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Thread: Alzheimer's

  1. #11
    Rock Stars! bbnbama's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by canuckinchile View Post
    My mom is fine, but my brother AND I still have powers of attorney in case. I think it is good for both of us to have it since that way my mom has peace of mind.
    I agree with you canuckinchile 100%. Me and my brother have POA of our mom who, fortunately for us, is NOT ill but I believe its best to be prepared for anything. I work for an attorney and seeing things that have happened with families makes you realize that you need to take care of issues like that, even tho they may not be pleasant.

    I've never had to deal with Alzheimer's but I think it is one of the most cruelest diseases out there. It has always made me incredibly sad when I think about all that Ronald Reagan accomplished and did in his life, the people he met and the things he did for this country and to end up not knowing or remembering any of that just makes my heart break. giz, you along with other FORTers who are having to deal with this disease, will be in my prayers today.
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  2. #12
    FORT Fogey
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    Giz, the good news is that there are all sorts of options available now to give your mom the best care possible that is focused on HER needs. Whether it's a nursing home, assisted living, home health care, etc. By talking to her, I'm sure you'll be able to assertain what her biggest concerns are, with the realization that her life WILL be changing.

    My closest expereince with dimentia is my great uncle, who I just got back from visiting. He's been diagnosed with it for several years. My great aunt is still sharp as a tac mentally, but is going blind. Her daughter recognized a few years ago that they needed more help than she could provide, and brought in home health care. They have a nurse that is with them all day, and she is FANTASTIC. She makes sure they're fed, taking their medication, their home is clean, etc. During the time I was with them, I was really impressed with everything that she does. In addition to taking care of their health needs, she also serves many "house keeping" duties. As an example, when my parents and I arrived at their home, she offered us something to drink.

    It sounds like you're focused in the right direction - recognizing your mom can't continue to be completely on her own, and getting help from great resources. It's certainly a tough road to go down, but fortunate that there are so many resources -- use them!

  3. #13
    FORT Fogey veejer's Avatar
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    My sympathies to you, giz. I've never had to deal with this in my family. A good friend is walking this road with her mom, only in her 70s. Fortunately her dad is still very able and does all the care. He just needs emotional support from her and her brothers at this point.

    Quote Originally Posted by canuckinchile View Post
    My mom is fine, but my brother AND I still have powers of attorney in case. I think it is good for both of us to have it since that way my mom has peace of mind.
    When my dad died unexpectedly, my mom was only 68. One of the first things she did was give me POA, as I'm the only one of the three siblings who lives close by. That was 12 years ago and she's still fine. Her mom and older sister lived well into their 90s.

  4. #14
    RESIDENT JEDI MASTER Stargazer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by doxie View Post

    I hope that you don't take this the wrong way - Alzheimers/Dementia is nothing to laugh at. I hope that everyone who is going through this with someone they love can look back on their experience in a couple of years and smile at a funny story. We'll be thinking about you.
    Oh, sometimes laughter is a good thing. Laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation is sometimes the only relief there is in taking care of someone that's lost their mind.
    "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter."- Yoda

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  5. #15
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    Good advice indeed.
    We went through this with my FIL, who lived into his 90's. My MIL who was almost a decade younger was determined to keep him at home, and did until he fell (just walking around) and broke his hip. It almost drove her nuts though...especially near the end when he was up at all hours, waking her up so she was getting no sleep, worrying about him starting a fire or walking out of the house, etc. Just keeping him clean, well dressed (important to her) and fed was a day's work. Near the end we persuaded her to have people come in to help during the day so she could go out to the YWCA each am and get the occasional break (although this still didn't help with the night wandering). He also had some of the personality changes you mention...he was always a very mild, proper, quiet man, and he could get quite aggressive verbally we heard...and even propositioned one of the "helpers", offering to wear a condom! Fortunately both the helper and my MIL found that amusing....
    Now my MIL, also in her 90's, is beginning to fail, and we cannot persuade her to move to assisted living, but also are having trouble persuading her to accept any help at home. We'd like to keep her in her home, even if that means a shorter actual life for her, as it is clearly what she wants, and wanted even when she was "all there", but it's tough. She won't wear a Lifeline pendant ("too bulky"!!), doesn't want extra help checking on her, etc., even though the money is there in her account to use for this. We've set up automatic bill payment for most of her bills now, so she won't lose the house to taxes or have the utilities shut off, and we get a copy of her account charges, VISA bills, etc. to make sure she isn't being ripped off. Fortunately she is so foggy now that no telephone salesman could walk her through writing a check to a fake charity...one kind of blessing. And luckily she has a saintly neighbor that she will let help, who does. We live 1000 miles away and there are no other kids...a big worry. With her the personality changes have all been for the better...she's much more cheerful and less bit__y than she used to be...unless you bring up moving!
    We are also going thru it with my mom, who's 90, but not nearly as bad yet...but we've set up the automatic bill paying for her, as she almost had her utilities cut off just before a major ice storm. She says she's willing to move into one of the retirement communities with "stages", and has put down a deposit, but she's clearly reluctant...we'll see what happens when an apt. comes up.
    So you never can tell how it's going to go, but good that you spotted it early and have gotten advice. The only useful thing I can add is the automatic bill paying... you can make it for all bills or just some like utilities if you want, and if you get your name on things you can ask for copies of the bills to be sent to you to make sure she isn't being cheated. This only works if she's got a solid bank balance of course, but if she does it is a real load off your mind, as ability to be organized enough to pay bills seems to be one of the first things to go. And it helps her stay in her home.

