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My husband was diagnosed with Dementia/Alzheimers type about 8 years ago. At first it was just repeating stories but since, as expected with the disease he has progressed. However, after all this time he is still manageable. It's just that my life, as full time caregiver is focused on him and his needs and nothing else. I don't want to complain but I find myself resenting having to sit around, answering questions, changing channels and trying to redirect....constantly!
My husband has sundowners so in the daytime he's not as bad, although he's very confused. Most of the time he thinks there are other people in the house, worries over the door locks, opens and relocks the doors up to 40+ times each evening. He thinks he's been robbed so he hides things all the time, we both do a search and usually find the item stashed in ridiculous places. He says he's talked with his mother who passed about 15 years ago and thinks she has spent the night. Wants the TV turned down so we don't wake her. These confusions go on all day from about 6:00A.M. to 11:00 P.M.
But I don't have to change diapers, deal with a wheelchair or any heavy work. He's very healthy...just this blasted confusion!
Then there are my family and my one friend. They say I've changed, closed in too much and suggest that I should go ahead and put him in Assisted Living so I can have a life.
I found an AL and I'm next on the waiting list. They already called but I asked to just be kept on the list for the next available room. I'm so confused myself about making that huge move. I guess I keep waiting for something to happen so his needs are increased or so I wouldn't be able to care for him for some reason. I know some people have loved ones who are so much worse and they still care for them.
I never expected this to be so hard! He is 76 and I'm 75. I can't imagine putting him in a place and driving away. Of course, I'd go visit all the time but to just leave him when he's so attached and dependent on me....I just don't know what would happen to him. But others say we'd have more quality time together....so, I swing from one side to the other. I think I'm more confused than he is!! How have you all dealt with placing your loved ones? And I apologize for being so longwinded!

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Hi Carol
My situation was very different to yours, as I was taking care of my mum full time. She didn't have memory problems, mainly just general age-related decline, but I too found myself more or less housebound. Mum worried if I went out in case something happened - fire, flood, burglary, anything really. Coupled with a series of falls, this meant that gradually, and to be honest probably without my noticing, I began to cut myself off. I was stressed, resentful, worn down.
Mum moved into an AL facility in September '15. It was hard at first, for both of us, and I visited every day for a couple of months. But now I go once or twice a week. Mum loves it. She's got a better life than when she was here, there's so much going on in the facility, and (very slowly) so have I.
Before, I was so worn down with day to day stuff for Mum that we never did the fun things. Now we do.
Hope that helps a little
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You have done so much already. As a 63 yr old nurse, I empathize with those who have given their lives to care giving 24/7. My job ends at my shift. Yours doesn't. You have been committed to his well being for so long that it's difficult to make such a decision. But you have to, dear, for your sanity. We had a saying when I was with EMS, "you have to ensure your own safety/wellbeing before you can help others".
Try it out for a time, maybe 6 months, and make a plan to review the pros / cons afterwards. Expect ups and downs at the beginning, but with time, you will have a better understanding. God bless
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Carol, the time to place him is now. The reason? It's affected your health. This is not a competition with others you may know who are caring for gheir elders. Perhaps they are too selfish to give their spouse the gift of a good life at a wellrun AL. Do it now!
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Carol I suggest finding a location with the memory care unit. It makes all the difference in the world for you and for your husband. It's not just the point of you having a life, but also it's a point of getting help to manage his life. A facility that truly knows how to manage dementia is an extended family. Your time with him will be more valuable and less stressful for both of you. Beginning it will be extremely hard but just rely on resources available.
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Can you bring in some help so that you have a break for several hours a few times a week? There are also Day centers where he could go from 9-3 ( or so) several days a week to give you a break and some free time to do things for yourself. It is a good way to transition to having assistance without actually going someplace permanently. There are assisted living facilities that have both memory care and independent apartments. Can you go to the same place so that you can visit him everyday and have meals together?
That is often a good compromise for couples who don't want to be separated but when care needs are greater than the caregiver can meet on their own.
Good Luck
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Carol, my aunt couldn't bear the thought of placing my uncle. She yhought he'd be lost in memory care. She waited until her children forced the issue after they found out he was beating her black and blue to get the house keys from her.

She finally placed him in a lovely memory care place where he thrived. Dadly, she died of a massive heart attack not long after she placed him. That's my cautionary tale.
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I am at the exact spot as you. Except my husband and I are caring for my father in his home. it's exhausting and we have no life of our own. In my support group I've watched two wives both about your age finally make the plunge to place their husbands in good Memory care/AL units. They were heart broken at first but the transformation in them has been amazing. Their anxiety and helplessness has decreased enormously and they have come alive again. They are still devoted to their husbands and monitor the quality of their care but they are not so depleted by sorrow and despair. I know this is a very hard thing to do. Perhaps if you ask yourself if the situation was reversed what you would want your husband to do?
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I can empathize with your situation. My husband has been diagnosed since 2009, but I suspected it before that. Knowing what I know as a nurse, I've already made the decision I will care for him until I cannot lift him. He too is pretty healthy and cares for himself with prompting. I have a plan A, B, & C in place when and if the time comes, but you and you alone know how you feel. If you absolutely cannot continue to care for him as it would negatively impact your health, then place him in the care of professionals. Trust me, with his memory he will soon not recognize you are not present and he will continue to decline. Your visits will be met with indifference once he no longer recognizes you and then you will feel cheated he doesn't. Know this disease is robbing two people of a life. Tell your family to stop bugging you and if your friend is really a friend, then she will allow you to make your own decision. Best wishes!
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I sympathize with how conflicted you feel. Can you perhaps call the Alzheimer's Association near you and get info for a support group near you? What you are dealing with is extremely all consuming. It is a mental stress and can be bad for your health. You can be a calmer, less resentful and better wife if you are not dealing with this 24/7. But you need support of others. I think you considering this move is your gut instinct telling you something.
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Carol, my heart hurts for you. Please get involved in a support group. My doctors office offered one. I went and it TRULY lifted my spirits. Just the other day I attended another group. It really helps to hear how others are handling issues. Many times I get good ideas. I know it is normal to have guilt. However, in the groups I attend they continuously remind us that we need to take care of ourselves. Please know you will be of no help to him if you let yourself get worn down. A move could easily restore life to both of you. 😊
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