How can I get additional caregiving help for someone who doesn't like stranges in her home?

2 answers | Last updated: Sep 21, 2016
Alicesfriend asked...

Hi, I'm the sole caregiver for an 81 year old friend who has Alzheimer's, rheumatoid arthritis, cellulitis, diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, incontinence, macular degeneration, and vascular disease. She rarely moves out of the chair in her room, sleeps most of the day, and wants to talk at midnight and later, although she has sundowner's and doesn't know where she is or why she's here. She sees people who aren't there, picks at her arms and thighs constantly, spills everything, doesn't take her medications unless I stand over her, and wonders why her dead son doesn't love her any more. She's had two and a half toes amputated and is in constant pain from her RA, but is almost always cheerful and says she doesn't know what she'd do without me. My friends all say I should get help, but she's a very private person who wouldn't like strangers in the house and I'm not sure what they could do anyway. Any suggestions?

Expert Answers

Joanne Koenig Coste is a nationally recognized expert on Alzheimer's care and an outspoken advocate for patient and family care. She is the author of Learning to Speak Alzheimer's. Also, she currently is in private practice as an Alzheimer's family therapist. Ms. Koenig Coste also serves as President of Alzheimer Consulting Associates, implementing state-of-the-art Alzheimer care throughout the United States.

It sounds to me as if your friend is more work than you can handle. She needs a great deal of nursing care related to her multiple medical conditions that seem beyond what you could possibly do alone. Take your pals' advice and get some additional help. Don't hesitate or worry about her acceptance of 'strangers in her home'; without them you may burnout soon and she will be left without you. Use your energy and caring to be her friend and getting the best care possible, whether she objects or not, will be the best care possible! She may be temporarily upset but she will quickly forget about it and be the cheerful lady she loves.

Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

Thanks for the good advice.