Dad up and died and left me to deal with my mom's Alzheimer's. I need so much advice

Also wise advice.

I’m fresh out of eloquence tonight. Best I can come up with is: rise above them and don’t let them drag you down to their level.

Fine, ruin all my fun!

I’m kidding. I have no intention of lobbing any more hot rocks. Just getting everyone spun up over professionals and agencies and lawyers all reviewing their antagonistic texts was enough for me.

And I have no real morbid curiosity to check, but I’ll update the wife about the last ones I saw and she can keep an eye on them for me. Maybe we’ll check in a week or two. But for better or worse I would submit that my one text response adequately spooked the herd into buttoning it on the texts for at least a while.

I feel the finality of things starting to settle in, and I believe once they get the APS report, it should quiet down (or they’ll make some last-gasp hateful poo-flinging at me, who knows).

OH have I posted that yet??

The APS case is going to be unsubstantiated and closed, possibly as soon as this week. Both siblings will receive letters of the case outcome in my favor. I’ll get one w the conclusions.

I am concerned the neuropsychologist has not gotten back to me, but most of my anxiety on that front was to get the ball rolling on the next phase of getting mom settled and “home.” But, since APS doesn’t need that to close the case (I can submit it as an addendum to the case-file once I do get it), and since mom’s 100% on-board with what’s happening next, we can schedule a meeting with the lawyer and figure out how quickly we can get moving (she might be conflict averse when it comes with family but she’s a rock-star with getting things in gear ASAP so we can get mom on Medicaid ASAP). So that will happen this week. Stuff’s about to start happening rather quickly, I hope.

Mom’s doing great. We did a big Thanksgiving dinner with friends and friends-of-friends, had a smokeless fire pit and made smores, it was great.

I don’t like how soon she starts Sundowning–@ BippityBoppityBoo you were 100% correct–after we did the time-change, she’s loopy by 3 or 4 pm. It’s almost like dealing with a drunk person–“mom we’re all putting on our PJs. Want to, too?” ok I’ll go do that. * few minutes later she’s pacing around with her clothes on * “Mom I thought you were going to put on PJs?” oh I am? Oh. ok. * repeat a few times *.

I’m trying to let her just operate on her own schedule, but…I mean…I just got married, so the only good one-on-one quality time we get is after she either goes to watch TV or falls asleep.

I got her a Roku for her bedroom so she can stream old TV shows she remembers, or pick out movies. Last night we watched part of Office Space until the language was too much then moved on to Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder version).

We also went to a few open houses–she’s enjoying imaging which rooms she’d take over with her crafting…good times. Just seeing how homes with a true master suites are laid out gives me a lot of hope about how easier things will be in a better living situation.

That is outstanding news, and I’m glad for you and your mom.

Fabulous news. Congratulations.

Yeah, sundowning is hard on the caretaker. It sounds like you have it well in hand though. Touring houses, what a great idea! I’m going to suggest that to my realtor friend, who’s mother is in the middle stages of senility but still mobile. D- has an endless supply of homes she can take her mother to.

Mom has been really impressing me with memory stuff lately.

She’s not quite catching my wife’s name (it’s a trigger of a name, in her defense !BUT! we’re working on that) …The other day on the way to work my wife’s shop we passed this giant structure being constructed. The first 6 times she always asked “wow what is that going to be?”

The last time she said “boy they are making a lot of progress on that big church (it’s a shrine!)” WOW. WOW!!

I had a difficult extraction and they ground down my jaw bone to get the tooth out. It sucked for a while.

A few weeks later I got one of my weird headaches. I winced. She said “Is it that tooth…? Or, I guess I should say, where that tooth used to be?”

WOW!

I did a painting of my old dog who died a few years ago, it hangs in the shop. She always sees it and going “That’s D***!?” YEP!

This one is my favorite: : :

It took me a month or longer before I grabbed THEIR pillows off their bed and brought it to my home here for her to sleep on. Every night I would say “hey, snuggle up, that’s dad’s pillow.”

