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I am so afraid for him. I promised I will not put him in a nursing home and I plan to keep that promise, no matter if I have to hire 24 hr. home care. I just don't want him to suffer. I have read plenty of books on Alzheimer. I guess I am a little depressed today, because he is failing quickly in some areas.

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This is just a comment on the other side of the issue - caring for someone at home. I'm not endorsing this suggestion, just mentioning it.

One woman who's husband developed Alzheimers care for him entirely at home, with the assistance of aids after he became completely bedridden. That later stage lasted about 3 years, if I'm informed correctly.

That's something I could not nor would I try to do, but she managed to do it.
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I'm a single woman, so I have no idea what it is like to be faced with such a future for your loved one. I'm sorry you made that promise, because I know there is a possibility you won't be able to keep it no matter how hard you try. You will just have to stop trying to look into the future and take things a day at a time... I know, that is currently my avatar. I think it is true for all of us caregivers, plan for the worst, hope for the best, and take it one day at a time.
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Sometimes you can mentally remove yourself from the situation and view yourself as an independent caregiver, just to get some emotional distance and cope better. I'm not suggesting blocking your emotions, but rather to try to put enough personal distance that you can view the situation as how you would handle it if you weren't his wife. Then you might be able to think clearer.

But I would also read up on Alzheimers, the various stages, and try to develop strategies for handling them. If you anticipate these stages, it won't be such a shock when they occur.

Think not only in terms of care, but also of emotional support, such as how you will support him when he becomes more confused, or when he reaches the more combative stages. Identify the points at which you'll need outside help.

And develop coping strategies for yourself as well as for him. How, during the progression of the disease, can you maintain your emotional and physical health and strength? How can you begin to identify in-home care and what you consider factors that necessitate it? Work out a plan of action, identify sources that can help you.

If you can do this, you'll be more prepared when the time comes.

Contact the Alz Assn. and see if they have any classes on caring for someone with dementia. The Michigan Alzheimers has a Creating Confident Caregivers class which is excellent. I don't believe MA has a class, but someone might be able to get the text and materials for you.

Call hospitals (and the Alz Assn.) to see if they have support groups. If not, find one online and begin to reach out and connect with others to find out how they handle different phases.

Think of this journey as a difficult one, but one for which you're the navigator. You need to be identify the potential storms, the ragged shoals, and the time at which you need to move the ship ashore and get help from others. This planning can make it easier for you to help him through, as you'll be the one in charge of reacting to the course of his progression.
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Thank you for your response. I know it will not be easy but he is my whole life.
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I know so many people who have made that promise--and who regret making it, as it is often just impossible to keep, as you cannot look into the future and see how hard it can be.

I worked for an elderly woman whose family had promised their dad they wouldn't put mom in a home. Well.....the agony they all experienced when they had no choice...she was requiring 24/7 care and they were exhausted. The 32 hrs I could give them was just respite, towards the end.

She did get moved to a gorgeous private facility, lived three years there and in the end had no idea who anyone was. It was awful watching the family go through this--they felt this promise was written in stone and they were letting dad down.

I have made my kids know that I DO NOT expect them to care for me at home. I hope when the time comes I am able to make that decision on my own and not put that stress on my family.

Bless you for trying to keep this promise. I hope you can, although, I can tell you, from experience, it can be just heartbreaking. Take care of yourself, not just your hubby.
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That is really hard! It's hard watching someone become a shadow of themselves because you know what they used to be capable of. I am going through that with my mom and I think the old her, would never do a lot of these things or say a lot of things she does now. There must be a reason that God puts us in these situations of watching someone we love fade away, but I don't know what it is....
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Those books probably told you not to make promises like that. So don't say that anymore, just say you will always love him. Because you will.
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