Is it wrong to not want to take care of your loved one with Alzheimer's?

4 answers | Last updated: Sep 27, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

i help a friend with 94yr old family member. She has severe alzheimers. Has had for at least 15 yrs. She doesnt want to ever be home to take care of her, pays a few of us to do it. She leaves house at 7am and returns at 10pm. She doesnt want to be there, she wont put her on any of the meds out there that may help, and wont consider a home for her, where she would have round the clock care. and she hates the sistuation, and is in it just for the money that will someday be left to her. Does this sound just so wrong to anyone else out there? shes got to do more than what shes doing. The old lady is having at least 20 days of spells a month and during a spell is up for as many as 72 hours nonstop. wont eat, sleep, change clothes....its so heartbreaking to watch this

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.

Although there may be family members in our not-so-perfect world who become caregivers in name only and may be doing so for purely selfish reasons, most are well-meaning people wanting to do the care because of a long term relationship and family history that may have been rocky at times. Not all mother-daughter relationships are positive and many have been filled with years of disagreement, anger, frustration, and other negative emotions stretched over years of family history. It is quite easy, as an outsider, to judge a caregiver's goal but far less easy to walk in her shoes for the years before caregiving became necessary. The daughter's motivations are of little consequence if she is not physically harming her mom. The reasons for having her mother in her home during the last stages of Alzheimer's are far less important than the comfort and care you can now offer. Elderly folks with dementia who offer no resistance and are most always pleasant and complacent, are the easiest to care for - anyone can do it - it takes a very special family or professional caregiver to do it with warmth and compassion. It sounds as if you are this person! I am reminded of a similar situation several years ago when a seemingly selfish daughter had round-the-clock professional care in her home for her mother with Alzheimer's disease. She was seldom at home and had little interaction when she was. This caused a great deal of negative discussion among the caregivers. When the mother passed, the caregivers attending the funeral service, overheard multiple family and friends discussing how terribly the older woman had treated her daughter since she was a toddler and yet how determined the daughter was to give her the best care possible; she was convinced that would be in her own home with folks like you caring for her. The daughter sold her home following her mother's death. She donated all the proceeds of the house sale to Alzheimer's research. Do remember to take care of yourself.

Community Answers

Dragon fly answered...

I think some people are in it only for the money. she dosent want her mom put in a place because if she is placed she wont get ALL the money she thinks is owed to her. Its better she dosent take full care of her because she is not gona be able to handel her mom. you cant force people to care.

A fellow caregiver answered...

Conatact authorities in your area. This may be considered Elder Abuse. If you can also check to see if there are other relatives so Social Worker will have different relative to consult with.

A fellow caregiver answered...

Since the daughter is paying people to care for her mother, this is not elder abuse. If she left her alone to fend for herself, that would be a different story but apparently that is not the case. As Joanne said above, it really isn't up to anyone else to judge a person's reasons for not handling things a particular way. Perhaps it is too emotionally difficult for her to deal with it herself. I've seen children desert their parents with Alzeimers and other chronic illnesses. At least this woman is seeing that she is cared for.