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    Lynn Livingston

    My father passed away 16 years ago and my mom lives in our family home. She has dementia and congestive heart failure, among other issues. She has had home nursing care for 3 months for fluid leaking from her legs and that has been covered by Medicare. My sister and I are her current Caregivers and we are feeling very overwhelmed.

    We have talked to a financial planner and a couple of home care organizations to find help for Mom. There are so many in our Minneapolis area that it is both comforting and overwhelming. We are in sync with how we care for Mom so that helps a lot.

    Our biggest battle is the dementia. Mom has always felt less importent than anyone else in her circle so she is not feeling worthy of anyone other than her daughters caring for her but it is just too much. My sister handles all the communication with her doctors and the team is large. We constantly struggle with knowing who to go to for what issue. She has a pharmacologist who oversees her medications, her heart doctor, a GP and the home nurses. Mom has no appetite or energy and we don’t know whether to chalk it up to being almost 90, having dementia, medication side effects or a more serious health concern.

    I worry about my sister as she and Mom have always been close. Lori feels responsible for making sure Mom has everything she needs. She has trouble at night, checking her phone when she wakes to see if she missed a call from Mom and worries whether she is sleeping. We try to trade off nights as we check on her every night to be sure she has some comany, eats and gets her pills. Mom has had assessments done and is safe at home, just tired and lately, sad. It is so hard to see her like that and to see my sister struggle so. I can’t get her to focus on taking care of herself or give herself a break.

    I handle care of Mom’s legs in between the nursing visits. I am no nurse so sometimes I get a little uncomfortable with it. I cook a little and do her laundry. I try to do everything I can. I feel badly when I can’t go to Mom’s appointments as my job isn’t as flexible as my sister’s. I am starting to worry about her job now because she has had to use so much time lately.

    We feel inadequate and really tired. We have a close church but all of Mom’s friends there are focused on their own issues so they don’t reach out a lot. Mom is lonely and bored. I worry a lot about her brain health. Until recently Mom always had a 550 piece jigsaw puzzle going. Now she says she can’t concentrate when she tries. She needs to keep her brain working and busy but I don’t know what to provide for her to do. Any suggestions?

    I should add that finuances are lI item and we haven’t found a place she could afford yet. We want to be proactive and ready but it is impossible to do all the research when we are the daily Caregivers and both have to work.


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