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Feb 6, 2018 · Husband with early Alzheimers -question in Caregivers

I hesitate to recommend more medications, but it may be helpful to ask your doctor if an anti-anxiety/depression medication (hopefully one with fewer side effects) could make a difference. It was a good choice for my mother (in addition to Namenda and Donepezil. (However, since her Alz. symptoms have worsened over the last year, so is her anxiety. At this stage in her illness, I’m not sure if increasing the anxiety meds are a good choice or not. Reading and implementing the tips recommended in the article about anxiety (linked above) have made a positive difference for us.

Feb 6, 2018 · Husband with early Alzheimers -question in Caregivers

I hesitate to recommend more medications, but it may be helpful to ask your doctor if an anti-anxiety/depression medication (hopefully one with fewer side effects) could make a difference. It was a good choice for my mother. (However, since her Alz. symptoms have worsened over the last year, so is her anxiety. At this stage in her illness, I’m not sure if increasing the anxiety meds are a good choice or not. Reading and implementing the tips recommended in the article about anxiety (linked above) have made a positive difference for us.

Oct 14, 2017 · Caring for someone with dementia / Alzheimer's in Caregivers

Colleen, thank you for your reply and encouragement. I like all your ideas! I have tried the organizing utensils and matching socks ideas before. What tends to happen is that she gets discouraged and gives up, or gets easily distracted, then walks away and forgets what she was doing. Part of the issue may be that there are too many objects to organize–I should give her smaller amounts to work with. My issue is mainly feeling discouraged and resentful that I have to constantly find ways to keep my mom busy. It reminds me so much of having to parent a 2 or 3 yr. old….but it was more fun when I was parenting my children; and it’s not fun at all parenting my mom….I know my attitude has so much to do with how we will get through this. Thanks for having this space for me to learn..and vent.

Oct 13, 2017 · Caring for someone with dementia / Alzheimer's in Caregivers

Hello. I wanted to give an update on our family. My husband and I are now officially “empty nesters”–with the exception of my mom who lives with us in our smallish 3 bedroom home. This new season has been especially difficult for my husband to adjust to. I know he is grieving, not only the loss of having children in the home, but the loss of not being able to enjoy time alone after work, having dinner together, enjoying conversation without my mom’s child-like interruptions, questions and almost constant need for direction…

Mom’s physical health is mostly good. Her most obvious physical side effect from her Alz. meds (not sure if it’s from Namenda (Memantine) or Aricept (Donepezil)–she takes both) is an almost constant runny nose. Her memory continues to decline, i.e. needs me to help her dress appropriately, brush her teeth, and to be directed where her room, clothes, trash can, bathroom, refrigerator are…She frequently asks “What should I be doing now?”

We made it through the summer with the highlight of my mom being able to participate (all afternoon and into the night!) at our daughter’s outdoor wedding (she even danced!) I can’t express my thanks enough for 2 friends that I invited to the wedding to be my mom’s constant companions, and for 2 other friends that made themselves available to be on-call to come pick up and be with my mom at home if needed. I thank God for a community of friends that care. It just took an unusual amount of mental/emotional effort on my part to plan and then ask others to help us in our time of need.

I am very thankful that mom is still sleeping well and is still continent (with the exception of a few days where she couldn’t make it to the toilet in time and I took the initiative to ask her physician to culture her urine–and found she had a UTI.) I suggest everyone get a plastic “hat” that fits underneath the lid of the toilet in order to collect a urine or stool sample (have you ever tried to collect another woman’s urine in one of those little specimen cups!!?? (Ask for the “hat” at the lab where you submit the specimen.)

