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Old 12-28-2007, 11:28 AM   #1
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Pretty sure this is early stages of Alzheimer's, what do you think?

I am going to try and keep this from being too long. sorry if it's a little long.

My Grandmother recently met a man at a local senior center. His name is John.
John's wife had died a couple of years earlier so he was single again. He and My Grandmother got along great for a year or so, so they were married shortly after. My Grandmother was recently widowed from the death of my Grandfather. John is 70 years old and my Grandmother is 68 years old.

So, they got married. Granny has heart problems and she also has diabetes pretty bad. She has really gone down hill since the things started happening with John. They are as follows.

John had a stroke about a year ago. He was hospitalized for about a week and eventually came home. He lost his speech as a result of this, and now basically blabbers out noises when he tries to talk and we CANNOT understand him. This can be very frustrating because when he is just talking to you, it easy to say things like "OK, Yeah Sure". But, when he asks a question and you can't understand him, it is a totally different story. He gets very upset and starts yelling because in his mind- he thinks you understand him (i assume). His behavior has degraded and his personality comes and goes constantly.

Here in the last few months it has really gotten bad. My grandmother keeps notes of how he acts and things he does. the list includes things like:

-Urinating in the bathroom sink
-Locking my Grandmother in the bathroom and not letting her out (one of the times she mentioned was for 11 hours)
-Waiving his arms around and raising cain about things all the time.
-Turning the TV off or to another channel when she is trying to watch something she wants to. (I was actually in the house one day when he did this and it infuriated me.) He is a very religious man, and I personally believe that he only thinks church should be watched on TV. Every time Granny would change the channel, he would use his universal remote to turn it back to church. After repeated attempts to be nice about it and ask him why he was doing that, he finally just turned it off. She would try and turn it back on, and he would continue to just turn it off.
-He occasionally gropes my Grandmother and tries to "love" on her and hold her, to the point that she just wants to hit him with a bat, and he still won't go away after repeated attempts by her telling him to go.

He is a very jealous man to begin with, even before he had the stroke, and he will regularly go up to Granny and snatch the phone from her to ask who it is, or he will ask her every time she answers the phone. -Of course you can't understand him but its obvious what he wants to know.

-He has a very erratic sleep schedule and he often stays up till daylight reading the bible or watching church on TV. Some of the things above have resultied in her calling the local authorities, and they usually come out and straighten him out for a while, but it doesn't take long for him to get back to his old self.

-He still drives, and the thing is, he doesn't need to, but Granny can't stop him from leaving as he is twice her size. He absolutely cannot drive, and has actually been involved in several wrecks since his stroke. They just did settle one of the wrecks by paying off a lady without going the insurance route. He is very resourceful and doesn't want to waste gas, so he will turn the car off at a stop light. This particular instance, he cranked the car back up when the light turned green and instead of putting it in drive, he put it in reverse. His driving is so bad that Granny refuses to ride with him because he scares her so bad. Still, he gets in the car right on time everytime church is in session and goes. that is Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesdays.

Granny has talked to her doctors about this and they seem to think it is the beginning stages of Alzheimer's. They also think that it is bad enough where he needs to be put in a nursing home. Problem is, Granny has no place to go and they are both on SS. He is a veteran and the VA will most likely take care of any issues as far as a nursing home, but if he goes to one, so will his SS money. Granny's SS money is not enough to make the house payment if this happens and she doesn't have anywhere to go. She is very upset about this and so am I.

Granny has been kind of spiraling into a state of depression because she is so worried about what to do about this situation. She just simply doesn't care to do anything anymore. I know for a fact that she has even gone for at least a month before bathing. I don't want to see this cost my Grandmother her life.

What are you all's thoughts on this issue?

Thank you for your responses.

 
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Old 12-28-2007, 12:52 PM   #2
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Re: Pretty sure this is early stages of Alzheimer's, what do you think?

This is not the beginning of Alzheimer's but a MIDDLE stage, perhaps stage 4 already. He absolutely needs a diagnosis, and possible medications, and someone needs to have Power of Attoney over all his afffairs. His drivers licence should and will be taken away as soon as a diagnosis is made, and that will NOT stop him from grabbing the keys and driving off unless there are no keys and no car to drive.

I feel so sorry for your grandma, who certainly didn't expect this when she got married again.

Please make her see that he needs to see a doctor. She ought to make a list of all his bizarre behaviors and give it to the doctor. Meanwhile it will not help at all to try to reason with him, since he cannot think clearly any more. Maybe he will need to be in assisted living or a nursing home. If he is in otherwise good health, this disease can go on for 8 or 10 years, making life a living h!ll for your poor grandma.

