Archive | April 2013

Moving Forward

Whew!  What a time it has been lately.  Let’s just say that we learned a valuable lesson and that is that change is NOT GOOD for someone with Alzheimer’s disease.  Taking Dad’s car out of the driveway was a gigantic mistake.  After only one week, we had to put it back so that he can sit in his chair and look at it sitting in the driveway.  When it was gone, all he did was ask repeatedly where his car was and imagine all kinds of conspiracies about who stole it.  It created so much anger and anxiety that for a few days, we were certain that we would have to place Dad in a Memory Care (locked) facility.  Now, we’re not so sure.

Once the car was back in the driveway, he settled right down and we have had a rather peaceful week.  Lesson learned.

This past week my brother and I met with an Edler Law attorney and I cannot  stress enough how valuable that experience has been.  I would encourage any family who is in the process of making care decisions for an elderly loved one to seek the counsel of an attorney who specializes in Elder Law.  I offer a word of caution though…FIND THE RIGHT ONE.

There are lawyers who see this as an opportunity to get rich.  Be careful!!!  If your loved one already has a will, power of attorney, or medical directive in place, beware of any attorney who insists on re-creating them.  A good Elder Law attorney will try to save your loved one’s money to be spent on their care.

While things are quiet, I am going to enjoy this beautiful day.  I hope things are quiet in your life today and if not, I hope you are getting the help and support you need.

Alzheimer’s Disease – Reaching Out to the Professionals

What a week it’s been.  I feel like a student again and I don’t know whether I’m passing or failing the class but I’m doing the best I know how.

Two out of the last four days were spent trying to keep the peace at Mom and Dad’s house and making phone call after phone call to the “experts”.  If you’re dealing with Alzheimer’s and haven’t visited the Alzheimer’s Association web page, I strongly encourage it.  Then, call their hot line (1.800.272.3900) and talk to a Care Consultant.  These folks are absolutely awesome.

I’ve learned so much this week about the resources available to help us all deal with this disease.  The Alzheimer’s Association recommended I speak with an Elder Law attorney regarding estate planning to ensure that Mom and Dad’s finances will sustain the care they will need.  They also referred me to the Area on Aging in my locale.  This group may be able to help with resources for interim solutions until we get Mom and Dad into Memory Care/Assisted Living environment.  It’s all a bit overwhelming but thank goodness for these agencies and their dedicated volunteers.

Tomorrow my Mom and Dad will celebrate their 63rd wedding anniversary.  At least I hope it will be a celebration and not another meltdown.  This will be the last celebration in the home they have loved and shared for over 60 years.  It will be a bittersweet day but because of the support I’ve received from the professionals this week, I am better prepared to handle it.  Reach out – if you haven’t already.  No one can do this alone.

OMG, How Do We Do It?

It’s done.  I confronted my fear and made the first phone calls to the Assisted Living facilities.  I have found every possible excuse not to make that call because once it was done, all these fears would become reality.  I wonder if others have done the same.

The people I spoke with were kind and understanding but the decision will be harder than I thought.  Because of Dad’s recent behavior issues, he and Mom cannot live together in assisted living.  Dad will have to be in a secure unit (locked behind doors that only open with a code) and Mom will have to live across the street in what equates to a bedroom.  She will be allowed to visit with Dad for a couple of hours each day.

How do you tell your parents this when they will celebrate their 63rd anniversary this week and have never been apart?

The geriatric psychiatrist says to just do it.  He says that putting it off only prolongs the agony and that once it’s done, we can all get down to learning to live with the change.  I know he’s right but speaking the words …that’s a different story.

The psychiatrist also recommended that we contact the police in the area where my folks live and have them put a GPS bracelet (leg) on Dad so that he can be located if he wanders off before we get him in a secure facility.  It’s a wonderful idea in concept but again, I can’t imagine telling my Dad he will have to wear it like a prisoner on work release.

NOTHING about Alzheimer’s is good or kind.  It is perhaps the most cruel disease of them all. I have nothing but compassion for every family who is living with Alzheimer’s Disease and struggling in silence.  Love doesn’t ease the pain.