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Husband has Alzheimers. For 6 years I have been taking care of him, by myself. No family or relatives near by to help. I am mid 60s, he is mid 70s. I tried, wanted to keep him here until he died, but his heart and lungs are too strong, and his body got weak, not being able to get up and walk. I could not do it anymore. Mentally and physically I was 'losing it'. I put him into an assisted living dementia lock down home, a few weeks ago.
I am trying to cope. Miss having him here, even tho he couldn't do anything but sit or lay down, and eat and drink. I did everything else. Not crying quite as much as I did. But I am wondering what I should do next, where I should go for help. He is a retired Veteran. Our Social Securitys and his retirement are going towards his rent at the home. I am living off our savings. Should I go to VA? Should I get an attorney, or Elder Law specialist, or? Maybe I am still not thinking straight. Trying to get my head on straight, and my so called Friends are throwing sarcasm my way, trying to make me feel bad about my decision.

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Warm hugs to you, meatjeanne. My husband's dementia journey lasted ten years. I never promised him I would keep him at home, although he would have liked that promise. I promised him instead that "I will never abandon you. I will always do my best to see that you have the best care we can find." We discussed more than once that if it became necessary for him to be in a care center I would still take care of him by advocating for him and spending time with him.

I was able to keep him at home, and at the end had hospice come into the house. But not because I was a martyr but because with help I could deal with his particular symptoms. He was able to get out of bed and to walk until the very final days.

It sounds to me like you are keeping the promise I made -- you are not abandoning him, you are advocating for him, you are seeing that he gets the care he deserves and that you could not provide by yourself. It certainly makes sense to me that you feel bad that your husband has dementia, and that you feel sad he is not with you in your home. Crying seems an appropriate response. But shame on your "friends" for trying to make you feel bad about your decision. You are doing your best, your are doing the right things. You are acting in love. It is the "friends" who lack compassion.

On a practical level, follow Pam's advice. AND also consult an attorney specializing in Elder Law. You need to be able to support yourself for another three decades or so. You can't use up all your savings before you seek help. An attorney can help you look after your own interests as well as your husband's.

Having to place a spouse in a care facility is a major milestone of loss. Allow yourself to mourn. I am glad to see you getting on with the next phase of caregiving. You'll get through this, with your compassion and self esteem intact.
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Meatjeanne and mymares, feelings do not usually depend on logic, but please listen to your minds. You are NOT "betraying" anybody. The betrayal has already occurred and it was the malfunctioning is your husbands' brains that betrayed your husbands, and you too. You are as much victims as the poor guys are. Nobody asked for this. Everyone is handling it as well as possible.

This is a sad loss. Go ahead and mourn. Cry. Feel bad. But I hope you can overcome feeling guilty. None of this is your fault, any more than it is your spouses' faults.

Warm hugs to you. Both of you please keep posting. We want to hear how this is going for you. We care.
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I agree with Ba8alou - first, find some more compassionate friends! Who would ever be sarcastic about a friend dealing with a spouse with Alzheimers? That's just plain cruel.

My dad didn't have Alzheimers, he had lung cancer. But once he couldn't get up from the toilet, I had to put him in the Skilled Nursing section of the place where he lived with my mom in Independent Living. There is just no way for one person to handle that and keep their own health and sanity. You did the right thing. Now you can go back to being a wife and caregiver and not nurse, personal aid, bather, cook, etc. Hugs...you did the right thing for both of you.
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Step 1 - get better friends! People who pick this time to criticise you are heartless, ignorant bastards and you want nothing to do with them.

Step 2 - give yourself time to adjust before you make any major decisions. But yes, do talk to any organisations that seem relevant and take careful notes of their advice.

