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Thread: Alzheimers

  1. #26
    bkb
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    if she gets more odd behaviors after 3 in the afternoon that is called sundown syndrome. lots of people with dementia get "worse" as the day goes on. You must get away even for just an hour or two, it might be best for her if you do this in the mornings. feel free to PM me, if I can help I will,maybe not in person at least give advice. some nursing homes offer daycare in these situations that may be an option for you.

  2. #27
    Super Member Maride's Avatar
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    You are blessed for what you are doing.

    As a teenager I saw my grandfather suffer from Alz. It sounds to me that your Mom has dementia and not ALZ. In Alz there is a slow regression in time in the mind of the patient. He started showing weird behavior like running away from home, playing funny tricks on us, eventually he forgot how to dress himself, go to the bathroom on his own, even walk. He dies 8 year later in fetal position.

    Your Mom is going through a normal part of her life and the best you can do for her is to go along. Try to talk to her as much as possible and take advantage of the good days. Forget the bad ones. Her life is not passing by. I can understand you wishing to make her life brighter, but it is hard sometimes. Also don't forget to take care of yourself. If she gets mad because you went out, she will forget about it soon enough. Get help and take time off often. I saw my MOm take care of my grandma for 15 years and never took one day off. It was not fair to her.

    Take care.

  3. #28
    Super Member oldswimmer's Avatar
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    Oh ladies....all of your comments brought tears to my eyes. I was the primary caregiver to my mother, who had Alzheimers. We eventually had to put her in a home, and my Dad in another home. It turned out to be the best for both of them. I was in my early thirties, and was trying to raise two children and take care of parents in seperate facilities. I did figure out early that you DID have to try to be in whatever reality they were in at the time....it was a very hard thing, but got easier with time.
    My prayers go out to you that are dealing with this terrible disease. Enjoy the good "moments" as they come.

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkb
    if she gets more odd behaviors after 3 in the afternoon that is called sundown syndrome. lots of people with dementia get "worse" as the day goes on. You must get away even for just an hour or two, it might be best for her if you do this in the mornings. feel free to PM me, if I can help I will,maybe not in person at least give advice. some nursing homes offer daycare in these situations that may be an option for you.
    I am going through this with my 89 year Mom. It is rough I am the only child. Pm me if you want.

  5. #30
    mim
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    My heart goes out to you. I have been a caregiver for several Alz people and when it isn't your family it is easier,
    My SIL started ALZ in her 50s -- part of the effect of Lyme desease. She can still swallow but has forgotten how to feed herself. She is in a nursing home in a restricted Alz area. She has no idea who anyone is and is happy within her own little world.

    Please try to get yourself some help. I know this board is here for you with love and hugs. We all have shoulders to lean on.

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldswimmer
    Oh ladies....all of your comments brought tears to my eyes. I was the primary caregiver to my mother, who had Alzheimers. We eventually had to put her in a home, and my Dad in another home. It turned out to be the best for both of them. I was in my early thirties, and was trying to raise two children and take care of parents in seperate facilities. I did figure out early that you DID have to try to be in whatever reality they were in at the time....it was a very hard thing, but got easier with time.
    My prayers go out to you that are dealing with this terrible disease. Enjoy the good "moments" as they come.
    This is so true. Often during my days as an admin in an Alz facility I would hear friends and family trying to tell their loved one what date it "really was" etc. This only confuses them more. Just go along with them.

  7. #32
    Super Member kathdavis's Avatar
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    Your mother sounds like a normal Alzheimer's patient. I took care of my dad and had two young daughters at the same time. Just remember to take care of yourself. Your mother will be fine, but if something happens to you, it won't be good for anyone.

  8. #33
    Super Member plainpat's Avatar
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    There was a TV show called "The Long Goodbye"about alzheimers that showed a lot of what caregivers go thru.
    A neighbor's husband would take clothes off, then run down the street.He wasn't mean & would go along quietly with who ever returned him to his home. The Dr explained to his wife that no one could know why he did what he did.His mind was gone & he needed care to get him thru the last of his life. She kept him home & later on also took care of a bro with the same disease.
    A friends DH is in a home,because he did get mean & she couldn't handle him.After 50 some yrs, he no longer knows her....or anyone else.
    It's a sad situation for all concerned & I agree ,you need to have time off...if only for an eve or a few hrs to get away from the house.It does you good & makes you a better care giver.

  9. #34
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    Not gonna bore you w/our sit except to say Mom lives with us, 89, and been with us for 4 years. Her alz has been progressing rapidly for the past year.

    What you MUST do is find respite care for yourself even if it's only for an hour. You need the mental break from the stress.

    Only suggestion I have is to make sure to have the doors locked, especially at night, and a lock she can't figure out how to work. It would be terrible to have her wander off and get lost. My intention is not to scare you but just to warn you.

    Hugs!

