I have a full time job, part time job, husband, a 6-year-old and my mother is being evaluated for dementia. What do I do now?

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Does your mother live with you and your family? A year ago my husband and I built a separate home, attached to our home, for his mother and I have been caring for her; she is 86. My advantage is that I am retired and of course no young children at home. We know she has dementia but we suspect that she could be developing Alzheimer's. It seems that you have your hands full with jobs and your own family......is skilled care in a nursing facility something you could consider? There are a lot of different reasons why families are reluctant to place a parent in one, but sometimes it is just necessary. It doesn't mean you don't love them......but they can get around-the-clock care that may be difficult for you. My own mother placed herself in a nursing home not far from me and she couldn't be happier. She gets waited on and pampered and she likes it. Also, hiring someone to come in once or twice a week might be an option. The thing I have to keep reminding myself of daily is that the dementia causes them to say or do things that they ordinarily wouldn't. Just be patient......and remember to take care of yourself first or you won't be able to care for your mother.
It is good to learn about the course of the disease, even though it is painful to hear about what's coming up in the future, but you can then think it through and plan your strategy. Usually it lasts for many years, and they need more and more help. Hope this helps.
I would definitely call the Alzheimer's Association or go to their website: www.alz.org

The Alzheimer's Association can send you free information on the disease, as well as caregiver's groups in your area. I belong to a caregiver's group at my church and you learn a great deal from other people dealing with the disease.

If your mother has the beginning stages of Alzheimer's, then it is important to get her on medications that will slow the progress of the disease. However, the medications only go so far.

I wish you and your family the best.
Wow, you have your hands full. First thing to do is acknowledge that you can't do it all. Are there other siblings that can help. Are there support groups in your area? Has she seen the Dr. for an evaluation and treatment? A local home health agency may be able to assist if she want's to remain at home and family members don't have the time or capability to help. Other ideas for assistance are Adult Day Care programs, and assisted living facilities. One final piece of advice...find the humor in the situation. It's easier to laugh with your mother than to always be frustrated by her memory loss. She isn't deliberately forgetting.
Top Answer
I'm so sorry to hear about your mom. What a difficult time. Others have offered you good advice.

Whatever the diagnosis turns out to be, I would urge you to get legal things in place, such as a living will, power of attorney, etc. while your mom is still able to be involved. Not an easy topic to bring up, but so necessary. As I type this, I realize I need to carry through on my own vow to get my own legal house in order should I suddenly be incapacitated.

Wishing you the best. Let us know how things go if coming here proves helpful to you, as I think it will. Take care.
Hi Renee~I have read many of the suggestions and they seem to be quite good. When my Mom was diagnosed with AD--I was in contact with my local chapter of the Alz Association---and started to attend support group meetings-and gather as much information as possible. Inasmuch as you have a very busy schedule, you can call them on their helpline 24/7--and the # is (800) 272-3900. They may offer many options to help get you thru all this. Since their is no cure for AD, if that is the problem-KNOWLEDGE is the next best thing, as it will prepare you with different and possible behaviors that could take place. (as well as legal advice) Lastly, DO NOT forget about yourself-and try to arrange for some ME-TIME to avoid burnout.
Good luck to you on your journey~
Hap
I would consider finding a support group... and the Alz.org is a good place to start. Does your Mom live with you? If so is there a facility that does respite care? Very often senior centers or even nursing homes will offer day time respite. This can be very helpful for you and your Mom... take care, J
First things first!
At this point your mother is only being evaluated for dementia. You should not jump to any conclusions until that evaluation is complete. Be sure to be with your mother when she receives the results so you can ask the doctor all the questions your mother will not care to ask or even remember the answers. Most important question is "What treatment is available and what do you recommend?" If this turns out not to be Alzheimer's, then there are many treatment options available but most require careful supervision so the patient does not "forget" to take the medicine exactly as prescribed. If this does turn out to be Alzheimer's then all of the advice offered by the previous responders is right on the money.
But I would still like to have more information before making any specific suggestions:
1) Is your husband able/willing to help you take care of your mother if it comes to that?
2) Do you have siblings who will also share the care duties?
3) Are you and your husband able/ willing to contribute financially toward your mother's care without putting your own financial situation at risk?
These are just some of the questions you will need to answer once the evaluation is completed and you know what you need to do for your mother.
But FIRST THINGS FIRST
Hi rmzuch...

No fun! Especially no fun because when we have uncertainties. Unfortunately, our minds rarely rest on the better possible outcomes. So as ezcare noted, don't automatically jump to conclusions.

In dealing with what you now experience though, let me suggest your life and the lives of your family members will almost surely be quite a bit easier if you resolve right now not to EXPECT your Mom to reasonably, logically or rationally act or speak out of what a sound memory might provide. If in fact she is progressing more deeply into Dementia and/or Alzheimer's Disease... she simply cannot help herself. Moreover, every single thing she thinks is to her... ABSOLUTELY real and to disagree or even become agitated toward her (even privately in your own mind) does nothing except exacerbate the difficulties of the situation which will, of course, bring upon you and yours even more stress to deal with.

rmzuch... Except for health and safety issues, as difficult as it likely is to hear, let me suggest you and yours earnestly endeavor to AVOID expecting much similarity to what you've already known about her relationship toward reality to be a part of your Mom's forthcoming relationship with you. Just be exceedingly joyful when you discover she is at least for the moment, 'thinking right'.

Again, except for health and safety issues, you must strive to internalize the reality that everything from the family atmosphere to the calmness of your own innermost heart will be more at peace when you learn to 'go with the flow' of wherever your Mom's mind happens to be at that particular moment. Your inner peace depends upon both your willingness to as well as the actuality of 'going with the flow' of where she then happens to mentally reside.

When you internalize the reality of that concept, you'll then be in a mental and emotional situation to endeavor to better nurture your Mom's own inner peace by expanding on that reality. She simply doesn't/won't know any better. And remember, the more peaceful and joyful your Mom is, whether based on reality or not, the less stress you and yours will experience.

It's a tough mental and emotional transition to make, rmzuch, but it is far better for all involved to deal with the reality that she simply cannot help herself.

A very, very poor example, I grant you... when a baby cannot help but pee in his or her diapers, the best course of action is not to encourage the progression of stress because of the baby's inability to reasonably, logically or rationally cease such an activity. Rather, just recognize peace and joy for all concerned will only be born through understanding and then nurturing the positive aspects of what the baby might... might... then relate to.

All of our deepest sympathy as well as a hope we've been of some assistance...

V

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