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I'm with my dad every day until I set him up for dinner and go home. He's okay for the most part and I monitor by an ADT security system with cameras and any doors that open to the exterior I get a text message and a video clip (to see if he exited) or I can watch live any time I wish. My question is this - I don't have backup; and as of today my doctor is threatening to hospitalize me for depression and exhaustion. What will happen to my dad if he's left alone?

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Hey everybody bi think i have a temporary fix to the problem. I go home everyday at the end of it. After that i monitor by cams. He cannot open a door that i dont know it immediately via text message. When i get one, i can view a 30 sevond video clip to see if he actually walked out. I assumed wandering would start at some point and it has. However. Up until 2 nights ago my dad would wake up 2-4 times a night and just look outside. Well i sleep with my phone and hear it every single time. Missed him actually going out the first time by 30 mins cuz i took pain meds for my broken hand (still has pins in it). I suspected i wouldnt hear my phone with thar medication so i set my alarm for 1 just to check and sure enough, i missed a call that the police brought himin the house cuz he was pacing the sidewalk in front of his house looking for his wife (been deceased for 23 years). So naturally i was afraid to sleep. Staying there isnt a good idea. Hevthinks im his girlfriend (the phone calls right after inleave for the day are disturbing all on their own because he calls upset that im dumping him and wants to know if i really want a relationship with him). So the next night the neighbor that keeps an eye out as much as possible went over to his house about 8:00 pm and gave him tylenol pm. We have both slept thru the night since and no more opening doors thru the night. Nobody can have their REM sleep continually interrupted and not pay for it with health in some way. Ive had 3 nights of sleep now and starting to feel a little better. Wish id thought of this sooner. It also helps the pain in his knees that they dontbwant to fix because "if im lucky they'll cripple him up and he wont be able to wander". For real?!? That made me sick. But i think we've got a temp fix for now. Thanks everybody for your input. Should know more on the blood pressure in a fewvdays.
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Emerald, it's no joke that caregivers can die from stress before their elders. Take a deep breath now. Go for a "power walk" outside. It well let you think more objectively, and help your BP at the same time. You need to at least get respite care for your Dad so you can take care of yourself. As for Medicaid, I made the application for my Mom (I am her POA & HCP), and she stayed in the NH facility under "Medicaid pending" status which did not get fully approved for almost a year. (The social services people at the hospital found the NH bed for her). During that time, I paid the NH as if the Medicaid was active. They took her SS check, minus her Medigap insurance premium, and minus a $35 monthly allowance for personal expenses (big deal). So you should be able to get him into a facility sooner than you think. You don't have to manage entirely alone. At least start with your county social services agency. Utilize the free services of a patient care coordinator to help you through the maize. Call Medicare to send out a Nurse Evaluator to get the ball rolling. Get written docotor recommendation for yourself (needing respite) and for your father (needing extra in-home care or facility care). Everything is time consuming, true. Right now it seems you are so stressed you cannot see the forest for the trees. Just take a deep breath, call the doc to write his recs for your Dad and for you, and then call Medicare to send out an evaluator to your home Of course, be there for the home visit.. Whether you get extra hours of in-home aides to help, or they find a facility to take Dad for a few weeks to give you respite, take whatever they offer. It's a start, and the professionals will help you through it.
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Bp officially high - diastolic 104. I'll probably dievfirst. And i dont even care anymore.
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Dear Emerald: Like you, I am the sole caregiver for a 92-yr old uncle, with no back-up. Up until a year ago, I also took care of my 88-yr old Mom in the same bldg. By Feb of last year, I was physically and emotionally exhausted. Went for a complete physical at that point, feeling like I would end up in a hospital based on exhaustion alone. Dr. also suspected depression, which I convinced him was not the case, as I never took a break (occasional 24 hrs at my own home mainly to catch up on sleep), until I was satisfied that they each had everything they needed - prepared meals, clothing, meds, etc. and still kept in touch with each of them by phone during that time. Wish I had a camera system like you do!! After my 24-hr break I went right back to business as usual with them. However, he suggested I accept an Rx for 5 mg of Valium just to help me relax from the stress when I needed it. I am very antil-drug, but knew I needed to calm down. So I took those pills and broke them into 4 pieces each (1.25mg) and took one piece only when I felt I absolutely needed it. For someone who does not take drugs, that tiny dose was actually effective, and left no chance that I would become dependent on it. That Rx lasted over 6 months, at which time I asked for a refill and that lasted over 8 months. Have not needed it since Mom is now in NH, and uncle is still mentally competent and not so time consuming. LISTEN to your doctor and TALK to him about your situation. If you do decide to take his advice, PLAN AHEAD to arrange respite care while you are away. I would call Medicare and explain that your doctor advises a medically necessary break for you (I don't think you need to give specifics) and ask them how they can help you get him the back-up care he needs. I am almost certain they will send someone to assess the situation and then offer you the services they can provide. Perhaps sending him to a facility for a couple of weeks (believe me he will survive it), or maybe arranging for aides and a nurse to come to his home while you are away. The fact that you have the ADT monitoring system will enable you to remotely keep an eye on everyone if you do decide to go to the hospital. Good luck and I will be praying for you.
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Well i went to my doc yesterday (my therapist was the one discussing admitting me forvdepression and exhaustion- that was BEFORE i broke my hand that required surgery) and forbthe first time in my life i had a significantly high BP. For now i just have to stop in a couple times this week to be checked. He is also my dad's doctor. So after 3 years he finally tells mevthe stress of the way im living is negatively impacting my physical health and when am i going to accept the idea of moving my dad into a facility. Well let's see. About 6 mos ago. Here's the rub. We do not have an extra $3,000 a month laying around. At the last place i looked at they told me currently illinois medicaid is behind 9 months to a year before they'll get to new apps. Illinois is currently kicking around bankruptcy. When all the obamacare stuff starts moving this fall, people will be flooding the medicaid system by triple their current rolls. Oh and did i mention that even if medicaid was current, the places that have medicaid beds have waiting lists. And then i laughed until i cried. Dont doctors know this stuff?!? I told him one or both of us is going to die before we get out of this hole. They can just bury us in it.
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Most assisted living places are out of our reach financially. Sorry i havent been back sooner. I just broke my hand pretty badly requiring surgery to put some pins it. And my good hand so needless to say it got more complicated. I did find someone to help me with a few mornings each week taking dad to breakfast. Honestly think my mom sent her for the timing. Lost my mom to breast cancer when she was 48 and this girl just survived it. @bodybytes. I understand the complications you endure and hope you are staying on top of the diabetes thing. I lost my husband 7 years ago at age 56 due to complications. Took care of him the 3 years before he passed. I still think he would be here if i had convinced him years sooner how good pump therapy would be for him. Mostly i have just stayed away from the dad topic with my doctor and so far he's not threatening to take things out of my hands. The waiting lists for places is long and was told it will be likely 9 mos before IL medicaid will get to a new app because they are already so far behind. I hope i last that long. I feel certifiable as it is now. Thank you all for your input!
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Why is dad not in Assisted Living? Maybe it isn't available near where you live is the only good reason I can think of.
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Honey, set up help right away -- as heartbreaking as it is, it MUST be done to assure that your dad is taken care of while you heal.

