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Mom and dad BOTH live with my husband and I and they are divorced. Mom is 90 and doing okay, dad is 94 and has dementia. Every minute he asks me the same question, over and over, and cannot hear my answers even with good hearing aids. I feel guilty like I’m not responding to taking care of him because he doesn't realize that I’ve already responded and done what he asked 4 times in the last 4 minutes - but he doesn’t remember. It’s horrible. I can’t solve his problems with itching, nor can the doctors. I put cream on constantly, have pills that I give him. But he looks at me like “can’t you do something to get rid of this itching??? And he looks at me like that every 5 minutes. I feel that I'm literally losing my mind and I dont know how much longer I can handle it, on top of his full time care and caring for my mom. I do not have a life and the life I have is consumed with groundhog minute, not Groundhog Day, but minute. Every minute. I feel as though I am literally going insane. I take such goood care of him, I’ve devoted every day to that, and yet he doesn’t know it and it just makes me feel so guilty.

What makes you feel guilty? “I takes such goood care of him…….AND YET HE DOESN’T KNOW IT”.

YES! HE DOESN’T KNOW IT. And the REASON he doesn’t know it is because he has dementia and hearing impairment.

Dementia MEANS that he no longer has the cognitive equipment to interpret and/or respond to the care that you provide.

So, stop. If you “…don’t know how much longer I can handle it”, STOP HANDLING IT.

Research the best Memory Care facility you can find locally with a connection to a skilled nursing facility. THEN, PLACE HIM.

Many of us here have lived situations very similar to yours. We were SURE we were doing THE RIGHT THING. Some of us (me) gained 60+ pounds of stress weight, slept on floors for months to protect our LOs from falls, felt guilty 24 hours a day, and ultimately either got much sicker and sadder ourselves OR our LOs expired, OR ……….WE PLACED THEM.

Less work after placement? Less guilt? NEITHER, but for me SLEEP, seeing my mother happy and at peace, and a chance to save myself AND HER.

Think about it…….is the balance in this arrangement working for you? Think about it.
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BurntCaregiver Jul 8, 2021
AnnReid,

Wow. You sure had a time of it. Sleeping on the floor to protect loved ones from falls. No doctor would prescribe sedation or sleeping medication? God bless you for doing so much.
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I am so very sorry that you are struggling with this situation. You certainly have your hands full and then some.

Call Council on Aging in your area. Ask for an assessment for your parents. Contact a social worker to find out what care is available for your parents. Do they have money for assisted living/memory care? If they don’t you can see if they qualify for Medicaid. Nursing homes will accept Medicaid.

You are going to burn out if you continue doing the ‘hands on’ care for your parents. Place them in a facility and be an advocate for them. Visit as their daughter, instead of being an exhausted caregiver in your home.

You deserve to live life with your husband. Wishing you and your family all the best.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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Janet - I know just how you feel. I had to deal with the exact same problem with my mother who has Alzheimer's. She asked again and again and again within minutes, sometimes seconds. She could ask the same things 10, 20 or more times all day long, everyday or months and months. It drove me mad. I had to try to keep away from her so she wouldn't repeatedly ask me questions. And if I was in her earshot and she asked, I would try to give as short an answer as I possibly could, sometimes just a nod or a grunt.

The repetitive questioning eventually stopped as the disease progressed and my mom declined more mentally and physically.

In addition to repeating things, she also hid her things and accused people of stealing them. I spent hours and days looking for her stuff all while she cried and panicked and made a scene. There were other crazy things she did that were just as maddening like stealing things from the stores, and picking all the fruits off the trees before they were ripe. One year, she picked hundreds of my oranges when they were still green. Grrr.....

I got so burned out dealing with her. She lived with my family for two long and extremely stressful years. Finally, I had to move her out before I lost my sanity.

Janet, if you want to save your sanity, you've got to put some time and distance between you and the source of your stress. No other way.

Some suggestions:

You can hire someone once or twice a week to stay with your parents so you can go out and destress.

You can find a place in or outside the house where you can go hide, relax and forget about your parents for an hour or two daily.

Your brain is always on the caregiving job 24/7. That is why you're burned out. You have to mentally clock out and not think about them for at least several hours a day, sleeping does not count.

You also need to realize that you can NOT fix their health issues, so DON'T own them. There is no reason for you to feel guilty. You can feel bad for their problems, but no guilt. You don't have a magic wand to fix what ails them.

As some point when their needs become too much and are beyond what you can provide, you need to think about placing them in a nursing home.

Also, come here to vent all you want, that helps too.
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Reply to polarbear
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1) DO NOT feel guilty - you have a huge amount going on and you need to look after you and certainly not add guilt to everything else.
2) Try to adopt a different mindset to the repetition of questions - my brother looks after his MIL who has mid stage dementia but can still go out for a car ride or with him to the shops. She repeats the same questions and same story every few minutes - but whereas like you it would drive me insane he looks at it differently - he knows she can't remember so he has one stock answer for the situation and simply repeats it without thinking about it - not something I would have thought to do, I would try and not sound like a parrot, but he says she is perfectly happy, he has no stress, and as a coping mechanism it means he can deal with her when he would not be able to otherwise.
3) You need a break - even a few hours away - can you arrange for someone to come in for one morning a week to sit with him so that you know you have a certain time that belongs to you.
4) Regarding the itching - may I just ask if you father's doctor has done a liver function test? Its just one of those strange things but reduced liver function MAY be linked to incessant itching.

