Friday, January 9, 2009

Days of Caring--Alzheimer's

As some of you that know me and/or follow me on other places on the web, already know, my fiance's sister has Alzheimer's as does her husband and we are caring for them.

This is not an easy task as it is only us. Let me introduce each of us to you, the blog reader:

Me--I am 41 with a birthday coming up soon. You can actually read my profile to learn more about me. I do want to note some medical conditions here as they have a bearing on this particular blog entry-hypertension, spondylosis, and rheumatism.

Dave-He is 65½. He has had open heart by-pass surgery and four heart attacks afterwards. He is now showing signs of congestive heart failure. He has also had four arteriograms.

Robbie-Dave's 79½ year old sister. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's about 2½ years ago. She also has a low thyroid, and is B vitamin defienct, and suffers with hypertension. She has a dominant personality.

Bob- Robbie's 83 year old husband who will be 84 in a few weeks. He also has Alzheimer's and was diagnosed at the same time she was. He lost a kidney about six years ago to cancer. He has also been diagnosed with renal failure, hypertension, brain aneurysm, and two femoral aneurysms. The left femoral aneurysm was repaired in July 2008 when he underwent an above the knee leg amputation due to PAD. Bob is a docile person.

Some of Bob and Robbie's medical conditions, if not all of them, worsened as her Alzheimer's progressed. See she had it for many years before anyone noticed. They all just assumed it was her eccentric personality getting worse with age. As has been discovered, she was not allowing Bob to take his medications nor was she taking hers, this only made each condition worse.

About two and a half years ago, several family members had tried to call and for several days not gotten an answer. A sister sent her husband and niece down to check on them.

Robbie was in the floor half naked and Bob was just ignoring that fact and the phone and door.

Dave was called and he came down. The niece had dressed Robbie and placed her in a wheelchair she still had from breaking her leg several years previous due to osteoporosis.

At this time Robbie had ataxia and just could not remember how to walk. She went to a nursing home for what was supposed to be a twenty day stay for rehab--to teach her how to walk again.
At eighteen days they called us and told us to come get her immediately or they would be placing her in a mental health facility as she had obtained a nail file and tried to stab a member of the staff.

A few of Robbie's escapades at the nursing home:
  1. Going in other people's rooms and taking their clothes.
  2. Going in other people's rooms and putting her clothes in their closets.
  3. Locked herself in a gentleman's closet with a trash can. She was peeing in it.
  4. Trying to run away.
  5. Jerking the covers off of sleeping patients at night and yelling at them to get out of her house.

We have had to put double key deadbolts on all the outside doors. There are cam locks on all the cabinets in the house. We had to add a door to the utility room. The fridge and freezer have padlocks. All the clothes have been removed from her room and put behind lock and key. The bathroom has been emptied for her safety. The stove is not functional as she "cleaned" it to the point it will no longer work--she was taking the eyes out in the dark. (Yes, the electricity is off to the stove.)

There are no typical days. Robbie slide off into yesteryear a long time ago. She maybe in 1975, 1982 or 1946 and not on different days, sometimes all in the same hour.

Bob forgets he only has one leg now and will try to stand and walk.

They both have hallucinations and delusions and sometimes she has paranoia.

Sometimes Robbie is aggressive but not as much now with medications in her system for sometime at this point.

They both have sundowners at times.

Robbie also exhibits repetitious behaviors.

Please, learn the warning signs of Alzheimer's. Getting an early diagnosis can add productive years to your loved one's life.

Please, go here to sign a petition asking President elect Obama to make Alzheimer's a priority.

1 comment:

Post a Comment

Your comments are most welcome.