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LTU932
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Your Relatives And Alzheimers

Sat May 06, 2006 5:54 pm

I am always reflecting on this the last years, and I wanted to ask what your experiences with people who have Alzheimers, especially when they were relatives, were.

Here's my story: I barely knew my maternal great grandmother. My mum has photos around from when I was a child and was with her, yet I still don't have many memories of her because I was very young. But once, when I came to Costa Rica for the presidential elections in 1990, I saw this woman in the "office" room, who was lying there like a baby. She was something around 90 or 100 years old. Little did I realise back then that this was my great grandmother, who was suffering from (probably) the final stage of Alzheimers Disease. My grandmother had to constantly look out for her while my grandfather had to attend business as Police Colonel, and others helped her to feed my great grandmother, to wash her and change diapers. It was a really sad sight, and I still remember bits of what happened during those days.

Then a few months later, my mother gets a letter, saying that she finally died and she later told me everything. And although the years have passed by and I reflected on this, I still could not have imagined what he was going through in her mind. She was most likely very distracted from the things surrounding her, but it still must have been horrible. She couldn't remember anybody, she couldn't speak anymore, she just couldn't function at that point. In retrospect, I am relieved that her suffering has ended. May she rest in peace.

So, I was wondering if you share your experiences on this, so I can perhaps understand better what Alzheimers can do to someone.
 
wrighbrothers
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RE: Your Relatives And Alzheimers

Sat May 06, 2006 7:30 pm

Well, my grandad has it, and basically, it's where you slowly lose your memory, mostly short term , for example my grandad can't tell us what he had for dinner, nor does he know that he is no longer at home (he's in a care home  Sad ), nor does he longer know what me or my brother's name are.
Slowly he is deteriorating, and when he deteriorates, he doesn't get it back, it's a horrible thing.
But now he's losing his long term memory, he was in the British royal air force during world war 2 as a radio operator on the bombers, now he used to always know what he did, what rank he was, what aircraft he worked on etc, and would tell stories about he experiences, but know he's being vague, and can sometimes get confused and annoyed if he can't think of words.

At bad times, he can't string a sentence together without needing help, but he is physically fit, he can walk very well, and can still tell jokes, but he just can't remember what he'd done today or yesterday, and as I said, sometimes get muddled up with stories.
He used to work on the railways is several jobs, but if you talk about his time on the railways , and then go onto him being in the RAF, his stories will get muddled. I guess at least he his physically fit, and is near by (a 5 minute walk from home to his care home, which is a very nice care home) and I've heard lots of things from the past from him.

In short, it's a horrible disease, I wish it upon no one, even my worst enemy.
I hope I have helped.

Wrighbrothers
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dtwclipper
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RE: Your Relatives And Alzheimers

Sat May 06, 2006 10:31 pm

I am currently dealing with my mother who is in the early stages of dementia.

She still functions on her own, but conversations tend to be rather circular and difficult to follow. She is always searching for words, and using inappropriate words if she can't remember the right one.

She is 80 right now, and has other medical issues, so we don't know how long this will go on.

It is very difficult for my father, but we all try to help out as much as we can.
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767Lover
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RE: Your Relatives And Alzheimers

Sat May 06, 2006 10:36 pm

My mom has it. I guess you could say it is in "moderate" stage--where she needs constant supervision, but can do things like eat and go to the toilet on her own (although she needs help "cleaning up" sometimes and wears adult diapers.)

It's tough for everyone. I feel blessed that for the most part her attitude is good (except she gets into battles with me sometimes when I try to help her, but she doesn't do that with my dad.)
 
TPAnx
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RE: Your Relatives And Alzheimers

Sat May 06, 2006 10:53 pm

My mom died of Alzheimer's. The only thing that I can think of that's worse is Lou Gehrig's disease, in which your body fails and your mind stays healthy.
My sister said that Mom was losing it during a trip to Finland. I attributed it to the pressure of the trip. Then, a few months later, during a Christmas get together,she asked me about 30 times..each time with the same intensity and interest whether I'd had breakfast--I went into what had been my room as a kid..and bawled my eyes out. My Dad cared for her at home for about five years..changing linen, showers in the middle of the night when she soiled herself..frantic searches for her when she wandered...once, taking the car and heading for a city 20 miles away..until he installed double lock doors. He and a neighbor did 120 mph in neighbor's BMW up I-95 to try to find her. Dad was able to do this for five years--in my opinion, the true definition of love--before getting her into a very good nursing home as a Medicaid (care?) patient without losing eveything he had..something that a very good lawyer worked out..and which is illegal now.
My Mom was a very smart woman..beat me every week with the NYT crossword. I wondered whether she realized what had happened to her, until one night, when she was sitting on a sofa knitting..and muttering something.
I sat down next to her to hear what she was saying....it was "God help me"...over and over and over. It's a horrible disease, which, if it was of the inherited type, my sister and I have a one in four chance of getting. Pray and work for a cure
TPAnx
I read the news today..oh boy
 
