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Lost Days

Lost days

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December 29, 2010

The devastating effects of Alzheimer's disease have taken their toll on your dad and now you are suffering, too. He wanders the house keeping you awake all night. Your brother refuses to discuss the situation. You're thinking of putting Dad in a nursing home. Is that the best option?

You are in the throes of one of the most stressful caregiving situations. Those who care for Alzheimer's patients are more likely to report a high level of emotional stress than those who care for seniors with other conditions, 40% versus 28%, according to "Caregiving in the U.S., A Focused Look at Those Caring for Someone Age 50 and Older".

In a survey of family caregivers conducted for the Home Instead Senior Care® network, 90% say they have episodes of feeling anxious or irritable, 77% say the needs of their seniors are overwhelming and 56% are ill more often.

For your own health, you need to address your situation immediately. First, contact the Alzheimer's Association 24/7 help line at 1-800-272-3900 (e-mail info@alz.org). In Canada call the Alzheimer's Society of Canada at 1-800-616-8816 (e-mail info@alzheimer.ca).

They can give you resources in your community and help you talk through the issues and determine what options are available to you. There are companies that provide respite care in the home that allow Alzheimer's caregivers like you time away. Many communities also have wonderful facilities to care for an Alzheimer's patient. By attending a local Alzheimer's Association chapter, you can connect with others in the same situation and receive moral support and ideas for your own caregiving dilemma.

Contact your brother and let him know that you cannot look after your father alone and that you would like more direct support from him; otherwise, you will have to seek help elsewhere. Discuss some of the options that you have researched. If your brother refuses to help, select the option that you think would be the best for your father and you. If your brother will not be involved, his view about a nursing home placement should not be the basis for your decision about what you and your father both need.

Please download the guide: 50-50 Rule® Brochure (PDF 950K).

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