My mom is 90 and suffering from dementia -- she also has severe mobility problems (she spends most of her time either in a chair in the living room or in bed) and arthritis. Dad (he's 88) has been caring for her at home, with the help of round-the-clock nursing aides. I live about 4 hours away -- I call regularly and visit when I can (about once a month, on average).
Dad says things are deteriorating -- Mom is sleeping more and more, she resists getting out of bed, she doesn't eat well (at least not consistently), and becomes argumentative and uncooperative with him and the aides. He's stressed, depressed, and sounds hopeless when I speak with him. He says I can't ever understand, and he resents any suggestions I make. For example, I have suggested he get out of the house in the afternoons, when she's napping, even if it's just to go down to the park. Anything to get a break from the environment at home. But he gets angry with these kinds of suggestions and says I just don't understand.
I'm not sure there's anything I can do, but I know many of you on this website have experienced things like this. If you have any suggestions, I'd appreciate them. Dad has also been a very in-control and proactive person (he was a high-power attorney in NYC until his retirement 13 years ago), and what's happening in his life right now is devastating him. He's exhausted and constantly anxious.
One specific question: Dad gets particularly upset if my mom won't get up in the morning and get dressed. I understand that part of the problem is that the overnight aide (who must leave by 6:45 AM) is the only one who can physically handle getting her up and dressed, so they wake her up at 6:00 each morning. I'm wondering if things might go better if she was allowed to sleep until she awakens on her own. I've tried to talk with Dad about this, but he just repeats that I don't know what I'm talking about.
Sorry for the long-winded post. And thanks in advance for your help.