I haven’t said it in a month or longer.

Tonight I laid down next to her and flipped through TV finding her something to watch.

I keep going out in the back yard back in the dark and watch the stars and talk to dad.

I actually text him, too. I kept his number. I was already paying for their phone bill, I’m just going to not cancel his number. I am texting him as I normally would. I send him pics.

I’m not crazy.

Anyway tonight I said I go out back and talk to the sky sometimes and I think he hears me. He sees me, warts and all. But I still feel accepted.

She said “You know that’s his pillow your head is on. He’s with us.”

MELT.

She remembers that’s his pillow.

No. You’re not. You’re grieving.

That’s one of the many ways of doing it.

That’s wonderful to hear. I’d say that she is feeling less stressed now and that allows for more current memory to be retained But I’ll balance that to say I am not a professional, just someone who has worked through family dementia issues. Fantastic.

No, you’re not crazy. My friend kept her husband’s cell phone number paid for so she could listen to his voice say to leave a message. She kept it until she didn’t need it any longer, about 15 months in all. Do what works for you.

Small update, and some questions:

I think I’ll start with the questions. I’ve noticed a new behavior: forgetting we ate and wanting more food. It’s highly unusual from the norm.

Usually, mom’s never hungry until the food is right in front of her and she always says “that’s too much!” and I say “eat what you can and we’ll save the rest for lunch!” And that’s usually how it goes.

The other night a friend came over so I could take the wife out for a 2 hour thingy…I fed mom a salad and she ate about half. I saved the rest in case she got hungry after we left, which she did and ate more. Then I guess she complained she hadn’t eaten so she had a frozen dinner thing. THEN she asked for some of my dinner right before she went to bed.

I don’t mind her eating well–not at all.

But last weekend we did a “friendsgiving” thing and she over-ate until she felt a cramp in her tummy. So I do want to avoid that, or just feeling sick and over-indulging.

Today we had a great meeting with her lawyer (more on that) so I bought us something good for lunch.

She ate half and threw in the towel. I eventually sat down to eat mine and she said “where’s mine?” You already ate some…are you still hungry? She proceeded to ask for the meal she just finished.

What’s this about…? Why aren’t her hunger signals being shut down…? It’s just the total opposite of how things have been…she ate just fine but only when you told her it was time to.

Update portion:

Met w the lawyer to start in-earnest all the things that are going to need to be done, and what the next priorities will be. It went great, and the info given was better than I was hoping, even. So that’s great. She has a medicare specialist she’s hooking us up with to help decide mom’s next health care plan. She’s got a financial guy she’s going to get us with so we can figure out how much house we can reasonably afford and how to re-invest and grow mom’s income. So everything’s great, I’m right on track and prioritizing the right things so far. Good.

They suggest I should still notify the siblings about any major changes that happen…but mom went into a diatribe about how useless and uncaring they all are. Lawyer said she will note exactly what mom says/feels/thinks in case they ever try to pull some “he’s hiding mom from us,” which is why she thinks I should keep them in the loop–to avoid such accusations.

I said I didn’t feel like it would be prudent unless they asked, simply because 1. If they wanted to know, one would assume they’d ask, and 2. they weaponize any tidbit of info they can sprunge up, they hone into a conspiracy then try to weaponize it against me.

So I’m not sure, there. I’m not hiding anything but I’m certainly not cotton to just offer up a bunch of info to people who aren’t asking for any and will defo use it against me at some point. Meh.

On a personal note, I had a meeting with my doctor. I’m slippin on my blood pressure (my fault, I’m just held together with duct tape at this point emotionally). After I explained some things–and offhandedly mentioned the APS case should be closed soon (she had NO IDEA and was LIVID when I told her)–she agreed that I need serious help when I can, like being in therapy, but we also know that’s not possible right now. So we are triaging. She upped my antidepressant and she’s starting me on a PTSD drug to see if we can help with the dreams…

My dreams suck, ya’ll. I’m dreaming such dumb, mundane stuff that I can’t tell if wife is really mad at me over the temp I set the fridge or if that was a stupid dream. And it’s all negative stuff, so it takes me a bit into the day to shake it all off.

