How to help my mother at home after her stroke?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
Caregiver2many asked...

My mother is 67 yrs old and has dementia and on a medication within a week now but was diagnosed months ago she is currently taking donepezil and im noticing everything has gone worse then before, such as waking up scared shaking in stress about trying to leave out the house to take a walk and bring the kids out with her. She's confused about the time day and everything. I had to tell her it was time to go back to bed having to sleep on my couch to watch make sure she never walked out but she said her dad was calling her and she was goin to talk to him.

She already had a bunch of mini strokes in her brain has high blood pressure and yet all the meds seem to make everything worse. I have a in home care nurse that comes 3 days a week so i can take care of myself and she has noticed stuff that is concerning. Doctor seems to think she isnt taking meds but we give to her everyday and watch her take. How can i help her be safe and get off my couch?

Expert Answers

Judy Santamaria, MSPH, is the director of the Family Caregiver Support Program at the Visiting Nurse Service of New York. She designs and runs a program for caregiver support to ensure that attention to the needs of caregivers becomes an integral part of home care, and she leads community education workshops for family caregivers, nursing students, and interested healthcare professionals throughout the New York metropolitan area.

This is a very challenging situation and it sounds like there are some potential dangers that need to be addressed. If your mother is wandering to the point that you're afraid she'll leave in the middle of the night, her dementia needs to be managed. You can safeguard your mother with an ID bracelet and house alarm so you can feel comfortable enough to get some sleep. Your home care nurse should be able to help with this, as well.

Also, a doctor who doesn't believe what you're telling him/her is not going to serve you for the long-term. After all, family caregivers usually know best regarding what's happening with their family member. It sounds like you need a doctor who specializes in dementia and who will treat you as an important part of the health care team.