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My mom has just recently bumped up into full-time caretaker of my dad; he has Parkinsonism, a broken shoulder and some mild dementia that keeps him up at night. She has her own set of health problems, mainly anxiety and A-fib. My brother moved in to help out with the care of my dad and keep an eye on my mom. He is a very anxious person as well. I have my own family; with teenagers! (and they aren't easy) and feel torn. I live about 20 minutes away and can take my parents to Dr. appointments and help with some of my dad's PT, but I get a call almost every day from my brother stressed to the max that he and mom got no sleep because of Dad's night awakenings and anxiety/incontenance. I feel like they need to vent to me about how hard it is, and I am empathetic, but I also want to "fix" it. My suggestions and research go unheard, or untried. Feeling lost in my place in this, and it's causing me lots of stress to be the sounding board. They are overwhelmed and lost in this situation, and I'm getting to that point too! This question could fall under so many categories, but I'll choose mental health, because of the stressful time we are having.

You are so smart that you have this all figured out and categorized. You know exactly what is happening and why. I bet, like me you also fall on that anxiety spectrum (my ENTIRE FAMILY has it) but you manifest it by figuring it out in a way that you can "fix it" and wow, have you just come up against the epitome of "do it yourself fixer" limitation. This can't be fixed. You don't tell us your Mom's age, but I would be she is no way capable of being 24/7 caregiver and nurse to her husband. I have ALWAYS know at any age I couldn't do it, and I was a nurse, so basically it was a job description I knew I couldn't do 24/7. Your bro has disrupted his life and now gets to witness and try to help in this 24/7 exercise in hopelessness and helplessness.
I will tell you where I think this is going, where it inevitably HAS TO GO . That is placement in care. And I hope that it goes there without further casualties, because families literally fall apart before the inevitable happens often enough.
I say this because even hiring care, even DAILY care which is enormously expensive, cannot do what must be done here, and that is have Dad placed where people can address the incontinence, and all else that goes with this.
I am so dreadfully sorry. This is definitely where the "fix it" doesn't work.
There will be grieving and sadness and anger, but that would be normal in these circumstances. It is certainly worth grieving over. But I can't see another way.
Only you and your family can make a decision on this. You are all doing what can be done, and it will NEVER be enough, no matter how much you sacrifice of your own life.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to AlvaDeer
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Your place in this situation, sounds like it's going to be the level headed one, who is going to have to have a "come to Jesus" meeting with your mom and brother. The fact that they both are already overwhelmed with your dad's care, should tell you all that it's time to place your father in the appropriate facility, where he will receive the care he needs 24/7, and people won't be so stressed around him. Don't for one minute think that those being cared for, don't pick up on the stress around them, as they most certainly do, and it can affect them negatively as well. Caregiving is very difficult, and even more difficult if you suffer from anxiety like your mom and brother do. It will most certainly take its toll on both of them if they're not careful. Please sit down as a family and discuss your options for your father. Wishing you the best.
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Reply to funkygrandma59
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I agree with the great wisdom, born from experience, that has already been given to you. I am in the burbs of Minneapolis myself. If you'd like to discuss further please PM me in your Profile page. My stepFIL had Parkinsons as well and I just lost a dear friend to it this fall. I have a "to-do" worksheet I created from my caregiving/care managing experiences that I am happy to give to you. May you gain peace in your heart!
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Reply to Geaton777
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My dad being up all night was the deal breaker for us.. It would not have mattered if we got overnight help,, we would have still been on high alert because he was also becoming a bit violent if you tried to redirect him. We got him into a MC and it was best for all of us
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Reply to pamzimmrrt
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Your father has more than 'mild' dementia going on if he's incontinent & keeping everyone up all night. Anxiety issues on the caregiver's part as well as everyone else isn't helping matters, nor is lack of experience with caregiving in general. In an effort to keep loved ones home for as long as possible, people tend to wind up causing more harm than good, truthfully. You're suffering, your brother is suffering, your mother is suffering & your father is suffering b/c everyone is in over their heads and lost in the maze of not knowing WHAT to do.