Let me tell you something... at the beginning of my mom's diagnosis of alz, I was trying to take care of two homes, two yards, two sets of animals (I am also disabled and a diabetic). I was so overwhelmed and exhausted at first that I was dropping alarming amounts of weight but not really keeping up with checking my blood sugars - just taking my insulin. I lost over 100 pounds and never adjusted my insulin and had an episode where I don't remember anything for over 4 hours. When I "came around", the house was a wreck, testing strips everywhere, furniture knocked over, broken collarbone and ribs... I can't even begin to describe what happened except that I knew I needed 911 and had the phone, but I couldn't figure out what numbers were 9-1-1. I must've known on some level that it was my blood sugars because when I can start remembering, I was on the floor next to the fridge eating dry cereal from the box. When I was finally able to accomplish taking my blood sugars, they were under 35 and wouldn't even register on the meter readout. I never went to the hospital because I was so afraid for what would happen to my mom, and like you, I had no backup, no family help, etc. Because of that, now I am dealing with a bum shoulder, arm and a badly knitted broken collarbone that causes me so much grief and has limited my physical abilities even further. The doc says it has been too long and is too late now.

I lost my Mama on Feb. 2nd of this year. It had been almost two years since I had been to the doctor. Was ordering my insulin online because I just couldn't afford two hospice RN's hourly wages when the doctor is a 3 hour trip. I almost killed myself taking care of her.

PLEASE, honey... don't do that. You won't do your dad any good at all if you're not around. If you think the beginning of being overwhelmed is difficult, just wait until it starts to snowball. :| I know how much it hurts to even think of making those kinds of arrangements, sweet thang. To think about what will happen to our loved ones if anything happens to us (the caregiver) is so frightening, but you will virtually GUARANTEE that outcome if you don't start taking care of yourself.

