I relocated my mom from out of state and she has been living on her own only 5 minutes from my home. In March I took on a new job and relocated 2 hours away and when I visit mom, I am finding she isn't driving anymore, no motivation, forgetting if she took meds, not socializing, depressed, not eating. So my husband and I are going to bring my Mom to live with us. My sisters live out of state, so no support from them, just criticism. Just having her visit over the holidays has been an eyeopener of things to come, its been like a rollercoaster, she has up and down days. Today she hates me and wants to go home...I ruined her life! Yesterday, she was planning the color to paint her bedroom walls.
My new home which was our sanctuary, even though she's not a horrible person to live with. It's just so hard having another adult in your home and especially one that is hard of hearing in both ears so the volume on the TV is always set to 54! I am seeing that a lot of our privacy is gone and we never have a moment to ourselves anymore. Unfortunately, I don't have any other solutions for her care... Am I taking on more than I can handle? New job, new home, my own health is suffering... anxiety, guilt, hair thinning, weight gain... STRESS. Thanks for hearing my vent...

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It is entirely possible for individuals to care for a dementia patient in a private home through the mild stage and even into the moderate stage (depending on the exact symptoms). More advanced stages get considerably more iffy for home care. So ... it is likely that Mom may need care in a professional setting eventually.

But for now, if you want to attempt to care for your mother in your home, here are some suggestions:

1) Learn all you can about dementia, and if you know it, about the specific kind of dementia she has. Knowing what to expect doesn't make the symptoms pleasant but removing the element of surprise helps some. And it definitely helps you not take them personally.
2) Realize that change can be hard on those with dementia. If Mom has to make another change in her living arrangements, that may set her back some. Expect this. Give her plenty of time to settle in and regain a sense of calm.
3) About sisters who criticize: blow 'em off. Try, "You may be right, Sis. Would you like Mom to come live with you for a month, so you can try out these theories and let me know what works best?" and then "Sorry, I'm only listening to constructive ideas this week," and then, "I think we'd all get along better if we talk about other things instead of Mom." Set boundaries with your sisters and ENFORCE them.
4) About the loud tv: OMG, dementia or not, married 30 years or not, I would simply have wound up divorced or in a mental ward if it weren't for that wonderful invention wireless earphones. And the gods bless closed captions when we watched something together, so he could follow without the volume damaging my eardrums. Mom won't wear earphones? Sorry, she wouldn't live in my house unless she agree to that.
5) No individual or couple can be 24/7/265 caregivers, especially to someone with dementia, and retain their sanity. Can't be done. So before she even moves in, make plans for regular respite care. Have a Granny Sitter come in one night a week. Make plans for someone else to be with her so you can get away one weekend a month. Take longer vacations once or twice a year. These are ESSENTIAL. Figure out how you can do that before you invite your mom to live with you.
6) Mom may be able to be alone during your work hours now. Plan ahead for when that is no longer true. Investigate adult day programs in your area. Often they pick up the participants and return them home, providing a hot lunch and possibly even breakfast.
7) Look at your finances carefully. You have your own old age to plan for. To the extent that she can, Mom should be paying her own way, and that includes paying you enough to arrange for the respite care. If mom has no resources to even pay her own way, start the process of applying for Medicaid. That can help with in-home needs such as the adult day program.

I cared for my husband through all stages of dementia, for nine-and-a-half years, and he died holding my hand in our bedroom. It can be done. BUT the spouse relationship is very different than the parent/child relationship, and my husband had relatively mild versions of all stages. If you do this, don't necessarily expect you'll continue to do it through all stages. And if you try it and it is a total disaster, have the grace and courage to try something different, for you mother's sake as well as for your own.
Helpful Answer (25)

