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Old 09-04-2011, 08:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just need a safe space to babble for a moment.  My brother has made it blindingly clear that he is not hearing me when I tell him our parents need some help/support occasionally.  

 

My father is showing signs of early dementia (my daily reminder, I came home from grocery shopping today to find out that he had gotten into an altercation with someone in town and didn't have the brain -> mouth filter installed.  He said something the other person reported as threatening, without really meaning it that way.  I have to turn in statements to the police, my neighbors are turning in statements and so on...  we'll know whether the DA decided he was just being stupid or if he was being threatening on Tuesday. )  Much stress.

 

My mom knows, but is putting her head in the sand.   Her first comment was, "What about my professional reputation!?"

 

My brother got angry with Dad and told him off and basically devalued everything Dad's done trying to help my brother over the past several years.  Dad's absolutely crushed, and while he feels stupid for losing his cool and saying something stupid, he can't untangle the ethics from the legalities.  My brother is angry with my dad for not behaving normally- he refuses to accept that there's something going on. 

 

Me?  I'm caught between a rock and a hard place.  I know that what my dad said was wrong and foolish, on the other hand.  I know he's not able to make rational statements when he's upset anymore.  Now I have to do a runaround of my mom to try to get dad more help because she's worried about what people will think.  

 

 

 

Can I please go hide from being an adult today?

 

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Old 09-04-2011, 10:37 PM
 
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I have to be quick as Dh is calling but I just wanted to pipe up and say that your brother and your mom both sound like they are in denial.  It make take a few "incidences" to occur before they see the situation clearly.  Unfortunately for you though, it sounds like you're going to have to find some way to deal with the situations until then.


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Old 09-06-2011, 10:50 AM
 
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First things first:  Dad needs to see a doctor!  How old is your Dad?  What you see as early demantia may, just possibly, be a UTI!  The ammonia build-up can cause the same symptoms.  He may also have had a small stroke.  He needs to be examined ASAP, with you there to explain concerns to the doctor.

 

A doctor can also help with explaining things to your family.

 

You may need to sit your Mom down, away from your Dad, and tell her to pull her head out of her a.. (well, you get the idea...).   

 

A trip to their lawyer is also in order, should actual dementia be diagnosed.  Updates to important documents should be made before things get worse, while your Dad is still capable of understanding things (should dementia be diagnosed).

 

With a sibling that doesn't want to acknowledge what is happening, or chooses to excuse himself from helping, you may have the long, hard road ahead of you, caring for your parents.  

 

I've been doing this for 8 years now, with both my folks and dh's.  Hugs to you.  

 

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Old 09-06-2011, 11:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, my Dad is actually quite young- only in his mid 60s.  He is in the care of a doc- when I can manage to drag him in.  He has been diagnosed w/ Type 2 Diabetes as well, and his blood sugars are not as well controlled as they should be, which has also had a major impact on the behavior and thought process changes. There are other complicating factors, and his health insurance is so lacking that it's very complicated to untangle one problem from another.  The insurance so far, is refusing to pay for testing and is suggesting that he get this testing done when he is 65 and enrolled in Medicare (a few months from now.)

 

While the dementia is early, it has been progressive over the past 5 years and while his PCP is aware of it, he's not exactly proactive. Infections have been ruled out, but there could be a number of causes- he needs a full neurological workup to get to the bottom of it, but with the insurance denying coverage, it isn't going to happen now.  I don't suspect alzheimer's, but do suspect an organic cause, and know that it is made worse by very poor blood sugar control.  Additionally, he was exposed to Agent Orange and has started to develop hallmark problems associated with that. He was military, but his exposure was before he was in the military (he was a teenager in Vietnam) so the VA will not help. 

 

On the upside, I think this did FINALLY get through to my mother.  She decided to help him and is advocating on his behalf instead of saying she refused to get involved because it might cause her harm professionally.  Progress!  She also finally is confronting some other issues she's spent a few years hiding from as she sought to make everything ok.  She completely came apart over the past couple days, and we're working on helping her let go of a few things, and feel back in control. She's able to view Dad's struggles with compassion instead of anger, and is working on putting herself in a position to better support dad, and take time for self care as well.  She will be cutting back to work part time over the next few months. 

