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Don’t become a full time caregiver to a dementia patient/parent...my 91 yo mother w dementia gets combative & don’t recognize me most times now...I mistakenly discharged her from SNF after 10 months...& took her home..All the CNAs & Nurses warned me it would get much worse, but I didn’t listen to them. Again, do NOT leave your job to become full time caregiver. I live w mom & & share caregiving w private pay caregiver who does 43 hrs ...but I get up in middle of night for diaper change & 2 full days & 2 half days...the only “good” thing is she stays in wheelchair all day & don’t walk, wander & get lost...otherwise I’d have to run after her all day...& that would last w me not even a day....your job will keep you sane. Don’t leave it to do caregiving. You will be sorry if you do.
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caregiversheryl Sep 23, 2018
Thank you. I see the deterioration. It is frightening.
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From 2001 to 2002 (15 month period), I lost 7 family members. Started with MIL, ended with my father. Toward the latter half of the period, I did apply for FMLA. I worked for a hospital, managed a department, had great employees who could keep things running when I was intermittently absent. I quickly ran out of paid time off, so consider how you will survive financially. Not only did I have no income (though position was protected by FMLA), I had to manage to pay to continue health insurance and other policies through employer. Can you afford to pay premiums when/if income plays out? Fast forward to 2012 through today. Sister with stage 3 bilateral breast cancer (chemo, XRT, multiple surgeries, raising newborn grandchild), mother with sepsis, chronic UTI's, congestive heart failure, dementia, etc. A full-time caregiver for my mom, private hire, would have cost over $200/day. A full-time caregiver hired through an agency runs $300/day. Can you afford to quit your job once FMLA is exhausted? Can you or your mom afford to hire a caregiver? Can your students thrive while a substitute teacher steps into your classroom? I taught HS science when I left healthcare career, decided I couldn't be the teacher I wanted to be plus be my mother's full-time caregiver. I chose to be my mom's caregiver, but I have a spouse to support me in all aspects of this journey. I suggest you sit down with a financial planner and/or an attorney to discuss your and your mom's finances and caregiving at home versus placement in a facility, even though I know you do not want to pursue placement. I wish you all the best. Take care of your needs.
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caregiversheryl Sep 23, 2018
Thank you. This infiormation is very helpful. Caregiving is hard work.
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The Day Will Come when he will be forced to put her in the facility. the level of care required will become way too much for you to handle. I've never quite understood why families are so resistant to put their elderly loved one into a facility when it is in the best interest of both parties.
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robinr Sep 23, 2018
And you know this how? Who made you the expert, determining the capacity of this caregiver? People who know about institutional settings and the life and care, and especially the LACK of care due to poor staffing and uncaring staff know that often the best place for their loved one IS at home. It is NOT always in the best interest of both. Maybe you ought to be placed in a facility for a week and do an observation project.
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I used part time FMLA for the better part of a year. It was too stressful for me to work and be a caregiver for my mom. My coworkers resented my part time schedule because they had to pick up the slack. I ended up quitting to do full time care giving, but I was also in a job I didn't like and would have quit eventually anyway.
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caregiversheryl Sep 21, 2018
How did you manage the part time FMLA? Was it 50%? Do you have any written material that says part-time is acceptable?
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My mom took care of her mother all her life. Mom said she never wanted her children to burden her children with taking care of her. However, as her dementia progressed, she became more childlike. We kept her home as long as we could but eventually transferred her to an assisted living facility. We never said the word nursing home! It was an apartment, retirement facility, etc. She loved it! She loved having all her needs attended without having to lift a finger! I used FMLA toward the end but, since I did medical transcription from home, never had to earlier in her illness.
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caregiversheryl Sep 23, 2018
Thank you. The idea of calling placement a facility is good.
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SH, you need to see a financial planner/advisor. What impact will this have on YOUR retirement? Social Security? Health Insurance? It will have a huge and devastating impact on your financial situation that you may never be able to recover from. It happens to many. See an elder law attorney, as well. Call your Area Agency on Aging to learn about all sorts of resources available to mom and you.

Ask her doc about evaluating her for hospice sometimes there are services there. Is she or was her husband a veteran? There may be resources there.

Would your mom, when her brain was healthy and she a much more vibrant person, want you to give up your financial security and welfare to care for her?

