Weekly News via Email
   Set as homepage | Add to favorites | Customer Service | Subscribe Now | Place an Ad | Contact Us | Sitemap Friday, 10.24.2014
Classifieds
News Archive
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
 1  2  3  4
 5  6  7  8  9  10  11
 12  13  14  15  16  17  18
 19  20  21  22  23  24  25
 26  27  28  29  30  31
Online Extras
Site Services
Around Bend
Outdoor Fun
Travel Info
Shop Local




Members Of



Poll: Today's Live Poll
Email to a friend | Print this | PDF version | Comments (1 posted) 
  Blogger |   del.icio.us |   digg |   newsvine

Aug 10,2007
Parent Care: Couple exhausted from caring for both moms
by Marsha_Kay Seff

Just when you think caregiving can't get more difficult, you discover it can. Arline and Jim Forkas aren't just looking after one mom with dementia, but two.

This is the second marriage for the Poway, Calif., couple, who have been wed 15 years. They took in her mom six years ago when the three-bedroom house was just 800 square feet. Three years ago, his mother moved in. Both moms have memory problems and heart conditions. His mom, a diabetic who has had several falls, uses a walker.

The Forkases hired a contractor to triple the size of the house. Jim, who works part time as a computer systems analyst for F-18 aircraft, is doing most of the interior work.

"I still don't have enough places to hide," Arline says, only half joking. The former marketing sales director for a retirement home does most of the hands-on care.

Meanwhile, the couple's social life has dwindled. Although they met country-western dancing, they get to dance only two hours a week now. They're afraid to leave the women alone any longer. Then, too, remodeling has made money tight.

The mothers, who met only when they found themselves living under the same roof, "tolerate" each other, according to the couple. Their only conversation is centered on complaints about Arline.

And the daughter is exhausted, overwhelmed with daily activities. "We just go one day at a time."

Because her mom is on Medi-Cal, she's eligible for respite care from In-Home Supportive Services. Arline says she's inquired and is waiting for a follow-up call.

Bathing is a problem with both women. Arline's mom doesn't like to wash her hair, though she's a retired hairdresser. Jim's doesn't bathe, though the couple hope that a new shower bench will make it less foreboding.

I suggest the couple contact the Alzheimer's Association for some tips, as bathing is a common problem for people with dementia. I also suggest hiring a professional to shower the women. Often, a stranger gets better results than family.

How about day care, I ask. Arline says the women don't want to go.

Time for tough love. Before she ends up sick, I tell Arline, she needs time off. Don't ask the women; tell them they're going to day care. Start by taking them to lunch. Then, try once a week, increasing the time gradually. Sitting home, staring at the TV, is no quality of life for the older women anyway.

It's obvious the Forkases are giving their role as caregivers their all. They believe they have no choice, and they're honest enough to admit they're resentful. Though Arline can still laugh at the situation, she says her fuse is shorter than it used to be; so is Jim's.

So what do they do for stress relief? Are they exercising?

Jim has given up biking and golf, but walks occasionally. Arline says she doesn't have time.

I suggest she throw one mom at a time into a wheelchair and push her around the block.

But they don't have wheelchairs.

I advise her to contact their doctors and ask for prescriptions for their HMOs.

What about the future, I ask. The couple say they haven't thought about it because the caregiving seems endless.

Fortunately, there's a hot tub in the backyard and the couple have been hanging out in it lately. "It's our escape," Arline says.

I picture someone finding two shriveled bodies one morning in the tub, and I pray this nice couple can find some help before that happens.

Marsha Kay Seff is editor of The San Diego Union-Tribune's www.sandiegoeldercare.com, a Web site for older folks and their caregivers. She can be contacted at marsha.seff@uniontrib.com.
1437 times read

Related news
Parent Care: A daughter finds closure as advocate by Marsha_Kay_Seff posted on Oct 26,2007


Parent Care: Retirement homes come in all flavors by Marsha_Kay_Seff posted on Nov 09,2007

Parent Care: Generations pool resources for better life by Marsha_Kay_Seff posted on Jun 15,2007

Parent Care: Only so much anyone can do as a caregiver by Marsha_Kay_Seff posted on Oct 05,2007

Did you enjoy this article? Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00 (total 8 votes)

  • My name is Kathy, and I am the primary caregiver for my 79 year old Dad who has Alzheimer's disease and lives with me in North Carolina. I am writing a daily blog that shows the lighter side of caring for someone with dementia. Please pass this link along to anyone you feel would enjoy it. www.KnowItAlz.com Thanks, Kathy
  • (Posted on August 22, 2007, 8:19 am Kathy Hatfield)

Market Information
Breaking News
Most Popular
Most Commented
Featured Columnist
Horoscope Guide
Aquarius Aquarius Libra Libra
Aries Aries Pisces Pisces
Cancer Cancer Sagittarius Sagittarius
Capricorn Capricorn Scorpio Scorpio
Gemini Gemini Taurus Taurus
Leo Leo Virgo Virgo
Local Attractions
Bend Visitors & Convention Bureau
Bend Visitors & Convention Bureau

Mt. Bachelor Resort
Mt. Bachelor Resort

Les Schwab Ampitheater
Les Schwab Ampitheater

Deschutes County Fairgrounds
Deschutes County
Fairgrounds

Tower Theatre
Tower Theatre

The High Desert Museum

Advertisements



Deschutes County

Google  
  Web    BendWeekly.com
© 2006 Bend Weekly News
A .Com Endeavors, Inc. Company.
All Rights Reserved. Terms under
which this service is provided to you.
Please read our Privacy Policy. Contact us.
Bend Weekly News & Event Guide Online
   Save the Net
Advertisement
External sites open in new window,
not endorsed by BendWeekly.com
Subscribe in NewsGator Online
Add to Google Add to MSN Add to My AOL
What are RSS headlines?