Follow
Share

Dad is still functioning somewhat, driving to krogers, fussing around with his plants and mowing grass, but the short term memory is going fast. Mom is having a hard time with it. We've talked at length about not correcting or arguing with him and she does very well most of the time.

But I haven't talked with her much about the horrible progression of dementia and what we will be dealing with as time marches on. Mom is 84, still is mentally sharp, has lots of medical issues and a history of depression.

Any thoughts, stories, suggestions?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
Thank you all for your kind responces. Since I posted my poor Mom has dealt with about 3 or 4 crisis with Dad. She's doing great, it gets her down but it challenges her. But, it's going to get overwhelming very soon. So I have long talks with her, tell her how well she is doing with him and try to buck her up.

But tonight, she mentioned how difficult it was to just have an adult conversation with him. I told her to talk about the old days like I do with him. She said, "I'm up to here with the old days! I was there Ya know!" Damn... She's right. His old stories are sometimes new and interesting to me when I'm there for a few days. But she's there 24/7 and she was there 24\7 years ago. We're good for now. We will see about tomorrow.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Focus on talking to your Mom about planning for herself so that she won't be worried.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

If your dad is still driving and stuff, he may have many years ahead of him before the dementia takes him completely away. It is well documented, though, that a hospitalization accelerates the process. With my FIL, from the time that children began the intervention in their day to day lives to his death was about 4 years. He had TIA's and dementia and a number of hospitalizations. His was so different than MIL's, though. He was angry, agitated, mean. So far, she has begun some anger, but we are 10 years into the process and still going strong. She has developed some Parkinson's symptoms and that adds to the memory deficits. Trying to keep her mobile is our primary focus at this time.

Point is, there may be many years ahead, or it may be a few. Two of my favorite sayings are "One day at a time" and "it's a marathon, not a sprint".

I'm so sorry for anyone who is having to deal with this. Wish they could find a cure or a cause - and in our lifetime.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Windy, I don't know if his will help. My dad started losing short term memory over 10 years ago. Mom covered for him and was in denial, so it took a while for the rest of us to catch on. However, when we did, about the time he had surgery, he really went downhill. and Mom was starting to have long term memory problems. Long story short, they are in AL together. It was a long road, but I am glad the 4 of us kids decided together to make the decisions that we made on that 7 year journey!! We learned it all the hard way. don't argue, keep them safe, make it their idea when possible etc. They are in a place that is close so 3 of us can keep an eye on things. As both parents progressed in their dementia, they were where they could be helped the most! I must add that sibling 4 calls Mom every night and Mom expects the call!!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Dear Windyridge, I'm sorry your family has to go through this. My suggestion is that you help your mom evaluate options of moving to assisted living before your dad gets worse. Both your parents will be resistant but she will not feel so isolated and will have others for support and your dad's condition worsens. The early stages of dementia are very depressing for everyone. It takes a few years to accept the reality of the situation. Your mom is slowing losing her husband and gaining a child to take care of. I am relatively young (61) and have been on this journey since 2011 without any family nearby. It takes a lot of planning, patience, physical strength and personal sacrifice. Changes are difficult to anticipate and challenging, like wandering, incontinence, not remembering how to get into a car, not being able to swallow. Week to week abilities are lost and it is very stressful. Your mom needs help now, your dad eventually will not remember.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Let her go on the website for alz.org and let them do the explaining. No one said you have to keep her informed, and if she is still mentally sharp, then let her do all the research. Adult children of senior parents want to act like helicopters. She knows her husband is different, and let her know as much as she wants to know.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Babalou, yes mom has been on anti depressants for 40 years, has been admitted to phyc ward a few times through the years and has had counseling, shrinks etc. it's been a lifelong battle for her. I'm surprised at how she's holing up these days. I keep telling her she has to stay strong for dad and she's hanging in there so far.

I'll never be able to get in home help of any kind until dad is so far gone mentally or gone physically to memory care . Even follow up nursing care at home following moms many hospitalizations has always been a battle.

They were not separated during the war. Dad was a little young for the draft.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Windy, is your mom's depression being treated? Does she see the geripsych or at least the Nurse Practioner every couple of months?

The whole "they're declining at different rates from different illnesses" thing is one I watched with my Aunt and Uncle. My cousins brought in a service called "Visiting Angels" run by an RN who was of the same cultural background as my aunt, and I believe, a friend of a friend (or so they told her...it's called therapeutic fibbing). Eventually they had round the clock aides until my aunt passed away
( my uncle, who had dementia, fired them everyday, but they would simply hang around out of site waiting for my aunt to need something). When my aunt passed away, my uncle was moved to Memory Care at an AL and eventually to a VA nursing home.

We have a theory in our family that some of these couples were separated early in their marriages by WWII and that it was such a painful experience that it terrifies them to contemplate another separation. Don't know if that applies here, but maybe worth mulling over.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

FF, I'm with your Dad on this. It's all going much too fast. My latest gadget even knows when I swear at it - and responded with hurt indignation, which enraged me still further. Technology needs to get back in its box if you ask me.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Windy, I am also living in limbo regarding my parents. Both sound good on the phone, except for the fact Mom can't hear me, she gets a conversation going about the weather and if they sat outside in the sun.

