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It's like trying to keep 20 marbles on a tilted table for 16 hours a day. I never know what the next moment will bring. She's starting to have trouble with bowel control--day and night. What do I do now?

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Talk to your sons. While they may live far away they can still be a source of strength and support for you. You may be underestimating them.

You're in over your head, as anyone would be in your situation, and your family needs to know what's going on. Your sons are grown-ups. They can handle it.
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Rorussell, share, share, share... don't keep it bottled up. You might be surprised that your sons already know. I assume your sons call and ask to speak to their mother.... they could figure out by speaking to her that Mom's memory isn't quite the same.
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Your children are adults and deserve to be treated as such. Let them love their mom as she is. It gives them the opportunity to offer support to you as well. I'd feel betrayed if my mom or dad kept such important information from me after I was an adult. They may also be able to do more research for you and help you choose the next steps in caring for your wife. You can't bear this burden alone! It's not fair to you, your wife or your children.
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^ That is admirable of you not to tell them. But - they are adults and need to know. What if she out lives you? It is possible. My mother in law hid all that she could from us. We were not in the area. But, neighbors thought that we should know about the times that police were called to the house, because my father in law had walked away or was trying to leave in the car.

One thing that helped was a daycare facility. He could go there 5 days a week and seemed to enjoy it. (Tucson, AZ.)

I think that a call to your sons is in order and tell them that you have done all that you can do. You haven't failed anyone. You have successfully kept her at home, as long as you can.
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Thank you everyone for your kind words and suggestions. I'm going to follow through on your advice to see if I can find some help. I thought I could do this on my own, but it is so much more complicated than I ever imagined. We have two sons and two incredible daughters-in-law, but they live hundreds of miles away. Somehow I just can't bear to share these sad things with them and ruin their memories of a perfect mother.
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blannie.... ah ha, great minds do think alike :)
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Freqflyer - I call jinx!! :)
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Rorussell, just post on this thread like you did to respond to everyone who has posted on this "thread" with your question.

Or if you want to respond to someone individually, you cal click on their name to the left of their post and you will be taken to their "wall" where you can post a message (and even make it a private message that only they can see if you check that box on the right). You can also include a hug in your individual message to them. If this doesn't make sense, post again here on this thread and we'll answer it.
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rorussell, you can click on the screen name of the person you want to write a message, while in that window you can also click on "private message" if you prefer the message to be private....

Or you can ask on this thread, just type their screen name at the beginning of your post so that they know you are responding to them.

Hope this helps.
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Could someone help me with how this site works. I'd like to be able to respond to or ask follow-up questions of some of the responders, but I don't see a way to do that.
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rorussell, I would suggest you check with your wife's primary doctor to see what you can give her to help control the bowels.

My boss is going through the same thing with his wife, and it's not easy from what I am hearing him say. Couple times a day he was showering his wife to clean her up. Couple years ago he finally hired a Caregiver to help during the day so that he could go back to work . He first used a Caregiver through an agency who was great.... when she left I used a gal from care.com who he likes and he's paying her directly, only issue is when she is unable to come to work [she has grade school children who tend to get sick], there is no one else to back her up.
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My friend cared for his wife as long as he could. She got out of the house and ran down the highway. !! Sometimes the patient is just better off in a facility.

My own FIL became violent and the police would have to be called. I do understand the spot you are in.
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Jessie is right, let the memory care home to the heavy lifting and reserve your strength for taking care of things at home. Visit and enjoy your time together and unload the stress before it affects your own health.
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rorussell, do you have any outside help? It would help a lot if you could share the load with someone you trusted, so you would have some time for yourself. The only way I've found to deal with the stress that comes with caregiving is to let myself get away from it sometimes and to change the way I look at things. When it comes to bowel problems, though, I don't think I could look at that but one way. We know they can't help it, but it doesn't make it any easier to clean.

Are you open to placing your wife in a facility if she becomes worse, or do you plan to keep her at home? Sometimes a facility is the best thing for both the person with Alzheimer's and their caregiver. Facilities often provide better care than a lone caregiver can. Husbands can be with their wives without having to worry about the manual things. If a facility is not a consideration, check with your local Alzheimer's association to see what resources are available. Some states have programs that provide a few respite hours for a caregiver each week. It may be your wife qualifies for hospice, which can be a great help and is paid by Medicare. There are so many options for help. Getting help is one of the best ways I know of dealing with the stress.
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