DEAR HARRIETTE: About a year ago, my mother fell and broke her pelvis, and she has been living with us since that day. Before she fell, we noticed deterioration in her mental stability. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, and it has been very difficult for our family. She is unable to do anything that she used to be able to do, such as making her own food, and she is completely dependent on someone else to provide for her. I try to tell her something, and she immediately forgets it. This makes me angry and upset because I remember how she used to be. How can I try to accept the present circumstances and not get angry? -- What to Do, Shreveport, Louisiana
DEAR WHAT TO DO: Caring for your mother has got to be tough. You are facing two huge hurdles: a broken pelvis and its aftereffects for an elder and Alzheimer's. You need professional support to help your mother.
To figure out what help your mother is eligible to receive, collect all of her insurance papers so that you can determine what conditions are covered on her plan. Did she purchase long-term care insurance? If so, that can be tremendously helpful in allowing her to remain in your home with the potential for around-the-clock care. Review your mother's assets to determine what you need to liquidate in order to be able to afford proper care for her. Some people have had to sell property to pay for assisted living, support, etc.
Talk to your mother's doctor about her specific and ongoing needs. It is likely that she will come to a point when she needs care beyond your capability. Indeed, you could be there already. To learn about how to get professional home care that is covered by insurance, visit www.alz.org/nyc/in_my_community_17493.asp.
Yyou may want to join a support group for family members who are dealing with parents with Alzheimer's. It can be tremendously difficult, but being able to talk to others in similar circumstances may help you.