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My father is 87 and confined to a wheel chair. He is fortunate to have a healthy 70 year old wife as his full time care giver. She is afraid to leave him un attended for even a minute because he will try to get out of his chair and put himself in harms way. He has some memory problems, but we feel he is selective. All he wants to do is sleep. (Sleeps 12 hrs or more a day) He is on little medication, he isn't dealing with being crippled and has lost his will to live. We try to provide family activities to keep him stimulated but we have to force him to do any thing. He is very difficult and we don't care for how ugly he treats his wife. She doesn't have any time to herself. We tell her to go while he's sleeping, she wont leave for fear he'll fall out of bed, or get in his chair and fall out of it. We need to know how to deal with him. Elderly sitters are expensive. Does elderly loose their sense of right from wrong? Is there a such thing as Day Care nursing homes?

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Thank you for the encouragement! She has things in place where they live, and will get a 2 week Respite care in December. They are visiting(vacationing in the mountains) and will be here for another 6-7 weeks. I guess we need to check if there is something in place here for her to help. She was told it would be a BIG ORDEAL to unregister him and register him here, then to undo the whole process again. I was unaware of the good help she was having where they live. Being here has been no vacation for her. We also understand that the fact that he sleeps 12 hours a day is ok, as long as his meds are not causing his sleepiness, and that he is alert and watches TV. She takes him out every day to go to dinner out so he gets some stimulation there. I was a caregiver for my 98 year old mom for 10 years, and she was very active and always wanted to go, my failing brother also. They were mostly co-operative with me compared to the outburts my father in law has toward his wife. He can not be trusted for one minute, he is unable to walk because he did not stay in the car as told and fell , which has resulted in his enability to walk. Sometimes he has terrible outbursts in resturants, and on few occassions has been combative with his wife. We talk with him and he denies his behavior, but seems to be better for awhile. We feel she is doing a great job, but she is 70 and pushing him around and taking care of him is taking a toll on her as well. I have another question,
what is the difference in him riding in a comfortable car and looking at beautiful mountain sceenery or sitting in his chair watching TV. He complains riding tires him out. She/we feel he should have outside stimulation as he does get 12-14 hours of sleep a day. My brother and mother wanted to go...and most of the time they were sweet and greatful, but my father-in-law appears to be un appreciative and complains about everything! Thank you for your re assurance. After reading some of the posts...we really have nothing to complain about. I think our biggest problem is, he bellowed and complained when he was young and now that he is old...is he just continuing with his same pattern into old age or does he do this to demand his way ? He has enough about him to sneak around and get his cigarettes. She allows him to smoke, even though she hates it, but he MUST smoke outside, and never in the car. He is very much like a sneaky rebellous little child, that we love so much, want to do all we can for him, but just don't know where some lines should be drawn.
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Yes, there are adult day health programs. Often they are set up to pick up and return the participant, in a van that can take wheelchairs, if necessary. Many provide assistance with showering, and may have nail care services. Definitely check out the adult day programs in your area!

Respite care is essential. No one can do 24/7 care without breaks and retain their own health and sanity. So ... are there family members who can provide breaks on a regular schedule? Could she count on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings to her self, for example. If family cannot do it, perhaps there is a free or low-cost volunteer program she can tap into. Or, an elderly sitter will simply have to be paid. Respite is not optional. She must have breaks.

How to pay for an adult day program or hire sitters? If Father has substantial assets that he's saved for his old age, now is the time to use them! If there are few assets and not enough monthly income to cover these costs, look into what assistance might be available. I'd start with contacting Social Services in their county, and asking for a needs assessment. Even if Father doesn't quality for any county programs, you will probably receive lots of information about community programs that could be useful. Don't knock it until you've tried it! You may want to be present when the social worker comes, if that is acceptable to your father's wife.

And by the way, I would not leave my husband alone even when he is sleeping, if I were in this situation. I would do exactly as your father's wife does. I think she is being prudent, not stubborn or over-reacting. Father does sound like someone who needs 24-hour supervision. Please respect her decision, and do not urge her to go against her better judgment and leave him alone. Caregiving is hard enough without other people second-guessing your decisions!
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