Hello I am new to this site - I have a mother in the third stages of Alzheimers

Sophie73

Registered User
May 29, 2012
8
0
Christchurch, New Zealand
Hi everyone.
Just wanting to say a hello as are new to this site.
My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimers 4 years ago around her 61st Birthday and has been on a downward spiral ever since, and is now in the 3rd stages of the disease.
She was the most incredible woman. She was a school teacher, wonderful mother and grandmother, fun, outgoing and one of the most loving people I have ever known. It has been such a difficult time for my father, who has been by her side from the start and it hasn't helped that they have been pretty inseparable for the last 44 years of marriage.
My two sisters and I feel that we have not only lost our beautiful mother, but that we have almost lost our father as well, as he has found the whole thing incredibly hard, and has acted in anger in frustration at anyone wanting to help or advise on his situation. He has been the main caregiver of her for the last 4 yrs, but has only just recently had to increase the days she has in respite care and she now gets home over a wkend every fortnight, so is pretty much alone in the family home a lot these days.
Sometimes I think about the situation and what has become of my mother and it just breaks my heart, but it's weird as you feel you cannot completely grieve as she is still here. She no longer really knows any of us, but her beautiful self still shines when we are around her and she knows we are someone of importance. She has never got angry and continues to smile, which is wonderful as I think I would find that hard if she became aggressive.
I got married in 2010 and had a baby in 2011. Was wonderful having Mum there by my side for my wedding day, but have really missed not having her around for the birth of our first baby as she was the most incredible Grandmother to my sisters children. In saying that she has been amazing in other ways cuddling and just adoring to hold my daughter (he granddaughter) every time we visit.
I really do wish I could be of more support to my Dad as he is now pretty much alone and feels he has nothing to go on for. My sisters and I have tried everything to get him out of the house and have tried to get him to take up new interests but he is just not interested at all. One of my sisters even offered him a trip to Europe for his 70th Birthday, but he told me he would never go without my Mum. Is just so difficult for him and he has pretty much pushed away all of his family and all of their friends so has been left pretty much alone.
I phone him 2-3 times a wk for a chat and to listen, although he has been pretty shocking on visits to see them. Guess the dynamics of our family has changed and we're all grieving in our own way and all of us have found visiting our home town really difficult as the family home that our mother took such pride and joy in, is just no longer the same. The fridge is empty. The beautifully groomed garden is no longer! Just everything has changed and all those precious things our mother did are no longer! I would so love to get home to see her more as I miss our telephone conversations, but has been difficult lately with Dad being in such a negative place and is not so easy getting home with a one yr old baby to look after as well.
I am just trying to take every day as it comes at the moment, giving Dad as much support as I can and praying for my Mum that she is in a good place (where ever that may be?!)
Any suggestions on anything would be wonderful. It's good to know that there are others I am able to speak to that are going through similar situations.
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
82,736
0
Kent
Hello Sophie

Oh your poor dad. His suffering is as much as anyone`s.

I can understand him not wanting to holiday alone, however well meaning your suggestion was. There is no way I could contemplate a holiday by myself after having lovely holidays with my husband.

If your dad went to Europe, what would he do? Who would he talk to? Who would he share experiences with?
It`s not much fun alone.

Perhaps your dad has pushed people away because he feels they don`t understand. Our son was wonderful but he still didn`t completely understand the struggle of our daily lives .
I am not criticising you, I can feel your heartbreak too.

All you can do is be there as much as you can for both parents. Perhaps you could arrange family outings for both parents. Perhaps you could make sure the fridge wasn`t empty.

It will be nigh impossible for your dad to keep his garden in good trim if he is a 24/7 carer. Is there any way he would employ a gardener.

If your dad is aware standards are slipping he will be more depressed than ever. Suggestions which make more work for him are useless. He doesn`t have the physical or emotional strength.

All you can do is think of ways of making life a bit easier for him. That means doing rather than suggesting.
 

Christin

Registered User
Jun 29, 2009
5,038
0
Somerset
Hello Sophie and welcome Talking Point.

I am sorry to read your post about your mother and father. This must be so worrying for you all. I do feel that I would be concerned about there being no food in the house, in my own opinion, not eating properly will certainly have an adverse effect. Would your father go out for a meal with family as a treat? Or perhaps you could arrange meals delivered to his home?

I do feel that your father may be grieving for your mother, and grief can go through many forms, one being depression. I wonder if it is possible to perhaps persuade him that a visit to his GP might help. I understand that this may be hard, but sometimes planting seeds of an idea can have an effect and grow.

It is recognised that many carers experience grief and a sense of bereavement while still caring for a loved one. This factsheet may offer you some help - Grief and Bereavement.

I do think it is great that your mum holds your baby sometimes, perhaps she knows there is some link, and she loves the moment. Treasure the good memories :)

Very best wishes to you all, please do let us know how you get on.
 

Sophie73

Registered User
May 29, 2012
8
0
Christchurch, New Zealand
Hello again,

Thanks so much for your emails and feedback.

Dad is actually getting a bit of home help which he has found really good. He gets the house cleaned once a week and is now on his own most of the time (with mum being most of the time in the home) so this will make a real difference. I didn't mean to sound so selfish in mentioning the fridge, but is just so different to what life used to be like at our family home, with Mum and her nuturing ways. We all most certainly go out and grocery shop for him and take him out for meals and try and help out as much as we can while home. I guess I just found it very hard when my baby was born in wanting to get home to help, but being rushed off my feet and exchausted with being a new mum (so was a difficult situation all round!)
On thinking about my Dads behaviour over the past few months I think he is definately depressed and my sister did actually mention that he should discuss how he is feeling with his doc so hopefully he looks at doing that on his next visit over the next few wks.
He isn't interested in anything other than TV and drinking at the moment, and I understand that he needs to find his own path a little and go through everything he is going through, because he is grieving terribly.
My sister had suggested that he go with her and her family over to Europe and then she thought he could stay with my other sister who lives over there, but he's just not interested in doing of that at the moment. I had a chat to him the other day and he feels he doesn't want to do anything without her. I have counseled him a little letting him know they're natural feelings and that no one would view him in that way, but guess he will have to make that first move into doing a few things on his own again.
I know what you mean about my father feeling like no one understands as we all only had to be around his situation over a wkend with caring for Mum and felt just so drained and exchausted. We have all continued to praise him with all the wonderful work he has done, but must admit have struggled a lot in the way that he speaks to her abrubtly and gets angry with her on occasion. All this won't be a problem for much longer though, with her being accessed and told she's in the third stages of the disease and ready for full time care.