  6. #16
    FORT Fogey Muduh's Avatar
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    We have told all three of our kids that when the time comes, whether we agree or not, to put us where we need to be. I could write a book about the selfishness of old people who expect the younger ones to give up their lives to make THEIR final years more comfortable. My niece, who has cancer, is stuck spending every other night with her senile mother in law who has "refused" to go to a nursing home. I don't think I'd accept that refusal from a person who can't fix herself a cup of coffee, or drink it without someone holding it so she doesn't burn herself. This has gone on for seven or eight years.

  7. #17
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    Oh, giz. There's alzheimers in my family on my mom's side and I worry about her getting it when she gets older. My grandmother had it and I remember it being very hard on my mom, emotion-wise. I think the advice about power of attorney is good, as well as the idea of looking into a nursing home. She might not need it now, but a lot of them have long waiting lists, and it's always best to know your options anyhow. And I'm sure all the alzheimers assocations people have mentioned have a wealth of information and tips.
    Take care, giz.
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  8. #18
    Wishing for spring Mellon's Avatar
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    I've only had to deal with two cases of Alzheimer's, and both from a distance. My girlfriend's father was diagnosed at 55, and was put into a home within a year. When you get it that young, you go downhill extremely fast.

    The other one was my cousin's grandma. She was fairly lucid right up to the end, but would forget things that she had just done. I'll never forget one Christmas when we were all together. She & her husband always joined my family since their family was just my aunt & uncle and their kids. Anyway, there are over 60 people in my family when we all get together and we have a full potluck dinner every Christmas. This particular Christmas, we had boxes of Ovation chocolates on the tables, and almost every adult in my family smoked at the time. Edna wandered around for awhile while everyone was mingling. My mom turned to grab her cigarettes off the table & found that they were missing. She mentioned something and Edna was around at that moment and offered my mom one of her cigarettes. She pulled the pack out of her purse, and they were my mom's!!! Right after she pulled those out, she offered my mom an Ovation! It was very amusing, and is a fond memory to all of us. She was a sweet lady.

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  9. #19
    giz
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    Mellon, my mum's like that at the moment. Quite sensible sometimes, but very forgetful at others. I've just discovered that she's been giving someone money, don't know who yet, but basically they've taken everything. So that's fun! I've got to say, too, I told a friend, a lawyer, and she has been so helpful. People are so awful about lawyers, but when you need one they are the best.

  10. #20
    When I'm 64 William13's Avatar
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    I don't really have any advice since I am not sure that we handled my father's Alzheimer's all that well. But I did want to add my best wishes.
    If it is of any benefit at all to you here are some of my thoughts about what we went through.
    We tried to keep my father at home as long as possible. It seemed that his short term memory deteriorated first. So as long as he was around things that were familiar he could cope. He couldn't remember that he had just said something, but he could still enjoy the things that he liked for a long time. (He could remember how to play cassettes, but not cds). He could remember my brother and me since he saw us all the time, but not my sister since he didn't see her very often (she lived out of town). He actually thought my sister was someone he had gone to school with.
    When it became obvious that my father would not be able to cope at home much longer, we thought of putting him in a home. Unfortunately, it was not that easy. His doctor said that we had financial power of attorney (luckily he had signed that over to my sister-in-law before he started having problems), but that we did not have medical power of attorney. So we could not just put him into a home. The doctor said that my father would have to say that he wanted to put himself into a nursing home. However, the doctor said that my father was mentally unable to make that decision rationally. That kind of put us in a bind. It was only after my father had wandered off and got lost (it was impossible for us to watch him all the time and he still loved to go bike riding - we should have hidden his bike), that the police got involved and a social worker that we were able to put him into a nursing home. I sure hope that you do not have that problem.
    After we did get him placed, visiting him was the hardest thing that I ever had to do. He still remembered me and he still remembered his home and each time I saw him he asked me if I had come to take him home.
    It really is frustrating, because there is nothing that you can do to cure the disease. You have to be patient with someone with Alzheimers.
    When we visited my father, we kept a little diary describing how the visit went and how my father was. That was especially important for people who did not visit as often again. It also helped the person visiting, because writing or talking about the visit did not make you feel as so alone. I don't know your family situation, but there was some bad blood between my brother and sister about who was shouldering most of the burden. There was even more when my father passed away. I hope that doesn't happen to you.
    Again, my best wishes. My thoughts are with you and if there is anything at all I can do let me know.

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