Posted 2/5/2007 10:38 PM (GMT -6)
I've been lurking on the site for a few weeks..I'm still not sure I feel ready and comfortable with posting, but I'm feeling so alone and vulnerable and afraid and confused and just tired. This is long, but I just need to get this out and see if anyone here can make me feel safe and tell me where to go. I am a newly single mom of 3 kids. I have fibromyalgia and feel like my plate is full on my end, but I am dealing with so much more than that these days. Please forgive me if I'm posting inappropriately or in the wrong area..I just really need to get this out to people who might understand.
My 76-year-old dad has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's for the past 5 years, and has taken a sudden turn for the worse this past year. He had eye surgery about 9 months ago and has been impossible since then. It just breaks my heart..he walks and paces the floor non-stop, except when he's sleeping. He's ocd with personal hygiene, yet can't tell clean clothes from dirty ones or remember that if they're in the clothes hamper, they're dirty. He used broken razors and cut himself badly on the face. He spends hours trying to tweeze whiskers. The biggest problem is that he's become so agitated and violent at times that my poor mother has been afraid of him. She won't and hasn't admitted to me how often this occurs, but I can hear it in her voice. I can also hear in her voice how tired and fatigued she is. Her blood pressure has sky-rocketed, and she's had to give up all her "fun" in life while she watches the man she loves and built her life with deteriorate. He doesn't recognize her and becomes angry and beserk if she tries to drive their car, insisting it's his wife's but not recognizing that she IS his wife. He doesn't remember his parents have been dead for 30 years. He doesn't remember when they moved into the house they live in now..he asks every day what town they live in. He has "false memories" of things that didn't happen...he gets so angry and upset about the people who come into the house and take things and move things. (none of which happened..so we don't know if he dreams this or is combining things that happened years ago??) He refuses to let my mother drive the car because it's "mom's," and she tried to sell the treadmill that she bought last year and he refused to use because it's also "mom's."
At first my mom & I wanted & discussed that they move closer to where I live so I could relieve her some every day, into a senior citizens facility where she might find support and he might find men his age to visit with, since that seems to be the only thing he enjoys. (He can't concentrate to read or watch tv.) We held off on that because she's concerned that taking him out of his familiar home will cause greater confusion and agitation. (Although I question if that was the right decision seeing as how he doesn't even remember what town he's in now..but I can see where a new "home" might cause some problems.)
She has no help...my siblings all live over an hour away and we take turns on the weekends coming to visit with him so she can get out and go to church and bible study. She is starting to attend a support group this month, but it's only 1 hour every month. I just don't know how much longer she can take care of him, but I don't know what our options are. He has a VA dr so I feel like we get very little help in this department, and I don't know where else to turn. He took Aricept for the first 3-4 years and then it stopped helping at all. I can't tell you at the moment the new medication he's on but it makes him sleep. She feels guilty that he sleeps so long and for wishing he'd sleep longer.
Anyway, I feel better just sharing my story. It's so easy for outsiders to say "he needs to be in a nursing home if she can't handle him." Well he's not to that point yet, and she worked in one for years so she's well aware of the problems with care in those places where she lives. That would most definitely require a move when the time comes. It's beneficial to come here and read your stories and share mine and know that you've all wondered these things, too. I pray constantly for my mom and my dad, and I worry so much about HER health. She misses her life..her church friends, her bible studies, her talking on the phone with sisters and friends, seeing her grandchildren (the noise kids make causes him to get extremely agitated and angry.)
Again, thank you for listening.