Alzheimers stinks

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Abbey, Aug 10, 2009.

  1. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    It is not pretty. Part of the reason I came back here was I knew H couldn't/wouldn't take the time to watch over his dad. He refuses to believe that there is a problem although he sees things happening over and over again. He's smart...he'll figure it out. Yeah, thanks for the help, H.

    Yesterday I look out my back door to see father in law trying to climb a ladder on to the roof. Dropped everything and ran over there. Why are you climbing onto the roof? Ummm...couldn't come up with an answer. Fast forward 45 minutes of talking him down and he finally remembered. He was going to go clean the gutters.


    He gets angry. If I want to clean my gutters, I'll damn well will clean them.

    NO. I take the ladder and put it in my basement. I go back over into the house looking through the phone book to call someone to do this job. He's happy as a lark...whatcha doing, Deb? Calling someone to clean your gutters. Oh, do they need cleaning?

    It's getting close to that time that the family deal with this. He needs someone to monitor him 24/7. They are all in denial. He's not even my dad for pete's sake. The problem is that he's fine for a day or two then can't remember his own name. He drives, yet has to carry a card with our phone number on it because he doesn't know where he is or why he came out.

    I've suggested to the family NO DRIVING. I've suggested someone being a live in to just monitor him and take him places. I'm leaving in 2 days and worry about who is going to watch him. It places a huge guilt trip on me and I'm beginning to resent that. Yes, H works a lot and travels. Yes, mother in law gets out because she can't deal with this. It's crushing her. But throw me a bone here! At least consider some of my suggestions.


    I'm off to more important things (haha...not) like what I'm going to wear to my reunion.

    Thanks for the vent.

  2. ML

    ML Guest

    Always here to listen, Abbs. That is a lot to deal with and he is very lucky to have you for a daughter in law. But you can't do it alone and it seems the more you do, the less everyone else does. So I guess you'll have to do less but I know that's hard. Thinking of you today. ML
  3. maril

    maril New Member

    Wow. He is lucky to have you as a daughter-in-law. Good luck with getting some support from the family. Hopefully, everyone will catch up with you and see the reality. I, too, would be very concerned about him driving.

    I know how it is hard to come to grips with an aging parent having mental status changes and losing independence; sigh.

  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    If it's any consolation, he is unlikely to have fallen while on the roof. However, it's highly likely he wouldn't have remembered he was there to clean the gutters. He may have ended up removing the TV antenna!

    You can't do the thinking for other people. Your mother in law needs to face facts and be honest about her reasons for needing time out. She needs to be able to be honest with herself about it. But if your H isn't listening to you, it sonds like there has been a long history of denial going way back. A heavy culture of it and you're not going to be able to change that.

    If you were in Australia I'd tell you to call the ACAT team (Aged Care Assessment) and get them to come and assess him. You shouldn't do this without the cooperation of those involved, it's something your H should do for his mother (or better still, talk her into accepting this). They would come and assess how they're coping on their own and then make recommendations/put in services to enable them to stay in their own home for as long as possible, if that is what they want. But it would come with a heavy dose of reality.

    There should be a similar government service in your country? Perhaps ask at the hosppital, ask the GP, see what is there.

    Or maybe it's what we get here for having a public heqalth system?

    It's a multidisciplinary team including physiotherapists, Occupational therapists, psychologists, community nurses and geriatricians.

    I hope it can help. But until those involved are willnig to open their eyes, you are not going to be able to help. Unfortunately, it will have to require a tragedy for some people to wake up.

  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh Abbey...I so understand as you probably remember. It really hoovers big time. My kids had to sleep in front of my doors so my mom wouldnt sneak out during the night.

    Call the Alzheimers Association and ask them for some informational materials and resources in your area. They are very helpful. Is father in law on any medication yet? That should be a must. Is he doing these things later in the afternoon? That could be the sundowning effect.

