anonymous40843 Asked December 2011

How do you know when it is time for more help for your loved one whether it be someone coming into our home for care or time for assisted living?

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Mom's dementia is taking it's toll on my personal family life now. My husband and 17 year old daughter sat me down this past weekend and told me they feel it's time for more help to take care of my mother who is middle staged dementia. She is requiring more of our free time and we have no privacy as she lives on the second floor apartment of our home. She is constantly in our apartment either looking for someone to fix her tv or just looking for company. She does not remember how to dial the phone and comes down stairs numerous times a day. I have no time to be intimate with my husband and my poor daughter is always going upstairs to fix tv's, bring meals and meds and whatever else needs done. My poor family is now taking to hiding around the house so they don't have to do stuff and unfortunately I am now trying to hide too. I feel guilty on both counts. I totally understand where my family is coming from but I love my mom and I don't know what to do. If you have any suggestions it would be helpful. Thank you.

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geewiz Dec 2011
My Mom was in the independent side of a continuing care community when she began to have cognitive issues. I began to go every day to keep her on an even keel Then I brought in housekeeping help, and some aides etc. Finally, I brought in a friend that was unemployed. I told my Mom that this woman was considering working with seniors and needed to get some experience before she could apply for a position. When I needed more help, I asked the churches near my Mom's place to post something on their bulletin board for a companion. I got 2 additional people that helped me. They were very kind to my Mom and gave me some time to myself. I lived 30 minutes away so it was a help to have a "free day." Eventually (months not years) I brought in a live-in aide. About 10 weeks later, Mom had an accident and broke her hip. We moved her from rehab to an assisted living facility very near me. None of our homes were suitable due to stairs and no walk in shower. The ALF has appropriate activities ALL DAY long. They make sure she has her meds, etc.etc. It's a 5 minute drive for me so I can stop by every day. I believe most of the guilt is of our own making, my Mom has never asked about "going home". She seems content and is cared for 24/7. With so many people out of work, if you can afford help, there are many who would welcome the extra income.
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Hannalee Dec 2011
Yeah, that's exactly why we need people. My mother is really social and I feel like I can't take care of her other needs and be her friend 24/7 as well. It's terrible to think they are lonely. My mother has resisted having someone and I have to use my ingenuity to make it more acceptable. We also have a spare bedroom and someone is interested in doing a barter, the room for some kitchen cleanup. When everything is in place she does better with it. She actually does like the person helping her with her exercises. She enjoys talking to her. Another person I hired to help in the kitchen she didn't like. I liked her fine, I really didn't think it was for any good reason. But I guess to a certain extent you have to respect their feelings. Just glad she doesn't feel like that about everyone!
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Thanks for the tip. Does you mom like it now? That is what were have to do as well. Bring the woman in as she is our friend and introduce her and then let her gradually become mom's friend and companion. We may only do a couple days a week just to give mom more social time more than anything so she is not so lonely and my cousin is going to take her for a day.
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Hannalee Dec 2011
I hope you can afford to hire someone to come every day for even a couple of hours. That person can help solve problems (TV, pills) and be a companion. I just hired someone for my mother who helps her do exercises. That way my mother doesn't think she needs babysitting.
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Thank you. She just came to me last night and said she wanted to die because she just doesn't feel right. She knows that things are changing and she is losing her independence. I cried as she looked like a confused child and that's not the mom I know. My cousin and I have decided to get her more involved in things so she feels needed again instead of just sitting around the house all day. She is going to bake cookies tomorrow with my cousin and her daughter's hopefully. We all have to step up to the plate and then we can hire a caregiver to give us respite during the week. If we all so just a bigger amount then mom hopefully will be better and my family will be happier.
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JaneB Dec 2011
That sounds like a smart idea -- bring someone in. It will give everyone a respite. You will reach a point where caring for her at home isn't in HER best interests, and that's another bridge to cross. But paid respites at home is a smart solution for now. It's a "put the oxygen mask on yourself first" move. Good luck to all of you!
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My gut tells me to keep her there as that is where I know she is most comfortable and secure. She knows what this disease is doing to her and she knows that she has family who loves her and is helping her through it. I feel if we move her somewhere else it would destroy her and she would feel abandoned. The social worker said day care would not work for mom and she advised against it. We just want some time to be a family alone at times without the fear of being interrupted or just popping in. I think a caregiver maybe during the days or mid afternoon to early evening might be helpful. Mom needs interaction but does not do well in public anymore. She just retired from making home made pasta in August in part because of her memory and also her shoulder is bone on bone now and she is in a great deal of pain. Just someone to do light housekeeping, have a meal with her or take her out to lunch and those types of things. What did you mean when you said as the disease increases it got easier. I am finding it so much harder right now. Is this the worst stage she is in now? My guilt is just eating me up alive. I feel torn between my personal family and my mother. My husband and daughter have been great but I guess now they are getting to the point that mom is becoming worse and we need outside help.
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This is a difficult decison for you, your stuck in the middle. What is your gut saying? I understand where your coming from. I chose to take care of mom for the long haul but my husband used to fight me every step of the way. We went through some tough times relationship wise, but I stood my ground. The best thing I did was take mom for some daycare visits. The PCH home that I took mom to for these visits was wonderful even though I did feel guilty. It was the break I needed for "us" and our family. At times, mom even stayed overnight. So we made plans and enjoyed every minute. I guess you learn to appreciate every breathing moment you can get away from caregiving and make the best of it. For me this worked. As mom progressed with dementia things got easier. I always kept mom on a schedule of sorts. So there was moms time and family time. Now mom is bedbound. So I know longer have to worry about her wandering around. I am able to sit down with my family and eat meals, or watch tv together.

Unfortunately, this stage your mom is in will progress. There is no time table of when. For my mom she went from mild to last stage in a little over 2 years. But my husband now sees what this disease can do and he has admit that he was wrong for fighting me. We are all mom has , my siblings turned their back years ago. So for me a placement for my mom outside of this home was no option.

I pray that you will find in your heart the best decision for everyone. Check into daycare in your area I would suggest to try that first, and then move onto outside help if still needed.
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