Can we get in-home help throughout the day for my Dad who has Alzheimer's?
My Dad has Alzheimers. He gets angry (yells and pushes) when he wants to leave after 20 min. to an hour of visiting or when he wants visitors to leave. My Mom takes care of him and doesn't want to put him in a home where they will have to drug him 24/7 to keep him there. Is it feasible to get in home help where the caregiver comes and goes periodically over the course of the day?
Dear Alzheimer's Family Member:
I'm sorry to hear about your dad and your difficult situation.
The first thing you need to know is that your dad's behavior is typical of some Alzheimer's patients, and because of his disease, there's not always a way to reason with him, but there may be ways to redirect his attention and diffuse his anger and agitation. I've written about that in previous articles in response to similar questions that you can find online at Caring.com.
Your concern for your mother is well-placed, as she is subject to mental and physical stress as well as to emotional stress because of your dad's behavior patterns. Her assumptions about facilities as places where patients are drugged to keep them there 24/7 is far from accurate.
The good news may be that your dad isn't yet ready to be placed, and when the time comes, choosing the right facility and seeking help from outsiders like a geriatric care manager as well as the facility staff may make the transition much easier than you'd expect.
However, in the meantime, I suggest you get a complete reevaluation of your dad by a geriatric neurologist who specializes in Alzheimer's disease to determine what medications may be suitable to address your dad's outbreaks and what level of care is needed within the home. The neurologist should be able to offer suggestions as to the best way to achieve care for your dad as well as help and respite for your mom. There absolutely are in-home caregiving companies who offer care providers with extensive experience with Alzheimer's patients and can help you with an overall care plan for your dad.
I suggest you contact the local Alzheimer's Association, or if you know of any other families who have had to go through this or a similar ordeal, ask them who they used for in-home assistance. Both sources should be able to direct you to resources that will satisfy your immediate need for assistance.
Keep in mind that if you're not satisfied with the level of care or other aspects of the caregiver's demeanor, you can talk to her employer, have her replaced, or find another company. And one more thing you may have to be aware of regarding your goal of bringing help into the home for your dad. You dad may be very verbal, angry and abusive about the new person entering his life, but give it time. This may one of those cases when dad does not get a vote, and you may have to step up and do what's best for mom and dad, even if it initially upsets the routine, which is not unlikely.
Good luck, you're on the right track.
Thank you Mr. Kauffman for the expert advice! To add to Mr. Kauffman's answer, Caring.com has a Senior Care Directory where you can find in-home care providers in your area by entering your city, state or zip code at www.caring.com/local/in-home-care. Many of our listings also have ratings and reviews from people who have had first hand experiences with listed providers. This may be a good place to start your search and get in touch with in-home care providers in your area.
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