Update On Alzheimer's
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Monday, May 7, 2012

Update On Alzheimer's




This last month has been one of the toughest so far.  My emotions have been on a roller coaster all month beginning with the cleaning out of Mother's  home.  I am not sure if that weaken me and I was less able to deal with the issues or if the issues were just so overwhelming.   Mother had declined to a point that she was in her own world and wasn't aware of who I was or what I was doing during my visits.  I am not so self centered that she has to know who I am but it was scary to me that she was in such a fog.  She never really spoke directly to me but would speak to no one in general.  I still sit with her and drink coffee and occasionally ask her about her day with no acknowledgement.    But she did allow me to paint her fingernails or comb her hair and seemed to understand the procedures.  She sits during meals and doesn't eat unless I feed her or the staff assists her.  Her appetite has diminished greatly and I have been involved enough with other residents within the facility to know these are not good signs.  These declines just seem to happen overnight not as we would expect a gentle decline but a complete free fall downwards.   We had made the decision and had the opportunity to move her from a private room to a semi private room recently but this in itself didn't explain this decline.  I was beginning to second guess our decision but I knew in my heart and in my head that having a roommate in an awesome facility and having the opportunity to stay in the facility longer was better than having a private room.   Yes, it is a sad fact that money has to be an issue with long term care.  My mother is very fortunate that she was a hoarder of not only items but of money.   We have been very lucky to have the necessary funds to take care of Mother but it will not last forever but it is a constant balance.  We see the bank balance not in dollars but in months. 
I was devastated when I was told it was time to call hospice.  Of course it really was not unexpected to me but I just didn't wish to face it yet.  But as with all Alzheimer's patients there is not a expectation or a graph or a chart on normal decline.

  The next day my Fellow and I at arrived at Mother's facility to speak with Staff about hospice but as I walked up to Mother, I could tell she was back.  She looked me right in the eye and said "Did you hear what they did to me?"    Apparently she had a shower.  Yes, you heard me a shower fixed her for now.  Let me explain.  For the last few months, mother has resisted showering and we had to gently force her to shower.  She hates to have her hair wet and we had to catch her unaware to get her though the shower.  Anytime we achieve the great accomplishment of getting her through the shower, she is furious with us and accuses us of "beating her up".   Apparently the nursing students that assist in the facility each week did not know about Mother's aversion to showers and were eager to take care of the residents and just walked into her room and showered her. This caused Mom to come out of her fog.    The only explanation the medical staff and we could come up with is the fact the adrenaline rush assisted with oxygen to her brain and she could think clearer.  Our visit with hospice was tabled for now and the doctor and staff are working on balancing her medication to keep her grounded. We don't know what tomorrow will bring or even the next hour but she is continuing to be stable and is now eating well.  Her birthday was this month and my son and his lady attended her party with me.  She had no idea who they were but she was happy and ate her cake and ice cream.  Her vocabulary is so diminished and she was explaining to them about her birthday cards. She said that her "birth kids" (grand kids)  send them to her every day.  I think she had been hearing "Happy Birthday" all day and blended the terminology.    She was unaware of who the cards were from but just having them pleases her.  She was also unaware that one of her "birth kids" was standing right in front of her.  I thank God every day that my children are well versed in Alzheimer's and accepts her just as she is without expectations in her behavior.  They have all made peace with God's plans for her and assist and support me emotionally and spiritually.    She has settled into her new semi private room for now.  I just say my prayers each night for guidance and we just plod on and we will continue.  All my prayers go out to each and everyone that cares for a loved one with Alzheimer's.




7 comments:

  1. I wish you all the best as you take this hard journey with your mom. It is not an easy road but your love for each other (and your fellow) will see you though. Your post will help others who are dealing with the simliar situations.

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    1. Thank you for your very kind words, it helps ever so much to have support. I do know that it also helps me to share at this time and I do so hope it will help others.

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  2. Dear Evelyn,

    I am so sorry that you are going thru this difficult journey with your Mom & I hope that Tonya's book is a source of comfort to you. When I was reading your update, the following song came to mind: He Knows Your Name (video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N53Fz5ulvpI). Even during your mom's times of deepest fogs... God knows her innermost thoughts and He is with her. He is watching over her and holding her hand in the places that you and your family cannot travel.

    You are in my prayers.

    Hugs
    Ramona

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  3. So sorry to hear that you are going through this very difficult journey. My MIL was in hospice last summer for just a week before she passed on. It's very sad to see someone you love just fading away. I pray that you will have peace throughout this experience and that you will be renewed.

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    1. Yes, it is so very hard to watch someone just fade away. Thank you so much for your prayers.

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  4. Brings tears to my eyes reading your post. My mom is still with me in my home. Dealing with someone with Alzhiemers is so stressful and sad. My mom is more fearful then mean. The financial part is another worry. We have been doing the best we can to make her savings last till the end. She will be 92 on the 18th. Thanks so much for sharing. It's not been easy for me to share how I feel about my situation. So glad I found your blog Evelyn. Believe me I feel your pain...

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    1. Yes, It was so very hard for me to share at first. I have had so very much support that it helps to write it and release the pain:) Thank you for your support! And I do understand if you don't speak of it right now, everyone has to walk their own path and grieve their own way. I do send prayers your way.

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Thank you so much for your sweet comments:)))