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cmm740
@cmm740

Posts: 4
Joined: Oct 20, 2016

Alzheimer's: Caregiver Advice Requested

Posted by @cmm740, Oct 20, 2016

Hi everyone,

This is my first post ever, to bear with me.

My husband’s father has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s (family doctor + psychiatrist both). We’ve noticed a regression for several years, but this is the first time that he’s received a diagnosis. The problem is, he refuses to accept it or acknowledge that there’s a problem. My mother-in-law is at a loss because his diagnosis is also feeding in to his depression and hostility, making their living situation unbearable for her.

They moved across the country to the east coast a few years ago because he had convinced my mother-in-law that the reason he was unable to do anything (such as build planes, like he used to) and struggling with depression, was simply because of where they lived (not because of dementia). There was always an excuse: weather is bad, not enough space, don’t know enough people, etc. Then, they moved to the west coast a couple of years ago because….the same reasons. Now, they’re planning to move back to the east coast, a mere two years later, because…the same reasons. My husband and I even have a move in the works to the west coast right away so that we can better support them through this difficult time. But we can’t follow them back and forth across the country—we just don’t have enough money for that.

This next move is especially worrying because it will be to an isolated lake property. We fear that the isolation will not only make things worse for my father-in-law, but will also make things increasingly more difficult for my mother-in-law who will now have access to zero support network and will lose connections to friends and other family that used to be nearby (on the west coast).

I understand my mother-in-law’s frustration—I don’t blame her for feeding in to this because she feels like she’s out of options. But the fact is, when they move, he will be happy for a couple of months and then regress into his old behavior because the problem is mental health—not where they live. He promises her that, when they move, he’ll take up new hobbies, get out more, do more around the house, be happy, etc. But time and time again he has proved that this is not the case. And refusing to acknowledge the core problem is just delaying the actual treatment he could be receiving to improve both his and my mother-in-law’s situation.

My questions are:

Has anyone had a similar experience with Alzheimer’s/dementia in their family (i.e. denial)? What did it take for he/she to accept the diagnosis?
If you have experience with this, what is the best way my husband and I can support his parents? We honestly don’t know what to do (we’ve tried being honest with my mother-in-law, moving, everything, to no avail).
Do we have any options at our disposal if we fear that my mother-in-law’s safety might be at risk? With this latest move, and the isolation of their new home, we’re concerned for her well-being. His verbal hostility hasn’t transitioned into physical abuse, yet, but we don’t know what will happen as his health degrades.

Thanks in advance 🙂

REPLY

Hi there ….. I really feel for you my friend ….. what a terrible situation you are in. My father had Alzheimers, and as an only child in an addicted family (all of them – not me), it was all mine to deal with …… living situation, financial, safety, etc. And I lived 3-4 hours away. Truthfully I would start with getting some professional advice from a Geriatric Psychiatrist specializing in Alzheimers. My Dad saw one each month, or more if necessary, and he was invaluable. Also, talk to your local Dept. of Aging ….. talk to any of the groups that could offer any advice at all.
You are right to be concerned about your mother’s, and your dad’s, safety. There were many times I worried that my Dad would take his arm and just slam her and she’d fly across the room. Do get in touch with the Alzheimer’s Assoc. too … and explain everything to them you told me. They are absolutely wonderful folks and have a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips ….. you do not have to walk this alone.
Very important ….. be sure your Dad has a Will, a Medical Directive, and a Durable Power of Attorney before he is considered incompetent to make those decisions.
There comes a time, and believe me it’s not fun nor easy, when a daughter (or son) has to step in and be the parent, and tell the parent “no Dad, this is what we are going to do.” It’s tough …. I know. When I had to convince my Dad that the best thing for him would be to “visit” a special facility (never used the word Alzheimers) where they could help him do things and learn new skills, my mother was standing in the doorway screaming her head off at me that I was a horrible s.o.b. for doing this to him, even though she knew it had to be and we’d discussed it. She was also at the end of her rope. So, just know you never can be sure what lies ahead.
There is so much to tell you, and I wish I could be there to help you. Write me if you wish – I think my e-mail is on the members list. But, first of all contact the Alzheimer’s Association and tell them your whole story. Those folks are wonderful. And, as you walk through this process with your folks, try to be tender with your Mom even if she isn’t with you, and always assure your Dad that you love him and only want what’s best for him.
I will be praying for you. Please keep in touch,
abby

