My dad keeps calling me from Respite Care. What do I do? Answer and talk to him or just ignore him?

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I have not answered his calls and I am not feeling the relief I thought I would from the respite care. In his voicemail he is asking for his truck and saying he has stuff to do bills to pay and he does not belong there............ and my heart breaks. I take care of his bills and sold his vehicle 9 months ago because he has no business driving. His home is a shanty so he has been living with me for a year. I was in desperate need of a break. He has Alzheimer's and I would say he is at stage 5 according to this website. He is still fairly with it but clearly has dementia. He is not at the point to where he needs 24/7 care but I needed a break. I am afraid to answer his call and explain he does not have a car anymore and I have taken care of everything. He has been there one week and has 4 more to go. When does this end? When do I get to feel like a normal person?

Answers 1 to 7 of 7
Top Answer
My gut says don't answer. Don't listen to his voice messages. The facility will call you if something is wrong. Otherwise, it's no break for you.
Trying to explain, reason or get through to someone who is incapable of doing that is really not time well spent. Plus, if he accepts your explanation, he'll likely forget it. So, I'd try to work on strategies for how to manage his care, while taking your own time to rest and relax. It's great you are getting respite time, but, if you don't take it, worry and continue to feel responsible, you won't likely get the benefits. No one can do that, but, you  I certainly wouldn't look at it as ignoring him.  You have placed him in a proper place of care and are recharging your batteries. It's vital.  The facility can reach you, if there is an emergency.  They can also distract him, so there is no need for him to be calling you repeatedly.  

My LO is in MC, but, there are still things that have to be done, emergency calls, ER visits, etc. So, as long as you are the caregiver, it continues. It is stressful. I'm not sure how to avoid that. I did learn to be reasonable though, about my time and energy. I don't set unrealistic expectations and I let the professionals do what they do best. Let others help if that is possible and don't feel that you are the only one who can care for him. Some people get very burned out with that theory.

I hope that you are able to get some rest and enjoy yourself before the respite ends. Do you have some fun activities planned?
Thank you guys for responding. No plans except to relax at home. It's nice to be in my home minus him. Which sounds so crappy to say. I have a 5 year old son and a husband to tend to as well. Thanks again
Don’t answer and turn your phone off! You’ll never explain or satisfy him because he doesn’t understand what is going on, he has Alzheimer’s. He’s being taken care of so enjoy yourself.
Yes - turn your phone off! Give the respite facility an alternative emergency contact number and delete your Dad's voicemails without listening to them. Seriously, because otherwise you'll end up feeling frantic every time.

As it's quite a long time to go, if you feel like it you could call your Dad at a time *you* choose, setting yourself a limit of (say) five or ten minutes, and picking a regular slot like eleven in the morning or something - just calling to say everything is fine and you love him and you hope he's having a nice break.

Try not to be disappointed that you haven't been able to relax yet. I know it used to take me pretty much the entire week to stop lying awake at night wondering why the alarm *wasn't* going off... :/ You've had an incredibly stressful year and it is going to be a little while before you start breathing normally.

You really want this to go well so that you can at least make it into a regular pattern of respite breaks - say two weeks every three months or so. And... is there any possibility that if your father can be helped to settle in nicely at the facility, it could become a permanent home for him?
Countrymouse makes some good points. Being the sole caretaker of a person with dementia is really totally encompassing. It's a 24/7, stressful job. So, if you think the load is heavy now, I'd consider just how it's going to get more intense. You stated that he didn't require 24/7 care, but, besides the early stages, a dementia patient does require constant supervision. They lose the ability to use proper judgment and can do all kinds of things, like eat nonfood products, misuse electrical appliances, wander away, let strangers into their house, mistake medication, etc. Is there anyway to get some outside help to help you? I'd explore what might be available, like adult daycare or some in home help like bath aids. I hope you can get some relief and that you are able to relax and enjoy your respite time.
The one thing I don't understand...why allow them a phone. Actually I am surprised he even remembers how to use it. The phone and TV remote is the first things Mom forgot how to use. Had a hard time when she was still with it teaching her how to use a simple cell phone.

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