Question: My Dad is caring for my mother who has Alzheimer's. She is no longer confident leaving the house or cooking. My father runs most of the daily errands and cooks most of the food. I visit once a week and usually stay over at least one night. We have begun to make them casseroles and different meals to ease Dad's burden, and we are in the process of trying to move them closer to us so we can provide more daily interaction and support. I see the effect and toll it is taking on my father, who is not in the best health himself, and I feel the pressure as well, as the sibling who is responsible for their well being. My mother is getting more and more angry and reclusive as well as depressed. When is the right time to bring in outside support, and how do we do that with a limited budget?
Dr. Amy: There are no hard and fast answers as to the right time to bring in outside help. I think the best answer is probably when YOU think it's the right time. That said, I encourage you to take your mom to the doctor and talk about her increasing anger and depression. A medical doctor is the best person to give you advice about her condition, and there may be medication that can help with her depression.
In addition to seeing the doctor, I encourage you to call your insurance company and find out what their insurance covers. Is your mom eligible under Medicaid? If not, you can explore this by calling Adult Services. If your budget can manage a consultation with a geriatric care manager, I strongly recommend this. You will get a lot of information in one visit, and care managers have an excellent understanding of local resources you may be able to tap into. You can find a geriatric care manager on the website www.caremanager.org.
The next period of your life may be challenging. You are on a journey and you need a support system. There are support groups for adult children like you. Call your local hospital or Area Agency on Aging for more information. Home Instead Senior Care has produced a wonderful resource called Help for Alzheimer’s Families that can help you, as well. They have a training section with videos and recorded webinars. I encourage you to look at this site regularly as they offer live chats on different topics throughout the year.
I send you strength!
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