@amberpep

Hi there ….. I really feel for you my friend ….. what a terrible situation you are in. My father had Alzheimers, and as an only child in an addicted family (all of them – not me), it was all mine to deal with …… living situation, financial, safety, etc. And I lived 3-4 hours away. Truthfully I would start with getting some professional advice from a Geriatric Psychiatrist specializing in Alzheimers. My Dad saw one each month, or more if necessary, and he was invaluable. Also, talk to your local Dept. of Aging ….. talk to any of the groups that could offer any advice at all.
You are right to be concerned about your mother’s, and your dad’s, safety. There were many times I worried that my Dad would take his arm and just slam her and she’d fly across the room. Do get in touch with the Alzheimer’s Assoc. too … and explain everything to them you told me. They are absolutely wonderful folks and have a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips ….. you do not have to walk this alone.
Very important ….. be sure your Dad has a Will, a Medical Directive, and a Durable Power of Attorney before he is considered incompetent to make those decisions.
There comes a time, and believe me it’s not fun nor easy, when a daughter (or son) has to step in and be the parent, and tell the parent “no Dad, this is what we are going to do.” It’s tough …. I know. When I had to convince my Dad that the best thing for him would be to “visit” a special facility (never used the word Alzheimers) where they could help him do things and learn new skills, my mother was standing in the doorway screaming her head off at me that I was a horrible s.o.b. for doing this to him, even though she knew it had to be and we’d discussed it. She was also at the end of her rope. So, just know you never can be sure what lies ahead.
There is so much to tell you, and I wish I could be there to help you. Write me if you wish – I think my e-mail is on the members list. But, first of all contact the Alzheimer’s Association and tell them your whole story. Those folks are wonderful. And, as you walk through this process with your folks, try to be tender with your Mom even if she isn’t with you, and always assure your Dad that you love him and only want what’s best for him.
I will be praying for you. Please keep in touch,
abby

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Thank you so, so much for your kind response. It’s so hard to watch people you love go through this. I will absolutely contact our local Alzheimer’s Association and explore our options with them.

Liked by Kim

@cmm740, I agree that Amber’s response was kind and very informative.
CMM, you may wish to also join the discussions in the Caregivers group https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/caregivers/ There are several discussion specific to caring for someone with Alzheimer’s.

I’m also tagging @IndianaScott @lindabf @kmkm @nanax2 and @macbeth on this discussion. I`m confident they`ll join you here.

Liked by macbeth, cmm740

I’m so sorry that you and you’re family are going thru this. I have read some of the previous answers and I would like to add the following, It appears as though you need to intervene as soon as possible so that any available medical treatment can be given to him before he deteriorates even further. Has his mental condition degenerated to such a point that a psychiatrist could say that he’s dangerous to himself? if so I believe the law allows your doctor to give him treatment against his will. Hopefully this will prevent further rapid deterioration and slow the progression of the disease. I know that your father will be angry and perhaps your family may disagree but someone must take the responsibility to ensure that your father-in-law gets the treatment that he needs.

Liked by Kim

@thawyzard

I’m so sorry that you and you’re family are going thru this. I have read some of the previous answers and I would like to add the following, It appears as though you need to intervene as soon as possible so that any available medical treatment can be given to him before he deteriorates even further. Has his mental condition degenerated to such a point that a psychiatrist could say that he’s dangerous to himself? if so I believe the law allows your doctor to give him treatment against his will. Hopefully this will prevent further rapid deterioration and slow the progression of the disease. I know that your father will be angry and perhaps your family may disagree but someone must take the responsibility to ensure that your father-in-law gets the treatment that he needs.

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Welcome @thawyzard. I’m glad you jumped into this conversation and adding your thoughts. It sounds like you speak from personal experience. Are you or have you cared for someone with Alzheimer’s?
We look forward to getting to know you.

Yes I have some experience with Alzheimers. My grandmother had Alzheimers and subsequently died of it. Throughout my career I was a licensed clinical social worker and I worked with patients that had organic brain syndromes and other similar disorders. I am somewhat knowledgeable about this subject.

@thawyzard

I’m so sorry that you and you’re family are going thru this. I have read some of the previous answers and I would like to add the following, It appears as though you need to intervene as soon as possible so that any available medical treatment can be given to him before he deteriorates even further. Has his mental condition degenerated to such a point that a psychiatrist could say that he’s dangerous to himself? if so I believe the law allows your doctor to give him treatment against his will. Hopefully this will prevent further rapid deterioration and slow the progression of the disease. I know that your father will be angry and perhaps your family may disagree but someone must take the responsibility to ensure that your father-in-law gets the treatment that he needs.