Dad keeps showing back up. But he’s just as sick and miserable as he was, except there’s no relief by death. It’s awful. And I’m scrambling to try to get him un-dead in the system and trying to figure out how to get everything back in his name–so basically my nightmares are living the last few months but in reverse.

Sometimes there is violence, and I am acting things out in my sleep. I threw my phone off the nightstand across the room and woke myself up so bad I didn’t ever get back to sleep the other night.

So here’s to hoping the PTSD drug helps. I get it–it’s my brain unpacking all my anxiety and fear and grief in a way because I can’t deal with everything right now, but man. It sucks. I need good rest.

Hugs.

Can you find 15 minutes a day to practice a little meditation? Yes, this is really too little time but you can take a stressor and say to it, I’ve solved you, time for you to travel on. Keep repeating. You have come so very far already. Meditation lowers my bp and my heart rate. It takes practice, but it is so helpful when it arrives.

This is good information. Thank you. I am woefully uneducated on this and I need to remedy that.

Nellie is right. However hard it is not to respond, you should not. Forward things to your attorney, save the images in the cloud somewhere, and move on. The danger in responding is that it stirs the pot even more, and endangers your standing as the reasonable one. Let them fling shit at the walls. It’s not your job to clean it up.

Having your wife act as a filter sounds like a good idea to me, if she’s willing to do it. Let them all be out of sight, out of mind for you.

Good. I hope you find something you all like as soon as possible.

I think that’s lovely. I’m glad his memory brings you such comfort.

Do they have any guidance as to how you should notify? My suggestion would be that the lawyer should do the notifying, when they feel that legally that would be best.

Regarding communication devices for you and mom to use: check into Alexa or Google chat devices. I believe you can get something simple that’s voice activated. My mother-in-law used hers to select music. You can also initiate video calls.

My best wishes to you all.

I wanted to touch on a few things and say some stuff I forgot.

For one, mom’s lawyer has a medicare specialist for me to sit down with and set up her next plan. So that’s…AMAZING. Wow.

Today I had so much fun, took mom to a curiosity and oddities exhibition. Went with my best buddy. We all spent more money than we planned–mom found a 1909 doll in original garb for $15…she’s over the moon. I…bought a bronze sculpture. It was from a working artist and I just couldn’t walk away from the piece. I love it. I paid more than I was planning, but I like contributing to that micro-economy…he’s living his dream. I know that feeling, and I sense his excitement. I’ll buy more from him in the future.

There was a very tall man mom kept saying “how tall you reckon he is??” Finally we crossed paths.

“My mom is very curious how tall your are.”
‘6 foot 7.’
“Wow, mom! I was close, I guessed 6ft 5!”
(Mom’s response) ‘…I am not his mother!’ and tries to slink away.

God she’s so much fun.

I’m over the communication/checking on the siblings. I don’t really think the lawyer’s advice to keep them in the loop is prudent. Bear in mind some of those posts from me came before I knew I was cleared in the APS thing. My attitude has shifted.

This is my thinking: The minute the APS agent sends me those/that letter(s), siblings are getting a really short email:

“I am sorry we all could not get along cordially, and disappointed the antagonism won’t stop. The only path forward I see for any of us to have any semblance of a healthy relationship–even communication on any level at all–would be for all of us to sit down with a family counselor to mediate all of this animosity and help bridge a gap so that we can communicate at all. I would request you, sister and I split the cost 3 ways. Otherwise, goodbye.”

Something like that.

I’m not entertaining the notion of ANY FORM OF A RELATIONSHIP until those chucklefucks sit down with a mediating party. They won’t, they already are spooked their attacks on me will come to light (hence their spinning up at my text), so that would def. be the end of it. And I think it’s perfectly reasonable to ask on my side.

So. That’s my plan.