  10. #35
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    My husband went to Harbor Freight and bought a surveillance camera and a driveway monitor, and we have put them in her room. I was having to check on her every 15 minutes because she would try to get up out of bed and I was afraid she would go out the house. Those two items have kept us from going crazy ourselves. They really work. My husband put the camera on her dresser and the monitor in his study across the hall from her and he sees everything that goes on and then if he sees something wrong he goes to her. The driveway monitor is for her trying to get out of bed. We have a hospital bed with bed rails. That helps me alot because the rising of the bed. Just a thought. They really were a life saver for us. My husband is 75 and I am 62 and Mother is 89.

  11. #36
    MTS
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    For caregivers who are overwhelmed and puzzled by the actions of their AD relative/friend/whatever, may I suggest reading this article:

    Understanding the Dementia Experience
    http://www.alzheimercambridge.on.ca/...Experience.pdf

    It's a really fascinating look at what is going on inside the heads of dementia patients, and how they view the world.

    It's a bit long (in .pdf format so you can download it and print it out), but not in medical-ese. It's very well written, and easily understandable.

    I had numerous aha! moments when I first read it.

  12. #37

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    Hello! I found that when my mother got upset or angry, music made her settle down. The comment earlier about just going with her to wherever she is was great. The road will get really rough at times but my thoughts were that she had rough times with raising us as well.... Hang in there!

  13. #38
    MTS
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    Quote Originally Posted by trueimage
    My dad has dementia. I had asked the doc if it were possible for my dad to take anti depressants and if that would help the mood swings. He just gave my dad a questionaire and decided dad wasn't depressed. ugh....! The mood swings are horrible and he is not the same loving man that raised me. I'm going to bring it up to the doc again. It's a painful disease for the family.
    Just because someone has an MD, doesn't mean they know everything about every disease.

    A freaking questionnaire to determine if someone is depressed? For an AZ patient to fill out?

    You're kidding, right?

    Find a new doctor. Call the local AZ chapter in your city and ask for recommendations for a Neurologist and/or a Geri-Psychiatrist, who specializes in Dementia.

    There are other drugs that might help your father, including anti-psychotics. My mother is now on Zyprexa and has been for around 5 months. She's not zonked out at all, just a lot calmer, A LOT, than before. She also takes Fluoxetine (Prosac generic). She does still have her moments every now and then, but life is much more pleasant for everyone.

    She was originally prescribed Symbyax, which is a combo of the Zyprexa/Prosac (well, their generics). It was crazy ridiculous expensive, so I broke it down, and now get the Zyprexa generic from Canada, and the Prosac generic here.

    Bliss.

    Really, the changes were almost immediate. And, yes, I've read the warnings. Which, when you dig down a bit, aren't as dire. But would you rather have your father/mother raging 20 hours a day?

    I would also have your father checked for a UTI (urinary tract infection). I wasn't aware until recently that these can cause havoc in (elderly) dementia patients. They go undetected, and drs often don't check because they don't know. But the patient doesn't realize anything is wrong, or can't communicate, and there are sometimes no symptoms other than the totally erratic, aggressive, out-of-control behavior. Start with the UTI check first.

  14. #39
    Super Member tjradj's Avatar
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    You've received some very accurate and compassionate advice. Apply what you can to your situation. Do what you can to reduce situations that cause anxiety for your mom. Some Alz/dementia patients can become extremely anxious by changes in routine. A different room, a different care giver, a different mail man, what ever.
    Some regress into the fears of their life. A man may not go to bed because "it's not his" or "he can't pay this hotel bill", a fear from depression years.
    Some will not keep clothes on, the next one will need the closet locked because she won't remember she is dressed and get dressed over and over again until she's overheating in so many layers.
    Some will not be able to sit down, because they're in the "have to walk" phase, just keep handing them their sandwich back again after they set it down to walk. Some will regress to need a teddy bear to comfort them at bedtime.
    As one lady said, don't try to bring them into your world, try to meet them in their world. That is sage advice.

  15. #40
    Senior Member trueimage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTS
    Quote Originally Posted by trueimage
    My dad has dementia. I had asked the doc if it were possible for my dad to take anti depressants and if that would help the mood swings. He just gave my dad a questionaire and decided dad wasn't depressed. ugh....! The mood swings are horrible and he is not the same loving man that raised me. I'm going to bring it up to the doc again. It's a painful disease for the family.
    Just because someone has an MD, doesn't mean they know everything about every disease.

    A freaking questionnaire to determine if someone is depressed? For an AZ patient to fill out?

    You're kidding, right?

    Find a new doctor. Call the local AZ chapter in your city and ask for recommendations for a Neurologist and/or a Geri-Psychiatrist, who specializes in Dementia.

    There are other drugs that might help your father, including anti-psychotics. My mother is now on Zyprexa and has been for around 5 months. She's not zonked out at all, just a lot calmer, A LOT, than before. She also takes Fluoxetine (Prosac generic). She does still have her moments every now and then, but life is much more pleasant for everyone.

    She was originally prescribed Symbyax, which is a combo of the Zyprexa/Prosac (well, their generics). It was crazy ridiculous expensive, so I broke it down, and now get the Zyprexa generic from Canada, and the Prosac generic here.

    Bliss.

