Heart issues and breathing problems and dealing with dementia

Posted by janet7 @janet7, Apr 7, 2022

https://connect.mayoclinic.org/comment/696897/
I think my husband should be on oxygen while waiting for results of a heart monitor recording his heart beats. Depending on results, he may get a pacemaker. We don’t know how long it will take to get the results and he is having problems breathing. Two doctors have seen him since his hospital visit and neither one suggests oxygen. He wants the do more, but runs out of breath when he tries, so all he can do is sit in a chair. Can someone relate?

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@janet7, has your husband finished the heart monitor test? Did he or both of you talk to his doctor about his breathing issues and your concerns?

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Hi Colleen, the results came back and Doctor will call tomorrow and tell us what will happen. So glad the results didn’t take more than a week! We told doctor about Will’s being short of breath if he tries to do anything other than sitting in a chair. Oxygen was not offered. We are ready to go forward with whatever needs to be done to help Will feel better.
Thanks for your concern.

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@janet7

Hi Colleen, the results came back and Doctor will call tomorrow and tell us what will happen. So glad the results didn’t take more than a week! We told doctor about Will’s being short of breath if he tries to do anything other than sitting in a chair. Oxygen was not offered. We are ready to go forward with whatever needs to be done to help Will feel better.
Thanks for your concern.

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@janet7 I’m just jumping in here for a minute, if that’s ok. When i worked in the hospital, many of the patients felt short of breath. The solution that worked for most was to have a fan moving the air in the room. You don’t want it to blow directly on your husband, just move the air past him. Hope that helps

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@colleenyoung

@janet7, has your husband finished the heart monitor test? Did he or both of you talk to his doctor about his breathing issues and your concerns?

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Yes, he has had a pacemaker installed and can do more than before. He still gets out of breath when he overdoes it.

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@becsbuddy

@janet7 I’m just jumping in here for a minute, if that’s ok. When i worked in the hospital, many of the patients felt short of breath. The solution that worked for most was to have a fan moving the air in the room. You don’t want it to blow directly on your husband, just move the air past him. Hope that helps

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I will remember to put fans on, thanks. We have a fan in every room. What about a/c for his breathing?

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@janet7

I will remember to put fans on, thanks. We have a fan in every room. What about a/c for his breathing?

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@janet7 unfortunately, a/c doesn’t give the the feeling of moving air which is important. I’m so glad that you’re going to try using the fans. Let me know how it works!

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@becsbuddy

@janet7 unfortunately, a/c doesn’t give the the feeling of moving air which is important. I’m so glad that you’re going to try using the fans. Let me know how it works!

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Hi @janet7
You wrote in another caregiver discussion:
"Hi Colleen,
We have been in similar situations with Will’s shallow breathing and being very weak and tired. He just had a pacemaker because of Afib and is on a blood thinner to help avoid strokes/heart attacks. He is recovering from the surgery so still tired and weak. Will has heart failure and his lungs keep filling up with fluid and hopefully the pacemaker will help. He also has Dementia and I would like to get him tested for Alzheimer’s, just to rule it out. I am also a caretaker like you. I would like to know if Medicaid can help out financially with caretakers."

I'm responding to you here.
Janet, it can be so challenging to provide care for a loved one's medical issues when they also have dementia. I'm tagging a few very resourceful members like @tsc @billchitwood @joancampy @debbraw @fwentz who may have some tips for you regarding financial support for caregivers through Medicaid and other questions you may have.

Janet, do you have a social worker for you and your husband to help navigate medical needs, finances and such?

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Thank you for your quick response, Colleen, and for the names of those who may have similar situations. We don’t have a social worker but I have asked our lawyer for someone who could help us apply for Medicaid when we return to Chicago. He said he has resources available to us. I’m not sure what would be best for us and we need guidance. I want my husband and I to be together in our home as long as possible. So many people tell me to put him in an institution and I can be in the house, but our circumstances don’t warrant this arrangement right now.
Could rent an apartment until we are called on for HUD apartments and I have applied to two of these recently. However, we will have to find out if we are eligible to go on Medicaid and see what is available. I think Medicaid is our better option.

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@colleenyoung

Hi @janet7
You wrote in another caregiver discussion:
"Hi Colleen,
We have been in similar situations with Will’s shallow breathing and being very weak and tired. He just had a pacemaker because of Afib and is on a blood thinner to help avoid strokes/heart attacks. He is recovering from the surgery so still tired and weak. Will has heart failure and his lungs keep filling up with fluid and hopefully the pacemaker will help. He also has Dementia and I would like to get him tested for Alzheimer’s, just to rule it out. I am also a caretaker like you. I would like to know if Medicaid can help out financially with caretakers."

I'm responding to you here.
Janet, it can be so challenging to provide care for a loved one's medical issues when they also have dementia. I'm tagging a few very resourceful members like @tsc @billchitwood @joancampy @debbraw @fwentz who may have some tips for you regarding financial support for caregivers through Medicaid and other questions you may have.

Janet, do you have a social worker for you and your husband to help navigate medical needs, finances and such?

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Unfortunately I don't have any suggestions. Bill's doctor did sign him up for home health, which might have helped, but Bill kept doing 'showtime' so they determined he didn't need help. He might not have but as a care giver I sure could have used it.

Last week he took a bad fall in the bathroom. Took almost an hour to get him back on his feet. A few scrapes and bruising but fortunately nothing broken. He didn't want me to call 911. If he had still had the Medicare Home Health I could have called them and they would have immediately sent someone to get him on his feet.

He doesn't want anyone helping him – except me. He is 89, 6 feet and 200 pounds. I'm 81, 5'3" and 104. Kids had us move in with my daughter on Monday (sold our home). Taking a lot of adjusting on all parts, including our kitty and her 3 kitties! One minute he is fine with everything, the next he is ready to go live on his own (forgetting at this point he can do very little for himself). Talk about stress! Only thing that is helping is a sense of humor. And that does get strained.

Wishing you help – it can be so hard. I think harder on the caregiver than the one receiving care.

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You might check out the following website from the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services:
https://www.hhs.gov/aging/state-resources/index.html
It may help you find an Agency on Aging in your area. In the state where I live (Washington), it's called Aging and Long Term Care. They provided a case worker for me (my wife has Alzheimer's Disease) who was very knowledgeable about the local resources that could be of help to me and my wife.

One other possibility, if you husband is a military veteran, it would be good to check with the Veterans Administration to see if they can provide help.

I wish you and your husband the best.

Frank

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