Does it get easier, caring for someone with Alzheimer's and dementia. Not easier, just normal?

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I am caring for my 88 year old father in my home. He has Alzheimer's and Dementia and has been experiencing Sun-downers. He has just recently changed and now requires constant supervision and moderate to max assist with all ADL. Will I ever 'get' this? or is it futile trying. I also work full time and must work to live. It is really taking a toll on my family, even tho we all pitch in and help I am exhausted and heart broken during and after 'flare ups' of severe agitation and sleeplessness, sometimes lasting days at a time. I have even considered Nursing Home care for him, but feel really guilty about even thinking about it. I do feel even worse because I think there is treatment that is offered in a Home that would benefit him more than him being here with us. I just stumbled onto this website and am encouraged by seeing that others are going thru the same things as me. I think I need to hire a caregiver and don't even kno where or how to do that. My sister and I are trying our best. But we really need answers and Help. We live in Southern California. Don't have much money but my father does get Social Security and war pension, we feel like fish out of water here. I am amazed that Sun-downers actually exists! I thought it was something we made up.

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Sorry, I meant to reference your father instead of your mother. I'm sorry!
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WOW!!!! You sound like me 3 years ago minus my sister not helping at all.
I probably could write a book of all the things I've been through and still going through with my mom.

Since I am a list person, please look at the following as resources:

Contact the primary physician with your concerns. If a Kaiser Hospital member contact the Outpatient social service worker, contact Family Alliance if you live in California, Contact your or your father's church, Contact your job's HR re FMLA, Does your father have a will and POA? It will make life easier for you. Contact the Alzhiemer's Association website for assistance too. Oh! I almost forgot, GET INTO A CAREGIVER'S SUPPORT GROUP. There are plenty out there. You will need a outside caregiver to help you. You CANNOT work fulltime, care for family and care for your mom. There is Senior Helpers agency who helped me in the beginning; pricey but they can help. I suggested the above resources because I know they can help you in every area re this awful disease. You and your family are in my prayers!
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Find out about respite or what other types of elder care programs are out there. Cope is here in Washington. They are based on his income and if its like my moms which is not alot..we get it paid for completely. Look for support groups and co ops. I know there alot of people in the same boat as you. Sometimes trading duties for others makes it easier...I have only been in the game for about 4 months now, but have learned alot. This forum is also a big support..keep connecting here.
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jessebelle, O wow I am so encouraged by your answer. I do feel guilty and dreadful sometimes, and I am glad to read that this is normal. Although my sister is an RN and she works part time, and I myself am a non practicing LVN, we are working by trial and error. We try it if it works with him concerning transportation and getting him to eat and bathe with minimal assistance we do it if it doesn't we don't. When he is up in the wheelchair I keep him with me 24/7 which puts a strain on my marriage at times. My daughter in law is pregnant and so she helps out at times sometimes I think too much, but with the blended family and the new baby coming and the full time jobs I just don't see how we can continue. We shall see. Thank you so much girls for answering my questions. I have a list for the Social Worker. Is ther any particular questions I should ask her when she comes?
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jeannegibbs, my son, daughter in law, husband and sister take turns staying with him during the day, but the majority of time during the day it's my sister and my daughter in law during the week and me and my husband during the weekends and after I get out of work in the early day. Exhausting? Yes. I have contacted a Social Worker who is going to come visit us and give us some options. I am encouraged by this. Hopeful,..
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It gets harder. The disease gets worse.

With experience and reading and practice we may get better at caregiving. The disease keeps changing.

Once the needs increase to constant supervision and assisstance with all activities of daily living, one person cannot provide the best care in a home setting, in my opinion. Help is mandatory.

Who is with your father while you work?
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becisimonds, people not going through it don't know how hard it can be. There are good days and bad days, and an awful sense of dread that goes with it. People with progressive dementia do get worse physically, but sometimes their care becomes easier. I don't know how it will be for your father. Sometimes the best we can hope for is the Alz has a gentle course that will have some happiness mixed in with the hardship.

Do you know which stage he is in? If you want to keep your father at home, there are a couple of options. Many areas have home-care companies that will work for what Medicare will cover. We have one such company here is Alabama, where I am living right now. If you do not have such a company, your father may qualify for hospice. Hospice will also work for what Medicare will pay. Companies like these are so helpful because they help with the medical needs and the ADLs. Just having someone to give baths can be such a help!

It may be that you will ultimately have to place your father in a skilled nursing facility (SNF). But there are ways to help keep him at home if it is what you want.

We have people on the group who are more experienced with dementia than myself, and I know they will have much useful advice for you.
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