I'm a long-distance caregiver for an elderly cousin who is in the middle stages of dementia. She still lives independently, but only because she has a gentleman friend who looks out for her, makes sure she gets to meals and doctor's appointments and tries to make sure she takes her medications. This has worked well for a couple of years, but it's not working well now; he himself is growing increasingly confused, and the information he gives me is increasingly garbled. She refuses to follow doctor's orders, cancels necessary appointments, and he can't make her go. When she does go to an appointment, he accompanies her, then confuses the information she's given. She regularly loses medications, he replaces them, then the originals resurface and now there are multiple bottles of the same meds floating around the apartment of someone who's confused about what to take and when. (FYI, none of her conditions are life threatening; current meds include glaucoma eyedrops, scabies cream, and iron pills for anemia.)
I'm trying to sort out what's next, and could use some help. She lives in a continuing care facility, and the staff there has given me three options:
Option 1: Assisted living, where she'll have a room instead of an apartment (she has a lot of treasured possessions and will be deeply upset to have to downsize) but her medications and doctor's appointments will be handled by the medical staff instead of a confused companion -- which would be a great relief to me. Downside: She will be traumatized by the move, he will be traumatized and ... for what? So she can live longer and spend more years in memory care? Memory care is her greatest fear.
Option 2: I hire an outside care manager to oversee her care. Downside: She really can't afford it, and she doesn't trust strangers coming into her home anyway.
Option 3: I leave things the way they are. She stays in the apartment and is happy, but continues to lose her medications and/or take them incorrectly; her doctor's appointment information is garbled by her increasingly confused companion, etc. (I am of course on the phone with the doctors, but it's not really the same.) Downsides: Obvious. Upside: She's happy, her companion is happy, but her increasing physical needs are not addressed.
I would love to hear other perspectives on this. One thing to keep in mind: I do not have the option of moving her. She has paid into this facility, it is wonderful, and I have to play within their rules. So those are my three options. The facility (and her doctor) are recommending assisted living, because they are looking out for her medical needs, but as her POA, I have to look out for both her medical and emotional needs. And I keep thinking, "I move her, and for what? So she'll get better medical care, and live longer in memory care, which has always been her greatest fear?"
Thanks for any and all thoughts on this.