My dad is in the mid stages of Alzheimer’s. He has been diagnosed and is on meds. My mom is his primary caregiver. Two sons live within 2 miles of them, I live about 20 miles away. I’ve accepted my siblings are going to be of no help, that is ok.

My worry is that my mom is not taking good care of my dad because she is in denial and mostly doesn’t want to have to deal with it.

Neither my mom nor my siblings are willing to read or watch any of the info I have sent them, which I have read and watched first. (Teepa Snow videos and a book that was recommended here, along with online support groups). I realize I can’t force them but I’m worried about my dads health and well being.

My dad, along with Alzheimer’s has: a shunt in his head because of excess fluid, a left knee replacement, a left shoulder replacement, neuropathy (sp) in his feet, and is a fall risk. He falls at least once a month.

Here are the issues I find concerning:
Mom and Dad went on a 3 week vacation to Australia last year. Mom slept almost the entire 18 hour flight home without ever making sure my dad got food or drink or got up to use the restroom (she already has him wearing pull ups and would rather just let him go in those than help him go every few hours). By the end of the flight my dad was incoherent and barely conscious. Even with oxygen he couldn’t remember anything about where he lived or who he was. They thought it was a stroke and he spent two days in a hospital in California and my 2 brothers had to drive down from Oregon to bring them home when he was discharged. Thankfully it wasn’t a stroke, he was severely dehydrated, hadn’t eaten and was getting sick so it created a perfect storm I guess. Since it wasn’t a stroke my mom thinks the entire situation was no big deal.

Last month they went to Hawaii for 2 weeks. The first day there they went on a coffee farm tour (super uneven ground) and he fell and broke his collarbone, they waited 2 days to go to a hospital.

He has started having visual hallucinations but they don’t upset him at this point.

The kicker happened a couple of days ago. Apparently they were at Home Depot and since my dad didn’t want to go inside my mom left him in the car without the keys and locked it. She was inside for an hour! My dad could not open the door and even a stranger in the parking lot tried to help him and he still couldnt figure it out. He was about to use their emergency tool to break the car window from the inside when my mom finally came out. It was probably at least 90 in the car. And the only reason I know is because my dad brought it up when I saw him.

She also just bought a new bed for their guest room so she can sleep in there because he wakes her up when he gets out of bed to go to the bathroom, and he has fallen several times already. She has to call one of my brothers to help get him up because she can’t do it by herself. She has no plan in place to alert her when he gets out of bed if she is sleeping in a room across the house.

She also still lets him drive even though he shouldn’t because it is convenient for her to have him run to the store for her or take himself to church when she doesn’t want to go.

They are resistant to having someone come in because my dad doesn’t think anything is wrong with him and my mom can’t admit they are at a point where they need help.

My question is what do I do? She does the 24/7 caregiving and it’s hard and I don’t want to diminish that. But I don’t know how to help her since she refuses to get educated about anything. She spends hours on her computer playing solitaire, looking up recipes etc so she has the time to learn she chooses not to. What are some suggestions to get them to get a caregiver. They have plenty of money to pay and I doubt they will ever qualify for Medicaid.

I am 35 with a husband and 2 kids. My husbands job means he is away from home for several days in a row and it’s never the same days each week and includes occasional weekends and holidays so I can’t be the free caregiver that my mom and siblings have assumed I will be. Thanks for letting me have a place to let out my worries!

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Thank the Lord you can't be the caretaker! They would wear you out and drive you crazy, believe me.... Do you really think they'll let you "manage" them at all? I know you want to help, and the stuff you're saying is horrific, but they will not listen to you, will they? Drop the guilt about not being available; just take care of your family, and when the crisis comes, help if you can, where you can. Most important - PRAY for them!
Helpful Answer (15)

Sometimes an emergency has to happen before help is admittedly needed or recognized assisted living is necessary. Sounds like mom is in denial. Not much you can do. Mom, eventually will get exhausted and then maybe, maybe realise that she is not able to provide the care dad needs. There is always an option to have Adult Protective Services check in on dad. Or call the Area Agency on Aging to get an assessment done to determine needs.
Helpful Answer (14)

My first thought is what is the state of Mom's competency? She does not sound as though she is playing with a full deck either. Can you get her to have an evaluation?
has she always been so self centered or is this a new development?
Leaving all that aside how has their relationship been over the years. Does Mom really dislike Dad and simply wants as little to do with him as possible?
Helpful Answer (13)

If your parents will cooperate, one idea is to call their local Area Agency on Aging and ask for a need assessment. Be prepared to attend so that when mom says that dad is independent, you can gently supply accurate information.

Armed with this info ( what the level of care needed, available resources) you can perhaps have a plan in place for when mom falls ill and dad needs more care; or if dad falls ill, to provide a baseline of his functioning.
Helpful Answer (11)

Big ask here. How about the next time that your mum wants to go away, you offer to sit/take care of your dad?

I know it is a HUGE ask, but this way you can assess him, see what it is like to actually walk a mile in her shoes and may be get Area Agency on Aging to get an assessment done?

The biggest problem with doing this is, that you get sucked it and end up taking care of one or both on them. So be careful!

Such a problem. Good luck.
Helpful Answer (9)

Rock and a hard spot for sure.

I only want to say that do not offer to be caregiver, if they can afford it, it should be a trained professional. Your brothers think you should offer yourself for free caregiving aid, are they worried about their inheritance?

See if you can convince dad to wear a life alert, this will provide help when he falls in the night.

