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Old 10-29-2008, 01:31 PM   #1
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What To Do If You Even THINK! A Family Member Has Alzheimer's!

From past experience I have some suggestions for those out there who think a family member has Alzheimer's and or Dementia.

1. Talk openly to that person when they have a lucid moment. Explain the them what you think is going on and what they want done later. (My Dad at the beginning had a few of these and I wish I had talked to him!)

2. Start a getting a Power of Attorney going asap! These take a long time to go through and the earlier you start the easier it will be later. (We didn't and the medical people we worked with had more say in my Dad's care than we did!)

3. Get a "Will" done asap. and a "Do Not Resuscitate Order" (especially if they have underlying medical problems also) signed. (If you live miles away like I did and your family member stops breathing they will do everything they can to save them!)

4. Think long term care! Research your area and find out what is available and the cost. Do it before you have to, you will be under enough stress as it is and if you are educated and prepared it will save you a lot of heartache!

5. This is the most important step! Breathe and take care of yourself. It is a proven fact that caregivers of Alzheimer's patients wear themselves out, get stressed and fall apart caring for a family member. Take care of yourself first and take a day or two for doing what you enjoy and don't feel guilty about it.

 
Old 10-29-2008, 03:12 PM   #2
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Re: What To Do If You Even THINK! A Family Member Has Alzheimer's!

You are so right. Excellent advice. We managed to get all of the above done, but mainly ''at the last possible minute" because some family members refused to believe Mom had Alzheimer. They just didn't want anyone taking away her independence. My sister even said it would be better if she walked in front of a truck and got killed, than being under the supervision of a home health aide as Mom was for the last 10 months Mom lived with me, before the nursing home.

People have no idea what's coming at them, and they make no plans.

Having just gone through all this with my Mom, who died in December 07, I have done all of it in advance for my children - the will, the POA, the medical proxy, the do not rescusitate order. Now I can live alone as long as possible , and if it has to be, end in a good NH like my Mom did. Things could be worse than that!

Good advice for anyone.

love,

Martha

Last edited by Martha H; 10-29-2008 at 03:13 PM.

 
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Old 10-29-2008, 04:16 PM   #3
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Re: What To Do If You Even THINK! A Family Member Has Alzheimer's!

The first hurdle is to get past the shock and denial. Some do that easier than others. I had the same experience you did Martha. I remember getting the third degree on the phone because I was trying to take Mom's driving privileges and thus her independence. I did find it amazing how Dad's Vascular Dementia was accepted but a blind eye was aimed at Mom's Alzheimer.

I agree with your list Moon and most of that can be done well before necessary. As our loved ones get older add an additional name to the checking account as well. Then make sure you have a geriatric specialist when the time comes. General and family physicians that are not familiar with the disease can create problems as well. Thanks for the advice and welcome to the forum.....

Love, deb

 
Old 10-29-2008, 07:26 PM   #4
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Re: What To Do If You Even THINK! A Family Member Has Alzheimer's!

My Partner I beleive is in the early stages of Alzhiemers she hasnt yet been diagnosed with it But my my mother had it and i do know the early signs, She has seen her GP and he wants her to see a specialist, which she has a appointment for in December, Her short term memory is very bad, And she has bad mood swings, She has accused me of having a affair with one of our vey good friends which is totally untrue but i find it very hard to convince my partner that her fears are unwarranted, Plus many more things going wrong which are totally out of character for her, I just need to converse with someone who is going thru the same problem or has been thru it and can tell me what to expect, Thankyou

 
Old 10-29-2008, 08:24 PM   #5
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Re: What To Do If You Even THINK! A Family Member Has Alzheimer's!

You have come to the right place Shintee. Welcome to our little corner of insanity. Each of us here has at least one loved one that has or has had dementia. So keep typing because answers, support, good ears, and great shoulders, and the occassional good advice is all here.

Recognizing the problem is the first hurdle. It is good that you had an initial visit with her doctor. There are some other conditions that can mimic dementia and you need to rule those out. The specialist is exactly who you need to go to for a diagnosis. Once you have the diagnosis then you will know what is going on with your partner.

What you described is typical. The loss of short term memory, the paranoia, the accusation, and probably aggitation as well. I also bet she is having difficulties paying bills, balancing her check book, and keeping up with her money. She will repeat stories over and over, tell you things you know didn't happen, and then forget things she should know. She is walking off and leaving pots on the stove or water running. Sometimes she seem perfectly fine and other times you can see the confusion in her eyes.

I am not sure of the laws in your country but you need to get whatever legal papers are necessary for you (or somebody) to take care of her affairs after she is unable to do so. She will need her will, power of attorney to be able to legally act for her, and medical directives/power of attorney so her medical care can be directed all in order now. I had my name put on Mom's financial and checking account which makes it easier for me to take care of her financial affairs.

I do hope it is not dementia but if she is diagnosed with dementia, you will find out at level she is. Then you will know what to prepare yourself for. Until then be very observant. Help her where you can but don't argue. The reality that she sees through the plaques and tangles is as real to her as what you know is to you. What they process is like being in a dark room with a flash light that flashes on and off. They get bits and pieces and then have to construct a complete picture out of it. That is difficult and frustrating but when they think they have the picture it is their reality. That was the best piece of information I was given when I first started dealing with my Mom....

I do hate that you have reason to be here but again.... glad you found us. I am sure some of the other wise ladies here will have good advice for you as well. If you have questions.... don't hesitate to type them.

Love, deb

 
Old 10-30-2008, 07:29 AM   #6
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Re: What To Do If You Even THINK! A Family Member Has Alzheimer's!

My father died in December of 07 also. It was the most horrible experience I have ever been through. To watch someone you love and respect go through hell is not pleasant. I had family who "Wanted to remember him as he was" and didn't help with any of it. I carry a lot of anger over the whole experience. I was there for my father every step of the way and I can go to my grave knowing that he had at least one person with him who loved him. I joined this so I could help others and give a little insight if I can. It will help me heal and at least make what Dad went through easier for someone else.

 
Old 10-30-2008, 10:04 PM   #7
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Re: What To Do If You Even THINK! A Family Member Has Alzheimer's!

Thankyou Deb for your swift reply,My Partner has one son and two Daughters who for some unknown reason have chosen to ignore their mother ("Who is my Partner")So this makes it very hard for me, But now I have found this very helpful site I no longer need them, I will be away for about 5 or 6 days because We are going to a Funeral interstate,
But thankyou once again for your help, Bye for now God Bless Shintee

 
Old 10-31-2008, 10:37 AM   #8
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Re: What To Do If You Even THINK! A Family Member Has Alzheimer's!

Yep, you have found the right place. Many of us have difficult to impossible family members. Keep posting and I am sure the lovely gals and guys here will have good advice and support....

Love, deb

Last edited by Gabriel; 10-31-2008 at 10:37 AM.

 
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