dahuser Asked January 2009

Is it wrong to insist that they do things on their own and only offer assistance if I know he can't do it?

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I'm new to this sight and I think divine intervention led me here today! It has been a particularly bad day dealing with my 92 year old father who has mid-stage dementia, diabetes and congestive heart failure. He's become so dependent on me and lately has been asking me to do things that I know he's capable of doing for himself. Tonight I had had enough of his demands and blew up! I even told him if he wasn't happy here to find someplace else to live! I felt horrible after I said it but he's really pushing my buttons lately. My husband was understanding and backed me up because he hates to see my dad make me jump through hoops all the time. Is it wrong to insist that they do things on their own and only offer assistance if I know he can't do it? I don't want dad to feel like I don't want him here but I don't want him to become totally dependent before his time. How do I back this up without feeling so much guilt?

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dahuser Jan 2009
Welcome msssarge - Wow does that sound familiar! Your mom and my dad could be twins! My husband gets home from work about 4:00 and sometimes I need to run an errand. If I am out of his sight for five minutes, he sits and looks at the door until I get home. He just wants all the attention on him all the time. If I serve my husband dinner before him, he acts hurt and pouts and wants to know "where's mine". I think they must all get very self centered and jealous if we give any attention to anyone else but them. I had another little blowup with dad yesterday over his shower. I asked him to undress while I prepared the bathroom and he said "aren't you going to undress me?" Now this is a man who every night goes in, undresses, and puts on his pj's by himself so I know he can do it. His aides spoil him too and I'm going to have to talk to them about that because now he expects it. Sometimes I just do it so I don't have to listen to him complain but most times I just let him do it. I don't have brothers or sisters. It's just me so it's left to me. I love it that family members always are quick to criticize and judge yet do nothing to help out! The guilt will pass - mine has and now I just realize that I'm doing the best I can with a difficult situation. We are only human. We do what we do because we love our parents and don't want them in a nursing home. I get through one day at a time with alot of prayer and the help of a wonderful husband and daughter. I praise God for them!! Hang in there!
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msssarge Jan 2009
I am fairly new to this sight. but as i was reading your post i couldn't believe that i too just yesterday had a blow up with my 85 year old mom. wow guilty is not the word for it. i too push my mom to do things i know she can but there are days i have come to accept shes not going to do it. she has home health aids that come 4 days a week for 2 hours to give her a shower and dressed for the day. i don't feel real comfortable in my own home when they are there so my husband and i leave for a little while and come right back. if we would go to lunch or just anything what took us so long. after the blowup yesterday i set with mom today and told her just how i felt. i have 4 sisters and 1 brother all live within 10 miles except one who lives in tenn. when my mom asked me to mom in because she was not feeling to safe at night and being i was the one taking her to most of her appts. and visiting her i said yes why not think of myself. wrong they haven't spoken to her since april of 2008. walked away and left my mom and i to figure it all out. well we have she is doing as well as can be expected for 85 with sugar, arthritis, copd and low blood. she has improve health wise alot. the only correspondence i've had with my siblings was 2 nasty letters of accusing me of being a thief and neglecting my mom . she has nothing but social security and no savings and we live in our home not hers. they don't know anything about us and for now just content trying to make things work here at home. my mom has her aids right where she wants them. they definately spoil her and just the other day they called and said i was needed to come home as my mom was having pains in her chest. got home shes in her chair no shower didn't eat all her breakfast. bp was good and so was her pulse. she was on a strong antibiotic for uti and it gave her heartburn. i gave her a nexium she settled right down and when they left she went to bed where i might add she goes every sat. afternoon for 4 hours. my mom is real savy with her meds and she knew to try and nexium but she was upset because i left in the morning because we had bad weather and didn't want me to go out. just drama. right now nothing i can't handle. just would like to spend a little r&r with my hubby overnight break would be nice. but right now feel to guilty. thats a terrible word and i wish i didn't have to use it.
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DianeR Jan 2009
hi Kelleybean,
for sleep, I use "seroquel" for the Alz. patient which works great and we both can sleep at night, which is wonderful ! It's what the his doc (who is geriatric specialist) said is best of elderly people.

