Talking to your loved one about Alzheimer's Disease
Don't be afraid to discuss things
In answer to the question : by jesimpki.... What is the best way to talk to a loved one about seeing their doctor about Alzheimer's?
Talk, talk, talk...research, research, research, and don't keep putting it off.
In my humble opinion the sooner the better. Keeping your fears and thoughts hidden does not do anyone any good, it just leaves room for so many un-answered questions. They can be answered IF you do your homework, research is available today like in no other time...to me being un-informed is a sin.
Learning all you can...sooner than later
I have to admit though if my Mother didn't have dementia I may not be informed, but she does have it , I have done a lot to find out what this is and why her? Having attended many a conference, group meetings and research, listening to others trials and tribulations.
Men who are so dedicated to their wife's, it makes me cry. I so admire these men because they were brought up in a different world , yet their love is so strong!! They are so loyal.
I understand men are physically stronger and many woman choose to put their loving husbands in a home because it is just too much for them to handle anymore alone.
The women and men, that have chosen to place their loved ones in a secured facility are there almost daily to care for their loved one. It is that "Motherly" instinct I think. All of a sudden you are alone, and it becomes such a drastic change from the years you were together.
Be Informed..not just the elderly can have dementia
So do try to get all the information you can and here are some of the signs to look for:
Treating this disease is different for each person, and some of the signs early on can be confusing. After my Father died Mom was dis-oreinted and seemed depressed, since she and dad had been married for 50 years we just thought she was lonely and missing him.
Also if someone has other medical problems, it can be difficult to recognize the early signs.
Sometimes age just slows us down , life is very different then we may have pictured it when we were younger and looking forward to retirement.
After years our body parts wear out,eye sight may change, hearing may become a problem, arthritis sets in, we slowly gain weight. Diabetes, high blood pressure, cholestoral, any number of small problems may appear and slow us down...but certain things just are not that common.
Some things are just not normal , like serious alterations in memory, one may forget a grandchilds birthday but not the year we are in, or what day it is,(well wait sometimes I forget because I make my own schedule) LOL..
Our short term memory only holds 5-6 things for a short time so when you are very busy you may forget where you put your keys etc.
Long term memory is always there (like learning to ride a bike, drive, spell etc.) but when these things become difficult then it is time to go speak to a doctor.
First I would suggest you decide whose has the best rapport , the one that is most trusted and then you sit down and talk to your loved one.
Try to speak to them when they are not upset. or angry and seem to be in a good mood. Anger is common because deep inside they know things are not right, letting go/or admitting they are having a difficult time is hard for them. Giving up their control over situations they have had contol of for years.
Speaking to them like an adult is very important so you don't make them feel ashamed, assure them you are concerned at some of the different behaviors you have been noticing.
You may want to suggest seeing their doctor to discuss these things, and that you go together for support, sometimes one may have to say you are going for another reason, but do go.
Your loved one may refuse and if this happens I suggest going to a dementia support group. I have been going for 6 years now twice a month and I can't tell you how much it helps. Just to know you are not alone and that you may be helping others going through the same thing.
Alzheimer's.com is a great place for information and they even have a chat line you can chat with others and ask questions.
check it out, find a way
OK so what have I done?...well I have gone to many a lecture, checked out Alzheimer's.com, read books about what to do, and what to look for. Experience is a great teacher and I have been learning new things constantly. News about this disease changes rapidly these days, as they are really trying to figure it out.
This no way makes me an expert, but I do understand what it is about. I do understand the concept, I know it can or may not be hereditary, there are so many different kinds of dementia and each person is different with different problems. Problems, which can involve several medications.
Pills Pills Pills...
In my opinion these medications can interfere dramatically with their body functions as well as with the actual meds. I have seen residents that act spaced out , confused and seemingly lost by the over dose of meds.
No I am not an authority, but I do have common sense and a dear love for my mom, as well as our bodies, which I DO NOT believe were made to digest chemicals...? sometimes these sweet elderly are just in their own little world , who are we to judge or know what is wrong?
So what are you smiling about?
Today I sat and watched a 95 year old woman sitting in the group activity with her eyes closed, glasses on, and the biggest sweet smile ever. So what was she dreaming, thinking or remembering? We do not know, but I know she was in a HAPPY PLACE for those moments, and it made me very happy...I took a few photo's to share with her loved one. ( I can't use it without permission so this is my Mother)
Memory , dis-oriented,dresses different,....
Actually dementia is a group of things that many times include the skills of memory, thinking and reasoning .
What I have learned is:
At first it is hard to detect, but when you notice they forget recent things that have happened, or things that interfer with daily life, I would begin to take notice and maybe even keep track. There is a book out called "Dancing With Rose" and it is a great example of talking to your loved all the way through this struggle.
Mom got to a point where she became lost in her own neighborhood, she would turn on the water in the kitchen sink and leave it on till it over flowed. One morning she put bacon on to cook and then went outside to water some plants in containers, forgetting completley about the bacon, needless to say the house was full of smoke when she returned.
When things like this happen they become a very big danger to themselves and it is a WARNING you should pay attention to.
This can also be a sign. My mom was a very good dresser. Had her hair just so, clothes that matched, nice shoes, fingernails done, makeup on. Then we began noticing she was not taking the time for these things, she became un-kempt, sloppy but thought she looked fine.
One day her breath smelled like vick's and it turned out she was using BenGay (in a tube),similar to toothpaste tubes. OMG!!!
So needless to say we went through her medicine cabinet and removed what we felt was a danger to her.
I spoke earlier of misplacing your keys, but when you find milk in the kitchen cabinet, money in shoes, old nasty leftovers with mildew in the dish cupboard, take heed and be prepared. Sometimes they will ask the same question a dozen times, and not even remember they asked you.
Their speech may become hard to understand, my mom hasn't been able to speak a whole sentence in over 5 years now, when she tries only 2-3 words are detectable. Mostly just mumbles and it does frustrate her, I can tell.
When I could still take her for rides in my car she would spell out words on signs...Like "S T O P" She would also try to count, but only made it to maybe 10.
I must say though this degree of problems was in the later stages of dementia.
So If your loved one causes any questions in your mind, or has done things I have mentioned, I do suggest you think about seeing a doctor to discuss this...at first I made an appointment for me to just ask questions of the doctor. I felt better and more informed and then I got on the internet and researched.
My youngest sister , her husband, as well as a friend came today from a long way away to see Mom...she responded so quickly to the sound of a male voice, a voice she so remembered and loves. I was so thrilled with the visit and that is what has made me respond tonight to this question.
Each moment counts, we actually live in each moment and never knowing if it may the last. This demented wondefull 93 year old woman (my Mom) brought smiles and happiness to us all, though she is no longer able to speak clearly, but her beautiful smile and sparkling blue eyes inspired all of us today...
After I fed her afternoon meal, we went out to lunch to one of her favorite places, we chatted,we cried, we reminisced, and we shared things we have never shared in the past. It was a wonderful visit and I know in my heart My Mother enjoyed every minute of the 5 hours spent with her...
Mom I LOVE YOU SO MUCH...
I do hope answering this question helped in some way...one moment at a time, slow and easy, with a trust that your heart will lead you in the right direction as long as you follow your gut feelings...
:O) God Bless...Hugs G-Ma