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Sun, Apr 19 2:18pm · How to compassionately answer questions about deceased loved ones. in Caregivers: Dementia

Hello Pattyinal. As I read this, I am reminded of how many times my dear Mom asked the same type of questions. It took me years to take the advice of a friend of mine who said, "you must join her world". For years I didn't buy in to that. How the heck was I supposed to tell Mom how her FIRST husband was, when she only had one husband?? I would remind her she had 50 years of ONE wonderful marriage with daddy, and she would vehemently disagree with me. Uggg! Then she would look at a picture of daddy (my dad, her husband of 50 years) and call him her father? I just couldn't believe it! Anyway, please take my advice and Join His World. When he is home and says he wants to go home, you tell him sweetly that in a few minutes, after you finish the dishes, you can help him pack. When he says "where is my wife?" you say, "Let me go look for her! I'll bet she's really pretty!!!" It helps to redirect their thoughts. It calms them down. It will feel horrible for you at first, but it is the kindest thing you can do. Give yourself a pat on the back every time you have to say a little fib, even though it feels really wrong. Keep me posted! Thoughts and prayers, Virginia

Wed, Apr 1 6:53pm · All brain scans good: Could my husband still have dementia? in Caregivers: Dementia

Hi there. I am not a doctor. I was a caregiver for my mom who had alzheimer's disease for 8, almost 9 years. I have kept up with the research being done and I write blogs on my experience with her caregiving. I will say this. Did anyone say anything about loss of brain volume? Any areas of his brain that appear to be smaller or shrinking? That is a key issue in diagnosing AD, among many other things such as behavior, loss of short term memory, trouble with finding words, unusual behavior. I have some good information on my website called A New Path for Mom (www.anewpathformom.com). Look under the tab Alzheimer's Disease and also Videos/Resources. I wish you the best. Love, Virginia

Tue, Feb 18 6:58pm · Decreased sense of smell may indicate early dementia in Brain & Nervous System

It's heartbreaking. I was told that I should get mom a really inexpensive fake wedding ring so she wouldn't give it away…or lose it or have it stolen.

Mon, Jan 27 2:11pm · Are dementia meds really helping? in Caregivers: Dementia

Wow, you have asked two really important and difficult questions. I am not a doctor, but I have the benefit of hindsight. Looking back, I would have taken my dear mom off of those drugs after three years or so. If doctors were really honest, they would tell you that those drugs do not prevent, slow or fix the problems associated with dementia. Here is a quote from the Mayo Clinic: "In Alzheimer's disease, many chemical changes take place in the brain. One of the earliest and biggest changes is that there is a decrease in a chemical called acetylcholine (ACh). ACh helps the brain to work properly. Rivastigmine is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. It slows the breakdown of ACh, so it can build up and have a greater effect. However, as Alzheimer's disease gets worse, there will be less and less ACh, so rivastigmine may not work as well". The decision is up to you and your doctor, but as my mom got more and more prescriptions for various ailments, Aracept and Namenda just added more to her daily pills. I honestly saw little benefit.

The change from MCI (mild cognitive impairment) is gradual and different from person to person, but I knew that my mom was well in to her Alzheimer's disease before her doctor changed the diagnosis from MCI to Alzheimer's. That still remains a mystery to me. I am hoping that most doctors are more educated now on the subject and will change the diagnosis earlier. Mom's diagnosis of MCI lasted at least 5 years, and she was well into the middle stages. In any case, you are asking very good questions. Virginia Naeve (www.anewpathformom.com)

Mon, Jan 6 1:53pm · Early Onset Alzheimer's: Driving and staying home alone in Caregivers: Dementia

Hi JoDee. The subject of driving is a tough one. Everyone figures out different ways to handle it, but it needs to be addressed before something bad happens. I wrote a blog on the subject and called it, "It Was Driving Me Crazy". It might help you. Here is the link: https://anewpathformom.com/it-was-driving-me-crazy/. Good luck and I wish you well! Virginia

Dec 31, 2019 · Tips for transition to incontinence? in Caregivers: Dementia

Thanks Becky. It isn't easy when you have to tell the awful truth about parts of this disease. Life would be easier if we didn't have to 'eliminate', don't you think? Anyway, thanks for all of your good advice as well. Happy New Year!

Dec 30, 2019 · Tips for transition to incontinence? in Caregivers: Dementia

Hello. It makes me sad to read this, as I recall when my dear mom reached that stage of her Alzheimer's disease. You are doing a wonderful job and I wish there was a magic answer. Her not remembering what to do with the toilet once she gets there will not improve. You are correct when you say that she won't remember how to get to the toilet at night, much less how to use it when she gets there. You can get a sensor for the floor that will wake you when she gets out of bed, and then you can go in to help her. There are also electronic devices that will notify your phone when she gets out of bed. It would help for a while, but she will eventually get to the point where she will just go in her incontinence pad/underwear. You will most likely also need incontinence pads on the sheet/mattress. This will be the stage that most people realize that they can no longer go without help, either by moving her to assisted living or by having someone in the house. You must realize that you are not a bad person by doing that. It's just the way it is with this horrible disease. I wish you well and admire you for asking. Virginia Naeve (www.anewpathformom.com)

Dec 14, 2019 · Dementia and nutrition in Caregivers: Dementia

Thanks for the nudge, Becky! It's a crazy time of year! I do remember when mom would lose her appetite and stop eating. It was very frustrating. Her doctor prescribed a liquid medication called Megace (Megestrol acetate) and it actually worked. It's a liquid. I remember mom would sometimes take it without a fight, and if she wouldn't, we mixed it into a chocolate shake and just didn't tell her. She usually would drink shakes, which you can also mix in something like Boost along with the ice cream. The large straws help with a milk shake. Remember, when loved ones have dementia, you have to bend the rules like telling the truth. You can even say things like, "this is a beauty drink which will make you look YOUNG!" You feel really silly, but if it works, what the heck! Good luck