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Her dad's health was declining taking care of her mom with Alzheimer's. My friend was recently widowed, her siblings, and children aren't helpful. She took her dad to a lawyer to draw up papers (advance directives, Will, DNR's etc.)That's when she found her dad is leaving everything to the oldest son, and refuses to place his wife in a home. Her mom is combative, and berates her dad, which breaks her heart.
Her mother doesn't know my friend anymore, and thinks my friend's house is hers. She feels like a prisoner in her home. I need direction. I don't want to make things more tense for her. Suggestions on how I can help. What kinds of things would you want someone to offer you as a caregiver? Thank you

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I do not like this situation one little bit. Friend is to provide the care, make arrangements for appontments, administer meds, help with hygiene and everything else. At this rate she will either be fired from her paying job or become too tired to carry on as she has. Then what? Parents, if not paying for care and contributing to the household, need to go to a facility. Granddaughter certainly will not carry on with her schedule of visits for long. That baby will get sick and should not be visiting. Then granddaughter will become sick herself. Then what?

And it would really tick me off to find out a wealthy sibling, that does nothing to provide care, or do his dities under the POA, is the only beneficiary to Dad's estate. Why would parent do that? This arrangement has enough problems as it is, then find out there is no chamce of ever being compensated? Is that the way Dad really wants it? Or did brother dear unduly influence dad to do this?

Sorry, if I were your friend, I would be delivering mom and dad to either the nearest assisted living center, or on brother's doorstep. In fact, make sure your friend understands she will grow tired of this very quickly. If there is an emergency that requires either of them to be hospitalized, she can refuse to take them hom simply stating she is not able to provide for their care any longer. Does she have any idea what the cost would be for them to be in a facility?! Ten thousand dollars a month would be on the low end for the two of them. My mom and hubby are in a facility, different areas because of mom's care needs due to Alzheimer's. They spend more than $12,000.00 a month. This is what your friend is in effect gifting mom and dad, to say nothing of what she is gifting her wealthy, detached, self absorbed brother in terms of increased value of HIS inheritance!
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Mincemeat makes a very important suggestion - to remain as her friend.

There will be times when everything seems overwhelming, your parents are either stubborn, angry, hostile or uncooperative, and you ask not only why this is happening but why you accepted this responsibility and what has happened to your own life.

Then a friend comes along and helps to keep life in perspective, to remind you that there are options to choose even if they're difficult ones and create a division in the family.

If there was one thing I would do over it's to plan a luncheon or get-together with a friend on a weekly basis, just to remain in touch with the real world.
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Actually, it's the elders who should be paying for their own care, not expecting their children or grandchildren to give up their jobs or security to do so.

It's well neigh impossible for a single person to care for a dementia patient. I can't emphasize enough the need for respite for the caregiver.
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The fact that your friend works out of the home and has a job only lends credence to the implausibility of this arrangement. She's going to come home after a busy or long day at work and be faced with caregiving chores that are going to drain her.

Just curious - why does she feels she needs to do this? Why isn't her brother involved?
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You ask what you can do to help your friend. Garden Artist has given you the great checklist. All I can add is to always be her best friend. This will mean that you are her support system: Listen to her vent about anything and everything. Eventually her only world will be full of grumpy older people. Be the "positive" in her life. Get her out of the house for lunch or book club or a walk in the park every week. Encourage her to have a small part of her own life. You sound like a wonderful caring friend! :)
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Personally, I think this is more than one person can handle, especially after recently losing her husband, and especially with a stubborn father and combative mother. Your friend will soon become exasperated, frustrated, worn down and may or likely become ill herself.

However, if she's committed to keeping her parents in her home, I would do this:

1. Your friend's brother needs to "get with the program" and work in concert with his sister to provide respite care, transportation and anything else needed. And he should do this regardless of the fact that he's the sole heir.

As an aside, I'm wondering if there's friction between the father and your friend, as it seems quite draconian to not consider the person who's going to be caring for him.

2. Your friend should get a caregiving contract for her parents to pay for her services. Her father would have to sign it. Since she's not getting any help, this can help offset the cost for help as well as her lost work time and benefits accrual.

3. I'm wondering if her father has dementia; at a minimum, he seems to be uncooperative and stubborn and apparently unaware that his wife's medical and mental condition has and will continue to deteriorate.

4. Your friend should try to get her mother to see a physician who can address her combativeness. I suspect, however, that her mother won't cooperate. Do you know if her mother is taking any meds to control her hostility?

5. From your description, I think her mother REALLY does need a placement with staff that know how to treat dementia. If the father has given his son sole DPOA authority, this is another reason why the son needs to become involved immediately so he can act on that authority if he can do so w/o a declaration of dementia for his father. That would all depend on the wording of the DPOA.

6. Your friend will need assistance in the house for basic housekeeping, as she soon will be too stressed and/or tired to do so. Help her find an agency, screen the staff, and work with her to bring them on board with a checklist of tasks to be done.

7. Your friend probably could use some at home health care aides as well. She'll need to contact her parents' physician(s) and get a script. You could research health care agencies and help her select one with staff that are experienced with Alzheimer's.

8. The Alzheimer's Assn. has a program titled Creating Confident Caregivers. Check with your local association to see if it offers that course, and ask if either you or your friend can attend.

http://www.alz.org/mglc/in_my_community_58958.asp

9. Contact your local AAA and Alzheimer's Assn. to see if they have any other programs that could help. You can do the leg work in obtaining the information for your friend to read.

I'm curious why your friend felt she could handle this situation on her own, without sibling or children help. One of the things that might be best of all is to help her understand she's undertaking a monumental and probably doomed to failure task, and will more than likely ruin her own health in the process.
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I think this is going to totally overload your friend in short order. Given all she has been through and no help from family this arrangement spells disaster.

It's probably not you're place to tell her she's making a mistake but you might tell her that's it's important to take care of herself first. Garden and Mince have given you great, detailed advice. If she insists on going through with this plan you could be a great help to her by helping with errands, shopping, and if you're up to it, staying with her folks so she can get out of the house. Everyone should have a friend like you.......
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Absolutely - if her parents have moved into her house permanently, she needs to get the money sorted. She ought not to be paying their bills.

Other than that, I just wanted to add to the vote of thanks to you for being such a good friend. People like you make the caregiving life bearable. Stick with her!
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She'd probably appreciate food - easy to heat meals like hearty soups and stews, muffins or quick breads. Maybe one casserole to heat now, another for the freezer.
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mule32023, have your friend come to this website and read everything she can from the Aging Care articles to a lot of the forum threads, it's a real eye opener.

One thing I am very worried about, you say your friend's daughter comes to the house with her 10 month old child.... how do the parents interact with the child? With Alzheimer's/Dementia comes a stage of hostility and jealousy which a baby shouldn't be exposed. You wrote her Mom is already combative.

Before your friend knows it, she will be quitting work long before her time, and doing 3 full shifts of caregiving x2, so she will be exhausted and her health will suffer. I read where 40% of caregivers die leaving behind their love one, not good odds.

Where did the parents live before moving in with your friend? Could they afford assisted living that also offers memory care?
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