Good luck! (PS I live on ONE social security and am doing fine, it does not have to be the same house she is in now. I have a small apartment and am very happy here.)

Martha

Last edited by Martha H; 12-28-2007 at 12:55 PM. Reason: add something

 
Old 12-28-2007, 01:36 PM   #3
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Re: Pretty sure this is early stages of Alzheimer's, what do you think?

Your poor Granny - I'll bet she wishes she had never remarried! Okay - to the point - My Dad had a stroke and became hard to live with. It finally got to the point where Mom could no longer care for him and we had to put him into a VA home. They took care of EVERYTHING, including meds, any medical attention, etc . All Mom had to pay was around $150.00 per month for this. It didn't take his SS at all. Please check into this, I think your Granny will be surprised. And you are right - this will destroy her if something isn't done. Good Luck. Keep u s posted. Cindy

 
Old 12-28-2007, 03:42 PM   #4
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Re: Pretty sure this is early stages of Alzheimer's, what do you think?

I agree with Martha that he is beyond the beginning stages of dementia and truly needs to have a proper diagnosis. Your grandmother is not physically capable of handling this. Even if she has to move to a smaller place it is better than living with the fear and frustrations. It will not get better, it will only get worse.

Medication can help control the rants and aggitation your step grandfather is displaying. It will be trial and error to find the right med but don't give up. We finally hit the jackpot on the fourth medication combination we tried with Dad. Mom seems to respond well with just her antidepressant. This takes a doctor that understand dementia so find yourself a good doctor who is familiar with eldercare.

Please get that power of attorney NOW. Wills, living wills, and medical directives are important but that POA is a necessary. I do not know what we would have done without Mom and Dad's POA. With the current privacy laws you cannot do anything without it. Every time I contact a new company, even to change a power bill address, they want a POA.

I also understand your grandmother depression and withdrawing. Mom did the same thing after years of taking care of Dad who was normally in a good mood (vascular dementia)... and it was super excellerated when she realized she had Alzheimer. After the depression and withdrawals will come the melt downs and the health effects.

You need to be sure you grandmother knows that there is a way out and you will help her find it. It will take major changes but it will be better than where she is now. The future is an unknown and changes are difficult, especially for the elderly, but sometimes you get in a position that it is the best alternative because you cannot stay where you are. Check out what is available and keep making noises until you get something done. I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.

Love, Deb

 
Old 12-28-2007, 04:05 PM   #5
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Re: Pretty sure this is early stages of Alzheimer's, what do you think?

I am sorry that grandma has to go through this but I'm confused as to why only after a year she is so dependent on his home,income and ss to live on? How had she survived before she unfortunately met this man? Please tell me she didn't just go from grandpa's grave site to this mans house? And why isn't grandma's family stepping up to help her out of this situation to make sure she has a place to go to to get away from this guy?

 
Old 12-28-2007, 06:13 PM   #6
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Re: Pretty sure this is early stages of Alzheimer's, what do you think?

Before she met John she lived on her own since April of 2004. We had a big house and about 40 acres of land out in the country away from the city. when she and John were married, she just moved in with him and sold the property. It was paid for. The money she recieved from that she took and paid medical bills and some debt that she had. All of that money is gone now. I don't know what the house payment is but i know that her SS alone is not enough to pay it.

The Family does help some, but there are very few of us that are here and capable. I am the closest Grandkid of about 6 I think. She has 3 sons. Her oldest lives in SC and we don't see him that often, and he has medical problems of his own. My father, passed in 2004. The youngest is here, and he helps out as much as he can but his job really takes a lot out of him.

We do what we can but there is only so much you can do when you have your own life to live...

 
Old 12-28-2007, 09:22 PM   #7
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Re: Pretty sure this is early stages of Alzheimer's, what do you think?

She needs to divorce him and let his family take care of all this. That sounds cold but I am very serious.
She is too old for this and it will fall to all of you in the end. Think about it.
Can you imagine? some Alzheimer's patients live a long time...the state will have to step in. We all pay taxes for just this sort of thing.

this is a really good reason for NOT getting married in your elderly years. All that happens is you end up taking care of an old person when you are old yourself.

Someone in your granny's family should have stepped in and said DO NOT DO THIS. Live together or something but don't make it legal. why oh why didn't one of her children or grandchildren point out the pitfalls?

Also, you should consider that many patients in his stage get violent and spouses and care givers have been badly injured by the dementia patient as well. Extricate your loved one from this situation.

Last edited by golfhat; 12-28-2007 at 09:25 PM.

 
Old 12-29-2007, 04:13 AM   #8
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Re: Pretty sure this is early stages of Alzheimer's, what do you think?

