I’m thinking of taking Ma back to live with me again and would appreciate hearing from anyone who cared for their loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s at home.
Mom lived with us for a year when she was first diagnosed. When she started wandering, it was advised by all of her doctors, her social worker, and her psychiatrist that she move to a rest home. I heard horror stories of how wanderers got out of the house, even when family members were sleeping in the hallways right outside their bedroom door. I’ve also heard of the emotional and physical toll the disease takes on caretakers.
Of course, I know that firsthand. Caring for my mother almost sent me to the hospital twice. So why would I consider doing it again? For a couple of reasons.
1) No matter how wonderful the rest home / nursing facility, there is nothing like being cared for by your own daughter / family. And even if the patient to aid ratio is excellent (like it is where my mother is), there is no better ratio than 1:1.
2) After hearing from both the Alzheimer’s Association and the Director of Nursing at the rest home that my mother is not benefiting at all from me taking her here and then returning her, I can’t live with her coming to my house just once a week. Is that part about me? It certainly is. I can’t deal with it. My heart can’t take it. Keeping her away from the place where I can dote on her and keep her swollen legs up, and feed her pasta, having her away from the place where she feels most comfortable and safe, it is all unacceptable to me.
So what would I do differently?
First, I would give up my business. I would no longer work. I have someone that I trust completely and would hand over all of my clients to her. We would then become a one income household but we can swing it with a few adjustments.
Second, we’ve considered moving closer to family. Right now we live 2 hours away from my brother and an hour away from aunts and cousins. Being closer to them would at the very least, lend me quicker emotional and “in a pinch” support.
Third, I would have a nurse come a few times a week to give me a break and I would have my mom go to a program that starts later in the day so that she can sleep in a bit. This may help avoid the knock-down, drag out fights we had in the past that usually left me in a puddle.
Putting my mother in a home never sat well with my heart, and though my head got it, there was a part of my brain that said I could keep her at my house if I arranged things differently.
But everyone is telling me its impossible – doctors, nurses, family. She is too sick and I am of a “delicate” nature.
I need someone to tell me I can. I need someone who has done it to tell me it’s doable.
I appreciate any advice...