Should an insulin dependent diabetic with dementia live alone?

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My mother-in-law was recently diagnosed with "mild congnative impairment" after 8 months of testing. She is only 65 years old but she is a type 2 diabetic. The Neuro Phycologist that did the testing said that he believes she is very close to "vascular dementia". We think she is much much worse and is a master at hiding it from the doctor.

She lives alone in a 55+ apartment complex. She can no longer drive (but insist that she can) She cant remember to check her blood sugar, or take her insulin when she should. She is supposed to take a short acting insulin after every meal, and long acting insulin at night before bed but she forgets to take them sometimes. We check her testing meter every few days and her readings are wildly erratic. 52 in the middle of the night 505 in the late afternoon. We have tried so hard to get her to fill out a chart (which we hung on her fridge) listing her glucose readings, meals, and insulin doses, but she can't remember to do it.

She eats a lot and eats carbs and sweets often. We started grocery shopping with her about 8 months ago but she gets her friends to take her shopping and buys junk.

She can no longer pay her own bills, or balance her checkbook. She has no short term memory longer than a few hours. She does not know that she has dementia and does not understand why we come over and call her so often. She has been told by the doctor, and by my husband and I at least 75 times! We can sit down and explain it all to her and she gets upset and cries but then an hour later she has no idea that we were even there! This seems way worse than "mild impairment" to us!!!!

This all started about 8 months ago so it's still new for us! We have no other family to help out with her care. I've had to take time off from my business to take care of her but
I can't keep this up! Should we continue to let her live alone? We tried hiring an aide but my MIL keeps telling her not to come or doesn't answer the door or phone. When we call or go over to check her sugar she gets irritated! We are losing our minds and don't know what to do next :(

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You can also look at board and care homes, and I was thinking there are waiver programs that let people stay in their own homes with some (but not full time ) support, but if Mom won't accept someone coming in to give any care or manage meds that is not going to work. You may have to look further away that you would like, maybe in a smaller town or more rural location, and be prepared to contribute part of the costs yourself (but be realistic, avoid going into debt or doing something you really can't do long term.)
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Keep looking Lesanne. I would keep in mind though, that residents in a Memory Care facility are often asleep or appear to be asleep, because of their dementia. That is how they are. The only option is for them to stay in bed. Most places that I know get the resident up and into a geri chair during the day, if necessary so they can have some mental and physical stimulation. I have seen residents in that condition in every facility I have visited. Even upscale facilities have patients in all stages of dementia. It's the progression of dementia. If they survive, our loved ones will likely become that way too. It's not likely to find a Dementia Unit where everyone appears happy and healthy, because if they were like that, they wouldn't need Memory Care.

I would also keep comments from a dementia patient into perspective. The resident is there because they have dementia. I think a more reliable source might be the family member of a resident. They could relate to you what their experience has been.

Did you find out if these places administer insulin?
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Yes, Lesanne, there has to be something better, and you'll find it.
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My husband and I went to visit two ALF's that accept Medicaid yesterday. The first one was the most Horrible place I've ever been in. Everyone there looked as if they would rather be dead. Sitting in wheelchairs staring at the walls, or asleep sitting up. I was approached by a 92 year old woman telling me "you shouldn't put your loved one in here, it's hell"! The nurses seemed to be ignoring the residents. The memory care unit was like something out of a horror movie. They had s separate dining room for the memory care residents. When we walked in about 10 people age 80-100 all in wheelchairs, all asleep! My husband walked in, walked right back out all teary eyed and was fighting back the urge to throw up.

I know she should have planned for her retirement and eventual aging care but she didn't and now she has no money. I can't feel sorry for her but I am also not cruel! How in the heck am I expected to leave my MIL in a place where I wouldn't leave a stray dog. Yet I can't afford anywhere else.


The second place was better but again every single resident was over 80 and they had no secure memory care. There has to be something better.
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Lesanne, Reno is right. Just being oriented and recognizing familiar people and remembering stuff from 50 years ago does not make her cognitively OK, let alone able to make good decisions or understand why she needs care. They are probably not going to let her cook in an ALF either, even though her retaining all her physical self care abilities is a big plus too. Does she need cues and reminders for that though? If she does not now, she may in the foreseeable future. Maybe ask specifically about "memory care" options too.
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Hi. You cannot "convince" someone with dementia to do anything. They have lost their reasoning capability. Please get your mom in assisted living or skilled or you will be dead before her. She does not have stress because she is clueless. Meditation is a great bandaid for your stress, but that is all it is, the real issue is getting your mom the care she needs even if is not what she exactly wants. Older people do not want to change and they are afraid. I have read many posts about parents who fought assisted living yet once they got settled in they liked all the people and activities
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Babalou, I have not tried meditation yet but I am interested in trying it. Sorry to sound stupid but Is there an actual technique to it or is it just sitting in silence and breathing? I was going to try and find a yoga video on Youtube because I need the exercise and have heard that is especially good for stress. The ironic thing is that the problem with my heart is that it does not relax between beats. Which sounds just like my life.
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I am trying to distance myself due to my new heart condition but my husband is having panic attacks and high BP so I have to think of him also. We met with the Medicaid Case Manager yesterday to discuss additional help or services and she felt like my MIL needs to be moved to Assisted Living in a facility that can monitor and administer her insulin. She didn't think Nursing Home would be a good fit because my MIL is perfectly able to cook (from memory), bathe, dress and go to the bathroom completely on her own. She still has all her long term memory, she knows exactly what date, year, and time it is. She has no trouble recognizing all her family members, her aide, her friends. (she has some trouble remembering doctors). But the problem is that she has absolutely no short term memory longer than a few hours at best. She is now intellectually on the same level as an 8 to 9 year old child (a very forgetful 8-9 year old child) she can't handle money at all (has trouble even counting cash) she cant pay bills or open, organize, and understand incoming mail. She can't comprehend anything more than very basic instructions. She can not follow written directions of any kind (such as a recipe). She has no ability to learn anything new. She can not calculate her insulin doses on her own. She is beginning to forget basic things like how to dial the phone or how to turn on the vacuum. She is begining to have depth perception issues. She tripped over a curb on last sunday and almost dropped a detergent bottle on her head at the grocery store because see didn't see where to grasp the handle. Emotionally and socially she acts like a 12-13 year old, argumentative and seems to have lost basic manners. She was raised a southern belle who has ALWAYS said please, thank you, yes ma'am, yes sir and now she just says "yeah" or "whatever". She is completely unaware that she has any problems at all, and denies all examples of her memory loss or other deficits. We are going to look at facilities this weekend. So now we are faced with having to convince her that she needs to move to Assisted living. How do we do that and still manage to keep our stress level down? BTW... thank you all for reading to my long rants and giving me your feedback. I find that it just helps me to get it all out on here so I don't unload it all on husband or our 20 year old daughter who is now being effected by all this as well.
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Lesanne; I just read your other post, that you've developed a heart condition and need to reduce your stress level. As hard as it may be, I think you need to disengage from day to day responsibility for MIL and let your husband step into the breach; he needs to find her a placement.

Have you ever tried meditation? Some community colleges offer Mindfulness Mediation classes; they are a great way to let go of some of the stress.
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A person with dementia should not be allowed to live solo, let alone her other issues!
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