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Old 01-09-2012, 03:52 AM   #1
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Wondering what the new year will bring.

DH went into a geri-chair a few weeks ago, since he was a fall risk. He had started leaning strongly to one side, and would fall when trying to sit in a chair or on his bed. He'd hang onto other things for balance, like other patients' wheelchairs which put them at risk. He tried to get out of the geri chair for a week, but then stopped. He is now unable to walk at all. He won't put any weight on his feet or legs (he tries to pull them up into the air when the aides try to get him to stand). He tries to scoot in the geri chair by shifting his weight, instead of using his feet at all anymore. DH doesn't appear to be in any pain. He gets some physical therapy to try to get him to use his legs, but he won't.

He also won't feed himself. He would put his hands into the mashed potatoes, for example, and then just mess around with them. He usually has a good appetite when he's fed. Sometimes if you give him a cookie he'll put it in his mouth. He blows his nose into his hands. He won't look at a tv. Sometimes he will watch other people, and other times he's in his own world. He still has flashes of anger where he'll shout out and shake his chair.

Since he's in the geri-chair, it appears that the NH has cut back on his medications. He's not as groggy or disoriented anymore. He smiles more now. Sometimes he says a few words that actually have some meaning. He still seems to recognize us a little, and gets upset when we leave. Occasionally he will have a facial expression (like a raised eyebrow when another patient screams, or a smile at an aide) that shows flashes of his old personality. His teeth are in awful shape after 2-years of NH care, but are not giving him any pain.

He's entering his later 60s now and is in good health. Our family chose not to get him a flu shot.

I've been the first to write that evey patient is different. Still, I wonder what is going to happen this year. Will he go from geri-chair to being bedridden? What happens next? Are we likely to be looking at year 4 in the nursing home, and then year 5 and year 6? My heart is breaking for him.

Last edited by Beginning; 01-09-2012 at 11:00 AM.

 
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Old 01-09-2012, 06:36 AM   #2
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Re: Wondering what the new year will bring.

Beginning... don't we wish we had a crystal ball. I told somebody the other day that the not know is the worst. IT would be so much easier if there was a time line to guide us. We are hanging on one day at a time and it would be nice to know how many more days we needed to hang on!!

Mom is leaning sometimes. It is not consistent yet but comes and goes. She is having more trouble standing up and sitting down. She is beginning to nap during the day and is sleeping more at night. Her gait is slower and more unsteady but she's still managing to stay upright. I just wonder for how long.

She rarely strings two words together that make sense but she communicates with her eyes and her actions. Sometimes I see a flicker of recognition and other times she doesn't seem to have any idea who I am.

She is feeding herself less and less. She will find a way to get a cookie to her mouth but her dinner plate is played with rather than eaten. She eats well when somebody else feeds her. Yet she is continuing to lose weight. She is now down to 99 pounds. It is at the point that weight loss is losing muscle mass rather than fat so that affects her ability to ambulate. I see a day in the not to distant future that she will not be able to carry her own body weight.

We are just pass year 4 as well and I often wonder if there will be a 5 or 6. What I do know is that like you, I am in it as long as it takes....

Love, deb

Last edited by Gabriel; 01-09-2012 at 06:37 AM.

 
Old 01-09-2012, 08:59 AM   #3
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Re: Wondering what the new year will bring.

Beginning, I am so sorry your DH is in this stage now. We will never know what is to come. My FIL is now in severe stage too but he knows better not to fall or fool around his wheelchair. he leans too but not so bad yet. He walks a little bit in the early morning. Cannot walk far. Like a baby learning to walk...

Indeed we will never know how long. Deb, I know maybe there is another year or two for my FIL, but who knows? My FIL has prolonged his life with AD for so long and so many times... Many surprises. One day, he will be gone. My husband does not want to know about it or think about it. One step at a time.

Love,
Nina

 
Old 01-09-2012, 07:06 PM   #4
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Re: Wondering what the new year will bring.

I certainly understand and remember well what it is you are all talking about. The day by day by day by day is enough to kill us all. The not knowing. The wondering how much longer...for them and yes, for us. It is heartbreaking to watch them decline.

I don't have a crystal ball but I can't imagine there will be a year 6 for any of you....maybe not even a full year 5.
My mom fought this for over ten years..hers was a slower pace til the last year or so and then she was gone.
The last year of her life was much like you are describing.

I wish you all strength.

Love, Meg

 
Old 01-09-2012, 08:04 PM   #5
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Re: Wondering what the new year will bring.

Thank you all. The stress of hoping that your loved one will eventually find peace and dignity in death is hard. Every so often it overwhelms me.

It's amazing that with all of the studies of Alzheimers and the capabilities of the mega-computers, no one is compiling data that might give families' a clearer picture of the progression they might expect. Computers can play Jeopardy, but they can't predict the progress of a disease that is so common...seems like a waste of brilliant minds.

 
Old 01-09-2012, 08:05 PM   #6
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Re: Wondering what the new year will bring.

Thank you all. The stress of hoping that your loved one will eventually find peace and dignity in death is hard. Every so often it overwhelms me.

It's amazing that with all of the studies of Alzheimers and the capabilities of the mega-computers, no one is compiling data that might give families' a clearer picture of the progression they might expect. It seems like a waste of brilliant minds that scientists can develop computers can play Jeopardy, but not computers that can predict the progress of a disease that is so common.

 
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