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Sun Oct 21, 2018, 12:36 AM

I am about to become an Alzheimer's caregiver

My dad is real bad off, and my mother is starting to show mild symptoms. (For instance, we were going to City Hall to pay their sewer bill. Before we left the house my mom was all "okay, you turn left here and right here and left here and it's about a block up on the right." (I already know where it is, so no big deal.) Once we're on the road, we get almost to the point where we made the second left and "no, you turn right here. That's what you do. You turn right here." Fortunately, you can see the building from that corner so I just pointed at City Hall and said, "is that it?" So, over the next month I'll be moving into their spare bedroom so I can take care of them better.

So...tactical question for people who've done this: Dad worked really hard all his life, and now he just wanders around the house getting in trouble and pissing Mom off. He can't remember anything that happened after 1958, so should I just get a bunch of stuff for him to work on like wood crafts kits and that kind of thing to keep him occupied?

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Arrow 14 replies Author Time Post
Reply I am about to become an Alzheimer's caregiver (Original post)
jmowreader Oct 2018 OP
question everything Oct 2018 #1
sheshe2 Oct 2018 #2
ghostsinthemachine Oct 2018 #3
jmowreader Oct 2018 #6
ghostsinthemachine Oct 2018 #8
sheshe2 Oct 2018 #4
area51 Oct 2018 #11
Kali Oct 2018 #5
jmowreader Oct 2018 #7
demosincebirth Oct 2018 #9
jmowreader Oct 2018 #10
duforsure Oct 2018 #12
enough Oct 2018 #13
HipChick Oct 2018 #14

Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Sun Oct 21, 2018, 12:40 AM

1. Find the local Alzheimer's Association in your city

or just the national one. They will advise you.

https://www.alz.org/

Lots of resources.

Good luck. The most important part is to be able to take care of you!

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Sun Oct 21, 2018, 12:52 AM

2. Sounds like early stages.

You are going to need help soon. A lot of it. It will become 24/7 care.

We did it until dad had his second stroke.

Whatever you do, take care of you. It is a heartbreaking disease. He never remembered me in the end.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Sun Oct 21, 2018, 12:57 AM

3. Does he do those things?

If.not, no.

I did it for 8 years. Tough. Very tough. You must get a diagnosis. Super important.. You will have to do some things (financial, Power of Attorney etc), and the diagnosis is the way to do it. It also gets you into groups and such for patients and care givers.

You can get paid via medicare or your states exchange for being a caregiver.

As far as keeping them involved, photos and music really takes them back. Favorite songs from way back when. TV, too. Talking is great, but it is very hard. Testing them, teaching them is super frustrating, so try to avoid that kind of thing.
I am going to tell you something, cannabis really works. For the time my Dad was high, he was almost normal. He smoked anyway, but it would be like night and day when he smoked. Other friends. I've worked with and the same result. "Its like I get my wife back" is what my friend told me when she had a half of cookie. Of course theres a moral dilemma about giving it to someone that doesn't want it. I know people that have, and continued to with their patients (parents always) not knowing. Id never do that, I always ask the person or the caregiver (relative always) when the patient is not in control of their faculties.

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Response to ghostsinthemachine (Reply #3)

Sun Oct 21, 2018, 01:09 AM

6. He used to like to build things with wood

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Response to jmowreader (Reply #6)

Sun Oct 21, 2018, 01:21 AM

8. Then he might like that

Got to be simple though. They get frustrated super easy when tested. I dint know specifically, but find something simple. Dont be surprised if he refuses though. Just put it away and bring it out again.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Sun Oct 21, 2018, 01:01 AM

4. Kicking and Recommend.

Hillary had a plan to do something about this.

https://www.cnn.com/2015/12/22/politics/hillary-clinton-alzheimers-cure/index.html

Clinton, who aides said consulted with leading physicians and scientists to develop the plan, will set a goal of making a cure of Alzheimer's a reality by 2025.

