Watching a Parent Who Has Pick's Disease Slowly Slip Away - Part 2
Determining the Right Care for Your Loved One
If any of your friends or relatives show the signs and symptoms that was listed in part I of my story, they need to quickly get to a neurologist for early treatment. The sooner treatment is started, the slower the disease will progress.
During the early stages of my mom's disease, the doctors thought that she had dementia. The doctors started performing more tests on her which later revealed the Pick's Disease, or frontal lobe Alzheimers.
By this stage, the caregiver of the patient is probably becoming very overwhelmed with the responsibility that comes with caring for them. They may become a danger to themselves; therefore, it is important to take necessary precautions to protect them from harm.
I remember that my mother would try to sneak out of the door and go roam the neighborhood. She also would try to drive herself to the convenience store to go buy herself a Dr Pepper, with crushed ice. She was at the point where it was getting too dangerous to allow her to do these things. My father had to "hide" the car keys so that she couldn't sneak out with the car. She didn't like this idea at all, because in her mind she thought she was still capable of driving a car. He also had to revert to putting locks that used keys on the front and back doors so that she couldn't sneak out of the house while he was at work.
In October of 2006, my mom had to be put into a daycare facility for Alzheimer's patients. This allowed my dad to continue to be able to go to work and know that she was safe. She didn't like going and in fact my dad had to tell her that she was going to go to a place to do some volunteer work. He would also give her a dollar each day so that she could go get her Dr Pepper from the vending machine. Again, it was the little things that made her happy and Dr Pepper was one of them.
My dad was very good about taking the time to continue to take my mother places; however, in October he had a hard time controlling some of her behavior issues. He found that places that had a ton of distractions caused her more problems, than a simple car ride to go get ice cream.
By December, my mom was having trouble determining how hot her food was or she almost burned her hand when she was reaching to get something out of the oven. I am thankful that my dad caught her trying to put a hot pan out of the oven with her bare hand. This could have caused a severe burn. Things by this time are slowly getting worse. She is still attending daycare during the day. Her verbal skills are also declining. She will clap her hands in frustration and when she is upset. She waves at strangers driving down the street because she thought it was me or my brother. Getting dressed has now become a difficult task for her, especially her socks. She would carry them around all day until someone put them on her feet for her. She can no longer fix her hair very well or put on her make up. If you knew my mom, she always had her make up and hair done.
Items to Help Caregivers Keep Their Loved Ones Safe
Tests Performed on Patients Exhibiting Signs of Picks Disease or Alzheimers
There are several tests that can be ordered from your doctor or health care provider to help determine if there are signs of Pick's Alzheimers. Your doctor may perform any of the following tests:
- MRI of the Brain - This will help doctors determine if the frontal lobe is shrinking.
- Electroencephalogram (EEG) - This test determines if there are any underlying electrical problems in the brain. Electrodes are placed on the scalp and the electrical impulses are converted to a pattern on the computer. The pattern will be stored on a computer or disc for the doctor to analyze.
- Cognitive and Neurological Testing - The doctor will perform neurological tests to examine the brain and nervous system. They will also test the patients reflexes, coordination, muscle tone, speech, sensation, and muscle strength. The doctors are looking for low muscle tone and problems with their speech, which are symptoms of Picks.
- Behavioral Test - The doctor will study the patients behavior and mind. Patients that suffer from Pick's disease will have behavioral issues, especially in public.
- CT Scan of The Head - A CT scan will allow doctors to see details pictures of the patients brain. As the disease progresses, the brain will continue to shrink.
- Spinal Tap - A spinal tap can be performed so that he or she can examine the spinal fluid for abnormalities.