And, b/c of teeth issue, we use NuNaturals stevia, which is a really good sugar substitute, but not chemical gross things, but only natural - it comes from bark of a tree in S.AMerica and the people down there have been using it for 2000 year.

Best of luck with your Mom ;)
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195Austin Jan 2009
Dahuser--I agree the pills help me a lot esp. the husband stopped all his physc meds about 2 1/2 months ago he is luckey he did not have problems stopping cold turkey and even our son scoled him last night- but he is an adult so it is up to him I will get out more as soon as the wheather gets better and for now I have my room to go into and days the aide does not come I let him sleep late and I go to bed early I will take hin to church once and if he acts up someone else can take as I asked months ago for them to do- I was all set to put my wedding ring but won't for a while-I will not go back to being a stepford wife again.
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dahuser Jan 2009
This is a wonderful idea! The library here is a great resource for old movies and musicals. They also have DVD's and books on tape. Sometimes even childrens stories or short stories are easier for dementia patients to follow. My dad is losing his sight but he can still listen to old musicals if I turn them up loud!

Also, I went to see my doctor last week and he took one look at me and my blood pressure and prescribed a mild anti-anxiety medication that I take at night. It helps me sleep and also takes the edge off during the day. I've been in a much better frame of mind. I'm not saying that drugs are the answer but be aware that there are some wonderful new medications when we get over-stressed and overwhelmed!
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lindagalvao Jan 2009
For folks that can't follow a tv show or movie anymore, think about shows that are entertaining at any given moment even if you don't remember what happened two minutes ago.

* The old classic musicals are great - the music and dancing can keep someone's attention even if they can't follow the story at all. The Music Man, The Sound of Music, anything with Shirley Temple, etc.
* Classic comedians like Bob Hope, Red Skelton, the Three Stooges, etc. can work because the jokes are short and include funny visuals. Plus, even if an older person can't name the entertainer, there's often a recognition there that adds to the attraction.
* There are DVD's or videos available featuring familiar musicians, too. You can find great Perry Como and Lawrence Welk videos at Amazon.com.
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dahuser Jan 2009
Thank you so much for alerting me to this book. I'll see if I can get a copy. I think it always helps to have a professional opinion on these issues. As a daughter, sometimes I have to take a step back and look at this more clinically. I try to understand what the brain is going through rather than just focus on the behaviour. I think we tend to forget the underlying causes of this dreadful disease.
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cmnymail Jan 2009
I just finished reading a new book "MEMORY LESSONS" - by Jerald Winakur, a geriatrician. He eloquently and poetically describes the challenges faced not only taking care of the elderly, but also in taking care of his own seriously failing parents.
It explores both at home and institutional care, but does it in a very personal empathic way. As a psychologist who deals with the elderly and their families, I found this beautifully written and very helpful.
Dr. Charles Merrill
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KelleyBean Jan 2009
i went downstairs and never got to ask her if she knew anyone! she listened as i talked etc and got to giggling over dahusers little people under the furniture and picking battles. she didnt know that my mom has dementia and she visits a man who is in early stages so i was just telling her little things to come if she decides to stick around. i might go back down after my mom gets up in a little bit. she normally wakes up around 1:30a.m and starts banging around the house and needs direction.
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joalhenry Jan 2009
No, I think it's a great idea. It gets you out of the house and away from your own problems and situations. It's always easier, at least for me, to clean someone elses house. It's funner to. It gives me a little extra money. I clean 2 days a week. Depending on what someone wants you to do is how you charge. However, you have to take into consideration their income and willingness to pay what you are asking. I have friends who clean for 3 hours and ask for about $25.00 to $30.00 and hour. I clean for this couple for $50.00 for three hours. Here in the midwest that's not too bad. Anyway, I at times look forward to cleaning. Because this couple is older, they usually want to talk. And, I get to vent and they listen and kind of give me there perspective on things. It would get you out of the house and able to talk to a few people. I think it's a great idea, yes, even in your emotional state it may do wonders.
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