I hired 24-hour care for my mother in her home from January of 1992 until she died in January of 2004 from Alzheimer's Disease at the age of 95. She was also in reasonably good health except for the Alzheimer's. She had always wanted to remain in her home so I did my best to keep her there.
I was very fortunate and lucky in finding reliable caregivers but it was very costly and I went though a lot of people before finally finding a strong, reliable staff of 3 caregivers that were with me for 12, 9 and 6 years, respectively. The last year I also used an agency in Pleasant Hill to fill in-my mother lived in the Oakland area. The agency charged me $150 per day. Caregivers are now subject to minimum wage so if you hire people above board, which I did, you will have to pay them from minimum wage to as much as $20 or $30 per hour. Fortunately my mother had money. We used it all and ended up taking out an equity line against her house to continue her care until she died. Hiring caregivers is a very costly endeavor. The last 7 months we also had Hospice-they were wonderful.
The Alzheimer's Association is an invaluable resource for anyone dealing with dementia. They have lots of literature they can send you and a full staff to help with your questions. They have an office in Mountain View and the number is 1-800-660-1993. Another wonderful resource is a caregivers support group where people with similar situations can advise you where to get help and how they dealt with what you are also going through. There is an evening group sponsored by the Alzheimer's Association at Washington Hospital and a day group facilitated by Nancy Rothchild sponsored by the City of Fremont that meets at the city offices. I would not have survived without the support groups.
Another resource I used was the Alzheimer's Disease Center which is part of UC Davis and is a diagnostic center. They are located in Martinez, which may be too far for you but they are very helpful over the phone if you care to call them: 925-372-2485. They are truly experts on dementia. I believe there are also diagnostic centers at or near Stanford and the Alzheimer's Association can tell you about them.
Although I kept my mother at home, it is probably not the best solution for most people-it is an all-consuming task and requires tremendous effort to make it work successfully. Most people find placement a much more satisfactory solution. Adult Day Care is also a good interim alternative to full placement. There are excellent day cares where your loved one can go 5 days a week at very reasonable costs. My mom attended day care once a week for about 2 years-it gave the caregivers a day off and was more cost effective for me.
My husband is now caring for his Aunt with Alzheimer's. We placed her in a very nice facility in Oakland-Mercy Retirement and Care Center-about 2 years ago. As her condition progresses so does the care at the facility. She has adjusted very well to the placement and is pretty happy there. If you do consider placement, don't wait too long. Greg's Aunt was in the very beginning stages of dementia when we placed her so she was able to adjust and help with the necessary decisions before she became too confused.
You are heading down a very difficult path and my heart goes out to you. I sincerely hope that these few suggestions will help you in the many difficult issues you will soon be facing.
Linda Orr Riviera Drive