Take a deep breath and pick up the phone, hit the computer, look for respite help. Medicare allows 3 weeks respite care without any serious financial costs. Is that enough time for you to get medical care? Talk to your dad's doctor and see if he'll order that given the circumstances.

Don't be afraid to reach out, honey. I know it hurts. I know it's hard. I know it sometimes even makes you feel guilty and less than a superhero. But remember in the midst of those hard times that you are your dad's superhero and our hero... and all heroes NEED recharging.

My heart goes out to you. Keep your chin up, keep trying to take care of yourself because there is only one you... and you only have one time around to take care of yourself.

(((((((((((Hugs to you)))))))))))))
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I know one very holy woman who was caregiver to everyone in her family and her husband's family. She had to be hospitalized once and didn't know what to do with her mom she was full-time caregiver, so the doctor admitted both of them at the same time. They even shared a room.
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When I was unexpectedly hospitalized for 3 days, my daughter came over for a couple of hours until an agency caregiver could come. Our daughter stayed long enough to go over where things were and the written schedule and gave her phone number if anything went crazy. The trained caregiver was wonderful. Daughter did make unannounced visits and found everything going very well. I was only gone three days but felt so much better after treatment and went home to a happy-to-see-me husband.

Hire an agency caregiver. I have had some in for respite and then two times for hospitalizations. Out of seven agency caregivers, only one was not satisfactory. If you have a relative or neighbor to make unannounced visits, it would be good for your peace of mind. Or you could install video monitors with computer feeds for you to check up on your own. It can be done without putting him in a NH.

And get yourself some respite care at least once a month so you can get your hair cut, see a movie, shop. If your dad is a veteran, get him to the nearest VA clinic for care and they will send out personal care assistants and respite care after getting in their system.
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Horserider...ice cream is good...add some yogurt to it; my Mom loved strawberry jello with applesauce added instead of the cold water; it was her favorite thing and sustained her for a long time. You're going through the toughest time right now, adjusting to all the surprises that come up. At our support group for Alz. we've all decided that we're "accomplished liars" - necessary to continue to stay sane and give the loving care they so desperately need. Keep up the good attitude and know there are many of us out here doing the same things and these posts give support; not everything works for everyone, but something will click for you. Stay healthy. You are needed.
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Amen on the taking time. I'm still learning the fine art of the evasive "non-answer" to avoid the arguements.
If I could go back I certainly would have done things differently...all the "be grateful for the small things" and "enjoy the moment" cliches are turning out to be true. "Nobody's perfect" is no longer just a saying on a refrigerator magnet, it's become my life motto! I can't tell you how many small things I am grateful for at this point -- even a moment of laughter together that has some of his "old" self.
Today was tag-team with the caregiver for 2 hrs just to get a few tiny bites of squash into him. 12 days post-surgery & he's probably eaten 1500 calories in that entire time. Ice cream has been 90% of that. Not ideal, but ANYTHING in the stomach is better than everything left on the tray. Basically he is going to starve to death if something doesn't turn around soon.
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It takes time, horserider, to "figure things out"; what was important yesterday, is not so important today. My precious time with my husband consists of hearing the stories of his days in service, wanting to go "home to see his parents"; where are they?; does my family know where I am?...and it continues...We have Hospice now because of a Meningioma along with Alz. I'm thankful every day that we have another day even being on duty 24/7. Our son lives with us and he is a godsend. I have so much to be grateful for and I tell God every day that very thing. Blessings on all you caregivers out there. No one knows what goes on except those of us who are living it 24/7. Lots of advice given to "sift through", but we still have to use our own God-given wits and common sense to continue each day.
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When I first started this whole dementia whirlwind I came across a thread where someone said that 80% is OK, and just enjoy who they are today.
Both concepts helped tremendously. Food spots on clothes matter less than being relaxed.
For myself it also became much easier to cope once I realized that I couldn't "fix" the dementia by correcting his misconceptions, that I was GOING to make mistakes (but everyone does), and that the only thing I could do is live in the moment with "my" AZ person as he was at that moment in time.
It took awhile to let go of the little things (buttons askew), & to enjoy whatever we could (a little tea together in the kitchen, him telling a story I'd heard before...but now disjointed), go as slowly as needed (trying to rush just freezes him up anyhow), be grateful for what gets done, don't beat myself up for what doesn't, vent to friends,(be incredibly grateful for friends that let me vent!), take as many opportunities as I can to grasp bits of "normal" for myself (a walk around the block, a cup of coffee somewhere, going to a movie with friends--I went to one this year!).
Biggest thing was learning to let go of things, and let others step in and do them. I'm a control freak, and try to FIX everything, and this isn't going to get "fixed". It's just a matter of as much good as possible, and as little bad, as little pain, as much feeling listened to as possible, as much personhood as possible.