    Really, the changes were almost immediate. And, yes, I've read the warnings. Which, when you dig down a bit, aren't as dire. But would you rather have your father/mother raging 20 hours a day?

    I would also have your father checked for a UTI (urinary tract infection). I wasn't aware until recently that these can cause havoc in (elderly) dementia patients. They go undetected, and drs often don't check because they don't know. But the patient doesn't realize anything is wrong, or can't communicate, and there are sometimes no symptoms other than the totally erratic, aggressive, out-of-control behavior. Start with the UTI check first.
    Thanks for the advice! We see the doc on Monday. My dad is a vet so we go to the VA. I have to say that I have actually been impressed with this hospital and it doesn't fit the stereotype of most VAs.

  16. #41
    Senior Member pinecone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTS
    Call the local AZ chapter in your city and ask for recommendations for a Neurologist and/or a Geri-Psychiatrist, who specializes in Dementia.
    That would be a good place to start. DMIL lived with us for 7 years, having what was called Lewie Bodys dementia with Parkinsons symptoms, just a for under the umbrella of dementia. I read the book "The 36 hour Day" about care giving. Find a support group, they will all share experiences and be able to tell you about resources. In my state there was grant monies for respite care, a Godsend. DH and I took off for a few days a few times and also used it when DD graduated from college.
    When she would say "my slippers are in room 3" I knew she was back in the country hotel where she grew up. Alz. is an acceptance disease, some people try to correct but that is futile. There were days she would say she was kidnapped, she was perfectly fine and just take her home.
    At times she was lucid and would say to me "I'm sorry to put you through all this" and I would just reply, "we all need help now and then" she didn't need to know it was 24/7.
    Along with the locks suggested, we put a high latch on the cellar doorway so she wouldn't fall down the stairs, we also turned off the circuitbreaker to the stove at night. It got so we had to put a child lock on the 'fridge as she would forget to close the door.
    Hugs, deep breath, and lots of patience. It looks like many are here to help.

    piney

  17. #42
    Super Member plainpat's Avatar
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    This is such a heartbreaking & uplifting thread.Bless all the care givers going thru this.My Mom was in a nursing home due to a fall & was ok until a few wks before she died.She became more quiet & seldom talked,wasn't hungry.Dr said it was just a closing down,due to age.

    She would always smile at me & DH,so the last 2 wks,we stayed with her all the time,one of us going home for shower & sleep, then back to relieve the other.We talked to her as we'd always done & she'd smile,then fall asleep.Mom just slept away & didn't take another breath.
    It's been 2 yrs & we miss her,but at 90....life wasn't going to get better & I can't wish her back.

  18. #43
    Super Member Toto's Mom's Avatar
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    I took care of my Mom for the last several years of her life, until she got so I simply couldn't manage it alone any more, and had to put her in an Alzheimer's unit for the last 2 years.

    Some of the behavior ( threatening, hoarding) was the same with Mom. She would threaten Dad, and we noticed all of the kitchen knives were disappearing. After she went in the nursing home, I found 14 of them, wrapped in a dish towel, and stashed in her room.
    She had a thing about hoarding used paper towels, and she would press the wrinkles out by hand, and carefully stash them in Zip lock baggies. Everywhere.
    Since she, too, would grieve if she knew there was a death, but didn't understand who, I opted not to tell her when her sister died, as Mom did not make the connection by then. It is SO hard to know if what you are doing is right or not, but I simply wanted to save her heartache, when she didn't know who her sister was any more.

    Many hospitals have caregivers group meetings, and daycare for the patient, too. I found the support group and the trained nurse that conducted the meetings to be a Godsend for me, and for Mom, too. She enjoyed the outing, and I could actually take her with me and know that she was okay, if I had to use the rest-room.

    Alzheimer's takes a worse toll on the family than it does on the patient, as they really don't know what is happening.
    At the time, I was trying to raise my last errant teenager alone, and did part time duty with another lady with Alzheimer's to be able to do what I needed to for Mom.

    She has been gone for 13 years, now, and I just have Dad to care for. He is 94, and although he had a stroke 10 years ago, is still living on his own, with my help. He, on the other hand, has a memory like a steel trap, and can tell what happened in 1920, as a 3 yr. old.
    I had a sister, but her sole concern has always been money and a phone call or card from her once a year was always her best effort for our parents. She only shows up when someone dies, to see what she can get.
    It becomes especially hard when the sole responsibility falls on one person.
    I am especially blessed, as my formerly delinquent daughter grew up, settled down, and she helps me see to Dad's needs when I call.
    Prayer is also the best nerve medication available. God listens when you need to scream and cry.
    It is a hard road and God bless you for caring like you do.
    If there is any time I can help you, please PM me. If it will help any I will even give you my email addy and my phone number.
    [[[[HUGS]]]]
    Nancy

  19. #44
    Super Member plainpat's Avatar
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    A woman I knew told me her Mom had alzheimers so bad,she spent 13 yrs in a home,knowing no one.The daughter got it too & was gone in just over 1 yr.Don't feel bad if she neds more care than you can provide.We can all just do the best we can.

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