Memory Health: Alzheimer's Support Group
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Difficult now

Until recently I was able to leave my wife for hours even several days at times. I used a service that came in one or two times daily to make sure she ate, took her meds and assist with her colostomy. My wife was able to take care of our dog and herself with the assistance of the service. Recently my wife started having panic attacks late at night with hyperventilating, increase in heart rate, lowering 02 sats, etc etc. I'd would hate to imagine her going through one of these attacks with no one here to help her calm down and relax. So, I can't leave her anymore especially at night time. I'm committed to caring for the woman I love and have been with for 60 years, but, with my heart and other problems I fear for my own health if I can't get away occassionally.

7 Replies

Chuck-- If you can give us a general idea of where you live it will be easier for people who live in the same general area to give you suggestions relating to what service might be available to you to give a break. Here in Florida I was able to get temporary 24.7 help only when my husband was eligible for home hospice care, which granted me an occasional five day respite by sending him to a nursing home for that time. I was never able to care for my own health until I gave in and had him admitted to a nursing home. If you have been with your wife for 60 years, you must be an age where it's essential that you get some rest.


Thanks jaykay. Appreciate your response. I live in Riverside County in So. California. Yes, it certainly wouldn't help anyone if I became ill or worse. Our two children are not in positions to offer much assistance. Financially I am unable to place her in a facility where she wouldn't be happy anyway. She is under Hospice care but they don't offer respite care for caregivers. Thanks again.



I don't know if you would be open to the idea or your wife would tolerate it, but many assisted living facilities with dementia units offer respite care. For a fee, and if they have a room, they will accept the patient for up to a week in some cases. They usually have nursing services on staff or on call, supply meals, assist with meds (some dispense), check on the resident throughout the night, etc... You need to vet the facility thoroughly but many are excellent and would provide you with that much needed rest while hopefully providing a sense of security.

This was an option we explored with my parents, hope it is of some help.


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Hi Poppygail. Thanks for the suggestion. I have used a local facility for respite care but it just didn't work out. Although the staff was very caring and attentive, my wife caused problems claiming they weren't feeding her and refusing their assistance with bathing, etc. She also accused me of "sticking her away" so I could spend time with a girlfriend. I was actually fishing with my brother. She even called our daughter in the middle of the night claiming they were trying kill her. They were very caring and understanding but it just caused too much stress on everyone to try that again. At home she's okay without the severe mental lapses. Thanks again.


Hi Chuck,

Unfortunately that's one of the things I was afraid of and why I said if she will tolerate it. My father was willing but my mother did exactly as you describe your wife doing. It just wasn't worthwhile in her case. I'm sorry this didn't work out for you, I hope you find some relief soon. If there is anything I can do or a question I can answer, please ask.



Hello Chuck,

Welcome to the community.

Question: what actions seem to calm your wife down from a panic attack -- speaking in a calm voice, repeating certain phrases, etc.? If she is calmed by the sound of your voice, think about recording what you typically say to bring her back to a relaxed state (or keeping her relaxed).

Might be worth a try, at least to see if a reassuring recording is useful.

All the best.


Thanks for the welcome and suggestion. When my wife has a panic attack, as you indicated, I try to talk to her in a calm relaxing manner telling to just try and relax and take deep breaths in thru her nose and out thru her mouth. I might try a light shoulder massage to relax her shoulders. Sometimes I'll even give her a sedative (ativan). They all seem to work in varying degrees either separately or collectively. As far as recording my voice, that probably wouldn't work because she wouldn't remember to turn on the recording. She can't even remember to take a nitro for her intermittent chest pain. I do appreciate the suggestion. Thanks so much.


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