Hugs to you for doing such a loving thing for both your parents.
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Reply to TaylorUK
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First off. Kudos to you. My dad has dementia and there is no way I could l look after him full time. He is in a long term care home. So you looking after your parents is a brave and noble thing. Good for you. As for the itching. Depending where the itching is, ask the doctor to check for an UTI. Every time my dad itches and shows unusual behaviour it is usually an urinary tract infection. It is worth looking into.
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Reply to Chergal
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Histamine intolerance can cause itching and lotions cannot keep up. Certain foods are more likely than others to trigger a histamine-itching reaction. (Egg whites, dairy, citrus and many other fruits, wheat, left-overs--all very common foods that are probably a big part of your LO's diet!) Eliminating those foods is inconvenient and !imiting, but if it helps reduce the itching, it may be worth it.
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Reply to RedVanAnnie
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Thank you for the advice. I will call the Council on Aging - wasn’t sure where to start. Just reaching out, venting. My mom is on Medicaid - she is still able to care for herself to some degree so she is somewhat self sufficient. My dad unfortunately has SOME money, but it wouldn’t last more than probably 5-6 months in assisted living with memory care and I dont know what would happen after that. He won’t qualify for Medicaid and I don’t think he will - something I have to check on. He is so aware of all of us, who we are, very alert in some ways - it would be extremely hard to place him in a home right now. He has absolutely refused to go even for 5 days respite care. But I am going to see what I can find out. Thank you again.
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BurntCaregiver Jul 8, 2021
DaughterJanet,

Your father can refuse nine ways to Sunday about going into respite care for a few days. It's not his decision to make. It's yours.
You need time off from caregiving. Don't guilt yourself about putting either of your parents into facility respite care for a few days.
A few days is better than a nursing home for the rest of their lives. Let that be the choice.
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You've really got yourself a situation at your house. Your mom doesn't mind dad being there?
As for dad repeating over and over. That's a dementia loop and when someone gets in one it makes no difference if you answer them every 30 seconds or not at all.
I've had dementia homecare clients who would get in a loop and keep asking the same question over and over. Sometimes more than 50 times in a matter of a few hours. Answer the the same question a couple of times and then stop answering it.
This will have no effect on them, but it will on you. To save your own sanity you have to ignore them sometimes. Like not answering the same question hundreds of times because they're fixated in a dementia loop.
If it's safe to leave them alone in a room, walk away. Also, there has to be an end of "shift" for you and time off. If bedtime is say 9pm for them, then that's it. They go to their rooms and go to bed. The same as they did when you were a kid. The only thing they're getting after lights out is maybe some water or taken to the bathroom.
If you have to ask their doctors for sedation medication or sleeping medication to put them to sleep, do it. Otherwise you will lose it, trust me.
Maybe look into some homecare to help out with some of the care during the day. Or if your parents aren't incontinent look into adult day care a couple days a week. Most adult day centers won't take clients if they're in diapers. There are some out there who will and they even provide transportation.
Please look into getting some care for them before you become the one who needs care. Keep us posted.
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DaughterJanet Jul 8, 2021
WOW. Thank you. Your care for ME brought tears to my eyes. My mom is not happy that my dad is here - trust me. She knows I’m in the middle and she’s accepting, but - she still resents my dad for divorcing her 35? Years ago and boy does she let him know it. He doesn’t realize it. I do. Her nasty slams at him are very hurtful to me. Ive learned it’s best to just shut up. She had moved in with my husband aand I, and 5 months later my dad’s wife died suddenly and his dementia was worse than I knew from my “visits”….once I was actually taking care of him and saw that he was taking random meds, not taking care of his dogs, not showering, didnt remember ANYTHING I told him….I brought him in to our house. He has too much money for Medicaid and not enough to put him iN AL WITH memory care. I think his money would last about 6 months so I’m scared to put him i and. Then what when his money runs out. And right now he knows all of us and what’s going on and he is INSISTENT that he is not going into a home even for 5 days to give mme a break. So — I am trying to find whatever resources I can to help me make it until I absolutely HAVE TO place him somewhere. Thank you for caring and for your input. I will keep figuring it out, looking for some part time help so I can get away….I needed to vent and see what other resources may be out there…
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While this is only a temporary fix. You need respite time. A time for just YOU. A week every 3-6 months. Stop and realize that while you are a Saint for taking care of your parents, what happens if you become ill and can't care for them because you didn't find time for yourself. You NEED to reassess the situation, accept the fact you are one person and you cannot be there 24/7.
Dementia is a horrible mind disease and people who live it don't know they have asked the questions or said the same thing 500+ times. I found with my dad I would 99% of the time just say yes, no, or nod and smile with no responses given. They won't remember anyhow. A person with dementia meets a new person every second. While this is not going to sound helpful, you should be thankful they know who you are. Many people don't know their own family and that hurts so bad.
Itching seems to be a thing with dementia, could be dry skin, could be nerves acting up or just a reflex or even thirsty. Talk with the doctor about it.
Best wishes as it is very challenging and you are doing a great job providing care for your parents.
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Reply to thingsarecrazy8
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Janet,
So glad you came to share & vent - it helps. Understand the groundhogs day reference, it applies to my situation now as well as Alice in Wonderland-going down the rabbit hole or sitting at the Mad Hatters tea party & living in the upside down. Everyone's advice was great Janet, key is respite for you in one way or another. I've found that living in the Alzheimer's world, think outside the box. It may be difficult but try, creativity & humor can be your saving grace & PLEASE learn to detach emotionally. Once that happens, it becomes easier to handle. When people ask what I do, I tell them I'm a single mom with an 85 y/o toddler who acts like a teenager 😂 wishing you the best and PLEASE KNOW YOU ARE NOT ALONE. sending hugs your way
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