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I am sole caregiver of my Mother, age 79. She has Dementia which is Moderate. Has Non aggressive Ovarian Cancer. This was found accidentally in a CT Scan she had in Feb 2015. She refuses to treat the cancer and I support her choice. She has no pain or problems from this cancer, so far. She is not treating the cancer therefore she is considered Terminal by Medicare. She receives Palliative care at home. The respite for me is from her Hospice Medicare Benefit.

I am my Mothers only living child, I am 54. I am her DPOA, HPOA but not her guardian. I am hoping not to have to cross that bridge.

I have had Major Depressive Disorder with Anxiety since the mid 1990's. I take several medications every day. I have been stable for a long time but being sole caregiver to Mom is starting to affect me.

Mom lives in our second home, in her hometown in NE MI, has lived here since 2007 and was in perfect health then. Her Dementia slowly started to show itself early in 2013 she was put on Aricept. In November of 2014 she started a serious decline and now she is just a mere shadow of the Mother I knew. Due to her Dementia, I have lived with her in NE MI since last November. My husband is living in our other home that is in SE MI where he works. It is a four hour drive from the house down there to the house up here.

All of my medical is in SE MI. I have to see my Psychiatrist at least four times a year. My husband has taken Vacation time to come up and be with Mom, so I am able to go to my medical appointments. My husband should not have to take time off and drive up here every time I have an appointment.

My husband and I have not spent one night alone since last November, a situation I would like to see change. Also we have not lived together since last November which sometimes upsets me. My husband is very supportive and never complains.

Mom won't leave the house, she stopped driving last fall. Only time she will go is to Doctors appointments, which at times can be a huge struggle to get her to go. She only gets dressed when she has a Dr appointment. Otherwise she is in her nightgown and robe around the clock.

No one in her family has offered to help, they all live in this area. In a way I kind of understand why the don't offer. Mom's two brothers came to see her in May. They have always been very close. Sadly, She did not know her brothers - did not recognize them. After an hour visit she still could not make the connection that they were her brothers. She does not know her adult nieces and nephews either.

Unfortunately, I believe Mom is past the point that I could sit down and talk with her about the situation. I considered talking to her but I know within 5 to 10 minutes she will totally forget what we talked about.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

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Thanks for the response gladimhere. Sounds like you have been though quite a bit in your life. I do wonder about what they might do to her drugs. Thank You for the "heads up" on the Ativan. I, myself, take a small dose of Ativan (for the anxiety part of my diagnosis). I am very careful with it and right now it is a God Send). Sometimes I just shake inside. I get nauseated too but I try to ride that out and if all else fails then take some Pepto Bismol caplets. Works almost every time.
Yes I have read about therapeutic fiblets on one of the forums. I know it has to be done too. But I am always open to learn more. If I am feeling strong enough I CAN tell a therapeutic filbet... I am known for my Honesty but in this situation we are not dealing with just an everyday situation. Thanks for your post.

I am wondering if I posted this in the right place. I did not pick a topic so it was placed under Senior Living-Continuing Care. Probably should have posted it to Caregiver Burnout or some other group. Oh well Live and Learn.
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NW, after my mom was moved to memory care just three months ago she kind of went off the deep end. She was hospitalized for a psychiatric evaluation, three days, while staff worked with her meds to try to get her to be more compliant. They stopped some, they started others all of which in the end worked out well. But, it you have a say do not try Ativan for calming of Mom. It often has the complete opposite effect on the elderly as is intended. Many doctors, hospitalists, are not aware of that. They had given mom ativan when she was first admitted to the hospital. My sis is POA, and my dysfunctional family story is way to long to go into here, it is on the dysfunctional thread, but sis does not let me know what is going on with Mom. It is only after there is an issue that I hear anything, that is when I have to tell her what may be going on. Four years is very good experience in caring for my mom, but will only work with my mom, as each case of dementia, while it has similarities, is very different. It depends on the person and the caregiver as to what will work.
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NWG, one thing I did whenever I had a caregiver in for my Mom, was to record a video on my tablet telling Mom a friend was staying with her until I returned later that day or in the morning, depending (even if I was going to be gone for days yet, mom would not remember). I said the caregiver was a friend, even used some names of friends from childhood that Mom knew their parents, so the friends must be ok. This was regardless of who the caregiver was. It helped alot with Mom's anxiety and agitation. In the video just say ANYTHING that you know would make your mom more comfortable! These are call therapeutic white lies and there is nothing wrong with that if it eases their anxiety.

