My mother-in-law is not opening her eyes or talking anymore. What does this mean? [ 03/11/13 ]
Assuming she has Alzheimer’s, your mother-in-law could be in the late stage of the disease. During this stage, people lose the ability to communicate with words. They will sleep often and grunting or moaning is common.
Though a person in the late stage of Alzheimer's typically loses the ability to talk and express needs, they can still experience the world through their senses. There are ways you can engage her—through touch, sound, sight, taste, and smell. Some ideas: play her favorite music; read books to her; go through old photo albums; brush her hair; on a nice day, sit outside with her; rub a nice smelling lotion into her skin; cook a favorite food, and even though she may not eat any, she may recognize the smell.
Can you think of other rituals of the senses she might enjoy?
If an Alzheimer's patient does not have a will, which child becomes the primary caregiver by law in Virginia? There is a situation where both sons are at odds. [ 03/11/13 ]
In general, this question is best addressed with an attorney in the state where the person with Alzheimer’s lives. Especially where there is disagreement, it is advisable, where possible, to work with someone in the legal field so as to protect the patient’s interest.
My dad recently had surgery on his knee and had to go to my sister’s home to get care because my mother has Alzheimer's disease. My mom also needs care but since she hasn’t been in her home in two weeks she has gotten worse; there has been a significant decline in her memory. Is this normal, and if she goes back to her surroundings will she likely improve? [ 03/11/13 ]
Changes in environment for someone with Alzheimer’s can be very disorienting and confusing. It is possible that returning to her home will be comforting for her and will help her return to her previous level or close to it. However, it is difficult to know without going ahead and moving her back. If it is safe to do so, and your parents have appropriate support at home, moving them back would be a good step. Maintaining a calm and supportive environment is very important for your mom to remain at her optimum.
That said, caring for two people with different needs is challenging. Obviously, your father’s needs have to be considered as well. If you find it difficult to determine your options, it would be wise to reach out to their physicians, or a local senior specialist who could assist you to determine the best course of action.
My mom is 89 years old and has not been well as she is losing weight and not eating. However, having been feeling quite poorly for a couple of weeks (she was being treated for a chest infection and anemia) she is eating now well but is very confused and doesn’t want to get out of bed or have visitors. She needs to get up because of bed sores but won't do it. My father is at the end of his tether. [ 03/11/13 ]
This is worrisome. If the bed sores are infected, this could be the source of the confusion. It is great that she is now eating well, and hopefully this will stabilize her weight. For her sake though, please contact her physician immediately and bring this to his/her attention. They may want to see her in the office, or if they have already seen her recently, perhaps they could schedule home health for wound care.
Regarding your father’s fatigue, this is completely normal and understandable. Is there someone who can give him a daily break? Everyone needs respite, especially from the demands of caregiving. Are there funds available to pay for a home health aide a few times per week? Depending on where they live, contact the local Area Agency on Aging. They are a good resource and can help direct you toward services in the area.
My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in September. She had surgery for colon cancer four years ago, developed an infection, and almost died. After she recovered she started having trouble thinking of words. Last July, she had an eye infection and she became very agitated about having to put drops in her eyes. I couldn't understand why she made such a big deal out of it. After days of her complaining, I became angry and yelled at her. She was scheduled to visit my sister, but at the last minute said she wasn't going. I insisted that she go as all plans were made. When we got there she did not know my sister. How could she forget her daughter from one week to the next? Things have gotten worse since then. She has forgotten how to use her microwave and thinks I replaced it with a new one. She still lives alone but I go to her home daily. Am I doing the right thing? I’m nervous, scared, guilty, and mad all the time. [ 03/11/13 ]
Have you talked to her physician about these problems? If not, please do so. Additionally, she is at risk being home alone. Is there a way to have someone live with her? Could she live with a family member? If no family is available during the day, are there resources for home health aides, or a nearby adult day center in her community? A good place to start looking for resources is your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA). They can help with resource finding. If you are the only family member available to assist her, you may need more assistance with your caregiver role. The AAA can guide you to resources for you as well as your mother.
I have a 70-year-old mom who has Alzheimer’s disease. I am one of five siblings. Two of my sisters and my brother want to put her into a department of an institution where they care for patients in all stages of Alzheimer’s. I and my younger sister do not want to send her there. Is it wise to put people with different stages of Alzheimer’s in the same unit? I feel a patient that is just in the beginning stages of the disease should be allowed their dignity and not be with other patients that are in stage 3 and 4 already. Our mom also has a wish to be as close to her church as possible. I know there will be a stage where she will not remember where she is living anymore. Can Alzheimer’s patients live in their own room until it is necessary to move them to the next department? I feel her wish should be granted although she forgets things most of the time. Please send advice as soon as possible. [ 11/21/12 ]
From your question, it appears your mother is in the early stages of Alzheimer's and her primary symptom is memory loss. She is still making some decisions, and is able to let her wishes be known. Whether she can live in her own room is a question that would best be answered with a functional assessment. If there is one particular facility you are all considering, they should assess her to determine the appropriate level of care. Alternatively, you could engage the services of the local Area Agency on Aging, or a geriatric care manager (GCM) to conduct an in-home assessment. Having the guidance of a local geriatric professional, such as a GCM would also be useful as your mother progresses through the disease. There will be more decisions to make as time goes on, and engaging the GCM can help you and your siblings with decisions that benefit your mother.
My mother, always a difficult person, lives far away from me. I saw her recently for her 70th birthday and she was mentally quite redundant, irritable, and sort of lost. When I talk to her on the phone, she asks me the same questions that she asked a few days ago. She brings up weird things, such as if I've ever heard of a grain called quinoa. No matter what I say, she goes on and on about the topic. I can't figure it out. My brother and my Dad, who see her often, don't notice anything unusual. But it's really irritating and alarming! Am I helping her by gently bringing her attention to her repetitiveness or am I making her feel bad unnecessarily? I see the degeneration and I don't know if I should "play along" with a three minute lesson on quinoa (again!) or if I should nip it and tell her, "Mom, yes. I do know what quinoa is," in which case she acts hurt! I really don't know how to handle this. My grandpa, her dad, had dementia and we all just played along. It was bizarre. [ 11/21/12 ]
Because these behaviors could be the result of a number of things, the best way to know what is underlying them is to have a medical evaluation by her primary care physician. Her blood work may reveal some underlying deficiencies. Dementia could be playing a role as well.
My mother-in-law has Alzheimer's disease and her cognitive health has declined a great deal recently. She gets confused and scared easily. She is even scared to go see her primary care doctor because she thinks they are going to do something painful to her, even though I constantly reassure her that it is just a checkup. What can be done for her anxiety? She is already taking Namenda. [ 11/21/12 ]
Anxiety such as you describe is not at all unusual. Her physician should be consulted about it, with the possibility of prescribing an anti-anxiety medication. If it is just too difficult to get her to go, ask her physician for an order to have a visiting nurse assess her at home. Being in her own environment would likely be less threatening to her than a doctor's office.