He has Alzheimer's and he won't like me leaving him. I am interviewing an agency today but I don't know what to tell my husband who will be angry with the idea of someone watching him while I take a break. I would like to tell him the truth but I am not sure he can process the idea.

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It might help if he views this as help for you instead of him, it might also be better to ease into things and stay home the first couple of times the caregiver comes. And I wouldn't tell him you need a break, I'd just say you're running to the store for a few minutes (or somewhere else you might be expected to go) while "Mary" is there cleaning, or fixing lunch, or doing the laundry or any of the other "women's work" that he may be more accepting of.
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Reply to cwillie
againx100 Feb 8, 2019
I was going to suggest the same thing!
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Mother had this dynamic when Daddy was getting really bad with Parkinson's. He'd get kind of frantic when she'd leave--I think b/c she was a terrible driver and he worried about her--also, who knows what is going on in a brain that's different every day?

First--you go to family. We were lucky that daddy was a good patient. I know I spent MANY afternoons with him, doing whatever he could do. My sibs all worked, and so they had less flexibility. But I treasured those days alone with dad.

Even his younger brother came a few times, which I think was sweet.

He lived in an apartment attached to brother's home, so sometimes just one of the kids would come in. He ADORED those "roadrunner" cartoons and would enjoy watching them with my goofy little niece. Of course, he couldn't be left totally "alone" with her, but for an hour of some one else was home, fine.

Neighbors he had met and knew well enough to be comfortable having over. (They moved kind of at the worst part of his disease, so he did not get to know a lot of people in the new area).

Old friends. Mom would have to set up "sitting" and once daddy was bed bound, this was almost impossible, as hospital beds take up a lot of room.

We'd do ALL these options before we'd ever call in an agency, which I know is sometimes the only option. We never had to call in "outside care". We're going to, for Mother, we already know that.

Being loving and kind in explaining this to dad. If he's mad, well , he's mad. Daddy wasn't happy about it, initially, but the Dr. prescribed a topical Valium and I'd measure out a dose, rub into the forearms for a few minutes and it worked wonders. I'd often not think to run wash my hands, so I would get a little buzz too. We found that kind of funny.

Mom MUST have some time off. Shes going to burn out completely if she doesn't get some help.

I would seriously suggest the topical benzo. It didn't make dad overly drowsy and any anxiety he felt kind of melted away.

Good Luck with this. It's one of those things you just don't think about--until it hits you in the face.
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Reply to Midkid58

Just tell him you are having someone come to help you around the house. You are needing some assistance with house keeping and cooking. Let him get used to the caregiver a few visits - they are professionals and know how to handle these situations (if they are quality..if not, keep looking for one). Then just tell him you are running a quick errand and Susie will be at the house if he needs anything. Take care of yourself first so you can continue to care for your hubby. Best.
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Reply to wnewton


I listened to an interesting interview talking about the Philosophy of Truth on the radio last night. At this point your reality and your husbands are very different and your perception of truth is from your reality.

What I am trying to say is that your truth maybe that you need a break, but your husband's truth is different. Does he see you as abandoning him, disrespecting him, not caring etc?

You need to approach this from the position of his reality.

Is there an adult day program he can attend? Make it all about him being able to watch the game, talk politics with like minded people, play cards, have a break from you etc, whatever works.
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Reply to Tothill

for my dad with Dementia I set up extra time when someone comes over and gives him a shower. My dad is in the later stages. He has no concept of time/ night or day.
For you, you can say you need to run some errands, pay some bill, go to the store, you will be “right back” just have someone there if he needs anything. The aids can play cards, read, look at pictures, anything you tell them to do. When you get back he may ask “ where have you been you just tell him you just went out to pick some things up.. “ but you are back and everything is fine. Now change the subject to something else they call it redirecting the situation. Please it is very very important that you also take care of yourself. If not how will you take care of your husband.
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Reply to Chole18

You can't do it all, nor should you have to. Part of being a caretaker is taking care of yourself. You simply can't be at your best when you have no respite. You can have a friend or relative come in - sometimes church groups will help by sitting with shut-ins for an hour or two. You could hire someone. You could seek an adult day care in your area. Maybe contact your local Office of the Aging for suggestions. But don't ignore your need for time off. You aren't abandoning your husband no matter how he feels about it. You may just have to put your foot down and insist that you need some personal time and just take it - but do it with the knowledge that you're doing it for BOTH of you.
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Reply to lablover64

My parents were not open to help coming in. They considered the Medicare nurse and physical therapists a necessary evils that encroached on their privacy. I chose to be around when they started getting help from a home health agency. Good thing I did, because the first person was a complete and total disaster....The second person was great. Although I hated that we were paying for help that should have been giving me respite, it was beneficial to take the process more organically. So, I hired this lovely woman to help mom and dad (dad was the one who needed 24/7 care, but mom was overwhelmed too) and I would stay there. One time, I hired her to come with us for an extended doctor's appointment at a hospital complex. My presence helped it feel more normal for mom and dad that she was there. Over time, mom and dad felt more comfortable with a stranger in the house, because she wasn't a stranger anymore:) Eventually, dad could be comfortable with just the caregiver while I took mom out. All of this was to help mom and dad adjust to their new rules of life. They were very independent souls. I guess what I'm trying to say is that for us, a sink or swim approach didn't work and a more gradual transition to outside help did!
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Reply to lynina2
jacobsonbob Feb 12, 2019
This looks like a great plan!
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I had a similar situation of difficulty bringing help into the house. You can read the responses here:

Over time, it’s gotten easier. Also having a male aide is much better than females for my husband. But he will sometimes still ignore them until I get back to the house or get angry because I left. It’s dementia and anxiety, which we are trying to alleviate. I like the idea of a topical benzodiazepine!
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Reply to JuliaRose

Is your husband still active in some hobbies or some type of work? If so you might try what I did with my father. I told him that I hired his care taker to work with him, to help him do his woodcarving, lawn work or whatever he needed help with. I never mentioned that it was to give me a break. I would just let him know since they were busy I was going to the store or something I needed to go do. He accepted that easily and as time went on he accepted the help with personal care as well with no problems, or at least with only minor objections. Just make sure that your care taker is in on the secret.
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Reply to Glendaj2

Is there an Adult Day Care in your area? If so that might be a good place to start.
He will get used to other people caring for him for a few hours. You get a break. He gets a bit of socialization and structure, both great for dementia! The one I had my Husband in for a while would pick up in the morning and drop off in the late afternoon so I pretty much had from 9 to 4 where I could get things done. Once he could no longer attend that one (he tried to leave several times) I found a facility that had a Memory Care unit and they accepted him for Day Care and I would drop him off by 9 am and could pick him up by 5. I later transitioned to getting caregivers that came into the house and there was never a problem.

If you are getting people in during the "interview" for at least part of it have your husband sit with the three of you and have a cup of coffee and see how they react to each other. Not a great barometer but it might give you an inkling as to how he will react. But tell him this is for you that you need help with some housework.

By the way if your husband is a Veteran he may qualify for home help through the VA. This would be at no cost to you so if he is a Veteran please look into this.
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Reply to Grandma1954
NeedHelpWithMom Feb 13, 2019

I think you have great suggestions. I love the idea of feeling the situation out with you there first. When I babysat for friends, I would stress to them that their kids needed to see the parent leave and then return, not to sneak off.

I love how you eased your hubby into transitioning. That may not be possible in every situation but certainly better if it can work.
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