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My dad and I live together. I'm his caregiver. He has mid-stage alzheimer's with remarkably poor memory. Its unsafe to leave him alone for more than a couple of hours. His needs are ever-changing. He is declining quickly and doesn't eat properly, bathe, etc. For example he hasn't had a shower for 5 days but insists he had one yesterday. Until about 2 weeks ago, he got himself breakfast and lunch, while I prepare dinner for him. Now he either doesn't eat unless prompted, or only eats what he sees (all the bananas, or all the bread...). I want a break - preferably for one weekend a month and a couple of hours a day. My dad refuses help. He insists he can look after himself, and gets angry, rude and suspicious when I discuss it. Family members help as much as they can. This is getting more and more frustrating for us, and I thought having someone look after him on a regular basis would allow us all to relax on a regular basis...How do I get help when he thinks he's fine and refuses?

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It seems that with this disease, I'm constantly running to catch up to the changes in my dad's behaviours and abilities. I know the basic progression of this disease but not the details nor the timeline. So I know that he will need more help than I can provide, and I have basic plans for getting the help. In terms of eating I think all the steps are too overwhelming for my dad so I'll take over some of the steps - for example, I can tell him lunch is ready, make up a plate of leftovers, and leave it on the the table for him. He can come get it, grab his utensils, and choose fruits from the fruit bowl on the table... Oh so simple, eh! Teepa Snow is popular on this site, and will definitely watch her videos. Clutter is a family trait so its an ongoing struggle - haha!
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When I first found this site 3 years ago, I noticed several posters kept mentioning Teepa Snow. I Finally googled her YouTubes a year later. Oh my! I learned a LOT about why my father was doing what he was doing. At first, he used to shower almost daily. Then it went to once a week. Then to every other week. When he had his stroke, he was now only showering once a month. Plus, he could not smell himself. So he thought he smelled okay... He couldn't smell his old smelly urinated pants. Teepa Snow helped me to understand this. My favorite of her YouTubes is the : Teepa Snow Making Visits Valuable. She breaks it down to several videos so that I can watch one at a time when I'm free.

As for your father not eating, it could be that - like my father - he can no longer tell when it's time to eat. My dad can only tell when it's time to eat by looking at the clock frequently. I took an online course on dementia. I learned from one of their video scenarios of how this man and even a woman did not eat. They emphasize Decluttering the kitchen and the livingroom. Keep the table clear of anything that would distract them. With the man, his grown up son had his work stuff all over the livingroom and the dining table. It confuses his father because the kitchen no longer looks like a kitchen. So, the cleared out the clutters. Now, the father sees the table and connects it to meals. From what you said, I'm assuming that your father sees those fruits - and it prompts him to eat. Perhaps it's time for you to think outside the box? I'm thinking like how my mom would cook a large meal. Then the left overs will be eaten the next day. Maybe you can do the same with dinner? Any leftovers, your dad can warm up (by microwave?) for breakfast or lunch the next day. Try this first. See if it will help him to eat regularly. If not, you may need to do more brainstorming.

Who knows, maybe Teepa has also covered this, too!
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Oh yes....I would definitely get the respite care, but I would also look into his care down the road. You may need considerable help if he is much larger than you. Sometimes dementia patients can be combative and refuse meds, baths, etc. They will become incontinent and may try to leave the house. I would make some plans for how to handle those things as if you are not strong enough, you could get injured.

Maybe you could video tape what you are dealing with and send it to them so they can see firsthand. Unless you are in the environment around the clock, you might not get it.
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Wow, this is my first visit to this site, and already I feel better. Thanks so much for the responses. My dad lived across the country and I brought him to Ontario to live with me because of his dementia. He was diagnosed in May, 2015 with mid-stage alzheimers, and with remarkably poor memory and remarkably fast decline. I have his POA and I have read about progression, behavioural issues, etc., but certainly have much to learn. This respite care issue has been discussed with my siblings and other family, but we have been reluctant to move forward because my dad will fight it. And its hard for family members who live across the country to understand the 24/7 care and the burn-out. Hmmm, I think its time to arrange respite care anyway...
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This is a good site to come for support, ideas and venting. I think you will see quite a few caregivers who have challenges like yours. What's great about this place is that others can offer you tips from their experience and provide you with places you can go for information.

Are you your father's Durable Power of Attorney and Healthcare POA? Has he been diagnosed with Alzheimers and just doesn't remember it? I would check with an Elder Law attorney if you don't already have one to see what measures you need to act on his behalf.

It's such a huge challenge to care for a dementia patient. You say your dad is in the midstage. I think I might consider getting someone to stay with him anytime you have to leave the house, since a lot could happen in a couple of hours. Is there a way to do that? Sometimes dementia patients also just walk out and get lost. I'd address that concern too, if you haven't already.

Even if your dad protests, it's not really possible to leave his care up to him, since he needs protection and is not able to take care of that for himself anymore. His needs are likely to increase as his condition progresses. Have you read much about the progression of dementia and what you might expect regarding his symptoms and care? That might be beneficial.

Him being rude, resistant, and angry is quite common. Have you discussed his behavior with his doctor? Often medications can help with the anxiety and help the person feel more content. I'd definitely ask about that. Living with a person with dementia is very trying.

If you continue as his caretaker, getting respite care is crucial to your mental and physical care. I'd make the arrangements. Your father will just have to adjust. He is not in a position to use good judgment. If he were, then he would understand your needs.

I would read everything I could about one person being the around the clock caretaker for a male dementia patient. It's very challenging. I can't even imagine trying it, because it's a 24 hour job. Even if you get outside help a few days a week, you still have to be alert to his needs all night and all day. Maybe someone here who does that can chime in with their thoughts.
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You're going to have to be a bit foxy. My Dad is similar, maybe not quite as bad, but I've had to tell him the visiting nurse is an old girlfriend that stopped by. It's quite alright to fib a little to get things done. Do as much as you can get away with. But remember, reasoning with him and arguing will get you no where. There will come a time when you have to take action whether he likes it or not. You can't let his dementia and denial harm him and wreck you family.
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