Alzheimers: When should someone not be left alone?

Posted by suerc @suerc, May 19, 2019

I have a neighbor who just got a Dx of alzheimer. My mom passed away from this in Feb so I know what is all about. We could see him in the past or starting to repeat himself. My question for you is his wife travels to see her elderly dad out of state about every other weekend. Should we be worried about him at this point. He has taken care of our pets for weekends at a time but lately we have to write everything down and he has still. Even calling us asking us what to do.

Hi @suerc, you'll notice that I moved your message to the Caregivers group because I think you'll get more responses here. You ask some very good questions and I'd like to bring in some other members like @debbraw @rmftucker @maryterry and @julesa who may have some thoughts and experiences to share about people with Alzheimer's being on their own for periods of time and when or how to manage responsibilities they may wish to take on.

If I'm reading your message correctly, I see 2 separate but related issues. 1) You're concerned that your neighbor who has Alzheimer's is being left on his own because his wife is also juggling long distance care for her father, and 2) you wonder if and when your neighbor may not be able to manage caring for your pets when you're away – a responsibility that up to now he always did.

Do you think that his wife is aware of his declining mental abilities? It can be a delicate discussion to brooch as she may be in denial and not wish to see it, especially since it will force her to have to make choices about her father's and her husband's care. Not easy.

It is possible that the responsibility of caring for your pets may lead to a source of anxiety for your neighbor. I wonder if you might bring up the topic with his wife and share with her your observations. This may be an opening for her to recognize that she too has to put some things in place for his care in her absence. Sue, do you think this is a topic you can discuss with your neighbor's wife?

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My DH has Alz – probably @Stage 5. He doesn’t drive anymore and sleeps lots. He dog sits for our granddog 4 days/week and enjoys his company. I’ve talked this plan over with our son, the dog’s owner. They haven’t gotten lost yet – both wear ID and DH keeps his cell phone with him. He calls me if he has any question. I have a caregiver 2-3afternoons/week – she drives him wherever he wants to go, plays games and visits with him. So far, that seems enough. I leave him home alone sometimes but feel like that’s ok now. He does yard work and doesn’t wander so far. I don’t know if this reply helps you – I know his condition and our plan could change quickly – but so far it’s ok. Best wishes on your decisions.

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Hello @suerc Nice to e-meet you here. I am Scott and my mother-in-law suffered from dementia as well as my wife having many dementia-like symptoms while fighting brain cancer.

I would echo @colleenyoung comments. I know in the case of my MIL my father-in-law was in a huge amount of denial. My MIL would try and leave the their shared office with the UPS driver thinking he was her husband, drive the wrong way on streets, and not remember how to fully dress, but my FIL still remained in denial. My wife finally went back home until he ultimately agreed to have some help for his wife. It took her three weeks before my FIL came around to admitting his wife's needs.

I also agree the topic of the care of your dog may be an easier introducation to the issue than anything else since you can bring it up as something that is effecting you rather than just what you have observed or your concern over her absenses. No matter what, these types of discussions are never easy, but can greatly help at times.

I wish you the best with this.

Strength, courage, and peace!

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I work in a profession where so I can choose my days…I have a caregiver for my mom but she fights it most of the time. Sometimes I feel so stressed when my phone lights up when I am away that I wonder if it is worth it…but I know I have to get away once or twice a week for me. When I’m home my mom sleeps a lot so I’m ok with a quick run to the market. She doesn’t wander but I know those days are coming. A horrible disease.

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@providence1960

I work in a profession where so I can choose my days…I have a caregiver for my mom but she fights it most of the time. Sometimes I feel so stressed when my phone lights up when I am away that I wonder if it is worth it…but I know I have to get away once or twice a week for me. When I’m home my mom sleeps a lot so I’m ok with a quick run to the market. She doesn’t wander but I know those days are coming. A horrible disease.

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Hi @providence1960 'horrible disease' for sure! In so many ways! You are right about the stress of something as simple as your phone ringing! Great to read you have some help — what a difference that can make!

Strength, courage, and peace

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@colleenyoung

Hi @suerc, you'll notice that I moved your message to the Caregivers group because I think you'll get more responses here. You ask some very good questions and I'd like to bring in some other members like @debbraw @rmftucker @maryterry and @julesa who may have some thoughts and experiences to share about people with Alzheimer's being on their own for periods of time and when or how to manage responsibilities they may wish to take on.

If I'm reading your message correctly, I see 2 separate but related issues. 1) You're concerned that your neighbor who has Alzheimer's is being left on his own because his wife is also juggling long distance care for her father, and 2) you wonder if and when your neighbor may not be able to manage caring for your pets when you're away – a responsibility that up to now he always did.