Good news: We got a Disabled Person placard for our car. (I requested online, received, then filled out the proper DMV paperwork and mailed it to mom’s primary care doctor to fill out. They mailed it back to me, then we took the paperwork to the DMV…the whole process took over a month. We also took the opportunity to get my mom a “Senior ID” since she no longer has a valid driver’s license.) Even though mom is physically capable of walking up to a few blocks, I realized how much I have limited our activity because of parking difficulties–mom gets becomes easily agitated by wind, heat, sudden noises and other sensory input and becomes easily upset and wants to go home. I hope having the Disabled Person placard will encourage me to take the time to go more places with her (I find myself not wanting to make the effort because of all the times we’ve gone somewhere and then she decides she wants to go home (exceptions are going to Costco, the 99cent Store, and getting a fudge sundae at McDonald’s drive-thru 🙂

I’m sure the placard will become more useful as her physical abilities decline (although I’ve been surprised by how often there are no available handicap parking spaces when we go somewhere—an indication of the increasing “greying of America?”

I guess that’s enough for now, except my wanting ideas for what to do with my mom when we’re home all day…she seems restless and bored:

She has/had no other regular hobbies other than reading..
She watches t.v. and reads for a limited amount of time but then gets distracted and walks away….
She tries to help in the kitchen or do other chores, but then gives up because she can’t complete a task.
Most puzzles and games are impossible.
She doesn’t like being outside or exerting herself in almost any way.
She helps fold towels but ends up finding a scissor and “cuts” all the loose threads (I give her old rags to fold instead, but that gives her minimal pleasure.)
One recent activity I discovered was to take a deck of cards and put one card from each of the 4 suits on a table. I then asked her to make 4 piles with the remaining cards (separated into their appropriate suits.) I asked her to do this in order for me “make sure we have all 52 cards in the deck”.

Any other ideas? What do you do all day with your (physically-capable) loved one? Thanks!

Sep 26, 2017 · Caring for someone with dementia / Alzheimer's in Caregivers

Hello Talie. Thanks for posting. My mother’s sleeping patterns have changed and she is often more tired than she used to be. This is just a suggestion, but maybe you could suggest to your husband that he lie down to rest (a nap) earlier in the day or after lunch instead. If he resists waking from an afternoon nap, you might gently tell him that you’ve prepared (insert something he likes to eat or drink) and it’s ready for him in the kitchen; or find something that you know he usually enjoys doing with you so he’ll be motivated to get up. That might help him to be a little less tired at 5 or 6pm. Let me know what you think.

Jun 29, 2017 · Obsessive Thinking and Caregiving in Caregivers

It’s good to hear your challenges. It helps me to feel not so alone. Thank you.

Nov 26, 2016 · Caring for someone with dementia / Alzheimer's in Caregivers

Dear pearlandpeacock,
Thank you for sharing a bit about your situation. I did want to express my concern about your husband’s “going out”. It seems as though, if he is turned around in your own home, that your husband will most likely become “turned around” in any setting, including a extremely familiar neighborhood. I understand completely having to deal with the frustration he’s expressing at your wanting to know when and where he’s going…but, there must be a way of “allowing” him some freedom in a setting where he won’t become lost. I even wonder if you could follow him from a distance? This is a difficult season when the person with Alz. still wants some independence and freedom, but really doesn’t have the ability to understand their limitations… I’m wondering if anyone else has suggestions about your situation?

Nov 25, 2016 · Caring for someone with dementia / Alzheimer's in Caregivers

Thank you, tsoy. My situation involves being alone most of the time with my mom during the day…the other family members are either at work or at school. I’m not sure about the Adult Day Care option yet…mostly because I think my mom is still “with it” enough to know that she’d be with others who are probably a lot more confused than she is. And, she’s only 74 and not used to spending time with “seniors” at a special facility. I guess I was waiting for outside respite options when she less aware of the fact that she’s leaving home in order to give me a “break.” But thank you for the suggestions for the elder care programs–I’m sure I will be doing research for available options soon… And, regarding in-home activities, I like your suggestion of folding napkins. And buying greeting cards. I think she’d like that…and maybe I’ll ask our neighbor if we can have their old newspapers. Thank you. Any more suggestions?? 🙂
P.S. I bought a “life-like” baby doll that I’ve been saving to give my mom when it’s appropriate (I think she’s still too aware of the fact that it’s “just a doll” and may not enjoy it enough. But I think the day is coming when she may really enjoy holding it and feel comforted by it. She goes out of her way, wherever we are, to go see babies. In fact, I’ve lost her a few times because she’s completely fixated on small children and especially babies…