My mom has dementia/Alzheimer’s disease. Does the death of a family member affect the brain of a patient with these brain disorders? [ 11/13/12 ]
Losing a family member does not physically affect the brain. However, the death may affect your mother emotionally. If your mother was with the person regularly, and she enjoyed and/or depended on him/her, she may sense the absence. If there is a routine time when he/she was normally with your mother (for example, while she is dressing), your mother could show some confusion. If this happens, it will be helpful to reassure her (that you are there to help her dress, for example) and possibly redirect her.
My mother is in the mid-stage of Alzheimer’s disease and lives in an assisted living facility. Approximately twice each month my sister and I take her out for a day or two to stay at our homes. Is this harmful to her in any way? A few of our other siblings seem to think it is. [ 11/13/12 ]
How does your mother seem to react to the trips? If she seems to enjoy the time out and, more importantly, does not show any signs of agitation or distress as her environment changes, it seems the outings would be only a positive experience for her.
My wife has advanced Alzheimer's disease. She often refuses to eat, and if given solid food she chews it, but does not swallow. She chews anything she can get in her mouth, which might include soft toys, her fingers, or her clothes. We got her a baby teething ring and she spent at least 30 minutes chewing it. Is this a normal behavior at this stage of the disease? Is she using this as a way of relaxing or relieving some tension? Should I be concerned about this behavior? [ 11/13/12 ]
People can develop problems with eating in the advanced stage of Alzheimer's. They may lose interest in food, refuse to eat, or they may have difficulty chewing or swallowing. A speech and language pathologist may be able to help your wife with swallowing. You could ask her physician for a referral.
As far as your wife's chewing on objects, it is not uncommon to see this type of behavior. Your wife is using her other senses to experience the world. Since she does not remember the past or consider the future, and is living each day in the present, similar to a child. She is probably not using the chewing as a way of releasing some tension; she is probably just enjoying the sensation. You could let her chew objects as long as the objects are safe and there is no risk of her choking.
My nan has Alzheimer's disease and has been unable to speak "real" words for a few years. She has recently been ill and was taken into a hospital for an infection. My mum rang her care home to let them know what the hospital had said, and they told her that my nan had spoken and told them that she was not well. Can she speak if she wants or needs to? Was it just a coincidence and does she understand when we are speaking to her? My granddad recently died and when my nan was told about his passing she appeared to show concern for a split second; she usually just has a blank expression on her face. [ 11/13/12 ]
In the later stage of Alzheimer's, language decreases, but language can vary greatly from one person to another. Some people don't speak at all, others have some meaningful sentences. The amount a person speaks can also vary. It sounds like this may be the case with your grandmother, in that she is speaking a little recently after a long period of being silent. It is difficult to say what may be the reason the language has broken through or how long it will last, but it is not a matter of her speaking when she wants to speak. Whether she is speaking or not, you should always assume she understands what you are saying to her. As language diminishes, other non-verbal means of communication can be powerful, such as touching the hand, giving a hug, or giving a light massage, if the person suffering from Alzheimer's disease seems to like it.
There is a way stop the progression of Alzheimer's by preventing the inflammation of the capillaries in the brain by creating a 1:1 ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids. What is preventing doctors from using this strategy? [ 11/13/12 ]
Omega-3 fatty acids, such as those that are present in fish oil, have indeed been investigated as a prevention or treatment for Alzheimer's disease. Some scientists who conducted recent clinical studies suggest that when older adults with normal cognitive function take omega-3 fatty acids they may show less cognitive decline. Fish oil has not, however, been definitively shown to stop the progression of Alzheimer's disease once it is established. Further studies are required. The scientific advisors of the BrightFocus Foundation do not currently recommend or endorse any commercial nutritional supplement, exercise program, or cognitive training exercises for the purposes of preventing Alzheimer's disease. In spite of this, BrightFocus encourages people to evaluate the role of these interventions with their doctors on the overall health and spirits of both the patient and caregivers.
My dad has had eight injections for wet macular degeneration and has become extremely agitated during the visit, especially after the injection. He doesn't understand that he can't touch his eye. This seems to be making his disease progress and it isn't really helping his vision. Should we stop the injections? [ 11/12/12 ]
You don't say whether your father has dementia, and if so, how progressed it is. If he does suffer from dementia or Alzheimer's disease, remembering to not touch his eye will be difficult, if not impossible. Something clearly bothers him. By all means, discuss this problem with his physician, as this will help you determine how to proceed.
My mum is in the final stages of Alzheimer’s disease and the doctors have decided to withdraw her off memantine. Can you tell me if there will be any side effects? Mum is in a nursing home as she requires 24-hour nursing care. They are saying this is the end. [ 11/09/12 ]
In general, withdrawing memantine is easily accomplished without side effects. The effects of memantine, like those of the other cognitive enhancers, will dissipate over the course of several weeks following discontinuation.
We have noticed that when my mother gets agitated or tired she cannot hear. Her nurse feels that her ability to dress herself, reason, solve problems, read, write, and use written communication when she is having difficulty hearing are all atypical. Her neurologist says her short-term memory is now gone but that is just not true. She does lose words and misplaces things; however, she does not wander and knows her way around the gated community. What other conditions might cause her symptoms? [ 11/09/12 ]
An atypical presentation such as this would require a thorough medical/neurological assessment. Apparent loss of hearing during agitation might reflect your mother's inability to concentrate on more than one matter at a time. Alzheimer's disease does not typically cause loss of hearing during agitation.