Happy New Year! Apologies for lagging behind in sending you greetings - I still have cartons to unpack! Hope you had a good holiday despite the burden of having a loved one with Alzheimer's or another dementia. Do feel free to write in - someone will respond - and I will, too.
Remember to take good care of yourself, too, JudyView Thread
It's always a challenge when someone you love refuses to get medical input. Brainstorm any way to get him to see his doctor, preferably with you so that you can describe the changes you see. The Alzheimer's Assn. has some good suggestions (800-272-3900). The important thing to remember is that you are the person who is in tact, and, sadly, the person who shows signs of memory related problems does not perceive that anything is amiss. Rational thinking needs to prevail, as hard as it is when you are in this position. It is an act of love to find out what is wrong with him, albeit, tough love.
What a situation you have from both sides. The Alzheimer's Assn. is definitely you best bet - 800-272-3900. Probably, you will need a firm diagnosis regarding both your mother and your mother-in-law. If it is definitely established that a dementing illness is causing their behavior, the earlier you step in, the better it will be. You may need to take legal steps to manage your mother's finances, and if your mother-in-law is in the early stages, involve her by stating that she will no longer have to worry about financial concerns when you help out with the bills if you step in.
As far as nursing homes, there are some very good memory care residences that know how to approach someone with these issues in a caring way. If you join a support group, even by phone or on line in the area where they live, you will get great suggestions about good places.
What an unexpected reaction from your husband in that he claims you are the one with the issues. I just moved into a 55 community myself, so I know how upsetting this is for you. I am trying to set up an Alzheimer's caregiver support group here because support groups are the antidote to what you are going through.
First of all, don't take it personally: he is becoming disinhibited and blurting out inappropriate comments. Whenever he says it's your issue, try a light approach with others he speaks to with something like, "That's what he believes," and smile to diffuse the situation. As far as the abusive comments he makes to you, immediately tell him that you are hurt by what he says in that moment. You need to give him the feedback whenever he is abusive, quietly saying that it is not OK for him to speak to you that way. You may have to say that you will not sit with him if he speaks that way. People with Alzheimer's and related dementia still have unconscious memory, and unless he is the type of person who always spoke to you in an abusive way, he eventually may ease up. Whether he persists or not, start arranging for caregivers to help you out and give you some relief - you deserve it. The Alzheimer's Assn. at 800-272-3900 has great suggestions.
You need to consult with Adult Protective Services and/or contact the Alzheimer's Assn. to find out how to go about obtaining financial rights and responsibility for your mother. It may involve a court decision which requires 2 physicians to attest to her mental status.
As for the hallucinations that your mother-in-law reports, it is important for someone to accompany her to a doctor's appointment to rule out a medical reason for her behavior. Is she on medications? Any pharmacist can tell you whether mental side-effects may be present. Memory assessment at a local facility or neurologist with expertise in distinguishing dementia symptoms would be the next step.
It's time for someone to be with her the entire night. Unfortunately, she cannot understand the notes and instructions she may receive before she is left alone at night. The only way locking doors works is if the caregiver is in the house as well and knows what to do in case of fire or another emergency. Often, this type of wandering becomes the trigger for family members to consider placement in a memory care facility where her safety is assured.
My new book, Support for Alzheimer's and Dementia Caregivers: The Unsung Heroes, has been published. Written just for you, it is filled with stories about situations that many of you face, with messages that offer you validation and comfort. Go to amazon.com for a copy, and let me know what you think of it.
Now that's something to be thankful for on this special day, JudyView Thread
I finally can report we have finished moving - now it's about how to find a place for the contents of all those cartons! Downsizing is some chore.
My new book, Support for Alzheimer's and Dementia Caregivers: The Unsung Heroes will be available on amazon.com by November 20th. Reading the stories in the book is like attending a support group meeting - I hope you find it comforting.
Meanwhile, Thanksgiving will soon be here. If you can involve your loved ones by just talking about the holiday, and asking about how they feel about it, you may hear a response that will make Thanksgiving more meaningful for you.