    Honestly, I would disable that car or hide his keys. Its simply not safe. I disabled my moms car so it wouldnt start anymore and told her the state did it from afar when the doctor's told her she wasnt well She was confused enough that she believed me and got mad at them instead of me.
  6. eekysign

    eekysign New Member

    In our state, at least, there is a place on the DMV website where you can anonymously report an elderly/otherwise impaired driver. They have to investigate to see whether Aunt Mildred is actually a danger on the roads, then they can demand she visit an optom/neuro/etc and get approval to drive. I know a few people who have reported their relatives that way, and avoided the ugly feelings.
  7. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    There are also some promising alzheimer medications out there now...perhaps an approach from that angle, either with father in law on a good day, or the family on a bad one, could prompt some action?

    Hugs, Abb. Personally, I think this disease ranks right up there as one of the worst.
  8. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Does your state have a department for vulnerable adults? That would be the first place to look if mother in law "refuses" to handle this. I doubt it's refusal ~ more likely she knows what going on & is in huge denial. Hard to watch or accept after a long marriage.

    The dept in our state helps families find help & whatever for this kind of situation.
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2009
  9. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I'm sorry you're the only one who's paying attention... it's not your burden to carry. But I'd be worrying too.

    My mom is starting to worry about my dad. He gets lost in the town he's lived in for close to 40 years. He doesn't remember things (and fairly dramatic/significant things) people tell him -- like he forgot that husband had brain surgery. And he has no memory of what happened to himself in the hospital last November. I worry more for my mom because she's the caregiver and he's the royal PITA. I already know he's a lost cause.

    Well, I hope you get to enjoy your reunion with the least amount of family drama. You'll have to tell us how it goes!
  10. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    HUH? :crazy2: What did I miss? When did this happen?

    Are you back for a short visit or are you back to live? What happened to that wonderful job opportunity???

  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Alzeimers scares me to death too. I am at what is considered very high risk for it myself. Not only does mental illness run up my maternal gene tree but my mom and my grandmother had alzheimers. Lovely...thanks alot guys! Both my mom and my grandmother went extremely rapidly once theirs was diagnosed too.

    Personally, I think if I make it to 70, I am just gonna do myself in. After that, I cant see anything good coming to me with my family
  12. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I had the same initial reaction, Suz. I think she's there for her reunion...
  13. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    haha, never know day to day where I am. Short story - I left, then came back a few days ago for a couple of reasons, father in law being one of them. Then I'm leaving on Wednesday to go back home for a short stay. Who knows. I had this great plan of leaving Madison and going to Vegas then SD, but my son of a gun son wouldn't answer his phone. I wanted to see him. Oddly enough, he just called. He's just being a tpyical 19 year old. I should be used to this by now. Too late to change plans.

    The job went by the wayside as I left. They called the day after I left. Shoot. I would have liked that. I do have yet another interview tomorrow morning. I need work. It's killing me having so much time on my hands. You can only clean so much.

    father in law has been completely tested and confirmed that it is Alzheimers. He's on medications, the whole nine yards. It's just the family that doesn't want to deal with it, including himself. The best I can put it is that he is/was like an Einstein. Very brilliant, active, etc. So, when he finds himself not being able to do the most simple things, he gets angry. The family cannot fathom him being in this state. Former govenor, current city council member...they are all just watching this go down. Well, how about not watching it and DOING SOMETHING? I want to step in and take the heavy hand but it's not my place.

    mother in law...I can understand her approach. She is seeing the absolute love her life slowly go down. They are joined at the hip. Her way of handling it right now is to escape. She goes garage selling, antique hunting, visits friends...whatever to not witness his decline.

    "I" need to make a permanent move. This is haunting me. I suppose someone will care for him but that's a big thing to carry on your soul. Actually, that's wrong to say. They all care for him but are not DOING anything to help him. So me, being the big flipping sap I am take it on my shoulders.

    I just don't know how to consol so many when I have my own issues to deal with. It's not that I don't care, it's just overload.

  14. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Where is the next job interview? Where you are now or where you just came from?

    Can't you call the folks who called the day after you left? Maybe you could work something out- like starting in a couple of weeks? Most new hires require a two week notice so they should be able to accommodate that.

