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My parents live far away and my mother has Alzheimer's. I want to help but I have a young son and we're struggling in this economy. I feel guilty and depressed. Please help!


Question:   My parents are 87 and 84. After my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, my father moved them downstate. I already lived thousands of miles away. None of the family there seems to want to help. I have never been very close to my father who is an alcoholic, but was very close to my mother. I feel I am in a state of constant grief and it's getting worse. No alcohol, no medication, nothing helps. I feel guilty because I have a one year old son, I have a husband, and we are in debt ourselves with this economy. I just don't know what to do.  I don't have any family who want to help. I hate calling my parents as all I hear is how my mother is failing and my father refuses to put her in a stimulating safe facility which at this point the doctors have recommended. I feel helpless and deeply depressed. I would like to enjoy life and enjoy my baby but I can't because I feel selfish. What do I do? I have collected dozens of eldercare lawyers, home help, etc. from their new area but to be honest I am clueless to it. And there are no Geriatric Care managers for 100 miles. Please help me. 

Dr. Amy:  You are in a difficult situation. I strongly recommend that you seek professional counseling and/or a caregiver support group. You need support for the grief and the stress that you are feeling and a counsellor and/or a caregiver support group can help you through this very hard time.  I also suggest that you call the Alzheimer’s Association and talk to them about the options that are open to your mother and father. They should also be able to lead you to a caregiver support group in your area. They will be able to make sense of your parent’s situation and help you figure out what you can do.

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