. Or better yet, if they are ready for him. Is there a way to make that decision?

Again, thank you all so much. I truly appreciate your responses as I feel so alone.


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