My mom is in a memory care facility now, constantly wanting to go home to check on her little girls. Needless to say it has been many years since we have been little girls. The facility tells Mom that she is there waiting to see the doctor, the doctor is running late, got stuck in traffic in the mountains and will be there as soon as possible. Amazingly, or not really if you know dementia, it works nearly every time.
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Thanks Bablou. This is not just for respite but also if something should happen to me.. anything can happen. Great idea about take her for a visit. Also she does take Valium they might increase it for the situation. Her PCP just left and now we have a new one that we've not met. I think I can talk to her Hospice (Palliative Care) Doctor also.
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I think I would talk to the staff of the NH. They HAVE to have seen this before. They might suggest having mom come in for a visit and then take her home, then come in and leave her for an hour while you run an errand. See how she does.

You are dealing with a broken brain that no longer makes connections, but she DOES know that you are the anchor piece, so she doesn't want to let you out of her sight. The thing id, if you die, or break down from the stress of caregiving ( it happens frequently), then what will she have? No one.

If you try the above approach and it results in uncontrolled behavior, then you talk to her doctor about some calming meds. Mt dear, whatever it takes at this point.
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Thanks Everyone for your Responses. I agree with everyone 100 % I need respite.
Now I see that I was not specific enough with my question. What I need to know is HOW ... yes she is petite and weighs 100 lbs so I'm sure my husband could pick her up, carry her out to the car, and then carry into the NH where she will be for respite care. If she raises complete h*ll in the nursing home before I even get her checked in are they going to want to take this disruptive person?? If she says NO- I am not her legal guardian. I can not legally force her or can I force her? I did not think the DPOA & HPOA gave me rights to do this but maybe I am wrong?
If she wants to stay in my home then she should make sacrifices. Of course a reasonable person understands that but she is way beyond using reason to get her to understand. She is much like a young child in many ways. How do you reason with a person that is not really able to reason anymore? I can see the look on her face... it is non emotional- not angry or teary... it is like she is thinking hard and trying to make the connection but after awhile it is obvious she can't make the connection.
Mom would have never wanted me to sacrifice my life to care for her. She was always extremely independent, outgoing and social. She was a good Mom but once my brother (who has died) and I grew up and went on our own way she made a life for herself.. was not hanging on to one of us to have a life.
That person is no longer here - her body is here- for the most part she is just a shadow of who she was.
Given this new information does anyone have any suggestions?
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If mom is going to have the privilege of staying in your home while you care for her some sacrifices on her part are going to have to be made. Such as you getting a break. You can do this by hiring someone to come into the home or by placing your mom in a nursing home. Some facilities offer respite care.

We can't put all of our energies into caring for someone else to the detriment of our own lives. That's what will make US sick.
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NW, you need respite! Whether it is mom to nursing home so you can get a break or a caregiver come in to take your place. In fact, Medicare has that benefit for a reaaon. Your mom is 79, how old are her brothers. Providing for her care would be too much for them and the stage of dementia your mom would think them strangers anyway, so not of any help. Get the respite setup at a facility would be my suggestion. That way there are activities and such that maybe mom would find at least entertaining. And if you return and mom seems to be adjusting well, do not move her back to your home. Many caregivers die before the one they care for. It is very stressful providing the care and overwhelming. You need to take care of YOU and your needs or you will not be able to provide the quality of care that you do now.

And if mom makes a good adjustment be prepared to let her remain in the care of others. And it sounds as if that is what is best for mom and you. What would your mom want you to do if she could tell you? Many times my mom told us she never wanted us to care for her in her old age. Though I did provide that care for four very trying years and no support from siblings.
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PS...I should add that our roles get reversed with parents with dementia. Your Mom used to make you do what was best for you as a child. Parents have to be in charge because kids don't reason very well. Now you have to be in charge because your mother can no longer reason for herself. You have to make tough decisions and enforce them so mom and YOU survive. It's not all about her........
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Well first, your house, your rules. You seem to understand dementia. Not only does Mom not remember things she cannot reason through very simple issues like the obvious facts that she needs help and you are under terrible stress.

If you are to survive this you have only two choices:

1. Hire respite care in your home for mom.

2. Move mom to a skilled nursing care facility.

I'm not suggesting you abandon her but you need relief. I doubt your mom will be happy no matter what you do. She will adjust to seeing you less. She may well cry and yell at you but you need to be tough. She will probably forget her perceived injustices in short order.

I believe I saw an earlier post from you in which you stated that you had done some reading on this forum. If so you can see that you are not alone. This is one of the most common hardships for caregivers.

Hopefully you will get many other responces to your questions. Best of luck to you.
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