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tpotter 11-22-2008 11:55 AM

why do dementia symtoms worsen?
I would like to know why dimensia symtoms worsen? And what if it is going so fast now? actually i want to know. my husband is 59 and trying aricept, no insurance, how do i help him?

Martha H 11-22-2008 06:44 PM

Re: why dimensia symtoms worsen
Dementia gets worse, because once the process has begun, no one knows how to stop it. Yet! There is research being done which may provide a cure within the next 5 years.

Meanwhile, your husband should go to a doctor for an examination. If he has been put on Aricept, his doctor suspects dementia. But there are other causes of forgetfulness and memory loss. If possible he ought to visit a neurologist and have a brain scan, just to rule out other causes which may be reversible.

Meanwhile, if he has Dementia you will have to gradually take charge of more and more, since his memory will fail little by little and he will not be able to do what he does now. You should be fully aware of the family financial status, have power of attorney over all his accounts and a medical directive giving you access to his medical records and reports.

It all sound scary and daunting, but you don't need to do this all at once. Do you have any grown up children? If so they can be a great help in standing by you as you get things done. Inform yourself about this disease, and have some idea of what is coming at you, so that you will not be shocked as it gets worse.

In my case my mother had it. It took about 8 to 10 years to go from a fully functioning independent adult to a child like person unable to think for herself.

Many people on this Board also have a husband or wife with this condition, and I am sure you will get many answers to your letter. Good luck, and God bless you!



petal*pusher 11-22-2008 08:00 PM

Re: why do dementia symtoms worsen?
Hi tpotter...welcome to a place that will surely be able to give you help and comfort.....many listening ears and comfy shoulders can be found here!

Martha is right...most dementia is progressive. Your husband is a young man to be showing sypmtoms...but it is not too unusual. Alzheimer's (only one type of dementia) is not too selective in who it takes hold of...age doesn't seem to matter.

The other mysterious thing is that it seems to develop and progress at very different Mom is in the 10 MIL passed away 4 years after diagnosis...and my FIL is starting the 4th year after diagnosis.

Having no insurance is a challenge, but you'll get some helpful suggestions here. Try to go back and read past posts...there will be tons of information that will help you understand what the future holds.

Please come back and post again...somehow, knowing you are not alone in all this softens the burden just a bit.......Pam;)

Gabriel 11-22-2008 10:56 PM

Re: why do dementia symtoms worsen?
Welcome to the board tpotter. I hate you need to be here but helpfully you will find the answers and support that you need. Pam and Martha both gave you excellent advice. I am assuming that your husband has been diagnosed since he is trying aricept. Yes, it is a progressive disease. The plaques and tangles of ALZ interfer with more and more neurons which are the messangers of the brain. As they cease to function the dementia worsens. The same happens with other dementias for different reasons. Aricept, and all other current medications do not stop or reverse this damange. It only slows down the progression... in some case, for a period of time. It is similar to putting your finger in a dam leak. It still leaks just not as much.

There are also diseases and conditions that mimick dementia so be sure your husband has a completely physical to rule out all other reasons.... and a neurological examintion to find out what kind of dementia he might be dealing with. If it is dementia, at this time, there is no way to stop it. We continue hope that research will give us a cure soon..... for all of our loved ones.

No insurance is definitely a challenge. You didn't mention the financial situation but you could check out Medicaid. If he is a veteran you could check into his possible veterans benefits. Also contact your local Alzheimer's association to see what they would advise. I do know that some times pharmacutical companies supply medications at a free or reduced charge. It might be worth investigating through the drug maker.

Martha is right, read and learn all that you can about the disease. The Alzheimer's Association can send you material, there is much information on the web, and at your local library. One book I would recommend is "The 36 Hour Day". It will give you insight into what is coming your way.

Come back often and let us know what you find out. All of us here have, or are, dealing with loved ones with dementia. We are all in this together.....

I will keep you and your husband in my thoughts and prayers....

Love, deb

caringsister54 11-22-2008 11:40 PM

Re: why do dementia symtoms worsen?
I may be wrong but I think ALZ has a faster progression rate than dementia. My cousin had ALZ, diagnosed at 55 and was gone by 2 1/2 years later. My mother's dementia has been officially about 11 years but we can look back and see signs as far back as 15 -20 years

During the recent doctor visit that I attended with Sister about Mom, doctor stated that there are periods in Dementia where the failures are fast and then they kind of plateau out for a few weeks or momth and then the failures progress again rapidly.

Martha H 11-23-2008 04:47 AM

Re: why do dementia symtoms worsen?
Alzheimer's Disease is only one type of dementia. There are other dementias. My Mom's was called Senile Dementia becuase it appeared in old age. (we used to call it senility.) But as far as taking care of the person, making plans, bank accounts, POAs etc, they are all handled pretty much the same way.

In every case the diagnosis is devastating to the family.

I hope it all goes well for you.



kenbob71 11-23-2008 04:51 AM

Re: why do dementia symtoms worsen?
Good morning, tpotter. Like you, I have just spent a year dealing with my wife's fast-declining Pick's Dementia...She is 53. Diagnosed just over a year ago, she has gone from being a seemingly-normal functioning person to someone who just wanders around in the nursing home and hasn't spoken a word in almost 6 months. She cannot shower or wash her hair or brush her teeth. When I go for a visit, she connects very briefly, then just fades into her own little world.