AirCop
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RE: Your Relatives And Alzheimers

Sun May 07, 2006 12:04 am

My dad passed away from Alzheimers in 1999 after suffering with it for five years. His dad also died from a Alzheimers. Its a disease that is horrible. Not only does the patient suffer but the entire family also. I wouldn't wish this on anyone.
 
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LTU932
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RE: Your Relatives And Alzheimers

Sun May 07, 2006 5:55 am

Thanks so far for the responses. I guess you all never had the experience of this "late stage" Alzheimers my great grandmother used to have. Trust me, if you ever encounter that stage of Alzheimers in someone, it's a suffering the person isn't even aware of but nonetheless horrible.

Quoting Wrighbrothers (Reply 1):
it's a horrible disease, I wish it upon no one, even my worst enemy.

I fully agree with that.
 
QFA380
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RE: Your Relatives And Alzheimers

Sun May 07, 2006 7:17 am

Alzheimers is terrible. My step grandmother, grandmother is in the early stages but it isn't looking good. She made it to 100 then started getting it.

I'm just glad my great-grandmother doesn't have it. A doctor told her a coouple of years ago that she was the healthiest person over 80, he knew and that these days 75% of all people over 80 have a mental condition. She is 92, very fit and doesn't take any medication. For me its just an amzing miracle.
 
rolfen
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RE: Your Relatives And Alzheimers

Sun May 07, 2006 12:10 pm

Both of my grandfathers had altzheimer. My grandpa on my mother's side died more then 5 years ago.
He had reached the stage where he would not recognise his own daughter. He just went to sleep one day and never woke up... or so we were told.

My grandpa on my fathers side had altzheimer too, and he was starting not to recognise family members. Once he did not recognise his own daughter. He used to recognise me on and off. One day, a couple of years ago, he slipped, fell and broke his femur/hip joint. He had to go to the hospital to get operated an get an implant. For some reason he recognised me just before going in to the operation room and cried. That was last time I saw him, as he did not survive the operation.
rolf
 
JAGflyer
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RE: Your Relatives And Alzheimers

Sun May 07, 2006 12:20 pm

My grandmother lived in a nursing home. The home was a very clean and nice place (most are not very happy or nice places to be). Her's had 3 floors. The main floor was for the people who were mostly independent and mobile. The 2nd floor was for those who were mobile but needed some assistance with bathing and other daily tasks. The half of the 3rd floor were for people who needed more care but still were somewhat mobile. The other half of the 3rd floor was the dementia and most severly affected people who were bedridden. The doors were all locked and you needed a different code to enter that area. I remember having to go to the dementia area and it was a horrible memory. People screaming, shaking, calling out random things, etc. Everything was closed off or gated except for the lounge rooms. I started to cry when I saw that. I cannot imagine working on that floor for more than 5 minutes. I know it wasn't the people's fault but their mental state. Still it was very scary to have to see that and I felt very upset for the rest of the day. I do not want to think of the dementia ward at the other nursing home I visited was like. I can tell you that even the best part stunk and had residents who were crying for help.

My grandmother lived on the 2nd floor for the 2 years she was at the facility. She always said it was a great place and she was very happy living there. The staff worked very hard and all the residents I saw were dressed and neatly groomed. She got a free manicure once a week. She was able to walk with the help of a walker, she could speak and made sense and could dress herself with little assistance. She had dementia which made her confused and she would often repeat things several times (How was school? Ok Thats good. Then ask me about school 5 minutes later). She suffered a stroke 2 weeks ago in the nursing home and lost her ability to walk and talk. She died in the hospital a week and a half later. It was sad but I was very happy she would not have to go to live on the floor with the bedridden people as she would definetly would not like that or have any dignity. She never had Alzheimers but having seen what people who have severe forms of it I know it is definetly not pleasant.

Me and my dad will be making a plaque for the staff on her floor (2A) and will have it hung in the desk area. The staff made her last 2 years enjoyable until the stroke.

