Dementia?

@webeishere (36377)
United States
March 23, 2007 2:44pm CST
As most my friends here know I am the caregiver for my elderly father. Now just in the past few months his memory has really gone down hill drastically. Like just the other day he got up as usual at 8:30 for breakfast. He took his pills, got weighed, then ate breakfast. he always goes back to sleep. He woke up about 30 minutes later. He came to the table with his morning pills in his hands again and asked about whats for breakfast. Now I've got a Dr appointment scheduled soon for him. But I would like to hear from members here about any experience or knowledge they have had with Dementia or loss of short term memory. He can't recall things from a short time ago. He can't focus on a TV show more than maybe 15 minutes. Any ideas, stories, or help will be greatly appreciated. HAPPY POSTINGS FROM GRANDPA BOB !!
16 people like this
34 responses
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
23 Mar 07
Bob I don't know that this will be any help but for 3 years I cared for a man with dementia. It was in a care home and true, I did only care for him 10 hours a day but I know it was very frustrating the worse he got. The did eventually move him to a nursing home because of needing more care than we could give him. I do know before he got really really bad on a few occasions he tried talking to me. It was kinda funny because one of his ways of dealing with life was he became non-verbal (by his choice) he did slip up one night though and I knew then that it was his choice and how he was having a little bit of control over his own life. Off topic there but he told me one night that he hated being like this (the forgetting things) he had gotten up to go to the bathroom and forgot where his bedroom was. My only real advise is when you go to the doctor be sure to ask a lot of questions - there are some meds that can help but they also have worse side-effects. Also be encouraged at least a little that it's just as difficult for him to deal with as it it you.
6 people like this
@webeishere (36377)
• United States
23 Mar 07
I'm sure it is hard for him as well dealing with it. He is the type that doesnt talk about anything like this. So I always ask questions of him. I always remind him when he doe's forget major things. The main thing I'm worried about is his finances now too. I caught him writing a second check for the same bill. I am not on his account my older brother is so that's a problem I need to figure out when my brother visits in 3 weeks. I now make a point to open his mail then check his check book to varify things before he does anything. This is sooo hard mentally. It's stressful as hell. But I'll get through this as I have many other obstacles in my life. Thanks for the info. I appreciate it a lot. HAPPY POSTINGS FROM GRANDPA BOB !!
5 people like this
• United States
23 Mar 07
I am sorry Grandpa Bob. I know how difficult it is. I cared for an Aunt with dementia, as well as working in a care facility. There really is nothing you can do, other than have patience with him, which I know you do. Prayer helps too. Try to keep him involved in things that are active if you can, like putting together a puzzle, or playing a game of cards, whatever he likes to do. My prayers are with you and your family. Keep us posted on what the doc says and how he is please. God Bless.
5 people like this
@webeishere (36377)
• United States
23 Mar 07
Thank you so much for your sincere and caring response. He is so lazy he doesn't want to do anything but sit all day. He does work word find puzzles. I buy them at a dollar store as he does so many. I have bought many duplicate books also. This is great with his memory as he doesnt remember doing the same book again. LOL.
4 people like this
@mamasan34 (6522)
• United States
24 Mar 07
LOL you are too funny! This in itself keeps his mind operating. So that is a good thing!
1 person likes this
@rainbow (6763)
23 Mar 07
Oh Grandpa Bob, this can be difficult to make a diagnosis on, I hope it is just that he is a little run down or needs some vitamins. I really hope it is nothig serious, maybe he's just a bit fed up being around the home and feels listless. Whatever it is I know you will be there for him, wehad problems like that when my mamma (maternal grandmother) had her first stroke and it can be difficult at times. I will ask my angels to watch over you all and help your dad! Hugs to you all, I hope the Dr's appt is helpful.
4 people like this
@webeishere (36377)
• United States
23 Mar 07
Thank you very very much dear. It means a lot. Always kind words from you here in my pages. He takes daily vitamins so it's just the brain and his ageI feel. Thanks again. HAPPY POSTINGS FROM GRANDPA BOB !!
