Getting Help

Dear Doctor Marion, My husband has Parkinson's Disease with dementia. He was a medical professional for over 50 years and feels he does not need help with showering, dressing, etc. He cannot be left alone for safety reasons. We do have a very good aide 3 times a week, for about 3 months, and he still does not like to have her come. I explained that I need the help. I also have found a second aide who can come for a couple of hours at a time in the evenings so that I can get to a caregiver's support group, and he is not happy about that either. Family members can only help out on rare occasions for a day or so at a time. I had hoped he would get used to this but not so far. What would you suggest?

Maryellen in Texas

Dear Maryellen,

Your husband may have other issues. First off, check with his primary doctor to see that there are no other medical or emotional issues that need to be addressed. He might also need to see a therapist to deal with his concerns or fears.

When someone is ill or failing in health and they are independent, their focus is on themselves. As the caregiver, you need to keep it all going, and that includes taking care of yourself. Take care of your physical, psychological, and emotional needs. You have to make this clear to your husband. If you get sick, his main support system will vanish.

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