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My 84 year old mom moved in with my wife and I a year ago this month. She has mild trending moderate dementia. No other real health problems other than dealing with age/dementia related balance and walking.


We are currently at waking hour care. I am working from home, my wife takes care of the house and my mother during the work week.


The frustrations start that my wife suddenly has both my mom and I at home 24/7 due to covid. My brother, who said would help, has effectively disowned my mom so we are left with no options of respite other than my wonderful mother-in-law (who is English) who gives us small breaks every so often.


We've been extremely careful concerning covid of venturing out, so the house has become pretty small with a mother who is mobile and likes to come and sit in the same room as I'm working, etc. Her usual social norms have definitely been effected by the dementia.


We're at a point of my wife having care giver burnout. I try and do my share but also have to work to support the family and certain things have to be handled by a woman.


Main question, what options can we research to manage respite without endangering my mom? She has had the first round of shots and the second is due next week. My wife and I are still waiting for our age group to be allowed vaccines.

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You should be able to get COVID vaccines NOW. AS CG's to an elderly person, I believe you qualify. GO online and see---I tell you, getting that call from my cancer clinic telling me I was 'good to go' and scheduling and HAVING the 1st shot just lifted my spirits to no end.

Mom should have had her shots ages ago and covid wouldn't be a concern. I mean, you could still get it but you won't give it to mom. That was a huge relief for us to have both our aging moms vaccinated.

And rules are being lifted--things are going to be OK. A 'new' OK, but we'll be back to socializing fairly soon. I, for one, am looking forward to DH returning to the office. He really missed the socialization that only other engineers provided!

Sweet of you to be concerned about your wife. She will burn out if you do not get her some support and she can have some spare time. I'm watching my SIL slowly tanking as my MIL will allow only SIL to care for her.
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Reply to Midkid58
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""certain things have to be handled by a woman" ... I get that you may be uncomfortable about "certain things" but perhaps your wife is also? Could your mom afford a part time in home caregiver? Yes this in another person in your home, but they could redirect your mom from sitting with you, and give your wife a break to have some time for herself, and perhaps they could help with "certain things" Covid numbers are dropping in most states ( I work in a big city hospital) and if you are careful with masking and hand washing this could help you both. Maybe you could even get help to let you get away for a weekend?
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Reply to pamzimmrrt
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DCMF2112 Mar 6, 2021
She can afford in home help and something we have thought about.

The statement concerning things handled by a woman is from my mother's perspective. She is the one not comfortable for me to handle, not the other way around.
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If anybody comes into the home to give you and your wife some respite, ask them to follow CDC or WHO protocols: wear facemask, wash hands frequently, social distance when possible and keep "high touch" areas cleaned thoroughly. You can ask family, friends, members of faith community, and paid help (sitter, agency aides, adult day program at a nursing home) to start caring for mom so you have "time off" and "couple time." Some nursing homes and/or assisted living apartments provide respite so you can be free of mom for a few days to go on trips together. Please get enough help so that you and your spouse get 7-9 hours of sleep, 3 healthy meals at a reasonable pace, time off to meet your own health needs and time off to nourish your souls and your other valued relationships.

I would suggest that it might be a good idea to start putting mom on routine: same wake up time and morning care, same times for meals, same time for evening care, same bedtime... the routine will help her to cope better. I would also suggest that it might be best if you can work in a room with a closed door and get everybody used to the idea of "door open = come in and visit" and "door closed = working and do not disturb."
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Reply to Taarna
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You can tour facilities over FaceTime, or Zoom. My mother's memory care was happy to have us come in for a tour after that. We took precautions, and everything was fine.

Maybe start there, then do needed paperwork to get your mother signed up for the respite facility of your choice. There are some hoops to jump through with them, as well as with your mom's doctor, to get her clearance. You can always do a final walk-through before you take them up on the actual respite.

You and your mom might feel comfortable enough that she wants to move in. :-)
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Reply to cxmoody
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DCMF2112 Mar 6, 2021
That's a great idea concerning Zoom. I'll check into that.
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While it's great that you recognize your wife is reaching burnout status, I have to ask what is your long-term plan with your mom?

Respite is wonderful; but the reality is, it's a short term solution to a long-term problem. If you can manage to find care for your mom, would you feel comfortable traveling, with Covid restrictions still in place? Ever if you were able to arrange respite for your mom, and you were able to get away for a weekend, or a week, or even a month, the truth is, at the end of the trip, you and your wife are going to have to return home and pick up where you left off with the caregiving.

Have you thought about what the long term plan is for your mom? For when the time comes that her care needs far exceed what you and your wife are willing and able to do?

If your wife is being overwhelmed, then it is time to consider placing mom in a facility, or hire caregivers to come into the house to remove some of that burden from you. Either way, it's time to start to make sure that all your caregiving "ducks" are in a row; POA, DPOA, living will; etc. - perhaps it might be time to seek an elder attorney for advice to help with the process.
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Reply to notgoodenough
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DCMF2112 Mar 6, 2021
Thank you for the response!

I have POA, DPOA and am her primary health 'person'. Mom has a trust, will, etc.

You are correct in that we do need to start making the hard call on the long term solution. With covid, we've been unable to visit facilities but hopefully that will be changing soon.

For the moment, I am looking for ideas for a break that we can schedule. We were hoping for a weekend a month from my brother which never really materialized and is now gone completely. For my wife, it really helps her to know that there is a break incoming on the horizon rather than feeling like she's mired in the situation.

For me, it is stressful trying to juggle work and the caregiver stress but is not impacting me as much as my wife. We need to start working on us as well as mom.
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