My dad is 88 years old and just was diagnosed with Stage 4 dementia out of 7 stages. He still can function. Any suggestions?


I work everyday from 6:30 - 3:00 and home by 4:00. I have to call him at 10:30 to see if he has got out of bed and ate and taken his medications. When I call from work, he sometimes just doesn't want to answer the phone at which it worries me because he just doesn't get up since he's a very lazy person. When he doesn't answer the phone, I am worried and need to find someone to go over and check on him and when they do, he is just in his bed. When I call other times, he is alert, up and he makes him cereal and takes his meds. He just doesn't like to be home alone and he's old fashioned old school Italian who has been catered to all his life by our mother who passed in 2011 and my husband and I made the choice to move in with him. When I leave in the morning, he seems sad because he doesn't like to be at home by himself, but when there are people at the house, he doesn't socialize and just wants to sleep on the couch. I'm considering getting a caregiver to help out since I do have a full-time job, but just not sure what kind of day my dad will have. What would be your suggestions, has anyone dealt with this. Also there are times he does have episodes of talking to people who are not there and other times he has said I want to go "home" and he is at home. He doesn't want to do anything, but just sleep or lay down. He never was a social butterfly - it always was my mom. He doesn't cook for himself at all, he waits for me to come home and take care of him. Also, what kind of medical alert would you use if we are sure he would not push the button if he did have a fall. Help?

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You will just have to go with the flow . The stages (and there are several can be a 4 or 7 for end stage). My MIL had been in a nursing home on Medicade for 4 years. She cannot walk or talk. We do not know how long this will last. You will need to always be vigilant and learn how to stay one step ahead concerning safety. This forum can help. Do consider local suppot groups and social services as well. You are receiving some creative responses here but you will notice with each passing year or months that things will constantly change
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Consider an internet based camera so that you can keep an eye on him while you're gone.
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Hi Tina,
Great suggestions from the above posters.

It sounds like you've read up on Alzheimer's and the "levels or stages" and what to expect.

With my mom, stage 4 was the last stage that she could be alone. By mid stage 5, she was doing things that put her in danger; going down to breakfast at 3am, hiding the telephone in the sheets in the closet, confusing vitamins for Tylenol, etc. It was then that I had to take everything away (check book, credit cards, razors, tv remote, medications, etc.)

Stage 5 is when I really had to have an eagle eye on her. She lived in a senior residence with meals and transportation provided. One day two of the other residents,who were also slightly demented, took her to her doctor and got narcotics for her headaches!!!! Then she really got confused. I quickly got POA. Then no one could do anything for her but me. Demented  people can be really sneaky!

When I saw she was no longer bathing or changing her clothes (I did her laundry), that was it. I placed her in a memory care facility within 3 weeks.

What I hate to have to say is that his disease will only get worse. And his level of confusion can escalate quickly.
Please prepare yourself for the inevitable now. Research if Medicaid would be available to him, visit some memory facilities in your area, get his finances in check, if he can't afford care, start signing him up for Medicaid or Medi-Cal (in California). Try to get this out of the way so you can have a seamless transition when the time comes. You'll be surprised how fast it can creep up on you. I was in denial and had nothing prepared. I visited facilities and had her moved in within 2 weeks because the next phase was wandering.
Senior Centers are a great resource for info. Also, our library has a thick booklet behind the counter on anything a senior would need...housing, 
transportation, medical, etc. The book is free.

Non medical home aides (from a home care service) run about $22.00/hr. here in Southern California. The cost is NOT covered by Medicare.

Good luck as you continue with him on his journey.
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Adult day care, a care giver or even an assisted living are all good options if he can afford them. As for anyone having dealt with what you are going through, I think almost everyone on here is dealing with or has dealt with a loved one who doesn't really want help but needs it. While you are weighing your options and deciding whether to get help in or move your dad, there are things you can get for your peace of mind. There are "nanny" cams that can be set up that you can view on your phone. We got one for my mom when she was still living alone. This way when we would call her and she didn't answer, we could just check the camera to see if she was sleeping, in the bathroom, didn't hear the phone, etc. It helped a LOT to keep my panic in check while I was at work. You can also get a life alert device that senses falls. This way if you dad fell and didn't push the button, it wouldn't matter. It senses the fall and sends a signal to the company and they will then check on him. If he doesn't answer their call, they send emergency services over. Definitely brings peace of mind.

Good luck and hang in there!
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Some people have had great success sending their loved ones to adult day care, it gives structure to their days and peer support plus you wouldn't have to worry that he is home alone all the time. Your local agency on aging should be able to tell you what is available near you.
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Tina, as for getting a caregiver, that is a great idea if you think Dad can budget that expense.

I went through an professional caregiver Agency mainly because my Dad would have many choices of caregivers to see who would be the right match for him. He choose 2 caregivers he really enjoyed having them help him [one was weekdays, and other weekends].

The caregivers both had similar childhoods as my Dad, and a lot of common, thus Dad could tell his "stories" and they could relate. And the two caregivers understood Dad's sense of humor. I always heard a lot of laughter when ever I went over to visit my Dad :) The caregivers worked 8 hours a day, starting at 7 a.m. Then came in the evening shift and later the night shift, my Dad wasn't fussy as he was pretty tired by then.

My Dad didn't know how to cook or do laundry, plus he was a fall risk even with his rolling walker. He needed help with showers, it took some times for him to get use to the caregivers helping him take a bath as Dad was quite shy.

Oh when an elder who has memory loss say they want to go home, home would be their "childhood home", back when life was fun and simpler being a child.
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