Your Dad has DSL? He's one up on my Dad who is still using dial-up in a huge metro area. I keep telling Dad that trying to get onto the internet using dial-up here is like peddling a tricycle on the shoulder of the road trying to merge onto the information highway while everyone else is zooming by at 200 mph. He rarely gets a connection. He won't pay for cable service. It's so sad as Dad was also computer literate, in fact he use to write computer code... no, Dad, people don't use DOS and floppy disc any more.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Thanks to all for your suggestions and stories. Dad was computer literate until us out 2 years ago. They still pay 39 bucks per month for the DSL service and Mom won't let me cancel it. Just in case he has a good day..... Thus far they have refused any in home help, meals on wheels, " Your Dad won't eat that stuff!" Housecleaning service, "Those people steal you blind" and so it goes. So I pick my battles and like Flyer, don't worry about the nasty old sofa, " we just got that a couple years ago" . They got it in 1970........

The coming crisis is that if Mom fails physically Dad can't live by himself and if he fails mentally Mom can't live by herself. And they would each need different types and levels of care. The way it's looking, I have a feeling Dad will be in memory care first. But who knows..........L
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

If your mother is computer literate, why don't you find her a web support forum specifically for individuals dealing with Alzheimer's. She might feel more comfortable talking with someone who is not connected to her family. There may also be a support group near her home.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Windy, guess just take it one day at a time. It is good that your Mom is noticing little changes as time goes along, instead of being in denial. And that she is learning not to correct him or argue with him.

My parents are in denial. Mom still thinks Dad [93] can get out the ladder and fix the ceiling fan... yikes, I can't climb to that height anymore. Dad forgets that Mom [97] doesn't see/hear very well.

I hate being the bystander but there isn't anything I can do since it was their choice to continue to live in their single family home... poor planning for two very educated people. I patiently wait for my parents to finally ask that they need help. They will fight for their independence to live on their own until their last breath.

Linda22, my Mom refuses to have a cleaning service, and believe me my parents desperately need one. So I just grin and bear it, and overlook all the handprints on the appliances, door jams, and walls. And crumbs on the rug under the kitchen table, and heavy knows what are those spots on the rug. A few years back I even offered a gift of a service and my Mom felt so insulted... oops, won't do that again :(
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Dad went to a day program, 4 days a week for 5 hours or so. That gave our mom time for naps, hair appointments etc. It helped Dad, as they had activities. They hired someone to mow lawns and remove snow in winter.

Things that would've helped but my mom wasn't comfortable with were: hiring a housecleaning service, having someone come in to help Dad shower (he was tall and strong).
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

We knew that at some point, Dad would need more care than Mom could provide. My sister and I assured her at the beginning of the journey that when she determined she was at that point, we would support her and help her in that difficult transition. When that time came, we scoped out NH (no memory care facilities back then) for her. I think it helped her that we backed her up on this tough decision.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Actually, I think he has given up on the chainsaw as its too hard to get started, maybe because I might have tampered with it a little. I was afraid he'd go out and buy another one but he hasn't yet. Mom would tell me and I can call my nephew to fix the new one as I watch my inheritance go down the drain as an extensive collection of chain saws.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

[faintly] … chainsaw???? Ooooo….
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Mouse, you are so nice. You're advice is spot on. Yes, she sounds very sad when she reports Dads memory lapses. Sometimes she gets depressed and just goes to bed. I do let her know I'm here for her and thank her for letting me know what's going on. I think she knows where this is all leading. She's not at all naive about dementia and long term effects but she's on the front lines. I'm a 10 hour drive away.

And you are not casually consigning my Dad to care. It's coming soon and honestly I'll be relieved when he is in care and I'm not worried about him driving or using a chainsaw any longer. At that point it's what to do with mom. She will be devastated and unable to live alone. But one day at a time.......
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

How does she sound when she's giving you these little, um, anecdotes? The second she begins to sound really upset or frightened or depressed is when you remind her gently that she has your full support for any help she wants to get with your father. You and I know we mean memory care, but you don't have to hit her over the head with that all at once - it's just a cue to consider options.

If I were talking to you I'd have a lump in my throat. I do realise this is your Dad I'm casually consigning to memory care. I'm sorry he, and she, and you are all having to go through this, it's horrible.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Thanks Mouse. I like the "Let her come to you" idea. I'm a long distance caregiver. I talk to Mom every day on the phone and after the small talk she always reports on Dads latest memory adventures. So I certainly have enough openings to deal with the subject. So at this point I guess we'll take it one day at a time and deal with each development as it comes at us.

When this all started about 4 years ago I began scrambling to get as prepared for all contingencies and have most of my ducks in a row at this point, but This is going to be a tough one as Dad progresses.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I'd keep it to the effect of "Mom, if you want to talk over how Dad's going to get on from here, you know where I am, don't you. We can find out more whenever you're ready." Let her come to you.

It may be, you see, that she's thinking 'sufficient unto the time is the evil thereof' and quite literally doesn't want to know. If there are plans that need to be made and you're worried, though - like getting door alarms set up, or thinking about continence care - you can always talk about the specific thing that has to be arranged and let her draw her own conclusions if she wants to. The crucial thing is that she trusts you to support her, come what may.
Helpful Answer (6)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter