Caring for Dad has become more than I can handle. What should I do?

Roger t asked...

I have returned home after leaving a position with the federal government. My mother and father are in their 80's. Mom is in fair health, but dad is in failing health with Parkinson's which is very acute and Alzheimer's which has thankfully not progressed.

We just brought dad home from a rehab facility where he was dismissed for no improvement over a 3 week period.

I have meals coming in, visiting nurses and also some home aids through an agency.

My father in the last 6-8 weeks has become 100% wheelchair bound and even with making changes to the home he lives in it is just not enough.

My mother is in complete denial, and this frustrates me so much at times. I know she loves her hubby, but it is clouding her judgment at times.

As of this moment I have been up 5 times for potty issues. 3 urine with a urinal and 2 BM's, one in the bathroom and one in his briefs I have for him. It is nearly 4am and I have had no sleep, nor my 82 year old mother.

I feel so over my head. I have had to put business to the side, my personal life, and everything else. This can be very frustrating, but I don't have any regrets. I just wish I had some real idea as to what to do next.

I have folks come in, but there is a limit due to cost issues.

Any ideas or thoughts would be much appreciated.

Expert Answer

Mary Koffend is the president of Accountable Aging Care Management (AACM), an eldercare consulting and care management firm that works with elder clients and their families to find the best care providers and services to meet their needs.

You are doing a wonderful job as a caregiver for your father. However, you are his son and this is the role that you perform best. Family caregivers wear out quickly because of the physical and emotional demands of the role. It is smart of you to reach out for expertise in how you can take care of your father.

What I would recommend is contacting a care manager who is trained to assess the situation and make recommendations to your parents for the best care situation for their needs and finances. A care manager is an expert in eldercare issues and local resources. There is a professional association whose members are trained and certified. Caring.com has information about geriatric care managers on their website so I would encourage you to look at the other answers about care management services as well as to review the association website www.caremanger.org. Both websites can help you locate a care manager near you and your parents and describe methods for finding the right person to work with you and your parents.

There is real value in involving a third party expert to help you plan for your father's care. Your parents will always see you as their son and discount some of what you tell them even if you are exactly correct. Particularly since your mother is experiencing some denial about the severity of the health issues and needs for care for your father, having a professional coach your mother and you could remove these issues. The cost of hiring a care manger to evaluate and to guide about the best care for your parents is easily recovered by having comprehensive choices and making the better decision first. Your parents are very blessed to have such a caring son.