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Old 09-23-2008, 01:21 PM   #1
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Keepin' me hoppin'!

Good afternoon, y'all!

Life here on Planet Alzheimers is such a confusing existance! Yesterday, dad fainted...I knew his blood pressure was sorta low (102/62), but it shouldn't have cause that. So, I put him to bed, and he seems ok today. He didn't faint on the floor - he was sitting in his recliner, and just *lights out* for a minute or so.

Since his dental visit, he has not been the same. I don't think it was the dental stuff, though. I think Deb was right - just progression of the disease coinciding with the oral surgery.

I have a question for y'all...since this is my first exposure to dementia, I am wondering some things. I know some of you care for your loved one at home, some are in care homes, some are in AL...I am looking for the best place for daddy, and wanted to know if YOUR loved ones are less or more compromised than dad.

Daddy cannot:
Drive, clean the house, shower, cook (even the microwave is a mystery to him now), handle money or bills, use more than three words in a sentence to communicate, stay awake more than three hours at a time, take care of personal hygiene (cleaning ears, cutting nails)

He CAN, with help:
walk (shuffle, actually), dress himself, tie his shoes, get food into his own mouth, shave w/electric razor.

He CAN - with no help:
uh...not much. Pour a glass of water, get the mail out of the mailbox (but does not know what to do with it at that point), put the trashbag into the bin, start the washer (but does not remember soap).

Is this typical of the stay-at-home dementia patient?

Thanks for your input, y'all...

...little deb

Last edited by skimps46; 09-23-2008 at 01:22 PM.

 
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Old 09-23-2008, 01:55 PM   #2
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Re: Keepin' me hoppin'!

Little Deb,
Yes, he sounds like my DH was for quite awhile. I work so I eventually had caregivers here at the house to take care of him and did until he passed last May. I can't remember, does he live with you? If so, are you with him all the time or is he alone some of the day? My DH wanted to stay at home so that's what we did and it worked out well. If you are the primary caregiver you will need to have some help otherwise it's just too much to do all by yourself. It was hard for me to come home from work and do all that needed to be done so I guess until it becomes too much to do at home, a NH might be the next step. It sounds though like he's doing ok right now and you will be the best judge as to what he might need in the future.

Good luck & God bless,
Janie

 
Old 09-23-2008, 03:17 PM   #3
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Re: Keepin' me hoppin'!

Sorry your Dad fainted but glad he did not fall. Question.... do you think he might be having TIA? Are there any residual effects after he comes to? It might explain his downward slide. I might be worth checking with his doctor? This could be yet another reason you might want him to have 24/7 care that you can't provide. Also, I think you said they used Novicane for his extraction. There can be a residual effect from the Novicane. Major effect would be evident before he left the dentist office but it can leave an unwell felling for a few days.

Both of my parents are ambulatory, continent, walk to meals and feed themselves. They can both shower and dress themselves though Dad needs major prompting throughout the process. Mom can find herself something to wear (eventually) but Dad can only put on what he had on and has trouble finding where his clothes are. Both communicate fairly well as far as vocabulary... even if the thoughts are out there. Dad can not clean his ears or cut his nails but Mom can. Both can shave and comb their hair. Dad does a better job on his hair than Mom does. Dad sleeps about 12 hours at night with several naps during the day. Mom is actually sleeping more though she refuses to admit it. I never saw her doze during the day until recently. Either of them can go to the freezer and get ice cream. Sometimes in a bowl but sometimes they just eat it out of the carton. Occassionally they will get something to drink but even if you leave cut up fruit in the fridge they don't touch it. They will eat it if you hand the bowl to them. Neither of them can drive.

Neither have a clue what to do with financials, especially Mom though she was a bookkeeper/accountant. She can not subtract or count backwards. It's hard to tell with Dad because he never tries any more. Mom has lost her ability to cook and she was an excellent cook. She cannot even figure out how to punch a single button to use the microwave. Dad gets lost very easily but in the facility has compensated for that by checking the room key that has his room number on it and using familiar land marks. Mom knows her way a little better. They do manage to get their mail out of their box. Both have lost the ability to use electronics. Mom can only dial out when she's extremely aggitated and I can only imagine how many attempts that takes. That's her stubborn determination at work. They have both used the phone for a TV remote and Mom can no longer use the CD player. They both have forgotten to turn off the water after they turned it on. Both of them lose things and have liminted success in finding what they are looking for.

Neither of them have much short term memory and Dad's worse than Mom. Mom's ability to process what she hears is very limited where as Dad processes better... justs forget it once it's processed. Both remember the four of us girls but Dad has lost the grand children.