    Abbey, you are right- you do need to make some permanent choices. I worry about you as you know. The longer you don't have roots, the more difficult it will be to settle down. You had made inroads where you were-- a job prospect, some counseling that you felt good about, a compatible living situation.

    father in law is surrounded by people who love him, even if their care is somewhat misguided. I'm sure you have found out by now that you can't count on anyone else to take care of you so I say this with much affection and concern........please take care of you FIRST.

  15. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    You have a heart as big as all outdoors and as kind as Steve Martin is funny.

    H and his family are BLESSED to have you in their lives.

    Here there is a part of the law about mandatory reporting of elderly who are not being cared for properly. That includes not taking driving privileges away if the person is not safe behind the wheel.

    Getting lost on your home territory must be terrifying. But probably not as terrifying as having driving privileges revoked. People here take elder abuse as seriously as child abuse. At least in my town.

    Reports are confidential. Investigation is mandatory and families can even face charges if they are neglectful or abusive to an elderly person.

    It is still so hard to know your parents need parenting through this phase of their lives. That is no excuse for allowing an elderly man with Alzheimer's to climb up on the roof to clean out gutters!

    I will keep you and father in law/H's family in my prayers.

    Lots of hugs!
  16. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    Climbing ladders...yep. Brings back memories. My Grandpa, the summer before he died, was caught by one of his neighbors climbing a ladder to do something on top of the RV. Mentally G'pa was still there but physically was a different story and with the use of only one arm, weakness in both legs and being unable to speak, he had absolutely no business on a ladder.

    I agree....go disable the car and tell husband and mother in law you are doing it. Better yet...take husband by the hand, go over there and have HIM do it. If he argues, ask him if he wants to be responsible if father in law forgets which pedal is the brake and plows into someone. It may vary from state to state but I would imagine that family could be held liable for something like that if they KNEW the driver was impaired and did nothing to stop him from driving.

    Is there anyway you could contact father in law's doctor, tell him/her what's going on and maybe have the DOCTOR talk to the family? I can understand the denial but it sounds like they are going to have to face facts SOON. I'm sorry you're the only one who can see things for what they are.

    It's sad and heartwrenching but changes need to be made and you can't be the only one taking the brunt of it.

    Call me if you want to vent.

  17. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    Ha, Suz. The voice of reason. I had been in Madison for the last 6 weeks or so. Best weeks of my life in years. Now am back in Oshkosh. Leaving on Wed. for South Dakota.

    There are some things that you slowly learn about yourself and I'm VERY slowly getting there. I need to get out of the cold. It impacts my mood so badly. I need to get away from H, although it pains me to do so. I need to learn how to leave this family. Not done yet.

    Positive - talked to youngest today. He's all vexing about a gig coming up and I said...let's just talk. How's life? It was a nice conversation. If I can swing a few day visit to Vegas after SD, I'll do it just to see him.

    Then there is my daughter who will not take my calls again. More than anything, that hurts. I'd gladly give up this trip to go and be with her during this surgery but she won't even respond.

    So, yes, Suz...I do need some sort of normalcy if that exists. Job interview tomorrow, then we'll see.

  18. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Abbey, if you are going for a job interview there, how is that getting you out of there?


  19. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hugs Abbey. It seems like you are dealing with so much. by the way, I live in Madison, if you get here again, send me a pm so we can meet out for lunch or dinner.
  20. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Alzheimer does hoover. My not so dear dad left my step mom and I to take care of his dad for 1 year. He was completely out of it. I would take off and start walking down our dirt road. I had to wrestle him back to the house. He hit me punched me, spit on me, kicked me.
    Luckily my Stepmom was in nursing school. We ended up having to restrain him many times. It was so sad.

    I ended up having to leave, due to the violence I was experiencing from him and my Dad.
    I too needed just to be myself at that point, I was only 19 but I had never had a chance to live yet. I was never more depressed than that time in my life.

    please be kind to yourself don't burn yourself to far down...

    I am so sorry for all of this.