 

My brother is still ignoring the depth of the issue, but has accepted that he was wrong to completely ignore it.  He's emotionally not in a place to accept and help with it yet.  He's struggling with his own challenges, and while I would like for him to help me get things sorted out, he's just not there right now.  I need to find a way to not resent that and simply to do what needs to be done 

 

I've spent a few hours advocating with the police and County Atty, and I suspect that they will not decide to move forward by pressing charges.  (The backstory is long, convoluted, and complex, but while my Dad reacted badly and inappropriately, he had reason for behaving as he did.)

 

I will not be in the area for long, and want to help put things in place now while I can. Over the next couple weeks, I am going to remove some of the accumulated 'stuff' from their house and set it up for them.  Dad has a problem letting go of things, and their house is currently in disarray and mid-renovation.  We will get it sorted out, and he has agreed to let me take care of it for him.  Mom is currently working about 60 hours a week, and spends her time off writing clinical notes and keeping documentation up to date.  She's overwhelmed and shuts down when she doesn't know where to start. She is also on-call about 50% of the time since there are only two clinicians. She's struggling with major burnout and needs some support.  

 

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Old 09-06-2011, 11:36 AM
 
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Google search "dementia spouse in denial"

http://www.google.com/search?q=dementia+spouse+in+denial&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

 

WHAT OTHER CONDITIONS MAY MIMIC DEMENTIA?

 

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My mom knows, but is putting her head in the sand.   Her first comment was, "What about my professional reputation!?"

 

You could try pointing out that his being charged/arrested for making threats or threatening another person is more likely to "damage" her professional reputation, and a dementia diagnosis more likely to garner sympathy.


"It should be a rule in all prophylactic work that no harm should ever be unnecessarily inflicted on a healthy person (Sir Graham Wilson, The Hazards of Immunization, 1967)."
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Old 09-06-2011, 11:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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In most circumstances it would, she's managed to internalize feeling that she's somehow failed however.  She is the sole mental health provider in the county, as such, her failure to stop things before they started is scaring her.  I think we have her over that initial hurdle for the moment though.  Maybe?

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Old 09-06-2011, 12:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by insidevoice View Post

In most circumstances it would, she's managed to internalize feeling that she's somehow failed however.  She is the sole mental health provider in the county, as such, her failure to stop things before they started is scaring her.  I think we have her over that initial hurdle for the moment though.  Maybe?


Sorry, I started my post before you added all that additional information.

 

It seems that an important aspect of many professions is detachment, which is part of the reason that providers aren't supposed to treat their families. Even in "civilian" life it is easier to recognize other persons problems rather than our own. So it's a human "failing," not a professional one.

 

 

 


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Old 09-06-2011, 07:38 PM
 
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I will just say, dealing with your parents getting older and having problems is kinda like having babies — happens every day, but only happens once or twice to you. It's hard under the best of circumstances to see your parents slow down and get older. When they have dementia issues and other health issues it adds a whole other layer to it. Throw in the sibling disagreements and it's just not a barrel of fun. 

 

I'm glad your mom is on board now. If he will be 65 in a few months it might be worth it to wait until Medicare kicks in. Medicare is a horrible nightmare of bureaucracy, but at least it's there. If he's not having urgent health issues right now waiting might not be a bad idea. It can get really expensive. 

 

I've had many years of taking care of aging/infirm parents w/ dementia (7 yrs w/ my dad and now my mom) and it's really hard and it's really hard when you have your own kids to take care of and it's doubly hard when you and your siblings are at odds—been there, done that.

 

((hugs))


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Old 09-06-2011, 07:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks.  I've seen this coming for a while, but goodness, it is hard when it is your parents who are in need of support.  The role shift is- challenging.  I don't want to overstep, because they are certainly capable adults, but I feel like I need to be an increased presence at this point. 

