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  • Different stages & what to expect

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    Old 06-01-2002, 12:48 PM   #1
    gregandjena
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    Question Different stages & what to expect

    Hello! I am glad that I found this board. My grandmother has Alzheimers and it has really progressed fairly quickly. It is not something that is easy for me to talk about, which I am sure is common for others who have family members with the same. I cannot remember how long she has had it, I am guessing 1-2 years. Everyone kept telling me that I needed to go see her (I'm in SC and she's in IL) but I really did not want to. After taking the advice of many, I did take the trip to IL with my husband to see my grandma. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do, I think. She was far worse than I had originally expected and braced myself for. I *knew* all the things that were different - slowly but surely these things took place: placed in a nursing home, stroke, which changed her speech, she fell and broke her hip, was not able to tell anyone that she was in pain. Eventually, I don't remember how, they found out that her hip is broken and now she's in a wheelchair permanently. They said that she would not make it through surgery. This is the last grandparent that I have left and it is extremely painful for me. I'm 29 years old and I spent my summers with her. When I saw her, I burst into tears. I did not mean to. I felt bad about doing so. She was in the wheelchair, as expected, she just looked so much older. She has put on weight, due to not being able to walk around and get even the minimal amounts of exercise and the memory loss was just not something I was braced for. I have always heard about Alzheimers, etc. but it's different when it's your own family/loved one. She cried when she saw me and for a very brief moment, I think she knew who I was. They told her my name and she said "I know who you are!" (I could be wrong about her knowing/realizing who I was) and less than one minute later she was referring to me as her baby girl (youngest of 4 children).

    Okay, I'm rambling. Sorry! My question is.....while we were there, she did have an accident and the nurses cleaned her up, etc. so I know that she's lost some of her bodily functions. When talking to her, she is talking about when she was a child on the farm and how she was cooking meals for all of the farmers. She does know who her brothers are but doesn't recall who her own children/grandchildren are most of the time. While there, my mother was talking to her asking her if she remembered such and such and grandma got frustrated and said several times "I just don't remember." She was actually very upset with my mother for asking the questions (upset I believe, because she didn't know the answers.) She doesn't remember what she likes to eat or snack on or anything of the sort. Shortly after our visit, we were told that she can no longer chew her food. Now, when I heard this, I thought "pork chop" or something but what she cannot chew is the skin off of peas and corn, etc. They're now giving her food as a liquid. Not sure if she's still getting her meat and veggies, etc. or if that means Ensure type meals. Hurts to think about it, therefore I don't ask. (Does anyone here know the answer to this?)

    My question is.....what are the stages? I feel as if I knew things ahead of time as to what to expect, I would be able to take it and cope a little better. Can anyone tell me how advanced hers seems to be and what to expect next? I know that things will continue to deteriorate, but I would just like an idea of what to expect.

    Thanks for any replies and I apologize for rambling. I know that this isn't a "support" board, just a message board.

    Thanks again!

     
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    Old 06-02-2002, 01:13 PM   #2
    Mace
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    Hi There,
    Both my father & mother in-laws had Alzheimer's Disease. Their disease did not follow the same stages of progression. My father-in-law just gradually went down hill, only pain from a fall speeded it up, over a period of 4-5 years. He just reached the point he didn't react to pain and passed away from an infection.
    My mother-in-law had stages, sounds more like your grandma. She was able to live in assisted living homes for several years and had good days and bad days. She would be the same for months and then have a noticable change all at once. My guess is she had mini strokes, she finally had a bad enough stroke she could no longer walk. She lived a couple of years after the doctors said she had only a week to live but was restricted to bed and a wheel chair. She died really unexpected while my wife and I were over seas. Her grand children were with her when she just passed in her sleep.

    As I think about them they both started similar in that we knew their memories were going along with the ability to recall family members, especially the relation in time.

    Both reacted to pain, slipped downward when they were injured. Also, over medication made them a vegetable. We had to watch and urge the docs not to give so many drugs.

    Good Luck, God Bless, Mace

     
    Old 06-02-2002, 02:54 PM   #3
    gregandjena
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    Hi Mace. Thank you so much for responding. I am sure that there are no real answers as to what comes next, etc. as it is different with each person. It does help to hear others and their experiences with it though.

    Thank you so much!

    Jennifer

     
    Old 06-02-2002, 08:33 PM   #4
    Mace
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    Jennifer,
    I agree all the Alzheimer's patients will be different. With the in-laws sometimes they would change in a week. We never knew what to expect and gave up trying. Just hang loose, give her your love and talk and treat her as you would any other person with any illness.

    I wish your family only the best, it is the family who suffers the most from Alzheimer's.

    God Bless, Mace

    PS: Love Charleston, spent 4 years at The Citadel.
    M.

     
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