It sounds like your mum is playing ostrich or she herself is having some cognitive issues.

As others have said, sometimes it takes an emergency and pray it's not a tragedy that could have been avoided.

God be with your parents and keep them safe, and may He send you answers and help so they are both getting the help they need. HUGS 2 u!
Helpful Answer (9)

Thank you for all your replies. I have been lurking here for years and so having confirmation of some things is always nice. It’s because of all of you I realized I needed to not put myself in the position of caregiver/fixer of everything.

My mom has always been self centered and unable to have empathy for others. It wasn’t as obvious until now just how bad.

I grew up in a multigenerational farm family, my brother is the 3rd generation and one of his daughters will probably be continuing that tradition to make it a 4th generation. So my dad was very independent and a hard worker and would still be working if he could. He finally had to retire at 72 because of the Alzheimer’s, although I don’t think he retired in his mind. He will be 75 this fall.

I do the majority of their lawn and garden care (about 1.5 acres of lawn and flower gardens). So for a good part of the spring/summer/fall I am there and my mom makes sure to send my dad out to ‘help’ me. Which is fine with me because he is the sweetest most kind man. He is happy to hoe weeds and then sit and rest where I can see him. Sure, I have to modify what I am doing and make sure he is doing something safe while still feeling like he is contributing. My kids love being there and working outside too and my six year old even helps by bringing us glasses of water every couple of hours. I always make sure he has a snack or lunch depending on what time of day it is. When we have family functions I usually sit next to him so my mom can interact with others and have a good time. I know this is not at all the same as 24/7 and try really hard to remember that and not be unfair on her.

There was another incident last night. My brother was by their house feeding heifers (the pen is less than 200 feet from my parents house). My mom decided my dad needed exercise at dusk and sent him down to my brother to return a pan. My dad often falls when he gets going because he can’t stop his feet when he gets going, this is not a new problem it’s been going on for years but is getting worse. My brother wasn’t able to get to him fast enough so my dad fell, hit his head and had to go to the hospital for stitches. My mom didn’t even go and instead made my brother take my dad. He then had a reaction to the numbing medicine and his heart rate went really low for about ten minutes plus the hospital said he was dehydrated.

The only good to come from this is that my brother now actually agrees that we need to meet with mom and talk about things. Unfortunately he thinks talking to mom will then cause her to suddenly become a capable caregiver. I’ve been trying that for over 2 years, it’s not going to happen. So I am hoping to get him and mom on board with hiring in home caregivers. Hopefully that goes well, we are going to meet within the next few days. I already have information about in home caregiver agencies ready so hopefully I can at least make my brother see reason. He is the oldest and my parents tend to listen to him while treating me like I’m stupid and have no idea what I’m talking about.

My mom is definitely in denial. I think her vision of retirement was lots of traveling plus she was used to my dad working all day and she was free to spend her days doing whatever she wanted. She hasn’t accepted her new reality and has a 2 week cruise to Alaska already planned for this summer and is talking about a trip to the British Isles next year.

I suppose I will see how the meeting goes and then decide what to do after that.
Helpful Answer (9)

Gardengurl25, it is all denial on the part of your Mom and probably some part on your Dad.

My Mom was the same way except she was a helicopter spouse when it came to my Dad, thus very caring and hands-on but not realizing that being in their 90's, a simple fall for someone decades younger may result in no injuries, a fall when someone is in their 90's can be worrisome.

My Mom was still seeing Dad as this guy who could fix anything on her honey-do list, thus still thinking he was in his 50's instead of in his 90's. My Dad was still climbing up tall ladders. Also Dad would tumble over when outside pulling weeds. He would tumble over when trying to tie his shoes when sitting in his recliner. It wasn't easy for him to get up.

My Dad was just as much at fault regarding denial. Whenever he went outside he asked my Mom to keep a watch for him in case he fell. Dad forgot that Mom was legally blind and had lost most of her hearing. Numerous times neighbors would find Dad face down in the dirt, and my Mom looking out the window not quite sure what she is seeing... [sigh].

I tried to lure my folks into a tour at a wonderful retirement complex which had an indoor pool [Dad loved to swim],and very large 2,000sqft apartments. They looked at the brochure and said "maybe in a couple of years"..... oh, great guess they are waiting until they are 100 !!

Many of us here had to play the waiting game. Thus wait until something very serious happened before anything could be change. My Mom refusal of caregivers and moving into something safer was literally her down fall.... she spent her remaining months in long-term-care. And Dad sold the house and moved to Independent Living.
Helpful Answer (9)

First, you can stop looking at your Mom as Dad's caregiver, because she is no longer qualified, may be burnt out too.

If this continues down the same train track, an intervention will be necessary, and they will be separated into different facilities or housing. That is never ideal.

Looking for an assisted living apartment for both to be together could work, if it i s not too late for that.
Helpful Answer (8)

I feel for you! My mom was in denial but pretty much rejected my dad. She refused to cook so he went hungry. She refused to learn how to deal with a dementia patient and was mean and nasty to him. She ran off the home health care that was lined up. In my parents' case, I think my dad always did the "hard stuff" of life and mom was the one who got to pursue her hobbies and dreams. When dad could no longer take care of the day-to-day stuff like money management, bills, driving, decisions, etc., she seemed to get majorly pissed off. Several medical professionals have specifically told her: "he's not doing this TO you, this is happening TO him". Because she refused to care for him he had to be moved to memory care a year ago. Now she is filled with guilt and is miserable.
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