What are my care options for a high-functioning mom with early dementia?

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Mom is very physically fit, vital and well groomed at 86, yet her dementia requires supervision. I relocated to live with and care for her 1 yr ago,and have now found a part-time job, requiring additional "mom care" 5-10 days/month. She is too high functioning for locked "day care", and the "bridge" precursor we visited today was too depressing for mom - the folks there did appear to lack vitality and attention to appearance, and mom felt very strongly that they were not people she wanted to befriend. We can't afford private in-home help - any ideas when family/friends can't help? Thanks.

Answers 1 to 10 of 12
I would also love to have response to this question!
Me too!
I suggest you visit the Catholic Community Services Office near you. They may well be able to help defray the cost of inhome care for the 15 hrs, especially if she is continent. This service helps all denominations and I support it yearly with donations!
Get your mom into a well known Alzheimer's specialist...they will give her a base line Memory test and be prepared to start some of the new meds...that are available at this time...to slow progression. Then remember...its not memory, its the emotions that are effected...and really set up a base with your mom. Call her daily see how she responds to daily pressure and family events...when you see changes...put them down on a list and give it to the doctor at the next visit. Neurologists know how to read those small signs. Watch for her physical abilities...ask her to take a low impact senior exercise class and tell her you will be talking to the trainer...that way if they notice she is changing they will report it to you and you to the doctor. Its the relationship you build now...with you, your mom and a good doctor...that will mean a slower decent of the mind. PS/any big event like a fall, a car accident, a bout with the flu can take away brain material and it is really slow to build back. This is so important because it could be 2-6 mos for her to repair her brain and you will see slipage at this time...once again, report things out of ordinary behavior to the dor in a letter that is as business like as you can write. No poor me's inside this letter...just explain things that happen between visits usually every six month at the beginning. George's first meds...were for stress to keep him calm, nothing for his memory, it was for his stress and emotions...good luck...I am very positive about your mom's care...because all she needs is a partner to walk her through the process...its scary alone...Blessings on all you are doing for her...francy Dickinson
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I have my mom in same condition and have put her in an assisted living. Shes doing wonderful. It does make a difference in the place. I checked all places available then someone recomended place shes at. They do so much exercise and craft and games she never gets bored. They also take them out to eat or shop. The right assisted living makes all the difference. I know I couldnt take care of her 24-7 so I felt this was my best option and care for her. Keep looking and one will provide what she needs.
Oh this one also has a dementia unit when she gets worse. Check for that as well. They know what to watch for and how to care for there needs.
These assisted living places can llok fabulous, but I have worked in my share, and as ritzy as some look, they can cut back on menu. I was asked to serve hamburger over rice in a very wealthy assisted home. Also the coed ones resist charting incident when a male does some unwanted advance toward a female, because they lose a placement. Then when the owner of an assisted facility is of a religion like (seventh day adventist) they don't have but a very minimal amount of meat protein for each meal, because they don't believe in meat, or drug prns. Also you should ask if other clients have any mental outbursts or physical outbursts. The last thing is to visit unexpectedly every once in a while. They are well aware of relatives that keep up and they make sure the client is happy.
Thanks for your input everyone. Quality assisted living would be ideal, but we can't afford that either. If we sold the house & used that to supplement mom's monthly income it would last about a year - then what? Mom's SS&pension combined income is too high to be ineligible for medicaid. How to financially manage potentially long term (quality) care with limited resources boggles the mind!!
we have no money for quality or any care...that is why I try so hard to help everyone that has a low or no budget...I have to figure out how to keep giving care to george for the long term...I refuse not to come up with answers...best wishes, francy
Robin, as Stephanie said, there are many wonderful places out there but it does take a lot of looking, calling, asking questions, and making visits.
One thing you might do is talk to a director and an ALF. Ask them what happens when a senior's income cannot quite cover their expenses. Some will switch over to Medicaid when that happens. (I know that there is one ALF in our area that does that). Or they accept whatever the resident can pay. These places do not want empty rooms. Because of the nature of their business, there is high turnover.
You will most likely find that in-home care is less expensive. Many companies will discount their hourly rate since you need weekly care. But it does take supervision of the staff, etc.
One other question: Was either of your parents a veteran? There is the Aid and Attendance benefit if they were. Let me know and I can give you more info about it.
Your instincts are correct about not placing your Mom in a memory care unit. These are usually for advanced cases or for folks who "wander."
Good luck. It took me a loooong time to find the right place, but it has worked out.
Thanks Stephanie. Dad was a veteran, but mom's monthly income disqualifies her from that benefit. I knew that ALFs used to take whatever income was left and/or switch over to Medicaid, but my research so far online led me to believe that was rarely the case anymore - I'm delighted to know that may still be an option. The info online @ those financial details is limited, though many of the facilities I checked out do not accept Medicaid at all.
A complicating factor is that I am unhappy in FL, and if we decide to take the step to an ALF in a year or so I hope to bring mom with me back to CA and do it there. I learned on my recent trip that with the support of my community there I will be a better caregiver - happier and with more potential for longevity in the role. I will try to plan time to evaluate ALF's in-person there on my next trip.

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