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How can I get my friend's children more involved in his Alzheimer's care?

Answered by David Troxel

May 26, 2014

I am caring for a friend that has Alzheimer’s. I work 46 to 56 hours a week as a senior caregiver for a sweet 92-year-old lady. My friend is progressing. I call him every morning to make sure he takes his meds and go out to his house every evening to eat with him. I then call to make sure evening meds are taken.

My question is: how do I get his children involved? They both are in their late 20’s and work less than 2 miles from their dad’s house. They never come by. They never call. They stand to inherit a lot of money.

I am at my wit’s end. Plus I am tired. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for being such a great friend. I’m always impressed by how much “informal caregiving” happens in the US. My own parents were primary caregivers for their elderly neighbor who had no family. Many persons with dementia have a network that includes supportive friends like you.

I’m sad that your friend’s children aren’t more involved but it is always hard to know what the past family dynamic has been. Perhaps they were never close. Have you tried talking to his children, asking for a family meeting? Is there a senior service or Alzheimer’s agency that can come in and do an assessment, perhaps as a way of educating the children? In the future, if things get really bad you can seek an advocate at your local adult protective services.

Ultimately you have no control over the children but you may have some influence. Be specific in your requests – let them know you are not available on Wednesday and Sunday nights and ask them to come by during this time slot.

If they continue to refuse, I’d encourage you to let your anger go and just enjoy your time with your friend. Friendship enriches us all and I hope that you can enjoy a sense of pride and fulfillment knowing that you are doing a good deed.

Thoughts and stories from others

  1. December 2, 2014 at 09:59 pm
    Posted by Robin

    For the issue you're dealing with re: his meds & making sure he takes them, I would recommend you/he check into getting a Medminder (www.medminder.com), an electronic box that can accommodate anything from 1 pill/day for 28 days to multiple pills 3x/day for 7 days. I use 2 separate boxes, one for 28 days of AM meds and a second for 28 days of PM meds. You (and/or multiple caregivers) can receive e-notices when meds are taken, skipped, taken from the wrong pill compartment, etc. Amazing tool and has been THE MOST significant resource I use as a caregiver for my Dad.

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