 

I spent the afternoon at their house clearing out some piles of old catalogs and magazines.  I wound up taking one (broken) bookshelf out of the house, throwing away about 25 books and over 200 magazines and catalogs.  It made a small dent anyway in terms of what needed to be done.  The dishes needed to be washed (with the stress, they just hadn't gotten to them this morning) and it only took a few minutes to sort out the kitchen for them.  In a rare moment of agreement to change, my dad actually stated that the dark paneled walls in their living room (two of the walls) depressed him as the days got shorter, so I scrubbed those down and primed them so they will be ready to paint tomorrow.  He was thrilled with even just a couple coats of primer, as it brightened the space up a great deal. 

 

Tomorrow I tackle his desk and the shelves above it.  THAT will be interesting!  Thankfully, he's fallen in love with his Kindle, and he's open to letting go of some of the books they have accumulated over the years.  (Several thousand- and while many are in great shape, many are not. We are separating them into toss, keep, and donate to library piles.) I'm hoping that I can do most of the overhaul of their house by October so they have a clutter-free and easier space to live in.  Oddly, since agreeing to let me help with this, they both seem much more at ease with letting go of the half century of accumulated STUFF.

 

One step at a time!

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Old 09-07-2011, 12:29 AM
 
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sadly ur situation is so so so common. i hear it everywhere all the time.

 

not sure if i read someone suggesting this - but someone - your mom or you should get a power of attorney - medical and other - in the near future. on behalf of your dad. 

 

my mom lives half way across the world and i constantly worry about her. i really dont know what would happen. i would love to have her live with me in a heartbeat, but i know this foreign culture would be a prison for her. 

 

we have friends we take care of as a group. one of them had heart surgery earlier this year and everyone was in denial over her progress. while she did great progress initially, but then seh has not really made any more and she is definitely in early dementia. she aged overnight. there is such a huge change to her personality in just a few months - from an active manager to someone totally overwhelmed and unable to keep a budget or keep tabs of what she spent. 

thankfully i have some experience with elder care so i could see the writing on the wall and stepped in and started taking care of her myself and now everyone is sitting up and noticing and actually researching board and care. 

 

depression is a huge part of the journey.

 

do you guys live many hours or plane rides away? if your bro who i hope lives close by - washes his hands off of them... dunno. you'd have to step in. 


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Old 09-07-2011, 01:12 PM
 
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When it comes time to getting a power of attorney in place, make sure it is someone who will actually DO SOMETHING and not ignore the situation.  If your brother can't be counted on to do the right thing (or anything) you will need to get tough and make sure your mom recognizes this and appoints you (or whoever else is suitable for the job)

 

I feel for you OP.  I went through this with my dad but the bad period was short.  Is there an agency on aging or similar outreach program in your parent's area?  They can often (but sadly not always) be a good resource.


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Old 09-07-2011, 05:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My atty is going to draw up the documents over the next few weeks, I will have POA, my brother will step in only if I am unable to for some reason.  I will shortly be over a thousand miles away- which is why I am feeling pressure to put a great deal in place now. 

 

DH and I chose the place we have because it has an in-law apartment.  We saw this coming a couple years ago and have tried to get our ducks in a row- so to speak.  We wanted my parents to know that they would always have a space of their own- even if they needed a little more support than staying in their own home would allow.  

 

I know this is a terribly common thing, but it always seems like something other people have to deal with.  I am working on juggling the fact that I DO need to be there for them, with not wanting to overstep.  In some ways, the crisis point of the weekend was a great catalyst to be able to step in and help without their feeling like I was just trying to run their lives.  I got a lot more work done today at their place, and I suspect that by the time I leave the area, I will have decluttered most of it, and made it a more effective space for them.  I will also have it MUCH more ready to go on the market when they make that choice.  (They started a bunch of renovations and have left them 'in progress' for a couple years now.)

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