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I don't know what to do...please help me

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Old 07-09-2008, 06:08 AM   #1
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I don't know what to do...please help me

I am at a point of panic as I write this. My 81 year old dad had to be hospitalized on Father's Day and have emergency surgury for a twisted and blocked intestine. He was critical for some time, but seemed to make a miraculous recovery...almost. It seems his memory, which was pretty bad, (but I just chalked it up to age) is very bad now. He doesn't understand where he is much of the time, he doesn't remember my mom passing away 3 years ago until I remind him, he doesn't even know what street he lives on. I've written down things to try and jog his memory, but this is more than just memory loss. The doctors did a CT scan and said that it looks like he's had a series of small strokes over time and that could be the cause of this extreme memory loss, as opposed to just slight memory loss before he got so sick. Until he got sick, he was still driving, working in his garden, doing is own banking and bill paying, taking care of his own medications. I just can't believe this is happening. We had a family conferance yesterday, and were told that he will only be allowed in the re-hab facility (he's been there for one week) until the weekend and then we have to make "arrangements" for him. I have no idea what to do. He's so clear minded at times that I feel horrible trying to put him in a nursing home. I almost think that if he comes home in familiar surroundings, he will get better. He does live next door to me, but I work full time, so I won't be nearby during the day. I am trying to figure out how to pay caregivers. Is there anything out there covered by Medicare? I don't want him to be unsafe, and I've gone to his house and removed all of his guns, old medications, car keys, things that he could hurt himself with. I'm just so overwhelmed right now that I don't know what to do next. Can someone please help me?

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Old 07-09-2008, 08:33 AM   #2
Martha H
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Re: I don't know what to do...please help me

There are home health aides but they are expensive and do not work around the clock.

Often an illness or operation worsens the memory loss we at first think is age related. (Mostly memory loss is a form of Dementia, age alone does not reduce memory, no matter what we may have heard).

I think your Dad has worsened so badly so fast that he needs to be in a nursing home. The rehab where he is now will help you find a place. Medicare does not pay for it, but Medicaid does, and once the person has spent down his money, he can get on Medicaid.

I doubt if being in his old home will jog his memory. Things that are lost tend to stay lost .. my mother had absolutely no recollection of the 8 years previous to her death, if she remembered anything at all it was from earlier than that, or her own childhood.

In our case, my Mom only had enough money for 3 months, but during that time my brother, who had Power of Attorney, consulted an Elderlawyer and got all the necessary paperwork ready and applied for Medicaid for Mom, which she got, retroactive for a month or so because it didn't kick in on time. The NH did not make her leave, they waited.

On Medicaid, the NH gets his whole SS check minus a small ''allowance" plus whatever Medicaid pays them, and everything is covered, from bed and room and 24 hr nursing care and doctors visits and drugs and anything else you can think of. (but not shampoo, haircuts -- that's what the allowance is for.)

If your Dad is well off and spending down his money is not an option since he has a lot of it and his children intend to inherit it --- the kids themselves might share his care, also using some of his money, for the time he is there. Sad but true, the average Dementia patient does not live a very long time once they get this disease, especially if they are already quite elderly when it starts. Prices vary in different states; we were in NY and the cost of the NH was $11,000 per month. Mom was there for 2 years and 3 months before she died.

I have left out the emotional side of this issue which is way worse and more devastating than only ''money." That is something we all had to learn to deal with. I stayed with my Mom 5 years and saw her gradually lose her intelligence, her memory, her sense of propriety, her ability to keep herself clean, her desire to look nice, etc. I feel I watched her die, hundreds of times before she actually did, in a nursing home.

God bless you and all who are Caregivers.



Last edited by Martha H; 07-09-2008 at 08:39 AM.

Old 07-09-2008, 08:56 AM   #3
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Re: I don't know what to do...please help me

It sounds like what you are dealing with is Vascular Demetia which my Dad also has. It is not as gradual a decline as Alzheimer. It is more episodic with vascular events in the brain. Also anesthesia has a tendency to make the situation worse as does major illnesses. Sometimes they do improve after the anesthesia effect wear off (it takes a while) but many times they do not go back to where they were.

As the doctors told me when Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer.. memory loss is not a natural part of aging but the result of something abnormal going on in the brain.

Even if you brought your Dad back home he would need full time care.... and absolutely all dangerous items such as firearms, chemicals, medications, and car keys should be kept away from him. I remember the year of chaos I spent trying to keep my parent at home after Mom's diagnosis.... and if I had to do it again I would have taken them straight to Assisted Living. He is going to need more assistance they you can give him to function.

Long term care in certified facilities is covered under Medicaid if the average cost of that service in your area is more than his monthly income. It may involve a spend down of his assets before it will kick in. It will all depend on his monthly income and assests. You need to talk to the social worker at Rehab concerning the possibilty of Medicaid. They will be able to give you the particulars about the regulations in your state.

We chose Assisted Living because both of my parents are very mobile and able to maintain with assistance. They get meals, medication, health care on premisis, activities, and intervention when needed but still retained some independence. Depending on your Dad's abilities it might be an option but it is not covered by Medicaid. Nursing facilities are more restrictive but also offer much more intervention care and are covered by Medicaid.

I would suggest that you talk to the social worker at Rehab and his doctor. They will be able to give you specifics about Medicaid of your state and also be able to recomment facilities that you should check out. If you do not feel comfortable bringing him home then state as much and let them help you find placement. That is their JOB.

Take a deep breath and know that you will find a solution. I do understand how overwheming it can be because I have been there. I am truly sorry you are having to deal with this situation but glad you found this board. There are wonderful people here that have been where you are. They have been my sanity over the last year. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers and hope to hear from you again.

love, deb

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