That sounds like a good solution, Golfhat! This case is a good warning to other older people NOT to rush into new marriages.

 
Old 12-29-2007, 01:35 PM   #9
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Re: Pretty sure this is early stages of Alzheimer's, what do you think?

Sorry folks, but I have to say something here:

John is no different from my wonderful MIL. He has gone from an articulate loving man to a screaming high care mess, all because of a stroke he had and which he didn't do on purpose.

He married granny for love/companionship .. he could not, in his wildest nightmare believed he would have a stroke that would leave him unable to communicate nor able to function fully.

He's not doing ANY of his behaviours on PURPOSE, he no longer has control.

EXACTLY the way my MIL went.

She went from a loving warm intellegent woman, to someone who would masturbate in public, urinate wherever the urge took her, watch religious programmes constantly, grab my children and hit them, scream and pull at her hair and throw herself on the bed kicking and screaming, (a tantrum a toddler would be worthy of, but worse), become jealous of me caring for her husband and suspicious of me even being in the house! She could no longer talk legibly with only 'cover up' answers of yes, no and 2, 2, 3. Can you even begin to imagine her frustration????????

And Yes, by the time I got her placed into a nursing home, I was resenting her (a symptom of my burn-out because I expected too much from myself), but I know NOW, she couldn't help herself. She was out of control and there wasn't a darn thing I could do to make it better except ensure she was made SAFE in a nursing home. NOBODY in their wildest dreams thought this magnificent woman would end up like this and nor did we abandon her because of the trouble she caused. We got her SAFE. That was the aim.

And ........ while I'm on my soapbox, although hindsight is a most wonderful thing, most of us are not blessed with it until after the event has happened. That being said, nobody has the right to dictate to anybody who they can and can't fall in love with and when or when they are or aren't old enough to be with the one they love.

Even if it is for company.

*~*~* Getting off soapbox *~*~*

 
Old 12-29-2007, 04:54 PM   #10
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Re: Pretty sure this is early stages of Alzheimer's, what do you think?

There is a lot of truth in what you said. If John's family have also accepted this lady as their stepmother, and allow her to have say and input into his care and the disposal of his (their) money, that is fine. However if they see her as an interloper who is is mismanaging his affairs and making up symptoms etc - perhaps having been against the marriage from the beginning on - I can see serious problems coming up for that poor lady. Of course the man with AD needs lots of help and understanding, yet somehow I think a new wife may not have the feelings that come from a long marriage and the ability to cope with it. I hope I am wrong. It is a hard road for anyone, regardless of how long or short the relationship was, and I hope this Grandma and her stepchildren get her husband all the help he needs.

Love,

Martha

 
Old 12-30-2007, 11:43 AM   #11
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Re: Pretty sure this is early stages of Alzheimer's, what do you think?

No one is blaming the patient. Certainly not me. I give this advice because my own mother is an AlZ patient.

Mom is a widow with a good income and long term care insurance. Suppose she had married an older man and he developed dementia like my mom has. (they predict 60-80% of the elderly will...) So not only are we worrying over her but now we have HIM to worry about?

And what if he was not well off and did not prepare for the future as my mom did? how would we prevent him from using her money that was supposed to be set aside for HER>>>

Take your emotions out of this and try to think logically.

No--it is can be a bad situation for the extended family when an older person decides to marry our of loneliness or for money. It sounds like John and your granny thought combining their resources would be better than being alone.
But John obviously had no money or the situation would not be so dire. and now granny's money is GONE< Baby GONE>

I can promise all of you, if your elderly grandmother or parent remarries, not only will they most likely need nursing home care BUT THE PERSON THEY MARRY WILL TOO. and if he or she does not have money, where will the money come from?

Most 70+ men are veterans. That is why we have VA hospitals and that is why we have medicaid and medicare for elderly who need long term care if the family does not have the resources.

The state WILL take over. If you don't call the state about this you are dooming your granny to a life of hell. And I am speaking from experience.

You do not want to be overly sentimental over this. John cannot help the way he is now, and he can't be sentimental or appreciative of your granny. Get him into a home NOW before he becomes violent.
He is not himself and it WILL get worse.

Perhaps an attorney for the elderly or a family advocate should be brought in if the family cannot decide what to do.

Last edited by golfhat; 12-30-2007 at 11:46 AM.

 
Old 12-30-2007, 11:56 PM   #12
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Re: Pretty sure this is early stages of Alzheimer's, what do you think?

Quote:
John cannot help the way he is now, and he can't be sentimental or appreciative of your granny. Get him into a home NOW before he becomes violent.

He is not himself and it WILL get worse.
***ditto***

 
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