Sasebone Asked March 2011

When should a parent with Alzheimer's be placed in a memory care unit?

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Dad died March 6th in a nursing home. Mom was there with him for 2 weeks priior to his death. My sister and I wanted to keep her there but she eloped several times and we were told we had to find a Memory Care unit. After much looking we found one, but yesterday when we visited she seemed better than all the rest of the residents. We wonder if we put her in a place too soon. I don't know all the stages of Alzheimers. I am 18 years younger than mom, but been a caregiver of husband, grandchildren, etc. and have a part time job as well. I don't know how I can keep her at home while I work; however the guilt of leaving her at the Memory Care unit is eating me up. It is too far away to visit but once a week. She has only been there one week.

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My husband gave up driving, his car has been sold. He sleeps 75% of the day, my problems are 25% of his waking hours. I try so hard to be patient, loving - but then he gets to accusing me of taking his money, making him sell his car, etc. He is not physically abusive. The dr said that I could die before him because of what I am going thru as his caregiver. I don't have any money for someone to come in and help, but will get more information from the VA. Besides becoming violent - does anyone feel that the caregiving has to end before you end up in the hospital?
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rachael1595 Sep 2012
I went to get my mom who had been living on her own for all of her life. She was diagnosised with Alzheimers 5 years ago but the doctor said since she was older it may take a little longer before the really tough symptoms are displayed. This past January (2012), my husband and I decided to go and get her because she was still lucid and strong but you could tell she was changing. Things worked well until 2 weeks ago (middle of September). She now is in the area of sundowning and it has become very difficult for her and my family. She is only sleeping 2 hours a night and is very agitated and upset the rest of the night. My husband and I stay with her until it passes but we both work. He works nights to be with her during the day and I work days and am home at night. We are literally exhausted but my father died in a nursing home that was awful. My mom and us kids spent almost every waking moment with him there for two years and I vowed that my mother would not go through that. He contracted ersa from the nurses not being clean and died there. Now she so aggressive that she is dangerous to herself and to the family at night. But I feel like crap even considering one for her. This is so hard for me. I cry everyday thinking about what I may have to do (nursing home facility).
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Lovingmom Feb 2013
I agree with OncehatedDIL. We should not sacrifice our lives and families to take care of someone who really needs more care than you can give them. I have struggled with what to do too, but finally realized that the best choice for my mother with Alzheimer's is where she is , in a decent nursing home. It is not perfect and I wish she could be in a more home like setting, but I can see her deteriorating and I know I could not take care of her at home as it would not be safe and I would soon be worn out. That wouldn't help anybody.
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My mom and dad lived in Florida for their retirement. A common subject in their crowd's discussions was the number of caregivers that died before their carereceivers. Living with constant exhaustion and stress will destroy your health and bring on an early death. While I am sure that there are people who feel such self sacrifice is your duty.....I don't agree. I believe we should make sure our loved ones are in a safe place. I don't believe that sacrificing our lives and homelife is required. To sacrifice everything for the care of an terminally ill person can be a self destructive behavior.

