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Thread: Alzheimers

  1. #1
    SheLikesKitties's Avatar
    SheLikesKitties is offline OW/YM 21YR GAP
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    Alzheimers

    Because of my son's trip to China it has brought forth a situation that I have been noticing regarding my mom.

    She asks me several times a day when is my son coming back (he lives with her).
    I tell her that on the 18th.
    She says "It's still far".
    I answer, yes it is, but getting closer.

    I do not tell her "I already told you it's the 18th".
    I just answer as if it was the first time she asked.

    This is only one example of her increasing Alzheimers.

    She also has a good friend, with whom she talks every day, and she cannot remember her name, she calls her "the lady from the first building" (because she lives in the first and farthest building of our row).

    My mom has always kept an agenda/journal, and now that her memory is failing, that helps her keep organized.

    I would like for you guys to share advice about what to do, and what to expect.
    You know it's love when the pain of being apart is greater than the pain of being together.

  2. #2
    fiorinda's Avatar
    fiorinda is offline Senior Member
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    My Dad suffered from Alzheimer's disease. He started to have noticeable symptoms at around age 68, which obviously is young for dementia to set in and why it was thought to be Alzheimers. He lived for another 13 years with it. It was horrendous to be honest. He died in 1999.

    I've seen several headlines recently about new treatments that can slow or even reverse the efffects of Alzheimer's (which is where platelets grow over areas of the brain, slowly shutting down various brain functions - some specialists believe that sufferers don't live longer than 7 years from 'diagnosis' because after 7 years there is not enough of the brain still functioning to support life, but obviously sometimes they do!). It used to be difficult to diagnose Alzheimers as only autopsy would say one way or the other if it was that or dementia. Things will probably have changed in the last 16 years.

    I would say the first thing to do with your Mum is get her to her doctor. Try to find out if it is Alzheimers, or senile dementia (how old is she?), and what treatments are available for her. Do this ASAP. It may be that you can get treatment for her that will reverse the effects and greatly improve her quality of life over the coming years. Alzheimers is a horrible illness. It's like the person you love gets slowly walled into their own brain, unable to get out, but still in there. My Dad was a vegetable by the end, unable to even open his eyes. Eventually he contracted pneumonia, which was given as his cause of death.

    Sorry if I sound severe and doom-mongering on this, but it was an awful way to lose someone, it was terrible for my poor Mum, and I really, really hope that you can get the new treatments for your Mum that will allow her to carry on enjoying her life!
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  3. #3
    SheLikesKitties's Avatar
    SheLikesKitties is offline OW/YM 21YR GAP
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    Thank you very much Fiorinda. My mom is 83. My dad died of Parkinsons at 88. I originally thought that it was just a matter of tremors that of course are unsightly, but in general harmless. Was I wrong! Again with Alzheimers I thought it was a matter of memory loss... again, I am wrong. I will make sure to take her to a doctor ASAP to get a diagnosis.

    I am sorry about your Dad's suffering.
    christina923 likes this.
    You know it's love when the pain of being apart is greater than the pain of being together.

  4. #4
    Biggles is offline Neophyte
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    Anxiety and depression meds may be a factor in memory loss

    I can relate to you OP. My Dad is 87. He's constantly asking what day it is, and we keep reminding him.

    For the last few years it's been mostly just his short-term memory that's the problem, and we've had him to the doctors a few times. Not everyone in my family is convinced it's Alzheimers. For years he was on medication like Ativan for anxiety and depression and he's on heart and thyroid meds now. I've been doing some reading about how certain meds may have an effect on memory. Something you may want to look into.

  5. #5
    gorillagirl Guest
    SLK-
    Print out a calendar for the fridge and put your son's return date on it in a nice bright color.
    Have her cross off days until he gets home.
    Get a photo of her friend and put her name on it.
    Put that on the fridge with a magnet.

    My dad is 80 and starting to repeat himself quite alot. It's not easy.
    SheLikesKitties likes this.

  6. #6
    SheLikesKitties's Avatar
    SheLikesKitties is offline OW/YM 21YR GAP
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    Biggles: My mom is taking a medication to increase her blood pressure, and is taking an anti-depressant. She is seeing a Geriatric doctor tomorrow, sadly I will not be there.

    GG: Great ideas!

    P.S. She is also suffering from tinitus.
    You know it's love when the pain of being apart is greater than the pain of being together.

  7. #7
    gorillagirl Guest
    ON THE FRIDGE, put a medicine schedule.

    Sit down with your mom and make a book of anything that's important to her.