"We owe it to the millions of families who stay up at night worrying about their loved ones afflicted by this terrible disease and facing the hard reality of the long goodbye to make research investments that will prevent, effectively treat and make a cure possible by 2025," Clinton said.

"The best scientific minds tell us we have a real chance to make groundbreaking progress on curing this disease and relieving the pain so many families feel every day. My plan will set us on that course," she added.

snip

There are currently 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer's, according to the Alzheimer's Association, with that number expected to grow to nearly 15 million by 2050.
Clinton's $2 billion number is not random, according to aides. The research advisory council to the congressionally backed National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease have said $2 billion a year could make a cure possible by 2025.

Alzheimer's disease is not a new area of interest for Clinton. During her eight years in the Senate, Clinton co-chaired the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer's disease.

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Response to sheshe2 (Reply #4)

Sun Oct 21, 2018, 03:44 AM

11. Fantastic, hadn't heard of it at the time.

I was the caregiver for my mother and I've love to see this disease conquered.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Sun Oct 21, 2018, 01:09 AM

5. rent some little kids to have around

I would say yes try the hobbies until Dad can't do that anymore, but watch for frustration. don't argue with them just let it roll. get respite care for yourself. start immediately.

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Response to Kali (Reply #5)

Sun Oct 21, 2018, 01:17 AM

7. We're having a family meeting on Wednesday

I've noticed his deep-seated memories are still there. For instance, when they lived at Glacier National Park (he designed all the main roads running through Glacier in the early 1950s when he was in the Bureau of Public Roads) they had to bring their garbage cans inside the house to keep the bears from eating the contents. So...he tries to bring the cans in now, so the bears won't eat the trash.

They live in town and have a garage the bears couldn't get in if they tried, but he still thinks the garbage needs to be inside.

The hardest part so far is convincing Mom not to scream at him because he "forgot" something she told him last week. Problem is, the neurons that hold last week's information aren't there any more, so he never knew it.

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Response to jmowreader (Reply #7)

Sun Oct 21, 2018, 02:39 AM

9. I'm a caregiver for my wife. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's

3 years ago. If you’re religious in any way, pray for patience. You are going to need it.

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Response to demosincebirth (Reply #9)

Sun Oct 21, 2018, 02:41 AM

10. Thanks for that

I'm not religious, but fortunately I have a LOT of patience.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Sun Oct 21, 2018, 06:27 AM

12. So sorry to hear this,

I went through this with my Dad, and living far away and my Mom's health being affected we had to put him in a special unit for giving care to him . Sometimes they get violent, mine did, and luckily it was at the care facility, but his wandering at night is what scared us all . That was one of the hardest things to have to do, but I know it was the best thing to have done. You taking that on will be a much harder to do than you realize. They are active any time as their staying up all night , and other changes happen a lot, so it'll be a 24 hour job. Good luck and yes reach out to the Alzheimer Association for help and tips, and a support group to help learn more .

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Sun Oct 21, 2018, 08:13 AM

13. When I was taking care of my parents (father with Alzheimer's, mother with vascular dementia)

I had one constant resource that got me through every day and every night:

The Alzheimer’s Association discussion board, Caregivers Forum.

https://www.alzconnected.org/discussion.aspx?g=topics&f=151

This is where you will find the people who are in the trenches doing this difficult work 24/7. You will find support, information, compassion and humor.

Thinking of you and your family as you set out on this journey.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Sun Oct 21, 2018, 11:04 AM

14. Please make sure you also take care of yourself..

I'm pretty much on the verge of taking early retirement, and moving back home for same reason. My dad spends a lot of the time pissing mum off, not intentionally , but putters around the house trying to do things...he used to be an electrical engineer, and now, he can barely screw in a lightbulb. Mum spends a lot of the time, crying and is barely coping seeing her life partner going downhill. Work is going through voluntary layoffs, so I'm going to take a buyout and figure out the rest of it, later. I don't know how much time I have left with mum and dad, and my priority is them.
Now my dad can tell you, repeatedly anything in the past, in great detail, but not much in the future.

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