Hi Judy. Those sound like really helpful tips for trying to make bathing less stressful for both parties.
I don't know if you saw my post about mirrors a few weeks ago -- it was something I had discovered in my travels online. Mirrors may cause of some agitation in Alzheimer's patients because the patients don't recognize themselves and think a stranger is looking at them while they're naked. I have no idea how often this happens, but it was something I would never have considered.
I'm so sorry about the loss of your mother. Losing a parent is so horribly painful.
Please don't agonize over not being able to understand what she was saying to you. I know it's very frustrating, but it's not your fault that you couldn't understand her. There could be any number of reasons why she was unable to speak clearly at that point, and probably nobody would have been able to understand her -- it's not something you did wrong, but just a physical part of whatever was wrong with her at the time.
My uncle recently died and he also was in the advanced stages of Alzheiemer's, but it was a stroke that ended his life. We could make out a couple of things he said in the hospital, but most of it was just totally unintelligible. There was nothing anyone could have done about it, unfortunately.
Maybe your mother was saying, "I love you."
WebMD has a grief community that might be helpful to you. The people there have suffered heartbreaking losses, too, and may be able to give you some comfort and support. Of course, you're very welcome to continue to post here, too.
I hope that you will be able to find some peace soon, but I know the heartache never really goes away.View Thread
You're in a difficult situation, since you don't live that close to her. It's very kind of you to take on this responsibility in your husband's absence.
It definitely sounds like your mother-in-law should not be living alone. If the decision is left up to her, though, she will never allow any help. She's not capable of making the best decision for her own well-being.
I would suggest letting her doctor know your concerns, and contacting the Alzheimer's Association in her area to see what resources they can recommend that might help you.
My aunt, who is the caregiver for my uncle, who has Alzheimer's, recently hired a case manager who specializes in patients with dementia. She's an RN who works closely with my uncle's doctor, and having her on board is really helping. My uncle likes her very much and he seems to accept what she tells him. After two years of getting very angry at the suggestion of bringing in someone to help my aunt, he was fine when she said that my aunt needed someone to come in every morning to help him bathe and dress -- she told him that's the only way he would be able to continue to live at home.
Sometimes, Alzheimer's patients are more willing to listen to someone outside the family, especially when that person just says, "this is what has to be done." When it's a family member telling them something like they can't drive, or can't live alone any more, I think they see it as mean people trying to ruin their lives.
Best of luck to you -- this sounds like quite a stressful situation.View Thread
Pjnana, my uncle was having violent episodes and his doctor prescribed Zyprexa, which has helped tremendously. It's an anti-pschotic drug and carries some risks for dementia patients, but sometimes the benefits outweigh the possible risks.
Her doctor should be able to find something to help control her abusive moods.View Thread
Ttommy, you're really fortunate to have a doctor who spends the time to make sure you get the medications and dosages that will help you. I think that a lot of people are given medications and then nobody really follows up.
I could never guess from reading your posts that you have Alzheimer's. Whatever you are doing seems to be working well.
We do have a couple of other people here with early-onset Alzheimer's, including Gken9. Floridapoolbum also has early-onset Alzhemer's, and he writes a blog about his experiences living with the disease.
It's nice to see you here, and I hope you'll continue to post.View Thread
You can contact your local Alzheimer's or Senior's groups -- they should be in the phone book. Or a lot of towns have a 211 information service, where you dial 211 and tell them what you're trying to find, and they can let you know which groups or organizations can help you.
You could also go to www.alz.org and they have a list of local chapters of the Alzheimer's Organization.
Another option is probably your newspaper. Once a week, our local paper lists all of the support organizations available in town.
Another thing that might help, with eating as well as other things, is not asking her open-ended questions. For instance, instead of asking her if she's hungry or if she wants to eat, just say "I'm making some sandwiches. Would you rather have peanut butter or ham?"
Often, when you ask a yes or no question, the answer you get is no. If you skip that part and just present it as something that's happening, but give her some say in it, a battle is less likely.
You could try the same strategy for other things. For instance, instead of asking if she's ready to take a shower, tell her you turned the water on for her and you'll lay out her clothes -- would she rather wear her blue shirt or her red sweater?
Of course, there's no guarantee any of that will work, but it does seem to work for us, more often than not. I think the key is trying to remember that she probably isn't capable of making proper decisions on her own, so the more you make for her -- while giving her a couple of choices, when possible -- the easier it is for her, and the less overwhelmed she'll feel.View Thread