How do I get help with my husband and when do I know it is necessary?


My husband's brother died from Alzheimers many years ago. Near the end it was very bad . . and his wife was his sole caregiver (they lived in Australia). My husband knows he has serious issues with his memory, however, i have been unable to tell him that is Alzheimer's - it would plummet him into serious depression. I am not sure how to handle issues regarding needing help. He even resists when one of the children come over to stay with him when I leave. Every other week when my housekeepers come (and can be there for an emergency, I can escape for a few hours. On that day, I go to visit my mother, who is also an Alzheimers victim. I have to take him everywhere I go and frankly it gives me zero time to myself. I feel guilty about not trusting him to be alone.

If he wants to take a walk - I am not sure he will find his way back or cross streets safely. Obviously he does not drive and I had to sell his adult tryke because it was dangerous for him on the streets.

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Gorlin, day care is an excellent thought that Jeanne offered. I will tell you a story about a friend of mine that was providing care for his wife. They are in their late 50's now and she was diagnosed at the age of 55. My friend's goal was to keep his wife at home until the end. In the beginning he was able to leave her home alone while he went to work. About a year and a half ago her behaviors started to become dangerous not only to herself but to him as well. Once she got on a city bus, headed downtown to go shopping. She was missing for a few hours. Then there was the battle over taking showers and taking car keys away. She never wanted to be at home even if he was there. Physical struggles began in an effort to keep her from leaving, for where she did not know.

Just over a year ago he decided he could no longer care for her as the behaviors were becoming unmanageable. First they tried a care home which was a disaster. So bad, in fact, that memory care in larger facilities woukd not take her. This led to a couple of week hospitalization while the docs tried to get her stabilized and figure out what meds would work for her. When released from the hospital the only place that would take her was a geriatric psychiatric hospital where she is very closely monitored which in her case is what it has to be.

Maybe if he had found a day program for her he may have been able to keep her at home longer? Who knows. But getting them accustomed to being with other people, and receiving care from others is very important for successful adjustment. They begin to understand that they can trust others.

But, adjustments also vary from person to person. My mom was in a day program for three years until she was moved to a memory care facility the end of May. Everybody that provided care for mom thought she would be fine since she was MOST of the time at day care. Though at this point that is not the case. Mom's meds have been changed twice so far. And I know there has been discussion about the what if's this new drug regimine does not work. The only options left are either family providing her care, a secure nursing home ot a geriatric psych hospital.

For his benefit and yours so you get a break, get him accustomed to going to a day program. It may make other future transitions easier on everybody.
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Gorlin, it is your goal and hope to keep your husband with you as long as you can? If so, the more help you can arrange and the sooner, the better.

You MUST have time for yourself. This is not optional if you are to avoid burnout, and avoiding burnout is necessary to keep your husband with you.

You MUST take care of your own health, keep your own routine appointments, see the dentist, etc. Taking care of someone with Alzheimer's takes strength and courage. (Besides, you deserve to be healthy for your own sake!)

A day health center a few times a week was a wonderful solution for us. He was occupied, safe, entertained, and fed a good lunch. When he was no longer able to attend that program, a personal care assistant in our home was a godsend.

My husband died in our bedroom, holding my hand. He was then on hospice.

If you want to keep him with you as long as possible, don't wait until nearly the end to arrange for help. The sooner the better.
Helpful Answer (3)

Hi Gorlin,
I feel sorry about your situation. Don’t lose your confidence, you should be patient while dealing with Alzheimer's patients. But you need not follow him every time, that will destroy his self-sensing ability. Instead, you can seek the help of a trained caregiver to look after your hubby. A well-trained nanny can teach simple tricks and techniques for improving the memory. My mother is an Alzheimer's patient, I don’t have enough time to give proper care to her, So I hired a caregiver with the help of Prestige care, Oregon. Now, I can go anywhere without any tension. I’m happy with their service. You can also try something like this. All the best.
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It is necessary to find the help before it is necessary, before it becomes an emergency. What is the plan for his care if something happens to you? Have you started looking at memory care communities? Have you identified the behaviors that may begin that will cause you to determine you are not able to care for him any longer?

Even if you were to constantly remind him that he has AD, he would not be able to process the information. It would only become more frustrating for you.
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