Do you think that his wife is aware of his declining mental abilities? It can be a delicate discussion to brooch as she may be in denial and not wish to see it, especially since it will force her to have to make choices about her father's and her husband's care. Not easy.

It is possible that the responsibility of caring for your pets may lead to a source of anxiety for your neighbor. I wonder if you might bring up the topic with his wife and share with her your observations. This may be an opening for her to recognize that she too has to put some things in place for his care in her absence. Sue, do you think this is a topic you can discuss with your neighbor's wife?

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She knows about it. I don't know if she should be leaving him or if she should e finding g other care for her aging g father or what. They have always had a bit of a strange relationship. When can he not stay alone. And how long can I try uh st him taking care of my animals.

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@maryterry

My DH has Alz – probably @Stage 5. He doesn’t drive anymore and sleeps lots. He dog sits for our granddog 4 days/week and enjoys his company. I’ve talked this plan over with our son, the dog’s owner. They haven’t gotten lost yet – both wear ID and DH keeps his cell phone with him. He calls me if he has any question. I have a caregiver 2-3afternoons/week – she drives him wherever he wants to go, plays games and visits with him. So far, that seems enough. I leave him home alone sometimes but feel like that’s ok now. He does yard work and doesn’t wander so far. I don’t know if this reply helps you – I know his condition and our plan could change quickly – but so far it’s ok. Best wishes on your decisions.

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I am wondering if his wife is thinking we will watch after him.

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@IndianaScott

Hello @suerc Nice to e-meet you here. I am Scott and my mother-in-law suffered from dementia as well as my wife having many dementia-like symptoms while fighting brain cancer.

I would echo @colleenyoung comments. I know in the case of my MIL my father-in-law was in a huge amount of denial. My MIL would try and leave the their shared office with the UPS driver thinking he was her husband, drive the wrong way on streets, and not remember how to fully dress, but my FIL still remained in denial. My wife finally went back home until he ultimately agreed to have some help for his wife. It took her three weeks before my FIL came around to admitting his wife's needs.

I also agree the topic of the care of your dog may be an easier introducation to the issue than anything else since you can bring it up as something that is effecting you rather than just what you have observed or your concern over her absenses. No matter what, these types of discussions are never easy, but can greatly help at times.

I wish you the best with this.

Strength, courage, and peace!

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Yes it may be easier for us as it goes along as we can bring th er dogs to the kennel for any length of time. But it will still be hard. We have lived nextdoor for we 6 yrs.

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@IndianaScott

Hi @providence1960 'horrible disease' for sure! In so many ways! You are right about the stress of something as simple as your phone ringing! Great to read you have some help — what a difference that can make!

Strength, courage, and peace

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Yes.

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In reply to @suerc "Yes." + (show)
@suerc

It does help most of the time…I need to remember that I have a wonderful and experienced caregiver…but I still get that roller coaster feeling!
So good to have this community.

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@providence1960

I work in a profession where so I can choose my days…I have a caregiver for my mom but she fights it most of the time. Sometimes I feel so stressed when my phone lights up when I am away that I wonder if it is worth it…but I know I have to get away once or twice a week for me. When I’m home my mom sleeps a lot so I’m ok with a quick run to the market. She doesn’t wander but I know those days are coming. A horrible disease.

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When we had one for my mom she fought it for a long time. She may have to do something like that if she continues to go to see her dad. To me I don't know. My husband would be more important. And I would secure someone for my dad. Go out there not as often and have him go with.

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@suerc

She knows about it. I don't know if she should be leaving him or if she should e finding g other care for her aging g father or what. They have always had a bit of a strange relationship. When can he not stay alone. And how long can I try uh st him taking care of my animals.

Jump to this post

Hi @suerc One of the hard parts of any chronic disease is the unknown. I know in my wife's case as she journeyed through her war there was no map, no hard and fast rules (other than when she failed her driver's test), my caregiving, and much more.

Again, in my wife's case they told us she might be lucky to live with her condition for 7 years and fought for more than double that. Same when she entered home hospice they said possibly six weeks and she was in that for over 14 months. We just never know in many such situations.

It is only my opinion, but on the animal care I'd say the moment you believe it is any kind of burden or difficulty for him, I'd quit.

I also guess, again just my opinion, that his wife will have to make the judgement call of when she should get him more care that what she can, or is, giving.

Nice to know you, as a neighbor, have a watchful eye out for his wellbeing.

What kind of pets do you have? I'm a dog guy myself 🙂

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