Two Parents with Alzheimer's/Dementia

by Kathy
(Tulare, CA. USA)

Myself and my three siblings feel lucky that Alzheimer's/dementia was late onset for our parents. It only started about two years ago but what has happened since is beyond any of our imaginations. My dad is 90 and my mother 91. We tried everything to keep them in their home together until their dying day. Twice we attempted to put mom in a home but our emotions caved.

She is very angry. Every day she directs horrible anger toward my father whose own dementia has advanced at such a speed beyond control in the past two months. She cries out that she wants out of this place (her home of 60 years) and swears it is not her home and my father brought her here under pressure. (She thinks she just left her mothers house in Minnesota, yes, remember my mother is 91, so that gives you an idea of her horrible confusion.)

We had 24 hours care givers and three of us shared responsibilities and gave our care givers two days off a week so we spend those days and nights with them. We all live between 2 1/2 to 10 hours away.

Finally it got too much for everyone. Moms anger increased, wandering started through the neighborhood (she is fast and I don't blame our care givers, been there!!) Started hiding money and taking my dads money and hiding it. All the classic symptoms.

Finally found a wonderful assisted living with an Alzheimer's wing. Been in business for 40 years, an awesome reputation and a very beautiful place. (Mom was in rehab at a convalescent home after a UTI for three weeks so we know the alternative is scary and depressing.)

Had my mother tour the place, She loved it however she can't remember one second from another. Dad approached me and said he could no longer care for her as when she got sick he didn't know if he should call an ambulance or not. (Several runs to the hospital in an ambulance with nothing wrong with my mother physically).

Moved her. Horrible experience as both my parents cried and held each other and did not want this to happen. Reports from the facility was she was doing fine, engaging in all the activities (bingo, exercise, etc.) She has her own nice little studio room. Brought dad for a visit 10 days later and now we are dealing with his insistence to bring her home. Accusing us of trying to kill her and everything else.

They were miserable and unsafe while together. We know this is the correct thing but we are all dealing with so much guilt and sadness it is almost unbearable. Guess just throwing this situation out there in case anyone else has experienced it and need some assurance we are not horrible.

We love our parents, always have, always been a close family and this is breaking our hearts. Dad is so bad he needs to be there too (they could live together in a nice apartment but he refuses.) Still have caregivers feeding him and cleaning house, medications, etc. but my mom got beyond their abilities.

We all need some relief as it seems there is nothing we can do right. If it were just one or the other things could probably be handled but both of them our so confused and argumentative.

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When did you Join the Family?
by: Carrie

We are going through the exact same scenario with our parents. It is heartbreaking. We placed Dad in assisted living at the same facility as my mother (who is in memory care), but he will be in Memory Care in weeks with his rate of decline.

Thank you for sharing your story. It helps to know we are not alone. Two parents with dementia is enough to make anyone insane. Why does doing the right thing have to feel so wrong.

You are Doing the Right Thing
by: Janet

First of all, congratulations on the fact that you and all your siblings are working together on this. Your story is the first I have read that everybody pitched in together. My siblings do nothing - I do it all.

Second, I can only image how hard it is handling BOTH parents through this situation. I have been there with my Mother (who has passed) and now my Father. No matter how much guilt you feel about your mother in the home, when all is said and done you will look back and see that you made the right decision.

If there is anyway to get your father there with her - do it. It will be better for all of you and for them to still be together with supervised care. He will adjust in time to the situation - they always do. Good luck and keep up the positive thinking. It will get you through a lot of the bad times.

by: Anonymous

You Are Not Horrible!
All three of you sound so loving.Your parents are so lucky that you all work together.

Your brain will keep telling you how 'horrible' you are until you ask your brain a different question, like "What can I do to help myself feel good today?" Keep asking yourself positive questions like that and you will get through this hard time of your lives.
mary santa rosa, ca

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