Wireless headphones are WONDERFUL. My mom is hard of hearing, and having the sound go directly in the ear enables her to comprehend what is being said much better, so her frustration is less. It also has saved my eardrums! Sony makes a great set of wireless headphones that last up to 25 hours before needing to be recharged. There is another type that runs off triple AAA batteries--I can't think of the name of these, but they also work very well. I am a BIG ADVOCATE of the wireless headphones.
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My heart goes out to you. My father passed in May from dementia among many other conditions. I had him in my home for 5yrs with 2 children alone. His dementia began after about a yr. He began to get angry and violent at times, only towards me, but I had to just count to 10 and realize this was not my father anymore. He began to detiorate over the yrs and would not remember my name. I have one other sibling with my father and he lived in another state so it was all up to me. My father was a retired highway patrol and texas ranger and the nursing home would have taken every penny he had not too mention when i placed him there after hospital stays to recoop he would ball up in a fetal position and refuse to eat so my only choice was to keep him home with me or he would die:( it was very stressful. I was pretty much a prisoner in my own home. Today I can see how it not only affected me, but my children as well. But in all honesty, my Dad was the best Dad in the world before he got sick and I feel like I would have lived with alot of regret had I not taken care of him for the past 5yrs. I wish you all the luck and just remember, even though you are about to lose your mind sometimes, enjoy every precious moment you can with your mother. I wish my Dad were still here, but in his normal mental state..if u have any questions about dementia, feel free to ask...Happy New Year...Kim
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Flutter, one more thing. Often times they put folks like my mom and your mom on some sort of anti mom is on zoloft, and it helps with the anger and the mean things that the disease might bring out in them.

I suggest you find a good doctor for your mom to help with the correct regiment of meds. The right meds helped my mom......she will never get better of coarse, but at least they help in the over all picture, and we laugh alot, as I kid with her all the time, and she kids back pretty good..........
we were taking her to my sisters house for a visit and i had to stop for gas, so I looked at my mom and said, "you need anything from the gas station, and she said no. Then I said, dont you want me to get you cigarettes (she doesnt smoke and quit 30 years ago thank God) while I am in there," and her response was , "No, get me Cigars" and me and my wife started laughing, and so did she.....

My point is, I try to make jokes like that, even if they are corny, all the time and make her laugh as much as possible. the latest joke in the house is I tell her I want a Helicopter, and that my wife says no way! We get my mom in on the conversation about it and just laugh and make up silly stuff about what we would do with the helicopter and where we would go if we had it.......its better than silence or the TV blasting cause she cant hear..............anyway, just wanted to mention that.
p.s. I really do want a helicopter, but my wife thinks i am kidding. I cant ride dirt bikes any more cause of all the rods and screws in my back, and I figure an experimental type one seat helicopter is like a dirt bike you fly 50 feet off the ground. I am trying to find something cheap that I can rebuild or repair, as I cannot afford the real deal that is fancy......I hope before my mom is gone she can look out the window into the field one day and see me hover off the ground with my junky flying machine and remember all those days we kidded about me owning one while my wife said NO way Jack!
Helpful Answer (8)

Please have your mom's ears checked for earwax buildup. I thought for sure my mom's "hearing loss" was going to require a hearing aid, but the ENT I brought her tod said her earwax buildup was monumental. She removed it and voila! no more problems. The TV volume went from 65 back down to 20.
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I want to mention "therapeutic fibbing". When a dementia patient asks "have you heard from her?" the answer is yes, I just spoke to her, she's fine, she'll be home in a little while. This can be adapted to many situations.
Helpful Answer (7)

I feel your pain - having my mother move in with us nearly 2 years ago has been the most stressful event in my life so far. She is more difficult than when I had 3 children under the age of 5. Although my mom doesn't have dementia (yet...knock on wood), she does have more chronic illnesses and conditions than any one person should have to deal with. Not a week goes by that there isn't at least one dr. appointment, and the amount of help she requires (she is 3 mos. post hip replacement, and still has a great deal of mobility restrictions, so she is in a wheelchair most of the time), I can't leave the house for more than a few hours at a stretch. I am unable to work due to all of the above, so that is putting stress on our finances big time, and even though she "helps out" each month, it's not enough to pay down our debt and put money towards retirement, which is what I am supposed to be doing while my husband busts his butt just to cover everything else. Believe me I understand where you're coming from on all of the manifestations - I have anxiety, guilt & stress as well - add to that list menopause and all of THOSE lovely symptoms & I'm a wreck half the time..haha! I just have to keep reminding myself that my mother wont be around for ever and I should enjoy her company while she is here, but she doesn't make it easy that's for sure. Good luck to you...wish I could be more help! :)
Helpful Answer (6)

I understand how frustrating caregiving for a parent can be. If you are bringing your mom into your home, things will change for you and your husband, that is sort of a given. If you work, I would look into having an adult day care program for your mom while you are at work. I would check out any and all services your mother qualifies for with the "office of aging" in your county. Even if you don't think she "needs" the service, reconsider because the more help you get with caregiving the better.
Then try to simplify the duties you will be taking on( the bills, the pills, the bathing, the feeding, the mobility concerns etc.) If you don't have a POA you need to get one to handle her finanical issues. If you can do the pills mail order, it saves you wasted time going to the pharmacy for example. If you can get a primary doctor who comes to the house, you will not be taking off time from your job to sit in doctor waiting rooms as each medical condition occurs.