Step 3 - big hug. You have been both practical and courageous. I really hope things begin to work well for both you and your husband from here.
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YES you go to VA Click on Money and Legal, above and click on Veterans Assistance. Also talk to the financial people at the facility, a good one will connect you with a free benefits consultant. VA will help pay for his care if he was a wartime vet.
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meatjeanne, you did the right thing putting your husband into a memory care facility. Remember almost 1 out every 3 caregiver passes on while caring for a loved one. Once a caregiver starts to get burnt out or losing it, they will eventually become a statistic if they don't get help right away.
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Oh, Jeanne, I'm so sorry you feel this way, please, please don't. My aunt tried to tske care of my uncle with Alzheimers for fsr too long and died of a heart attack as a direct result. You are still his caregiver. Once he's settled in, visit him and participate in some activities with him. Yes, go to the VA. And I'd also think about finding some more sensitive friends! ((((((Hugs)))))
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I am so sorry that you are suffering from the decision that had to be made, meetjeanne. My 5'2", 110 lb. mother cared for my dad after his bout with lung cancer and further complications. He was a large and heavy guy, even after the chemo and radiation. My parents' pastor lived five minutes from them. He went to their aid countless times when my dad fell while trying to go to the bathroom and it was impossible for my mother to help him. The doctor arranged for home health care to bathe him and to check his vitals. I was working and married, but I cooked for them once a week and stayed with dad so that she could go to play Bingo. This continued for over six years. In spite of the help we all were trying to provide for her, my heart broke every time I looked at her. I am sure it broke my dad's heart, too, to know that this was how they were going to spend their last years together, my dad helpless and my mom looking worse than he did. She lost weight, which she couldn't afford, and she was exhausted all of the time. She had passed the point of being able to care for him. I feared that she would die before my dad would. She kept her promise to him and to herself concerning putting him in an appropriate facility, but she was very close to a mental and physical breakdown when he died. I wish she had made the decision you did. It would have been better for her to visit him after a good night's sleep and time to care for herself. So, please do not punish yourself for making an intelligent and rational decision. He is getting proper care, and I think he would want you to take care of yourself and see you take care of your own health. As some previous posts have advised, get some new friends! The sarcastic people are not truly your friends. I'll bet you meet some lovely people when you visit your husband, and they will understand you and encourage you. There is help for you concerning the financial questions you have. Reach out to them and take care of yourself. Visit your husband often just to be in his presence. It will make you feel close to him in spite of his condition. My heart and prayers are with you, as are those of many of the people here. When you need some encouragement or just responses, this is a good place to come!
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Meatjeanne, I so understand what you are saying about feeling like a traitor.. My husband has PD and LBD, he is a Vietnam Vet and only 63. I am a few years younger.. Right now he is at at VA hospital for respite.. SO YES, please contact the VA, he should qualify for Aid and Attendance, and possibly other help.

I did manage to get out of the town the first few days to visit one son and the grandkids... I have had 3 phone calls since returning home as to how my husband is more confused, agitated, and roaming then he use to and would I talk to him to calm him down... Respite with the Va here is 2 week program, he thinks he has been there for months, and I reassure him I am picking him up this coming Thursday as scheduled... The head nurse and Dr both have called me to tell me its time for him to enter a nursing home, that is where is now in the VA hospital he is.. I had finally done the paperwork for the state Veterans Home, but sadly there is a 2-5 year wait. the nursing home at the VA he is at is a little over and hour away, but wait is only a few months.. I have spent most of "rest" time crying and feeling like I failed him and a failure.. His behavior reminds me of his PTSD he had when he returned from Vietnam and sadly I really dont won't to go thru that again, because now I can't get away for a while or have him get away till he chills out.. I can't leave him now.. My head tells me its the right thing, my heart feels like I have betrayed him.. we will be married for 41 years this fall..

Just to let you know you are not alone and in the end we are making the best decision for our husbands AND ourselves.. It has taken me a long time to admit I can't do this alone at home anymore even with day care a couple days a week..

We will still be taking care of them, just someone else doing all the heavy work.. I will still be his advocate and pia to nurses and dr.'s about meds etc.. I already do that! he has become very sensitive to meds because of his LBD.
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Meatjeannie, I am now in your same situation. I was due to pick my husband up from the VA respite tomorrow morning... They called me today and told me they felt that him coming home would not be the safest for me as they had seen a big change in his behavior this 2 week respite, and all there are familiar with him as he goes 2 times a year for respite..
I knew this was coming, but I was in total shock.. they already did all consultations and all agreed that he needed placement, it was my decision wether he stays (the locked dementia unit of the CLC has an empty bed) or come home and when the next bed came available he could come back.. It took me quite sometime to absorb this since I was not expecting it all today.. In the end I decided this is the best and most likely easiest adjustment for him (I am still crying and in shock),as he has been there 2 weeks now.. But I have been getting reports all week about him getting more agitated and wandering and just standing over other patients and staring down at them while sleeping, which is what he has been doing at home for a few months.. He was checked before and again for an UTI and none..
I too feel like I have betrayed him, as the last time I spoke to him last week I told him I would be coming Thursday (tho he doesn't know what day of the week it is) to pick him up.. BUT~ I also was nervous about "who" was going to be coming home with me...

I need to tell our children, one is 3 hours time difference and the other in Afghanistan and I usually Skype with him at night... They knew it was coming, but its still going to be hard calls to make..

We need to keep ourselves together for our spouses (I keep telling myself this) They dont want me to come for a couple weeks until they feel he has adjusted to staying.. that is going to be hard for me, but most likely better as if I went in the next few days I would break down and cry as I have been doing all afternoon.. In the end, my tells me its the right thing, my heart tells me I betrayed him..
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