I feel at peace, I feel like this time next year I am going to be a special level of happy. I’m excited about this house we are all going to view tomorrow. But I’m just excited about our future. I’m killing this stay-at-home dad thing, even tho I’m also still working. I’m making dinner almost every night–either I cook or no one cooks. And mom is finally starting to say stuff like “you always cook beautiful fancy dinners, just almost every night.” Yeah, it’s fun–it’s my love language. I love creating and having others enjoy it.

Mom’s down one more pound, too. Eating good and losing weight.

I’m having a great time. Today was really great.

:slight_smile:

I’m glad things are going well.

Those are some pretty upbeat posts!

  1. It’s common for someone with dementia to forget she ate. When she forgets she’s eaten and is hungry, I’d fix her a small snack plate–a couple of small cubes of cheese, a small bunch of grapes, a few crackers, or maybe a sliced banana topped with yogurt.

  2. I don’t understand why the attorney wants you to contact your family. Why can’t you just respond after they call/text. Of course, if you’ve blocked them (and good for you!) that’s not possible, so I agree with @Sunny_Daze that if they want to get in touch with you, they should call your attorney’s office.

  3. I would not send that particular email. I mean, I would if you had more agreeable, compassionate siblings, but you don’t, and though it’s the truth, they’re not going to cotton to the family therapy deal. And if you say, “Otherwise, goodbye,” could you really stick to it? (And it sounds abrupt a little dictatorial. You want to be firm without seeming mean or calloused. Something like this (Feel free to ignore it, revise it, etc…)

Hi, family–

I wish this hadn’t become necessary, but my attempts to establish a good relationship with you have failed; therefore, if you want to communicate with Mom or me, please call my [Our?) attorney [name] at [phone number].

  1. Please make therapy a priority. You know you can often do therapy online now, right? And a therapist may agree to “see” you for half-hour appointments, if you’re crunched for time.
  1. I’m no shrink, but the meaning of your dreams about your dad seems pretty clear to me. Look at this sentence:

There’s no relief in his death for you. You haven’t been able to deal with it, so it’s not really over for you.

And this one:

I think that’s a natural, if perplexing, part of the grieving process. Your brain is struggling to comprehend his death. And you’ve taken over some of his roles.

Also, waking yourself up from a dream because you’re actually thrown something is a big red flag. I know a couple of peaceable, even-keeled Vietnam vets who’ve almost killed their wives while dreaming. You don’t want to hit the Beautiful Bride with something you throw. Please get help.

What do you do for exercise? Seems to me a walk in the fresh air once or twice a day would help you (or “may be helping you” if you already walk or run.)

Anyway, congrats on all the progress! And I hope you get a good rest soon!

I am pooh-poohing the idea of sending them such an email or any such contact. The truth is that you are looking for closure but you are looking in the wrong place. The email will just fan the flames again and you do not need that. Please talk to a therapist before you make any attempt to contact your family. I understand the urge. Don’t follow through yet.

Mom was too sick to travel so I missed my first big family event as actual family. I’m really disappointed.

That’s very much too bad.

But proper family will understand. Hope your mother’s feeling better.

I’m sorry that you missed your family occasion. I’m sorry to say that I have experience with that myself. It sucks. One thing I’ve learned is is that chronic illness makes definite plans difficult. I try to set up alternate plans when I can. In this case, are there enough folks in the area to have a second Thanksgiving? Can you have a Thanksgiving meal at your house with a smaller group? It’s not perfect, but the good times are a blessing, even when their timing is spotty. Perhaps especially then.

My best wishes to you all.

Still and all, you were there for your mom this Thanksgiving and I am sure she is grateful. Things like illness and luck rarely care about days we find important. Best wishes for a wonderful make-up gathering. Sending you a mental hug.

Ugh. I’m really struggling.

Ya’ll’s right…I have to prioritize getting into therapy. I’m slipping…the last few days have been brutal. I can’t keep this up…

I had a weird…bad…moment of clarity where I was finally able to articulate and connect my bad mood and all the cardinal components. Now that I have a list…it’s just unsustainable.