Your love and compassion for your mom comes through loud and clear. But you need to carefully consider and understand all of the effects, financial and emotional, that this will have on you for a long time to come.
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caregiversheryl Sep 23, 2018
Husband was a WWII veteran. I will speak with Doctor about hospice. Mom would never want me to give up my job.
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FMLA is a federal law that provides up to 12 weeks of leave during a personal illness or a family illness with a guarantee that your job or a similar job will be available upon your return. It can be taken in 1 hour increments. I once had an HR rep attempt to define a whole series of "rules" around taking FMLA time (had to take in whole work days, could not communicate with my bosses or any coworkers when on FMLA, etc.) I asked her to put all that in writing and she immediately backed off.

Violations can be reported to Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Department of Labor. You can also contact for clarification (like being able to take in 1 hr increments). Wage and Hour has offices in most major cities and are quiet helpful.
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worriedinCali Sep 21, 2018
But it also only applies to private employers with 50 or more employees within 75 miles and the employee must have worked 1250 hours in the last 12 months
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Given your mom's advanced age and Alzheimer's dementia diagnosis, I would assume she would require full time observation and total care with all ADL's (activities of daily living).

Where is is she right now? Are you giving up in-home caregivers or are you having to move her out of Assisted Living to some place like a memory care facility or Nursing Home?
Are you planning to take care of her for a short time until she can be placed in a higher care facility?

FMLA (family medical leave of absence) is not meant for being away from your job long term. I believe each employer can set the amount of time you can be gone. They may be more lenient if you can work part of each day or take time off in a few day increments rather than being gone for 6 months straight. Ask your boss or HR Dept.

Have you cared for your mom recently? Are you physically (and mentally) able to do all physical care for her AND work at the same time.

My mother is just about 96, Alzheimer's stage 6 and needs assistance to walk and do everything else. I'm just about 62 and I'm having to retire early. 40 years of nursing has ruined my back. No fun going home in pain after your shift. Today is actually my last day with my patient. Please be sure you are in excellent physical health and have taken instruction for the physical therapy department on how to reposition someone in bed, how to transfer her with maximum assist on your part, how to bathe her in bed or shower, etc. If you will be her caregiver, you don't want to break your back on the first day!

If you need to keep working, I would strongly suggest that you place her in a facility that is specific to her needs. It's a gesture of love on your part but there can be so many extenuating circumstances, that, in the long run, you may end up getting the raw end of the deal.
If you do wind up taking care of her, you absolutely have to have respite once a week or more. Is there someone who could take over for a day and assist your mom? If not, do not even think about doing this.
Just my 2 pesos. Good luck to you both.
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caregiversheryl Sep 21, 2018
Thank you so much for such a caring and compassionate reply. I've been taking full time care of my mom. I have no in-home caregivers. She has stage 6 AD. I'm 63. She's frightened, and confused, and has asked me not to institutionalize her. I have respite for an hour or two in the evenings, when my brother comes over for dinner after work. I've been able to negotiate working 40% time.
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I think it probably depends on your company. Talk to your HR person. If Mom needs that degree of care, would you consider a facility? You are entitled to FMLA leave, but it’s not endless. At some point, you may be fired. And, working plus caregiving is not easy. There is no reverse gear on dementia. It only gets worse. Would Mom be better served having three shifts of round the clock caregiving? Carefully consider your choices before you make a decision.
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caregiversheryl Sep 21, 2018
Thank you for your reply. Right now I won't consider a facility. I don't want to consider a facility.
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I have FMLA for teaching job... the form will ask whether you need the leave for an extended period or in increments (a day here and a day there) It protects you from being “written up” for too many sick days (my job gives 10 days of sick leave, but starts writing up teachers after the THIRD absence.)
i never needed to use it, but it’s good to have if you or a loved one has a medical condition that warrants absences. (I have a brain tumor, migraines, kidney stones, thyroid nodules, skin cancer, and reflux/gerd.... and almost perfect attendance at work, but if I need an appointment that can’t be scheduled after work, I am allowed)
FMLA offers protection, but if you need to care FT for your mom I’d suggest looking into a sabbatical if you can or depending upon your type of work, a leave of absence. FMLA is only 12 weeks. It’s not nearly enough for FT care- what happens after 12 weeks?
Fmla might give you a bit of time to “figure out” what you’ll do in the future.
Good luck! I’d give anything to have my mom still here, as she passed suddenly at age 74.
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caregiversheryl Sep 23, 2018
This is so helpful. Thank you.
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