[Edited 2006-05-07 05:25:43]
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rolfen
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RE: Your Relatives And Alzheimers

Sun May 07, 2006 6:12 pm

Quoting JAGflyer (Reply 9):
(How was school? Ok Thats good. Then ask me about school 5 minutes later). She suffered a stroke 2 weeks ago in the nursing home and lost her ability to walk and talk. She died in the hospital a week and a half later.

I am also lucky that both my grandfathers died before reaching any really advanced dementia stage.

Quoting JAGflyer (Reply 9):
(How was school? Ok Thats good. Then ask me about school 5 minutes later)

That is typical. he used to ask me all the time "so, what are you studying now?". 2-3 times in a row.

Quoting TPAnx (Reply 4):
I wondered whether she realized what had happened to her

Once when I asked my paternal grandfather how he was feeling, he told me "I have some problem in my head"...

Quoting TPAnx (Reply 4):
.frantic searches for her when she wandered.

My paternal grandfather also walked out of the house once, we found him not too far, wearing his pejamas and talking to a group of young people

Is it true that people with altzheimer have instants of lucidity, like short spans of time where they're lucid and intelligent?
rolf
 
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LTU932
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RE: Your Relatives And Alzheimers

Sun May 07, 2006 6:33 pm

Quoting JAGflyer (Reply 9):
My grandmother lived on the 2nd floor for the 2 years she was at the facility. She always said it was a great place and she was very happy living there. The staff worked very hard and all the residents I saw were dressed and neatly groomed. She got a free manicure once a week. She was able to walk with the help of a walker, she could speak and made sense and could dress herself with little assistance. She had dementia which made her confused and she would often repeat things several times (How was school? Ok Thats good. Then ask me about school 5 minutes later). She suffered a stroke 2 weeks ago in the nursing home and lost her ability to walk and talk. She died in the hospital a week and a half later. It was sad but I was very happy she would not have to go to live on the floor with the bedridden people as she would definetly would not like that or have any dignity. She never had Alzheimers but having seen what people who have severe forms of it I know it is definetly not pleasant.

At least she died with some dignity, that's a good thing. Because the way my great grandmother died was almost shameful in a way, after spending so much time with very advanced dementia and being so helpless as she was in the end.

Now that I think of it, why did my grandparents never send my great grandmother to a nursing home with adecuate care for people with Alzheimers who may be suffering from any kind of dementia? Perhaps they didn't find and adequate place, or they just couldn't afford it, despite my grandfather's salary as police colonel. If they couldn't afford it, then it's curious, because they did send my other great grandmother (from my grandfather's side) to a nursing home for the last years, where she died from lung cancer 6-7 years ago.
 
USAFHummer
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RE: Your Relatives And Alzheimers

Mon May 08, 2006 1:46 am

My paternal grandma has dementia...I guess it really got started about a year and a half ago when the following incident happened...

Basically, my grandma (in her mid-to-late 80s), who lived alone in a senior community in Broward County, Florida (she's been widowed for 20 years, my grandpa died shortly after I was born), one afternoon went out to go visit a friend who lived about a 20 minute drive away...at the time she still had her car and her license...no big deal really, except that early the next morning, about 14 hours after she left, my parents (who were in Florida at the time), got a call from the police in Tampa (hundreds of miles away!!!!), saying that they had pulled my grandma over because she was driving erratically and on the wrong side of the street...

My parents were completely baffled by that (how the hell did she end up in Tampa????), but immediately hopped onto the first WN FLL-TPA flight they could get on and went to go pick her up...turns out she had been driving for 12 hours, and she was clueless as to why the police pulled her over...

With this, my parents knew that there was something wrong with my grandma and started to take the standard set of steps to make sure she stayed safe...taking away her car and license, getting a live-in aide for her, etc. but that was really only a short term solution...my grandma has always been a very controlling and creative person, and she did not give in to all of this without a fight...and in battling her attempts to get a car and license, my parents got so stressed out by it (along with my aunt and uncle in Boston who couldn't help out as much because of the distance)...

Right now, she's in an assisted living facility in Broward County, where she can be more easily contained, rather than staying in her apartment with the aide...its terribly depressing to go visit her, because her mind is fading fast (although physically shes fine), but it cant be helped really...

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BigOrange
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RE: Your Relatives And Alzheimers

Tue May 09, 2006 2:58 am

My grandmother had alzheimers.

I was living with her at the time, and first noticed it when she couldn't remember how to pay her gas bill (she had a budget account with a payment book) but she thought she had a plastic card.

It hurt me so much to see her like that, after she had cared for me for so many years.

Eventually she went into a care home where the Alzheimers gradually got worse. She then got sick and was moved to a nursing home, where she eventually died of cancer.

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