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Thanks for your response. The psychiatrist has not yet said he’s a danger to himself, however he is making major financial decisions and not remembering he made them (such as buying a house, adding/removing people from wills, etc.). How a real estate agent would let someone that clearly does not remember having a conversation about the sale of a house, actually let that person buy a house, is beyond me. With this next big financial decision they’re doing to make with this move, we’re concerned that he’s not even being rational anymore. But the family is also too timid to step in.

@thawyzard

I’m so sorry that you and you’re family are going thru this. I have read some of the previous answers and I would like to add the following, It appears as though you need to intervene as soon as possible so that any available medical treatment can be given to him before he deteriorates even further. Has his mental condition degenerated to such a point that a psychiatrist could say that he’s dangerous to himself? if so I believe the law allows your doctor to give him treatment against his will. Hopefully this will prevent further rapid deterioration and slow the progression of the disease. I know that your father will be angry and perhaps your family may disagree but someone must take the responsibility to ensure that your father-in-law gets the treatment that he needs.

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In Florida there is a legal statute called The Baker Act, with the Baker Act people who are incompetent, dangerous to themselves or others can be evaluated. They can be involuntarily hospitalized. I believe there is such a statute in the state in which you reside. You could take him hopefully to a large Metropolitan Hospital with the psychiatric unit, and ask for that evaluation. Have a discussion with the evaluating psychiatrist beforehand and explain the monetary mistakes and they memory problems and explain to the doctor why you wish to have this involuntary status placed on him. After that evaluation the psychiatrist can involuntarily hospitalize him and have consultation with the proper M.D. so that he may be started on the proper medication. shortly thereafter he can be released to someone’s care. Once he is ruled incompetent, the court does this, it is a legal proceedure, he can be prevented from signing legal documents and from engaging in Business Without a court-appointed guardian to make sure that he makes good decisions.

Liked by cmm740

@thawyzard

Yes I have some experience with Alzheimers. My grandmother had Alzheimers and subsequently died of it. Throughout my career I was a licensed clinical social worker and I worked with patients that had organic brain syndromes and other similar disorders. I am somewhat knowledgeable about this subject.

Jump to this post

Nice to get to know a bit more about you. I look forward to seeing more of you on Connect.

Hi @cmm740, and welcome. I feel for you. My grandfather, who I was extremely close to a lived with my entire life, fought a long battle with Alzheimer’s and it wasn’t until the very late stages of his disease that we understood it was dementia because he hid so much from us.

My best advice to you, as someone who witnessed it and wish I knew then what I know now, is to reach out to the local Alzheimer’s Association chapter depending on where they end up with the move. Most chapters have a range of resources – everything from programs for those in early stages to lots of different types of support for caregivers (including online, phone, and in person, which could support your MIL).

With my grandfather, we found that he was more willing to listen to an authority figure such as his doctor or accountant, rather than any of us. He got in a few car accidents (that he hid from us), but often things would get a little bit better when the police would give him a good talking to about his dangerous behavior.

Hope this helps and best to you and your family,
Melody

@caretothepeople

Hi @cmm740, and welcome. I feel for you. My grandfather, who I was extremely close to a lived with my entire life, fought a long battle with Alzheimer’s and it wasn’t until the very late stages of his disease that we understood it was dementia because he hid so much from us.

My best advice to you, as someone who witnessed it and wish I knew then what I know now, is to reach out to the local Alzheimer’s Association chapter depending on where they end up with the move. Most chapters have a range of resources – everything from programs for those in early stages to lots of different types of support for caregivers (including online, phone, and in person, which could support your MIL).

With my grandfather, we found that he was more willing to listen to an authority figure such as his doctor or accountant, rather than any of us. He got in a few car accidents (that he hid from us), but often things would get a little bit better when the police would give him a good talking to about his dangerous behavior.

Hope this helps and best to you and your family,
Melody

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Thanks @caretothepeople for your response. It’s such an awful disease, isn’t it. We’ve reached out to our local Alzheimer’s chapter and have found some local support groups in the area for my mother-in-law. I had always thought that the those organizations simply fund research, but that’s obviously not the case. They do so much more!

Liked by caretothepeople

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