At this point in time, we rely on my mom to be my dad’s primary caregiver. Up to this point, dad has needed guidance and patience. He often can not remember how to get dressed, but he does not need physical help, just someone to tell him to put his socks on before he puts his shoes on. And yes, I do understand that it is a supreme challenge to always be there for someone, but at least we have not had to look at round the clock care yet.
If you have ever researched the cost of an Alzheimers facility, the cost can range from $5000/ month upwards. And it is not only a cost factor. Dad does not want to leave home — ever. Yes, we know that the day will come, but I can not obsess about that now; there are too many daily worries to overcome. We are very lucky that we have found a wonderful, caring, experienced person to come to their house 4 days a week to help them out. Katy is wonderful because she provides moral support to both of them and they have very different needs, believe me! Sometime in the near future, we will have to increase that time to 5, 6 and then 7 days a week. It will get more expensive, but still will be less expensive than a facility and dad will remain happier.
Our biggest challenge right now is the fact that mom is also exhibiting signs of dementia. We understand that as you get older you will experience more memory issues, but we are seeing more drastic changes in her. We feel that a large part of her recent decline is because of increased medication that she is taking. She depends on doctors and medication and I think that she takes way too much to the detriment of her health instead of the other way around. So, now we are posed with another problem. Our caregiver needs a caregiver. Our first plan is to meet with mom’s doctors, all 10 or 15 of them, and see what medications we can wean her off of. Her world revolves around her doctor visits and she is validated when they prescribe a new medication. It will not be an easy process and it will have to be monitored all of the time, but she can not continue the way that she is going right now! I do place some blame on her doctors. You have an 87 year old woman and you constantly prescribe anti psychotics and narcotics. Wish us luck as we attempt this huge undertaking. It will not be an easy task.