We knew in just one week that we were over our heads with my MIL's care. She requires 24 hour survellience and support. At times I wonder if we need to consider placing her in memory care. Her SNF says not yet, but on her bad days I think we are asking too much of them in regards to her care. The other patients are depressed by her crying jags.
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Felix1 Dec 2013
my mother has Alzheimer's...what you would call early to mid level stage. Additionally, she goes to Kidney Dialysis 3x per wk. She is also an alcoholic, who has been in lock-down 30 day trtmt apprx 25 yrs ago. This served no useful purpose, being that she compared her condition to numerous other women, and had concluded she was not in any way shape or form near as bad as them. She continued drinking almost immediately upon returning home, and lied to our entire family about it for 2 yrs. Her alcoholism has been the biggest problem regarding the overall dysfunction of our family for the past 50 yrs. Her profound state of denial has not only hurt each of her children, her husband of over 40 yrs (passed away 2 yrs ago), but also her grandchildren. She has always been the "closet alcoholic type, with extreme pride. Nothing has changed, even though her health this past 19 months has made it necessary for her to start Kidney Dialysis. This is because she has had an ongoing protein/urine problem for most of her life, which finally reached a serious level. Also, her family line carries "Alports Syndrome"..which destroys the kidneys. All the more reason she should NOT be drinking. Her primary dr is aware of everything, however, has, for reasons I do not understand, told her she is allowed to drink one glass of wine per night. Perhaps it's due to her age, and she knows at this stage in her life..my mom would never submit to a alcoholic recovery program. This is the situation...she can, nor will not stop at one glass of wine per night. So, as of now, I told her I will no longer purchase anymore alcohol for her. Also, perhaps more importantly, her memory is rapidly declining. She is now at the point of no longer knowing the days of the week. She has almost entirely stopped showering. She leaves the burner in the kitchen on regularly. When making coffee, she now forgets to put the urn on the burner, causing it to overflow. Just yesterday, she locked us out of the house, thus causing me to get a locksmith (we had to wait outside in the cold for an hr and pay $138)...I had clearly communicated to her that WE were not ready to leave for the store, as I looked directly at her. It is very apparent her memory is declining much more rapidly. I could add pages to this. Her choices of clothing in cold weather is a severe health concern, as she refuses to ware her warm jacket. This is the kind of woman you cannot force to do anything...only suggest, even then, she often gets extremely offended. This has become unmanageable for me. Due to her prideful nature, I am pitted into the "bad guy"...which is typical and what has happened in the past countless times when I have called attention to her inappropriate behavior. This time...I do realize, it's not her fault she has memory loss. I am very frustrated, but not angry, despite the fact when she drinks her alcoholic personality comes out full force. I'm use too this, as I have dealt with it my entire life. Question remains...would she be better off in an asst living environment? At least she would NEVER have access to alcohol (I seldom drink, and have been tested for alcoholism, which thankfully I am not), nor be able to ask me repeatedly to buy it for her. The other issue is...she receives alittle over $1,700 in social security per month. We do not have any additional money in which to add. Is their an Asst Living Facility that would accept that? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Sincerely, Suzanne
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medicalman Mar 2011
I understand. I am a professional care giver, a CNA. My main area of concentration is Alzheimer and dementia care. It is for one easy to feel guilty, but you do not need to simply because if you are weighing out her safety needs you are doing the right thing especially if she tends to wonder off. There are six stages to this disease as it is a form of dementia, a bad one of course as much as I hate to tell you that, but i think honesty is best. Every one progresses differently in the stages and in the behaviors as well. One suggestion I will make is to hire a caregiver and of course one who is trained in Alzheimer's care if you feel that is appropriate and comfortable for your situation of course. I do not know if there is any perfect time to or not to put mom in a memory care facility, I mean I think that depends on your ability to keep her safe at home with no worry per say that she will get out and get hurt or some thing. If you feel like mom is starting to progress in to later stages or is there it may be you need that help now. Talking to your doctor is wise if you have a good doctor you trust and have had a while or is versed in memory care issues is good. I think it all depends on you is how I feel and what you know you are able to and not able to do, if this makes sense to you. I understand the guilt part because this is mom and you love her with all your heart no doubt about it. If it is a facility you checked the state reviews and know people who has family there or get to know pther family member's if you place mom there that will help you some to get to know the staff and other family members. Alzheimer support groups are good because they help you deal with and handle what you are facing and educate you on the steps and so forth. There is reading and study material you can buy or go online and look up related topics and online studies to educate yourself to all of it. Understanding and training is a key in dealing with it - support as well. I mean this is your mom and I have one to and she is very ill herself not with Alzheimer's but other medical conditions, but it runs in my family and so I know the personal side of these issues as well as the professional side and it is tough, but doing the right thing based on your ability and capability o care for mom should be considered with out guilt because you would feel worse if some thing happened that you could not stop while mom was at home alone and I know you do not want that. If you are able or have the means a care giver is a great idea as long as they have experience with this type of care need, that is great to to relieve your fears. You just have a great big heart for mom I can tell and that makes me happy, just remember your health is important to or your stress level in the matter.
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JanetJ Sep 2012
My father was in a VA facility for 5 years and was grouped with people of similar capabilities. As the Alzheimer's progressed, he was moved to different care units so he could receive the care he needed. When he first entered, he could wander around, eat by himself and the nurses even took the men outdoors to putt. I believe that everyone deserves to be in the least restrictive and most stimulating environment possible. Keep in mind, though, that your mom may have had a good day while other residents may be having a bad day. Or perhaps some of the residents you observed are on the edge of the criteria or are waiting for a space to open up in another unit. I would ask the staff their opinion because they see your mom all day. Perhaps there are ways that your mom can be engaged even though other residents are not at her level. Another thought is that with the death of your dad, mom might be feeling lost and she is certainly grieving. My mother became psychotic and ended up in a geriatric psych unit in a hospital after loosing 2 brothers in a short amount of time. It is possible that the death of your father has affected her dementia.
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mistymom Oct 2012
i have found with my mother who has alzhiemers that with every serious thing that has happened in her life she got worse. she had 2 minor car accidents. then had a 3rd that totalled her new car. she came out with a bruised arm and no memory of the accident but started becoming paranoid. no more driving for her after 3rd wreck.(thankfully no one in accident was hurt bad) mom had a reaction to a medicine and after we discontinued giving it to her she got even worse mentally. started seeing people in her bedroom etc. scared her so bad she wouldnt sleep in her room. now lastly while getting her testing to go into assisted living she was coming out of doctors office and fell and broke her collar bone. doesnt remember it at all. doesnt remmber much of anything of her recent past and her older past memories are getting sketchy .... they say mom is level 4. I think she is farther along. Janet did they check your mother for a UTI? we recently found out mom had one and it affects their memory even more so and makes them nasty and parenoid. (something that totally surprised us)
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jeannegibbs Sep 2012
All care facilities are not created equal. (Neither are all home care situations!) If a professional care setting is best for our loved ones, we need to be their advocates. We need to do all we can to select a "good" place. And then we need to continue to advocate to ensure they are getting the best possible care the place is capable of. We need to visit often and be present by phone. They still need us as caregivers.

Sometimes dementia progresses to a level where it just is not feasible, even with help, to keep our loved ones at home.
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I have not had this experience personally, but have seen several friend/caregivers go through it. I don't know about the other reasons for putting an Alzheimers relative into a living place, but one definite time is when they begin to hit, or become violent. That will only escalate and you cannot take care of that in your home--at that point the person you love is a danger to you, the rest of your family and to him/herself.
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