More than the physical abilities, it was the limited mental ability and the fact that none of us lived close by that forced our hand to put Mom and Dad in AL. Since neither of them are able to drive (and refused to accept that) and the problem we have with them feeding off each other in all the wrong ways, we had no choice. There was also the problem of them eating properly since Mom could no longer cook. Beyond that if anything out of the ordinary happened they were unable to handle it. Dad pluggin the vacumn into the computer back up battery supply and tripping the breaker as the unit burned up leaving black marks on the carpet and wall was completely beyond them. Mom couldn't find her keys, which were left in the van, so Dad throws a rock through the back door window and reached in to unlock the door. Mom burning pots because she forgot they were on the stove. Medication mistakes even when they were in dose packs... once with Dad ending up in the hospital for 5 days with a Xanax overdose. I don't even want to think about the day Mom drove an hour away to take Dad to a doctor appointment while she was under the effect of narcotic pain meds.... during a hurricane. Then we had mom's psychotic episodes to deal with as well. The bathing was MINOR in our situation......

Each situation is different. We had NO choice, especially since both parents had dementia and none of us were close enough to be of immediate help. Even with in home care (which worked somewhat until Mom ran them off) it was not an ideal situation for them at home because they could not be left alone for a minute without something disasterous happening.... and sometimes even with them being watched closely disaster still happened. With two of them one would slip off....

Hope this helped....

Love, deb

 
Old 09-23-2008, 03:19 PM   #4
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Raffeer HB User
Re: Keepin' me hoppin'!

Deb-
Your Dad sounds like my husband two years ago when I finally realized that I could no longer care for him at home. The change in plans came after he fell a few times, out of bed, in the bathroom etc. and I was unable to get him up without help. A few calls to neighbors for assistance and I finally accepted it was a choice between help 24/7 or a placement in a facility designed for the memory impaired. The crowning moment came when he got up from the couch and asked me where he slept. It dawned on me then that he did not even know where he was.
I have been following your posts and am in awe at all you do. Have you asked yourself what your Dad would want you to do?
Raffeer

 
Old 09-23-2008, 04:01 PM   #5
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Re: Keepin' me hoppin'!

Dear God, how I love you guys!

Well. Let's see if I can answer some questions. Daddy lives actually next door in an adjoining duplex. I am literally feet away at all times, but most of the time (10 hours a day or so) I am velcro'd to his side.

I have absolutely zero doubt that he is experiencing TIAs. I rushed him to the ER the first one he had - I thought he was having a major vascular event - and they diagnosed TIA as he recovered 80% within 6 hours or so. He has had 4 or 5 just like that since. I took him to the doctor after one of them, and she said that by report, it was another TIA, and I was ok not calling 911 as there was little residual from it. She also taught me how to recognize the difference between TIA and a "stroke" as we know it.

When he fainted yesterday, that could very well have been a TIA. I put him to bed right after; he slept till morning, with me hovering over him constantly, slipping a finger on his pulse every hour or less. This morning, he was better (mornings are SO much better than afternoon or evening), ate breakfast heartily, let me give him a sponge bath (he loves smelling good. Dial for Men has a great liquid product that he really likes, and it makes him feel so much better to smell good and get a good washing). He shaved by himself, ate a large portion of pasta marinara I made him, walked a few feet outside - then it was afternoon. Good times - over.

He wet himself, stripped in the bathroom and put his urinated clothing in the dryer. Of course, I took them out, put them in the washer and added some detergent and laundered them. Ran around "nekkid" for a few minutes till I got some underwear on him, then he wanted to go to bed. That's where he is now, and will probably be there till I take him some soup around 6 or so.

Deb, I now know by your helpful, thoughtful (thank you ever so much!) post that daddy has progressed beyond that which lands most folks in AL. In fact, he probably needs NH. But nutrition is not a problem, as I cook cook cook all the time for him. I just made a change in his dietary plan as he has decided that all meat is too hard to chew. So we are now on a soft diet, and he is happier. Bathing was an issue till I figured out that I could do it myself, and well, too. I cut his hair, cut his nails and file them, take care of his feet, and take care of his laundry. He does love ice cream, and I spend the $1.25 for the itty bitty cups of Haagen Daz, pop the tops off of them, set the tops back on and put them in the freezer. He will get one out about once a week and eat it.