    EXAMPLE:
    Page 1- financial info including account numbers and passwords

    Page 2- names of doctors, dentists, etc

    Page 3- contact info for 10 people she can call in an emergency

    Page 4- all other account numbers (credit cards, airline frequent flyer, online shopping site login/passwords, etc)

    Page 5- dates to remember (birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc)

    Get a book she will not tear pages from.
    SheLikesKitties likes this.

  8. #8
    SheLikesKitties's Avatar
    SheLikesKitties is offline OW/YM 21YR GAP
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    My mom went to the doctor today and according to the doctor, she does not have Alzheimers. I have been reading about it, and went to this site Age-Related Memory Loss: What's Normal, What's Not, and When to Seek Help and completed the survey getting a score of 13, which is in the top range of "may be MCI, an early warning of Alzheimers".

    GG, today we discussed banking stuff, and simplified her banking/bills situation. Bills and stuff will get deducted directly from her account.

    Most of her meds are drops, or liquids, so I put the bottles in a plastic organizer in the order in which they have to be taken.

    So far, we are good to go.

    I am thinking about a second medical opinion.
    You know it's love when the pain of being apart is greater than the pain of being together.

  9. #9
    MissMuffins's Avatar
    MissMuffins is offline Senior Member
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    SLK,

    I encourage you to follow through on seeking a second opinion for your mother. Here in the States, one would go to a neurologist for the testing and diagnosis.

    Both my maternal grandparents died with Alzheimer's. Between the two of them, the extended family (my mother, her siblings, their spouses, and we grandchildren & great grandchildren) have spent the past 20 years losing someone to Alzheimer's. It's grueling.

    Now we're seeing the cycle repeat itself in our mother. She's 70, prefers to seek the care of providers who are quacks, and doesn't do her part in managing her diabetes or her ITP (a blood clotting disorder that isn't hemophilia). My sister and I have observed symptoms of Alzheimer's in her for 10+ years and repeatedly asked her to go for an assessment. Either she refuses up front (because the Lord is going to cure her), or she says she will do it and then doesn't follow through. When she does follow through, she invariably goes to one of her quacks who, not surprisingly, gets it wrong.

    Further, I think it's important to your mother's health for you to be with her at all future appointments. It's good for anyone, of any age, to have someone there to serve as a "second set of ears" when dealing with serious medical issues or if one experiences medical anxiety.

    As your mother's primary caregiver, you're most familiar with her routine, meals, medications, nutritional supplements, ailments, etc. As her daughter, you've known her longest of anyone. You know what is and is not normal for her. You also know when to speak up, in the event she's withholding information from the doctors & staff.

    MM
    "Our past is a story existing only in our minds. Look, analyze, understand, and forgive. Then, as quickly as possible, chuck it." ~ Marianne Williamson

  10. #10
    SheLikesKitties's Avatar
    SheLikesKitties is offline OW/YM 21YR GAP
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    Hello MM, you seem to have read my mind, and thank you for posting. I went with my mother to her follow up appointment, and brought up my concerns about Alzheimer's. Apparently in her previous visit neither my mom or friend mentioned this. I told the doctor all the signs that I see like not remembering that there is food in the fridge, or her friend's name. So the doctor asked her a few questions like my son's birthday (failed), my birthday (failed), my son's gf's name (failed), her neighboor-friend's name (failled). Then the doctor asked her to draw a clock with the hands at 11:10. My mom drew a circle, then the quarters but I could see her confused about where to place the hands. Then she asked the doctor if it was AM or PM, and the dr. said it did not matter, so she immediately drew a digital clock! 11:10 AM.

    Evidence that she is intelligent and found a way to cope.

    The doctor gave her a patch that she is using every day. It should stop further deterioration.

    On top of this she is going to physical therapy. Let's hope for the best.
    MissMuffins likes this.
    You know it's love when the pain of being apart is greater than the pain of being together.

  11. #11
    MissMuffins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SheLikesKitties View Post
    Then the doctor asked her to draw a clock with the hands at 11:10. My mom drew a circle, then the quarters but I could see her confused about where to place the hands. Then she asked the doctor if it was AM or PM, and the dr. said it did not matter, so she immediately drew a digital clock! 11:10 AM.
    I love it!

    Best wishes to your mother for best possible outcome with the medication & PT.

    MM
    SheLikesKitties likes this.
    "Our past is a story existing only in our minds. Look, analyze, understand, and forgive. Then, as quickly as possible, chuck it." ~ Marianne Williamson

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