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Alzheimer's Disease & Dementia Message Board

Alzheimer's Disease & Dementia Board Index

Hello Crisgo...I understand the feelings that your mother is going through. It seems perplexing to children to see their parent angry, short tempered, and out of control. Because even as adults, we look to our parents to keep the peace, remain calm and rational in the face of adversity.
Your mother is moving through stages-- the stages of grieving. First, although she insisted your father had Alzheimers disease, she resisted obtaining a true diagnosis-this is denial. Now that there is a concrete diagnosis, she feels angry and betrayed by this disease and by him...for leaving her. It has begun to take her partner, lover, friend and husband away. She is facing a future alone, which is extremely frightening. She gets angry with your father because she's angry that he will be leaving her...leaving her with decisions she has never dreamed she would ever have to make....not only about her future, but also about his...such as possible nursing home placement. Although couples may discuss what they would want done in the event of their untimely death, rarely, if ever do we discuss what we would what done if we were to live for an extended period of time in a physical or mental state requiring long term care.
Your mother may enter another phase of grieving...bargaining. If only I had done this, he'd get better. Next, she may become depressed, lonely, frigthened, immobilized and unable to cope. Acceptance is the final phase, but it takes a long time in coming. Your mother may drift in and out of these phases of grieving, and not necessarily in the order I provided. She feels out of control and doesn't know where to turn for assistance. She's facing overwhelming decisions; some that may need to be made rapidly.
This is the time that you, your mother and your family must act...summon up all your courage. As I don't know your parents age, if they are already retired or working.....It is imperative that you contact a qualified elder law attorney in your area IMMEDIATELY. You will need more than just the Power of Attorney. You may need a Durable POA for Healthcare, a Living Will, and at some point, you may need to have him declared incompetent and a family member declared his guardian. Your attorney can assist your in planning your mother's and his finances, applying for SSI/SSD,Medicaid, and investigating the options for assisted homecare or nursing home placement. There are also adult day cares and respite services that can provide your mom with some well deserved time away. Most day cares require a recent physical and TB test. Their fees are on a sliding scale. Contact your local Alzheimer's Association...they can be a wealth of information.
It is wonderful when finances are such that we can keep our loved one at home with us. This is an EXTREMELY difficult task, requiring 24 hour care as the disease progresses, and at sometime you or your mother may realize you cannot continue as the requirements of caring for him increase beyond your capabilities. Please do not sacrifice your lives for his...when you think about it...he wouldn't want you to do that. So don't become despondent when or if you come to the point where you and your family must consider placement. You must do what is in the best interests of not only your father, but your mother.
My husband's life froze in September of 1998 when he was diagnosed. My life has continued to move on. I still experience all those phases of grieving; I still blame myself. I have learned much in the past 5 years..about the legal system, the nursing home system, and I speak regularly at various Alzheimers functions about the impact that Alzheimers disease (in my case, Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome) has on the family members left behind. I had to divorce my husband to get the state to provide the care that he deserved...and yes, after a year and a half of struggling to care for him, to bring him mentally back to me,I had to admit to myself that I could no longer provide the care that he needed. I had to place him in a facility that could provide for him 24 hours a day (and I'm a nurse). Take care, and I hope that not only myself, but the other helpful folks on this board can assist you.

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