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Quite a regular
Joined:
2002/12/10
From: Rowlett
Posts: 56
Dear ElderHope Reader,

Please accept my condolences regarding your mother's recent death. It seems as though this is a very difficult time for you right now, as you are also trying to care for your father. Does your father live nearby? If not, does he have any relatives and/or friends that can stop by and check on him? How is his level of dementia affecting his ability to care for himself? For example, if he has been prescribed a medication regarding his Alzheimers disease (AD), such as Aricept or Exelon or Reminyl, will he remember to take it as prescribed? It sounds as though his dementia is very early, though, as you mentioned that you did not know about his memory problems until recently.

I ask these questions because many of my suggestions depend on how his memory and thinking problems are affecting him including his ability to drive (if this is an issue). Maybe ask your father's doctor about how she/he believes your father is currently functioning - it may be that your father is basically able to care for himself, even with his AD. If the doctor believes that your father should not be alone all day, maybe hire someone from a companion service to prepare his meals, make sure that he is taking his medications, provide socialization, etc. As already mentioned, it is important to complete the paperwork regarding Power of Attorney, making sure that your father is paying the monthly bills, etc. You might want to contact a geriatric care manager or a lawyer experienced with elder issues for help with all this. The link for the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers is: www.caremanager.org and our Ethics and Law page may have several links that may be helpful for you.

Lastly, about your question regarding your father's grief - this may be the hardest one to address! Because your mother died only 2 weeks ago, your father may be experiencing many of the feelings associated with early grief - a sense of numbness, confusion, sadness, etc. All of these feelings may be related to depression, however, this is not to say that he is clinically depressed. When was the last time he received a physical exam from his physician? This may be a good time for a thorough evaluation to determine his general well being, in addition to his AD. If he is clinically depressed, a doctor may prescribe medication to help him get through this time.
If your father's dementia is such that he keeps forgetting that your mother has died, you may hear him asking repeatedly about where she is . . . this can be very difficult for everyone. Simple responses that address his questions without causing more agitation is oftentimes the best route. He may need extra support during this time, especially if he is more confused and disoriented because of your mother's absence. Again, many of these considerations depend on his level of dementia and his support system. There are many books about grief relating to the loss of a spouse and you may find something helpful on our Death and Grief page - Books and Links pages. Also, contact your local Alzheimer's Association for more information relating to grief and dementia.

This is a very long response to your simple question but I had so many questions come to mind as I was reading your message . . . when you get the chance, I would like to know about how your father and you are coming along. Also, if you want some feedback about the questions I asked you, please let me know that too! We will sure try to help during this difficult time, if we can. Please take care - Barb


Posted on 2002/7/22 15:54




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