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Old 11-22-2011, 07:15 AM   #1
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Mom's progress on Namenda

I can't remember if I wrote in after she had the major eval. for dementia. She insisted on the test, because she was going to show everyone she was fine---so she could drive again. She was diagnosed with mild to moderate. She was madder than anything at the psychologist---mostly because she was frustrated at the test questions. Her memory is getting progressively worse. From what I have read recently, the drugs available really do not help. According to her neurologist, there may be different ones available when we need them! He did say she could live alone, with an alert button. He never mentioned assisted living, probably since we are able to care for her at home. As of this point, my sister and I are still able to handle everything--mostly because we live close by. If we didn't, that would be another story.

The Namenda has helped 100% with her mood. She is happy and we laugh a lot! A big change since around last Feb. when she was very angry and tried to make our lives miserable!

 
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Old 11-22-2011, 08:04 AM   #2
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Re: Mom's progress on Namenda

Linda... I had to chuckle. That is exactly how I got Mom to MARS for her testing. She was going to prove me wrong because she was fine and the rest of us were just wrong! She came out furious because the questions were "trick questions". I remember her saying... "He showed me a picture but he didn't tell me he wanted me to remember what was in it!" That didn't explain her inability to draw a clock face with correct time.

Medications that are on the market now may or may not help depending on the person. They only promise a minimal slowing of the progression for a short period of time. The fact that you think the Namenda has improved your Mom's temperament is just the opposite that I found with Mom. She spiraled into hysteria! Just another example to show that each individual is different

I am suspect of a doctor that says... Mom has Alzheimer's but she's ok to live at home alone. Mom's doctor said that. Mom was further along then your Mom but it was quickly evident that it was not going to work... even with in home help during the day and somebody there at night four to five nights a week. You have to be ever vigilant. Watch for the burned pans stashed under the sink, the food that has turned into a science project in the fridge, and other unsafe situations that she may not realize.

When Mom was home alone she did pretty good with the day to day. She had a 50 years backlog of memories to know where the bowls were. She did forget how to follow instructions or a process so cooking became difficult. Short term memory definite caused her to forget what she had done or what needed to be done. It was quickly evident that it was the unusual circumstances that caused a problem. It was the smoke in the house from a small electrical fire that showed me the BIG problem. Mom with her Alzheimer's nor Dad with his Vascular Dementia had the cognitive ability to realize that they should get out of the house. House full of smoke, smoke alarms going off, and they were in the house looking around to find the source of the smoke. They did not call 911. That is what scares me. If they fall, there is a fire, or other disaster, will she know what to do?

Suggestion.... while you are there one afternoon create an emergency situation. Set off the smoke alarm and see what she does. Does she know to get out of the house and call 911? If she does great... if not then you know what needs to be done.

For whatever reason I am glad for you all, and for her, that her temperament has improved. That makes life so much better for everybody, especially her Just keep a watchful eye!!

Love, deb

 
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Old 11-22-2011, 08:31 AM   #3
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Re: Mom's progress on Namenda

Thanks for the suggestions, Deb. Mom doesn't have Alzheimers, but has vascular dementia. There is a difference in their thinking skills. Lots of people have dementia and are able to live alone. Alzheimers is much more serious. They are actually getting away from assisted living in our area, instead there are home health care workers for people who don't have kids to take care of basic needs. I will watch for burned pans---I have burnt a few myself. If the house burns, she has insurance.

In our area,the focus is on the patient's happiness. They don't want to live out their lives in an unfamiliar place if they can somehow function in their own homes. To me, that thinking makes the most sense. In my opinion, it is wrong to take people out of their homes, because they have dementia. You need to see the big picture. Everyone's case is different.

 
Old 11-22-2011, 09:01 AM   #4
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Re: Mom's progress on Namenda

Yep, there is a huge difference Linda. My Dad had Vascular Dementia and my Mom has Alzheimer's. You are right about the difference in thinking skills. Dad could rationalize a problem, he just didn't remember what he came up with because of the lack of short term memory. Yet in the later stages he had more rational thought process than Mom did in the mid stages of Alzheimer's.

I do not think facilities are always the answer. I do believe they should live where it is best for them but we do have to be acutely aware of the dangers and potential pit falls. I do see the big picture I did try, very hard, to keep Mom and Dad at home. I do understand the benefits of keeping them in the familiar home they have lived in for years. In the beginning I was right with you in my thinking. I am not saying to uproot Mom and place her in a facility... I am just saying to be aware of the potential problems, be vigilant, and know that there will come a day when she can not be left alone.

My thinking shifted somewhere along the way. It's not all about their happiness and what they want. It's about their safety and what they need. We have to realize that the dementia (no matter what kind) does impair their thinking and ability to function. At some point they need 24/7/365 assistance. It is just a matter of when, not if!

I also know the wear and tear care giving has on an individual long term. This is not a quick in and out few months. I have been in the midst of care giving for my parents in some form since 1998!! That is 13 years. Just let the family do it and keep Mom at home sounds great in the beginning... but the told it takes on the care giver is monumental. Physically and emotionally it is draining. You do have to think about your own well being as well as Mom's.

You missed my point about the fire. If the house burns you do have insurance and that is just stuff. But if Mom doesn't know how to get out of the house that is different. It was the fact that Mom with her Alzheimer's nor Dad with his Vascular Dementia knew to get out of a burning house! At one point they went out to check the outside breaker panel and went back in despite the objection of the neighbor! Dad with his vascular dementia was in the lead there. And... the fire was caused by Dad who plugged the vacuum cleaner into the batter back up for the computer.

The other issue I had specific to Dad and his vascular dementia were the delusions. This is more predominate with Vascular dementia. His delusions were real to him and he acted on them. That caused him to wander. Then man who was normally happy sitting in his chair would suddenly get up and off he would go because of some deluded thought that had popped in his head. The first time was totally unexpected and it took us hours to find him. The last time was at 6 am, when it was 13 degrees, walking down the middle of the road to go to the courthouse.

Yep I was in the same frame of mind as you back in the day But you live and learn and I am only giving you a heads up to the potential so you will be aware of what to look out for. There is no good dementia. There are differences but there are similarities and they all demand our vigilance

Love, deb

 
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