Recently found out my mother has dementia and am scared to death! Having lots of issues with her and for myself and need support and guidance as I'm an only child, unmarried and have no children to assist me in helping to take care of her and have been unemployed for a year and a half now and unable to find another job.

I currently live apart from my mother (about 30 minutes away) in California and have started going to her home more recently to assist her and am finding out that many challenges for her have been taking place for her unbeknownst to me as she hasn't told me she needed help with any of these issues.
For starters, she is forgetting or can't remember if she's taken her medications. I've recently tried creating a daily check list with time of day and medication for her to help her visually remember by but I'm afraid that's going to be based on if she remembers to refer to that list or not and not sure if this is going to work.

I also recently discovered that her finances are all screwed up as well. Her only means for financial support these days is what she gets from Social Security which isn't much as she no longer has any pension/retirement money coming in nor any savings as she was the victim of a sweepstakes scam a while back which basically cleaned her out financially before I was able to find out about it and couldn't recover from it. Would putting my name on her checking account suffice in order to take over her finances or is there something else I need to do?

She also owns her own home which needs a lot of work.. primarily right now .. sewage work and was wondering if there any programs/grants available to help the elderly for this issue?

As stated previously, I haven't been able to find work for over a year and a half now and have drained all my finances to stay afloat and keep my own house where I ended up getting on a federal program to temporarily make the house note (and can't sell for 5 years after I find work else will have to pay all that money back) and food stamps to buy food and charity loans from friends and am up to my own ears in other unpaid debts all while trying to look for work with my primary goal now to better help my mother and it has honestly been really really tough to say the least. It's been hard to stay positive when one thing after another, life has unfolded more and more challenges for me over this time to deal with and there are days I am so down that I can't find the strength to continue trying to look for work let alone deal with the constant fear of not being able to take care of my mother without a job.

Aside from what I've stated above... I just feel very very alone, frustrated and scared every day for the past year now constantly wondering on a daily basis how I'm going to get back on my feet to help her let alone fear for my mother about everything... Sometimes I just need to know I'm not the only one and am not alone is all.... Just tired of feeling helpless and tired!

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Find Care & Housing
I've been where you are. When I found out my mom had Alzheimer's, it was like someone punched me in the stomach and the air left the room. That was 2006. I've survived, so will you. With this comes the strength to handle it. I think that strength comes from God. Once you get past the shock, fear will be replaced by strength and a protective kind of love for your mom.

Where I live, I was able to get POA and health care proxy done for my mother for free because she had a low income. Perhaps you would qualify for same. Call your local Bar Association and ask if there's such a program in your area.

It seems like money for you and your mom is tight, but if you are able, there is a pill holder that holds 30 days worth of morning and night pills. It is alarmed and the alarm goes off when it's time to take the pill. It dispenses only the pill(s) to be taken at that time. Visit the Alzheimer's store on You could also get the 7-day pill holder from the drugstore. My mom found that to be sufficient for years.

It would also be helpful for you to contact your local Alzheimer's association and ask about support groups in your area. There you will meet people who have been doing this a while and you can share tips and experiences and make friends.

If your mom's income is limited, she likely qualifies for medicaid. Here in NY, medicaid will pay for 24 hour in-home care as well as nursing home care if it comes to that. As a medicaid recipient, your mom would need to be part of a "medicaid managed care" program, which is kind of like an insurance company. They coordinate all your care, including home care. Some of the more popular ones include centerlight, guildnet, and visiting nurse service. The medicaid managed care arranges for you to get home care.

I put my name on my mom's checking account in order to pay her bills and access her accounts online. It worked. If she doesn't have a lot of assets, I don't think that should be an issue.

At this stage of the game, my advice to you would be to enjoy your mother. Focus on all the things she still can do and that you enjoy doing together. Spend as much time together as you can. When I first found out about my mom, I began spending weekends at her place (I, too, was about 30 minutes away.) We walked, talked, reminisced. Those were precious times. Shortly after, I was laid off from my job for a year and a half, so I would spend 3-4 days a week at her place. I told her everything I wanted to tell her (both good and bad) and just let her know I loved her and I was with her.

On the practical side, have her doctor recommend the best neurologist he or she knows for a complete workup. Sometimes UTI or vitamin deficiency masquerades as dementia, so you want to be sure.

"Plan for two steps ahead." This is the best advice I ever received on my journey.

You'll learn a lot if you go to a support group. I don't want to overwhelm you now. Always come back here for help. This is a good group with a great body of knowledge. One thing I wish I had done when I was where you are was live in the present instead of worrying so much about the future. I was so scared my mother would have to go into a nursing home. The fact is, she didn't go into a nursing home until 8 years later, and even then, believe it or not, we have ha some laughs and precious times in the nursing home. Life's not over, it's just changing. So God bless. Know that you are no alone. Know, too, that even with this diagnosis, you and mom can still have wonderful and happy times.

its possible that youll deal with complete , illogic insanity before her life has ended . you can deal with it but you need to put aside anything youve ever learned about
" logic " before its over . a brain is failing . its beyond scary ..

You have come to the right place.

"Would putting my name on her checking account suffice in order to take over her finances or is there something else I need to do?"

To take over her finances, you really need for her to make you her durable POA if she is still competent. If not, you would need to become your guardian. However, that is costly which does not sound financially possible for you.

The other thing you need is medical Power of Attorney for her, if she is competent enough to give it to you.

Would she qualify for medicaid?

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter