I'm not going to lie and say that things have been going smoothly. Mom's still home everyday with me since her last battle with pneumonia. We are having new challenges and old ones are worsening.
-My dear cousin loaned us a lightweight wheelchair. Mom hasn't regained her strength from the first bout of pneumonia and was having a difficult time walking even short distances. It was a challenge to do something as simple as running to the grocery store. So, the use of the wheelchair was a good solution. Or it should have been. While rolling Mom around the store helped with the mobility problem, it did not help with the attitude problem. We tried 3 different times to shop this way and left the store in frustration each time due to Mom's loud screaming. If we stopped pushing she began yelling. Loudly. At us. At strangers. At shelves. At products. You get the idea. So, we will move on and find another way.
-Mom's eating is getting worse. She demands food practically non-stop. She screams at me that she is "hunner" while she has food in her mouth. I won't say that she isn't eating. We get food into her. She just doesn't realize that she has eaten. And the yelling and negativity are taking a toll on me.
-I hesitate to type this one. Each time that I talk about her sleeping habits, we have a horrible night. But, she really has been sleeping well. If I have one piece of advice to share with other Alzheimer's caregivers it would be this: Make sure your loved one is in bed within 10-15 minutes of giving them their sleep medications. Dementia patients will fight the effects of sleeping pills to the point that their bodies don't even recognize that they are in their system. It's crucial that they are in bed when the pills begin to take effect. (Thank you to the lady in my support group for sharing this info. You've made my life so much easier.)
-This one is difficult to talk about, but I promised myself that I would share it all on this blog, no matter how painful it is to discuss. In the past year, I have realized that the unspoken, embarrassing, and most difficult part of being a caregiver isn't in the giving of care. It is the financial toll that falls upon so many caregivers. My savings are gone. The only money I have coming to me is through my mom and her care. And it isn't much. Take her out of the picture and I have no income. And no guarantee of a job to replace this one. I went into this as the sole provider for my family. I have to come out of it the same way.
I am sharing this to explain why we haven't placed Mom in a permanent home. I know people have wondered. I find myself in a Catch-22. I can't place her until I have a job. I can't find a job until she is placed. It's just that simple. And that complicated. So, until I find a solution she will be here, yelling at strangers, screaming for food, and sleeping better than she has in years.