Per my AZ friend, I am "wiser" now, and also I have "done a good job", and if he were in my situation he'd focus on living his own life -- funny how perceptive he can be at some moments.
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You sound like you are starting a handle on things. That is wonderful. Don't forget we are all here for you.
Hugs.
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Thank you all for the helpful responses. I think my problem was/is - just doing what I do, I was too tired/exhausted to even make a plan or find the services. A friend of mine took it out of my hands and contacted the dept of aging. Even for a month after he was evaluated and I was given a list of places, I didn't budge on going thru all the paperwork and choices and how to apply to our situation. Bless that friend for sitting down with me, and making a numbered list out of all the papers, of things I should get done in a week. I got most of it done and Sunday I'm going to have a healthcare worker come in for 3 hours. For now, my dad is really easy to take care of and he will be a joy to most people. It would be for me if I wasn't so emotionally connected and heartbroken by what he's lost. He was a brilliant talented artist and now so confused. I dont' even have to be there to be exhausted - when I'm not there, at times, he'll call me dozens of times telling me he need my phone number. :-) It's like none of the notes I leave for him make sense or the fact that he just called me on the number he needs. I just can't find the right words to make him "get it". I took care of my mom with cancer 23 years ago, and 8 years ago lost my husband after a few years of big problems from diabetes - but this is worse - Hubby and mom were "who they were, until they weren't". I know one thing - take anything you want from me physically but please leave me my mind. Thank you all again. I see my own doctor again this week and hope to get better news there too.
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Dear Emerald,
As I have said before…'If the lifeguard does not stay afloat, nobody swims'! Please, PLEASE take care of yourself—not unlike putting your oxygen mask on before your child's [the airplane drill]…you MUST have air to operate/function! I do not know where you live but try 'Care.com'. I believe they have become national & have been around for 2 or 3 years—a great resource!
My prayers are with you & your Dada.
Much Peace,
Enriched
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What keeps me sane is my mom goes to a Adult Day care 3 days a week for 6 hrs. Adult daycare is a non residential program for people over 60 who cant live independently. Check with your local area agency on aging Website. My mom is on medicaid therefore eligible for a state program called the PA waiver program. This program is for families who choose to care for their skilled nursing home eligible loved one by providing respite care for the caregiver. Mom would have been approved for 5 days a week but we choose to have my sister be a paid caregiver the other 2 days a week. She is hired thru an agency then medicaid pays her wages. Since my sister is a family member she is allowed to take mom to her house otherwise the respite caregiver would have to care for mom here at my house. I needed more time for myself , my sister makes some partime money. Medicaid has these state programs since they realize that if a family member is willing to step up and take care of their disabled parent instead of putting them in a facility, it saves the state alot of money therefore the caregiver is rewarded with paid respite care . The adult day care is hugely instrumental in keeping my spirits up since they do so much with the adults . The play games, excersize, arts and crafts. This not a senior center where seniors are just lookingfor things to do but for seniors who need care and can't be by themselves. There is a registered nurse on staff. The are opened from 6Am to 6 PM. There are families caring for thier parent that bring their parent there during the day because they need to go to work. My mom goes there just because I need some time for myself. My mom had a stroke which left her with speech asphasia. She also has mild dementia. There are resourses out there..you just need to find them and the best place to do that is your local area agency on aging. If mom wasnt on medicaid the fee for an 8 hr day at the adult day care is $43 and less for 4 hrs and under. They even offer showers for $10. Mom doesnt shower there but if she did medicaid would even pay for that. All states are different ..but perhaps other state offer respite care programs for people on medicaid.
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The nursing home where my mom lives has temporary housing for people who need care while their caregivers are either on vacation or as in your case, ill. Check into your local nursing homes and see about this...
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We all need a plan WRITTEN down on what to do if we can't take care of Mom/Dad/Spouse. Sis takes care of Mom and I can't have Mom in my home nor am I moving into my sister's home. Instead I have the name of a Caregivers' Agency I have used, a Board and Care placement agency, a Board and Care Facility and a Nursing Home that I have visited. All this is written down so if Sis can't take care of Mom I have a plan that can be put in place.
You need to contact some Caregiving Agencies, Elder or Aging Caring Government agency for your county. Many AL places have respite care, give them a call. B & C also do respite care. Start Googling these subjects with your city or county name to see what come up.
Take a deep breath, you can do this. God Bless.
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Good Luck and take care of yourself so you can remain taking care of your Daddy. Also ask about respite care for your Daddy for a few days so you can take care of yourself.
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butterflykisses, thank you for the suggestion of books to read. One I particularly liked was Measure of the Heart by Mary Ellen Geist. This was particularly helpful while I consider where in this plan my career fits. The economy has helped with that decision, though I completed a Master's degree a year ago and have been unemployed for the past four years.
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Speaking from personal experience, go to the hospitgal as your doctor recommends. No, he/she cannot force you to go, but you will be amazed at what good it will do you. I was hospitalized for depression and exhaustion from taking care of my husband. I was there 9 days and it was the best 9 days I ever invested in myself. It was better than a vacation, because they taught me how to cope, etc. Also, I didn't have the stress of traveling asI would have had if I went on a vacation. Please take care of yourself. If there isn't asnyone to take care of your dad, do check with Hospice as Butterflykisses suggests. Also,contace the social worker at the hospital where yoiur doctor wants to have you admitted. She should have some resources for you to explore, both for you and your dad.
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Emerald - all good advice; If your Dad is on Medicare and in pain, check with Hospice - they are wonderful. They will do an assessment for pain management in home, CNA's do the bathing, volunteers come on your schedule for up to 4 hours a day to sit and visit with him, our nurse comes once a week and calls in between to check on us; I can call them anytime 24 hrs. a day 7 days a week and they will call/come, whatever the need. Also sign up for Meals on Wheels if you have not already. The social worker is trained to help you get the help you need for yourself. Many other Aging Support groups out there too. Most of all, your health is really more important right now than your Dad's, because without you, well...you know the alternative. God bless you for caring for your Dad; so many of us are caring for our loved ones, but we have to stay healthy ourselves. I too, pray every day that God will see fit to keep me healthy and strong to continue to take care of my husband with the wonderful help of Hospice. He has Alz. and a Meningioma (brain tumor). God bless all you caregivers out there who are giving their lives for their loved ones. A couple of books to recommend: "10,000 Days, 10,000 Nights" (sorry I don't know the author); also "Your Name is Hughes Hannibal Shanks" written by his wife. Also, "The 36 Hour Day" (can't remember the author). Take care and God bless.
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emerald0562 ;
First I would like to give you a cyber-hug and big sympathy. My precious mom nearly "killed me dead." I was in very bad shape indeed. I lost Winnie last Thursday morning. If you are as wiped out as I was, you may not even be able to step up to the plate to make a plan. Please remember that thankfully there is a lot of care out there. You could perhaps even Baker Act your dad for the 72 hours to be able to plan. You could contact Family Protective Services and there are a slew of respite organizations out there. The senior day care mentioned above is a superb option in the short term. Do you have a church family? I finally had to think outside the box and take emergency measures without feeling guilty. Sincerely, you hear it so much it sounds cliche but you cannot help your dad if you are wiped out. Hospice offered me some wonderful wisdom around not feeling guilt. Many small things helped. One of them is to ask yourself what your dad would want for you. If he loves you, he doesn't want you to be exhausted and depressed.

