Every experience as a family caregiver is new and sometimes alarming. One woman shared her experiences with her mom's changing elder care needs as Alzheimer's disease progressed. These are the things she learned about being a caregiver.
Parents Don't Always Believe They Need Help
While her mom clearly needed daily care, her mom also fought the help. She was convinced her Alzheimer's was not affecting her. She could do it herself and didn't need a babysitter.
Without her help, her mom never remembered to take her medications. She wore the same clothes day after day. On the rare occasion that she tried to cook a meal, she burned it. She'd taken to eating cheese sticks, fruit, and cold canned soup instead. She needed help with elder care.
Every Day is Different
One thing she learned is that her mother's mood varied. Some days, her mom was upbeat. On others, her mom would talk about wishing her life would end or that she could take a pill and have it all go away.
She never knew what she'd be arriving to find. She might have the woman who had been like a best friend. She might be dealing with an agitated stranger who would yell at her for trivial things. That she could never predict what she'd be walking into became incredibly stressful.
It's Not Advisable to Provide Elder Care Without Help
Another thing she learned is that it's almost impossible to provide care without any help. She had her brother helping out. They'd split up the week and tasks that needed doing. Even with the two of them, they burned out after just a few months.
Caring for an aging parent is draining. The stress is tremendous. Not only did their mom need help with meals and transportation, but she also was failing to properly clean her home. Her pets' care had declined and led to them going to the bathroom inside the house. Stains and puddles were found throughout the home and needed cleaning to keep away odors. Cleaning up after pets was just one more stress factor.
Communications With the Doctor Are Essential
Without talking to her mom's doctor, she had no idea how bad things were getting. Her doctor's tests helped her see what skills were slipping away. She knew what medications her mom needed to take and when to take them. To get this information, her mom had to sign HIPAA paperwork to grant permission. They also talked to a lawyer and got the medical power of attorney set up.
Make sure you take care of yourself when you're caring for an aging parent. Respite care is one of the many elder care services that can help you. Talk to a home care agency to learn more.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Littleton, CO, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare Denver. Call today: (303) 756-9322.