You can't fix old age & disease. Hard as you try, the journey to the end of life for our parents is very difficult to watch and especially to care for. It's probably the single hardest thing we'll ever have to deal with in our lives, and we'll have to do it TWICE, unless we're fortunate enough to have them pass quietly in their sleep one night. But that's a rarity.

Now is the time to look into managed care for your father and for your brother to either move out or to get help for his own anxiety issues so he can BE a proper caregiver to your mother. Otherwise, mom can join dad in Assisted Living, which is what I arranged for my own parents back in 2014. Dad's care became too much to manage at home (for my mother), so I had them both placed in AL; Dad passed in 2015 and my mother will be 94 tomorrow & now lives in the Memory Care bldg of the AL. There is NO WAY I could possibly manage her care at home, just the dementia alone is far more than I can handle myself, never mind the wheelchair & incontinence issues.

It's no 'crime' and no 'sin' to place parents where they can be best cared for and safe at the same time. It's like putting someone in the hospital when they're very sick; nobody would even THINK of keeping them home & caring for them in their bedroom, yet so many people think it's appropriate to keep a diseased & demented elder at home to be cared for by unqualified 'children' right to the bitter end. It makes no real sense.

Wishing you the best of luck being the voice of reason with the rest of your family.
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Reply to lealonnie1
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First question is - how about finances to pay someone to be avail to help dad at night. If that's not an option, does brother work in the day time? If not, perhaps he could take the night shift and let mom sleep. When he sleeps in the day time, he would still be available if mom needed some help.

It's very possible brother had good intentions, but is jut not cut out to do 24/7 care for the parents. Not everyone is. And it does take its' toll on you because of the very things he has issues with - interrupted or no sleep. Trust me, I can vouch for that first hand. You already said brother is anxious to start with, so it's likely he simply cannot do this.

How about mom and dad going to assisted living together? They wouldn't be isolated like single people because they could room together. Again, that would require money because Medicare/Medicaid don't pay for AL. It might mean selling the house or liquidating other assets to pay for it. At any rate, brother is not going to last long, you have a family and limited to what you can offer, so it's time to come up with Plan B
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Reply to my2cents
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Your entire family is headed for burnout.

Take it from me. I cared for my family far too long. I cared for my father, my mom and my oldest brother. It gets to be more than we can handle.

Loosing your sanity isn’t fun? Look for suitable placement.

Wishing you and your family all the best.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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Where did your brother move in from? And when?

And when did the shoulder break happen?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Great suggestions above.

Since you say you're new to caregiving, here's some questions:
Who has POAs for HC and Finances for your parents?
Do you know what they're wishes are and can yall honor them? (If not, find out.)
Financing is always an issue, imo. Do you have $$ and insurance for Homehealth care? Maybe a night sitter would help.
Who owns the house where you're parents and brother now live?
So many financial issues to find out and see what's possible.

I agree, yall are all heading straight to burnout and mental issues. I strongly suggest psych counseling for Mom (brother can tag along or listen in as the caregiver). Lots of psych drs are doing virtual visits and Medicare pays. Check it out. Get mom some anxiety/depression meds and regularly scheduled psych counseling. Please.

As far as teenagers go, you'd be shocked how much they can help. Yes, there can be some resentment to upsetting their lives, but real world problems help them grow and develop empathy. Don't rule them out. (not suggesting you move parents in with you or you move in there part time or anything - your kids need you.) But this is a total family issue. Sounds like it's heading to a crisis soon and it impacts the whole family. Include them all to help them understand what's happening, esp. to you with this stress. Time for teens to step up as yall juggle responsibilities until yall find a workable solution.

Another question is what does dad's doctors say about all this? You said you drive them to appts, but do you go in with them and ask your own questions and take notes?

My dad passed almost 30 years ago. My mom moved in with us Oct 2019 bc of stroke and declining health. She has multiple issues then broke her femur last Spring. Fortunately she doesn't have cognitive issues (yet) or anything like Parkinsons, so Idk about that - others on this site do though.

Bottom line is all yall need outside help. I will pray for yall. I know this is stressful.
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Reply to babziellia
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