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
I'm sorry for the situation with your parents. It sounds very difficult, especially since you have made such a major change in your own life in order to help them.
Because of your training, I wonder if you're trying to deal with your parents rationally, when they aren't able to process the logic in what you say. I don't know much about ASD, but people who have Alzheimer's often can't be reasoned with. This is an example from my family: My uncle has dementia, as well as fairly advanced emphysema and COPD, and he had throat cancer 7-8 years ago. He continued to chain smoke, and being told by doctors and his wife that he had to stop smoking for his health didn't do any good at all -- it just made him angry. A new doctor told my aunt to put a nicotine patch on him and tell him that if he smoked while wearing the patch, it would make him very sick, and he hasn't asked for another cigarette in the three or so weeks since then. After years of people trying to reason with him about smoking, all it took to actually get him to stop was telling him that if he had one, it would make him sick. He never even questioned it.
Instead of trying to talk your mother into eating, maybe you could prepare something, set places at the table for the two or three of you, and just say "Lunch is ready", and guide her to the table to sit with you. Make it a simple routine, rather than a discussion about how she needs to eat more. Have you tried getting her to drink Boost or Ensure? Maybe if she likes milk shakes, you could freeze them and then run them through a blender, or add ice cream to them.
As far as getting her to a neurologist, instead of trying to convince your father that it's necessary, what about just making an appointment and telling them she's seeing a new doctor, who just wants to check her out and make sure she's healthy? There's no reason to go into a lot of detail.
Your parents are both obviously in denial about your mother's deteriorating condition, and I think that's something that every family affected by Alzheimer's has to deal with. Trying to convince them that she is showing signs of dementia is probably only going to upset them. They don't want to face the reality of the situation, and they will resent you for trying to make them face it. They will probably be more accepting if it if they hear it from someone like a doctor.
I can't imagine that there would be any legal ramifications for you whatsoever. For one thing, you're not treating them professionally -- you're a family member. To get into legal trouble, I think it would take way more than having a hard time convincing them to eat or go to a doctor. The only times I have ever heard of family members getting in legal trouble for lack of care of another family member is when they intentionally abused or grossly neglected that person. Every family affected by Alzheimer's goes through the same thing you are, where it seems almost impossible to get the person to do what's necessary for her health. It's one of the most frustrating parts of the disease.
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to find an Alzheimer's support group. Besides the emotional support, the people in the group can tell you how they dealt with some of the issues you're dealing with now, and will be facing in the future. There's nothing like the voice of experience.
A lot of people have posted about the Alzheimer's patients in their lives being agitated, aggressive, restless and/or irritable. I just read in the Consumer Reports Health Newsletter that listening to music may help ease those symptoms, as well as the tendency to wander.View Thread
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