Even though your sisters live out of state, see if they can help some way. Perhaps they can send a check to you to underwrite some of the extra costs
you will face caring for your mother. Perhaps they pay for her hairdos, transportation costs to the adult day care. They still have a bargain with you stepping up to care for mom. What's the worse they can say--no--you are no worse off then you are now.:)

I would ask the doctor what therapy might help your mother want to socialize again. I think social interaction for the elderly is important whether they have or don't have dementia. My father loved a digital picture frame with important people from his present and past on the device. He loved to watch it in the morning as he ate his breakfast. Seeing his parents each day, brightened his mood and he would remember some new "stories" about his parents which he would share with me.

Hang in there. I know the pressures of a new job and especially in this crazy economy keeping the job is important. Check out family leave laws so you know how to use them if you must. 2 states have paid family leave (CA and NJ). But the unpaid national family leave at least secures your job.

Happy new year.

Helpful Answer (6)

Let me first say, there are several of us in your situation. The TV blasting and no hearing aid thing is really hard on my wife and I right now. We have tried every way possible to convince my mother to get a hearing aid, but she wont. I went to radio shack last nite and spent $120 on wireless boxes and speakers, and now I have to solder connections together to get speakers like on a computer put next to her chair in hopes that we can get the TV volume down some in the house, cause she likes to watch tv but we all have to yell to speak over it.

I suggest you contact the department of Aging, and also speak to the local Alzheimer's Assoc. and get some free help and advice from them. We did, and it was a big help.
Whether you believe in God or not, I suggest you pray to him to give you the peace you need inside your mind, body, and soul to help deal with this intense pressure from a new job and moving your mom into your home.
In my case, I am self employed, and taking care of my mom is just ruining my business I spent 9 years building, and moved it 1300 miles to be near her to take care of her. I wasnt as lucky to get her to move near me, as she refused when she was in good enough shape that no one could tell her what to do, but we saw the train coming off the rails, and spent 10's of thousands of dollars moving our home and all my equipment half way across the country.

I only wish I could have gotten her to move in with us, as we spent most of our saving on the move, and now my business suffers greatly. Sorry to cry about my situation, but all I can say is your situation could be worse, as could all our situations, so we need to pray for help from the Lord and ask for patience each day to deal with what new things are ahead. Thank God my wife has been willing and able to be apart of the solution and not another problem in the big picture.
Use the local resources like Department of Aging and the Alzheimer's Assoc.

They can provide a list of care givers in the area, and help with suggestions based on your situation. I am sure there are others who can help, and they can probably send you there way.
Good luck and hang in there. Remember this, as I was taught this by someone else who deals with dimentia and alzhemiers daily. Its better to live in there REALITY when you can, and just go along with what they say and do when you can. I know it sounds like lieing, but its just better for them if they think they are back in High school and are talking about the spring dance that you just go along with it, rather than try to convince them that they are talking nonsense and try to bring them back to 2012. I know your mom is not that bad yet, but I am really just trying to make a point that its better to go along with what they say when it doesnt hurt anyone or anything. We call it "living in their reality" and find it is just better than arguing about what day or year it is at times.
regards, and God Bless you and your family and give you the strength that you need to deal with this aging parent.
Helpful Answer (6)

Flutter, I just walked into a large electronic store nine years ago and asked for wireless headphones. I got the last package they had it stock. It happened to be Sennheiser. All I've done since then is replace the foam ear pads a couple of times. (They have an online store.) I'm sure there are many good brands. I didn't do comparison shopping -- I just wanted something TODAY! I lucked out with a good product.

Very few internists or GPs have a clue about how to deal with dementia. Geriatricians have more experience and they make the best primary care doctors for the elderly (with or without dementia). My husband's wonderful geriatrician handled his day-to-day health needs but was also very knowledgeable about his type of dementia. A behavioral neurologist treated his dementia, and kept the PCP up-to-date on drug changes, etc. She was very conscientious about drug interactions. The combination of a geriatrician and a behavioral neurologist worked very well for us. Another specialist who deals with dementia is a geriatric psychiatrist.

Good luck to you!

PS -- The thing about drugs like Airicept and Namenda is that it is hard to know if they are working because you don't know whether your loved one would be worse now without them. Did they help slow down the progression? Hard to say.
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