In her case, I think she was able to cover her symptoms for a long time, but then had a decline where it became very evident.

A year ago, I prayed that her disease would not last the 10 years of the 2 - 10-year prognosis. I think God does listen. She is in a very content place and has been for many months. Oblivious to most of what is going on around her.

And now that she is in a place that she is MUCH better off, we can get on with finding out what a "normal" life is.

Hang in there, you WILL make it. Keep a sense of humor. And find a support group.

debbie g 11-23-2008 11:49 AM

Re: why do dementia symtoms worsen?
its so hard to watch the person decline. i so wish i could stop it.

Gabriel 11-23-2008 12:31 PM

Re: why do dementia symtoms worsen?
I don't want to stop it.... I want to reverse it. The idea of leaving Mom and Dad where they are now is too sad for words... Stuck between where you want to be and where you are going, with some awareness of what is going on but without complete understanding, the cognitive ability to deal with it, and no way to stop it..... It is incomprehensible.

Love, deb

ibake&pray 11-23-2008 07:03 PM

Re: why do dementia symtoms worsen?
[COLOR="Navy"]What you do need to do now is to make sure that you have bpth durable POA and medical POA and are on all the bank accounts while your hubby is still fairly stable mentally. This way when you need the POAs you will have them and they will be in place. You need to get all of this sort of stuff in place so that when he start to fail you will be prepared. HIPPA laws make it hard for you unless you have this in place.

read the 36 hour day it's a good place to start....and welcome to the board. [/COLOR]

caringsister54 11-24-2008 08:59 AM

Re: why do dementia symtoms worsen?
Also, please don't do the POA's just on your husband's side. Plan for your own, designate someone on your POA's knowing that it won't be your husband.

This makes it something you both do and it won't make him feel like a failure himself.

This is something I had put off doing and seeing my mother's decline I need to do it at some point. I don't know who would be the one though and that's why I put it off. I thought it could be my good friend but she's telling me she's moving to florida so I silently said that wasn't going to work. My kids are very young and while i would use them if they had some age to them, I'm afraid that it would overwhelm them to have to make those decisions right now. I know I'm planning this for the future and will probably have to appoint them. Now my question: Do I appoint both? Son and Daughter? And if not I don't want to hurt my daughter and pick my son over her: both are able to serve this role

Gabriel 11-24-2008 10:52 AM

Re: why do dementia symtoms worsen?
First you need to check in your state to see if you can have dual POA's and if there are age requirements. In NC you can only appoint one person... and an alternative if the named person can not fulfill their obligation. I know each state is different so check with a lawyer about the rules in your area.

In our family, we are all older than your kids (by a LOT), we naturally fell into what we received. Sister 3 is a nurse so she ended up with the Medical POA, living will, and medical directives. She has the education, experience, and background... as well as the temperment... to do that job. Sister 4 deals with the parents doctor and is first call for the facility. That way sister 3 and 4 have to work together. I ended up with the financial POA's and my name on the checking accounts. That is what I do best. I did feel that also having the durable POA gave me too much control... so Sister 2 took that responsibility. We work well together and by splitting those responsibilities then two are involved not one. She can sell the assets but I have to handle the money. Sister 3 oversees what sister 4 does and the money hinges on me while sister 2 has the ultimate power. It gives us accountability.

So if you need to split up the responsibility between the kids you can give them each a share and know that they are overseeing each other.....

Love, deb

caringsister54 11-24-2008 12:58 PM

Re: why do dementia symtoms worsen?
hey great idea. I know they're 24 and 21 but I don't want my demise to break whatever fragile strings bind them. I would never blame my Sister is something happens to Mom during her watch and today it is a doosy -- but I know she'll throw it in my face if something happens while I have her which is why I probably shy away from spending too much time there.

Today Mother is fighting everything. I tried to give her the ativan to calm her down because Sister couldn't get any food :confused: :( or medicine in her at all. :( Of course, Sister makes excuses saying that that maybe today is bad because she can't get the medicines in her and she is suffering withdrawals. I told sister to stop blamin g herself, none of the medicines is additive that she would have withdrawals. I mean its cholesterol and high blood pressure and other for the osteo. But while doctor told sister to not force her to take it and just stop giving it. Sister can't let herself do that.

Mother wouldn't take the 'pudding' and when i tried to get her to take the pin-head size medicine pill, she took the water right out of my hand and turned it upside down on the wall-to-wall carpeting and just sat there smacking my hand and pulling on my blouse trying to kick me out of the house.

I told Sister to just keep doing what she's doing and ignore mother completely but it hurts so much to see my mother in such emotional pain because she can't get her needs understood today by neither my sister nor I.

tpotter 11-24-2008 06:03 PM

Re: why do dementia symtoms worsen?
thank you so much it is so very painful

tpotter 11-24-2008 06:13 PM

Re: why do dementia symtoms worsen?
thanks to all of you.

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