My mother has been with her partner for over 40 years and has been caregiver for over 5 years. She is in her 80's and her partner, ten years her junior, is disabled and is in a declining stage of dementia. They receive medical care via a visiting PA and for a few months now live in a senior housing building. Neither of them leave the apartment and with the exception of my weekly visit and their PA every 6 weeks, see no one else. My mother has applied to get in house assistance to bathe her partner, and perform various home tasks, but it has not begun yet.
I am in my 60's and brand new at being a parent to my parent. I am helping by doing their marketing, laundry and bringing a few home cooked meals each week (my mom doesn't cook using the stovetop, but does use the microwave).
My mom is tired, does not always get to sleep through the night due to her partner in the next room waking her with confused talking, crying. Her partner is fogetting more and more each day, which frustrates my mom and they have days of disagreements. I worry about how long she can deal with this situation and what warning signs, if any, that I need to be aware of. Any advice is appreciated.
Oh my, you and your mother have your hands full, don't you? Does your mother's partner have any relatives? This would be a time to reach out to anyone within a 1,000 mile radius. Seriously, does the partner have any kinfolk who could come and visit, get a motel room for a few days, and visit? Thereby giving your mother a little bit of a break, to visit with you, even stay with you for a night or two so she could sleep through the night? Does her partner have any siblings or nieces or nephews? I don't know if anyone would respond but it might be worth a try.
Since your mom doesn't cook much, are there any meal programs that could deliver food, like meals on wheels, or something else in the building that's offered?
Does your mom and her partner have any community around them at all? Back when they were both much healthier, was there a church or temple they attended, or a bridge club or a hiking group or ANYthing that might have folks in it that remember them? Sometimes it pays to be very creative and cast a wide net to see who else might come visit besides you.
I worked as a care manager and one of my colleagues had a client who was living in assisted living, very demented, no family, and somehow she found a former employee, who started to visit and eventually became the man's guardian?
Since you avoid using a pronoun, i wonder if your mother and her partner are gay. (I am gay, for the record, and with a much older partner who has MS.) The reason I ask is that most bigger cities have some sort of gay community center, and volunteers who can do things for elderly gay folks. Worth a try. There's a national group called SAGEUSA which could steer you.
Otherwise, i think your mom is lucky to have you keeping an eye out for her, and any way you can give her a break is a good thing. Make sure she isn't neglecting her health: get to her doctor and go with her so her doc knows what she's doing, how hard her home life is with caregiving 24/7.
Is any of this helpful? Please write back. What are your most serious concerns?
You are a very generous daughter