A social worker at a hospital (the one you may go to?) will know a lot more options. All the best of luck, V55
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Well emerald, unless you are a danger to yourself or others, your doctor cannot commit you! This is not the best way to monitor your dad because if he falls in a place where there are no cameras, then what? Better get him a caregiver to spend the night. You can always hire someone, and if he is on Medicare, expenses will be paid for (at least 80% unless he has other insurance). Have you considered moving in with him? You can ALWAYS fire a doctor too!
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You will not be able to care for your dad if you do not take care of yourself as well. I use a day care program five days a week since I am here, literally, 24/7 without help. This is a link to interesting statistics on caregivers from the Centers for Disease Control. http://www.cdc.gov/aging/caregiving/facts.htm. There are many more links on the CDC site that look at the stress levels of caregivers and impact on their own health.
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All good advice given. Call your father's primary doctor the staff can help find placement. Last year when I needed my hip replaced my Dad's doctor ordered rehab for him 6 wks and his medicare paid because the doctor ordered it. Good luck and please take care of yourself. Because if anything happens to you then what would happen to dad.
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Such good advice from everyone. Adult Day Care-great! Most Assisted Livings will accept respite (temporary) care. There are private aides you can hire hourly/daily/monthly. I think you have really answered your own inquiry.. "I don't have backup." Take a day or two off, get a massage, sit by a pool, stroll around a park, lunch with friends.
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I've posted this many times in many threads... when someone is caring for a person with dementia, it's often the care giver who dies first. If your doctor is alarmed by the toll care the situation is taking on you, it's time to find another solution for your dad.
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