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She has dementia and still insists on controling her own finances, housekeeping, yard, etc. Dad is very agreeable to whatever she says but he has CHF and is becoming very weak. They are 83 and 88 and she has early dementia and is becoming very defiant about help. The only thing she'll allow me to help with is Drs and medicines. The yard is overgrown and the house is dirty. She hasn't vacummed in months. Any ideas?

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I think I've posted this before, but one of my private pay clients got her husband with Alzheimer's to accept me by saying I was their daughter's friend and had recently lost my job. They were helping ME out by "letting" me clean the kitchen etc. It worked. Got a good laugh, too, as the unaffected spouse accidentally called me "Beatrice" for no apparent reason. I jokingly called myself "Beatrice, the Unemployed" from then on. Other than that - be sure to read the coconut oil connection to Dementia/Alzheimer's. You'll feel good actually HELPING her. I would start with a teaspoon or so and work up to 2 tablespoons a day, given in various ways. On toast, veggies, etc.
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I wonder if there is any chance you could approach the situation from a different angle: "Mom, you are the rock in this family. Dad can't keep up the yard anymore and I think it would be nice to hire someone to do the yard work for him. It's getting overgrown. Also, when you have time, could you sit down with me and show me how you handle all the financial matters. I was talking to a friend the other day and her mom is just like you, always on top of things. Then she had a minor car accident, not her fault, but she ended up in the hospital with a broken ankle and arm and needed rehabilitation. In the month she was gone, her husband tried to manage the family finances and everything got fouled up. Maybe it would be good to have a back up plan in the event you were not able to handle things for a few weeks."

Not suggesting you use the exact words, but you get the idea. She may be on guard now, so maybe just focus on the yard and having it done by hired help.

You might want to check out the Alz website and see what suggestions they have.

Good luck, Cattails
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Terrie, some thoughts from my experience with MIL. She doesn't really see or notice that things are out of control. Can you find out when there is a hairdresser appointment and get in during that period? Ditto for religious services or any other regular activity. My sisters-in-law somehow think they can't straighten things up! When My MIL heads to the bathroom, I am on my feet tossing spoiled food, piling up garbage etc. I always walk in with an empty (large) bag and take it with me when I leave. Currently, my MIL is in a place that serves meals at a specific time. Guess when my hubby and I arrive! Sure at meal time. It gives us an hour to go through the place. She has NEVER noticed or questioned it.

On the other items, when my Mom started to exhibit memory care issues, I started with the medical bills. "Mom, it's so complicated with Medicare and the 2nd insurance. Why don't you just pile up the statements and I'll let you know the final amount you owe. After she checked with her friends and found that all of their children were handling this, she easily let go. After a while, I went to the other stuff. When I got a live-in for her, I removed all of the financial documents in the house (while she was in the bathroom - little by little) and changed the mailing address for these items to my house.

If resources are there, just hire someone to come and do the yard. Part of dementia is an inability to focus and problem solve. Truly, we become the parents. While there is some level of awareness, make sure the proper paper work is done --- power of attorney, medical decision maker, wills etc. You might find it shocking how quickly someone can go down hill, I did. Good luck
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sounds very familiar! you are not alone that's for sure! LOL. my dad is the same way ---when i try to clean his very gross and dirty house....he gets very angry and yells and screams at me to stop. he gets so crazy that it is impossible to continue with any work. i have only been able to clean up when he is out in the yard occasionally while my husband is mowing the grass. then i tear through the bathroom and kitchen and do the bare minimum amount that the time allows! i have begged and pleaded with him, tried to reason with him and have also gotten angry with him but nothing seems to get through. it is a very hard situation and it gives me a ton of worry and stress so my sympathies go out to you!
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Sounds just like my dad, too. I eventually had to put my foot down with his finances, After three years of struggle, my sibling and I sat down with him and presented it as something that was no longer his choice. All of his money was gone. Take a look at your parents' financial condition, if you can. I had no idea how bad my dad's situation was until I took over. He barely has enough to live, we have to chip in. Now, he has no options and he would love to move into a retirement community.

About the upkeep of the house, it was easier for me because it was just my dad, but I would send him out to the store and to get a cup of coffee while I did a quick cleaning. The place is still pretty gross most of the time, but I can get at the bigger messes that way. Your dad might not object to you doing some housekeeping while your mom is out.

Best of luck, I understand your frustration firsthand.
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Your mother sounds a bit like my dad. I think formerly independent people view the offer of help as a negative comment on their competence. I'm following this discussion because, honestly, I don't know what to do, either. I'd like to set my dad up with at least a once-a-month housekeeper (I don't live in the area or I'd vacuum myself!) but so far, that's been a big "No thanks". We'll see.
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Does she know what's happening? Is she a danger when she drives? Yea that's scary. Can you say I'll talk while we clean the dishes like we used to do? At some point you'll need to step in no matter what she says. I don't know Alzheimer's so I'm not sure what the progression is like but you will have be able to go against her wishes. I'd talk to her Dr to understand how competent she is and when to take over.
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She gets very angry when I try to work around the house. She wants me to sit and visit. and today she yelled at me for trying to take away her independence. Dad is very passive but he has begun to support my attempts weakly. Mom is able to drive (scary I know), shop, pay bills, keep records on rental properties, etc, but all that is suffering. She is in the early stages of Alz, mostly just aphasia, but her ability to reason is beginning to falter. She has trouble making decisions at restaurants. Pharmacy is very confusing. She is a retired business woman and has always been super competent and in charge.
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What would she do if you tried to clean up the yard, or vacuum without asking? When dad is asked what does he think. I know he doesn't have the ability to do anytthing about it but he might have an opinion. It could help to know what that is. What is your mom able to successfully do for herself? Does she know she has dementia? What stage is it?
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