He knows his own name most of the time. He can count to 10 forward, but no idea backward. He knows my name, but not our relationship. He does not remember his son (my brother - the one that never calls or writes...grrrrrr), or that he was ever married or has any children or grandchildren. He and momma were married 56 years when she passed in September of 04. He has no memory of her. That is heartbreaking. I ask him where he lives, and he says Nebraska. That's where he was born, but he lives here in Colorado. He has not a clue what city, or address. There is no need to worry about him getting lost, as he gets to go nowhere without me right by his side. He can find the bathroom in his own house, and his bed. The kitchen table is where we spend a fair amount of time, and he has no problem finding that.

He can't keep his hair up, so I cut it very short so there is no need to even comb. He brushes his teeth when I set it up for him and watch him do it.

I am burning up the phone wires trying to get some help. It will come. God is in charge, and He will see to it. In the meantime, from Planet Alzheimers, waving a Care Bear towel, I will just keep on keepin' on.

I love you all. Thanks so much for the input.

...little deb

 
Old 09-23-2008, 07:12 PM   #6
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Re: Keepin' me hoppin'!

I will keep you in my prayers that you find help soon. It totally amazes me how much you do. It is difficult when the loved one is in your house but running from one duplex to another has to be impossible.

The doctor is right about the TIA. They come and go and leave few residual effects if any. It's just nice to know what's going on and you are definitely on top of it.

You Dad sounds like both Mom and Dad. They function much better in the morning and as the day draws long they deteriorate. I would agree that he may be past AL, especially with his BP problems and TIAs, and his need for personal care.... but it might be worth checking out. It would depend on the facility. There is a unit at Mom and Dad's AL for those that need more care. It is basically a locked unit for ALZ patients that are more advanced but don't need the medical care of a NH. When they lose mobility they are moved back to a regular room, and with the help of hospice, can stay there until the end.

You did bring up something I had thought about lately. Dad knows my name but I wonder if he really knows the relationship. Sometimes he calls me his "number one" but other times I am not sure he knows me beyond a nice person that shows up occassionally. Mom is so used to prompting him with names that it's hard to tell. He knows his name but not his location or address. He doesn't remember the house he build and lived in for 54 years. Home is the farm he grew up on.

The only worry I have about your Dad wondering away is at night when you are not there, especially since you found the door open. Fall risk are the same, if he gets up to go potty when you are not there. If nothing else it would be helpful to have somebody stay with your dad at night so you can sleep soundly and know he's ok. Have you considered getting a video baby monitor? You could set it up in his room and have the monitor at your house for those times you are not there. Or an infared alarm set at his bedroom door so it would alert you next door if he went out of his room.

Keep working on help.... it will drop in your lap from the most unexpected place. My thoughts and prayers are with you both

Love, deb

 
Old 09-23-2008, 09:04 PM   #7
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Re: Keepin' me hoppin'!

Dear Lil' Deb,
As you said, your dad is past the point where most would be in a nursing home. I can't call to mind the list of daily activities which a person must be incapable of doing to meet criteria for help, but I'm pretty sure your dad would qualify. It sounds like you are meeting his needs and like he maybe has a pretty great life there with you, he may not know it, but he sounds pretty happy. The problem is you sound a hair desperate. You can't totally neglect your own needs, or those of your family, to maintain your dad in a state of naked bliss. (I've no idea why I love this mental image, I just sort of picture this happy naked old guy in your laundry room and it doesn't sound like a bad fate.) He may be equally happy in the nursing home. I do know that you cannot provide meals, do all that laundry, help your kids with their homework, do dad's insurance paperwork, do your own paperwork, wipe the floor, maintain a cheerful outlook, and stretch the family finances to cover the needs of all, except maybe you, forever. Somethings gotta give, or you'll resort to the rock. You are in my prayers. I've still got some unclaimed beach towels, and a hot tub, and some mismatched glasswear and a bottle of chardonnay with your name on it.
Sometime life gives you lemons and you just have to make lemonade. Of course sometimes life pulls down your pants, uses a power sander on your buttocks and then pours lemon juice on your raw abraided flesh, in which case a citrusy drink won't help you much, but gosh, try hang in there anyway.
All the best,
Q

 
Old 09-23-2008, 10:26 PM   #8
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Re: Keepin' me hoppin'!

Quote:
Originally Posted by quetzalmom View Post
Sometime life gives you lemons and you just have to make lemonade. Of course sometimes life pulls down your pants, uses a power sander on your buttocks and then pours lemon juice on your raw abraided flesh, in which case a citrusy drink won't help you much, but gosh, try hang in there anyway.
All the best,
Q

That is the best description I have heard in a long time.... Thank you Q!!! Now where's that hot tub you mentioned?

Love, deb

 
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