3 people like this
@rainbow (6763)
24 Mar 07
You know your friends here will always listen and support if you need us too. I hope your fears are proved wrong for all of your sakes, I will remember you all when I talk to the Angels tonight.
2 people like this
@caribe (2465)
• United States
23 Mar 07
My uncle had Alzheimer's during his later years. His memory just got worse and worse. He kept wanting to go home but he was at his home where he had lived for probably thirty or forty years. The home he was remembering as his home was his boyhood home. My aunt was his primary caregiver and she had to watch him very closely so that he wouldn't wander off while he was still mobile. After a time her patience wore very thin and she just couldn't enjoy the moment with him. When he would talk to me he didn't really know who I was and probably mistook me for someone else but I would just go with the flow with him and we would talk and laugh. That just made my aunt more angry and frustrated, it seemed. God bless you and give you plenty of patience and strength, my friend.
3 people like this
@webeishere (36377)
• United States
23 Mar 07
Thanks for the well wishes and all. Greatly appreciated. Thanks for sharing your story here also.
@mrsbrian (1951)
• United States
23 Mar 07
please please please dont lose patients with him after working in a nursing home for 15 years i have seen what you are going thru, i know it is frustrating sometimes, but i many days watched them cry when trying to tell you the simplest things and they cant find the words,they know they know it but than they cry because they cant remember,so no matter what we are feeling about it ,they are feeling worse.i have listened to the same stories over and over and i always pretented like it was the first time i heard the story.and please if you feel like you need help ask for it dont feel like your going it alone. just another thought dont forget if not watched they will wander away i have seen it happen.god bless you.
3 people like this
@webeishere (36377)
• United States
23 Mar 07
Oh I'm not losing patience with him at all. I just remind him when he forgets things. No biggie. he hasn't gotten that bad that he crys trying to remember things. And as far as him wandering off...HAHAHAHA he doesn't like walking to the table to eat. He'd sooner sit in the lazy boy eating. So no problem with him ever walking out the front door. He does sit on the deck when it's warm. But usualy someone is with him. My wife or my daughter or myself. Thanks for the response a lot. Happy postings from Grandpa Bob !!
2 people like this
@catcai (1057)
• Philippines
24 Mar 07
When I was still in college we were exposed in a geriatric setting, we had lots of patients who have dementia, one of the most important things that I have learned was to be empathic, to make the person feel loved and accepted despite of the condition he’s having. A lot of patience with regards to this condition for your side as the caregiver is greatly needed as patients with dementia tend to be- over sensitive…I have here some tips that I gathered over the internet with regards to caring and management of people with dementia, I hope you find this useful- I only have some select few here: 1. Create a reliable daily routine with small rituals (from washing hands, saying prayers, preparing food, cleaning and singing to a little dancing before bedtime). Yes this is true because my college professor once said that with constant routines, the patient may be able to unconsciously adapt to that routine and be able to familiarize himself more with his everyday tasks. 2. Discreetly link into former habits, weave in memories, give the patient things to hold which represent parts of his/her life (christening candle, child's hat, wedding veil). Remember that the focus is always on the experience and not on the result. Feeling good preserves the feeling of being a person. We were given a task once in that center and we were asked to play a game- like a memory game wherein the elders were encouraged to identify certain events in their life and describe them too. 3. As the disease progresses, the body very much becomes the focus. Physical closeness, touching hands, gestures and eye contact, firm grip of the other with your own body, showing your own feelings creates a warm sense of security, closeness and comfort. Again, love is indeed very important… =) 4. Try to communicate attentive calmness: allow unusual behavior, reduce your rejection of bizarre behavior and take care that your relative does not endanger himself. Resist the impulse to intervene and ask yourself from time to time what is the meaning of a particular type of behavior and what 'pleasure' is behind it. 5. Obtain relief for yourself. People are not made to constantly carry such loads on their own. Take care of your own body, your relationships and interests and get outside help in time. The sooner you accept help, the longer you can be a partner to the person with dementia. I got some excerpts from dementia.com just a few =) but those were really the things that were required of us to do as interns to those geriatric centers. I think what’s most important here is the moral support that you should give your father while he’s in this. Well, I wish you all the luck grandpa! Iwish your family well too.. take care and have a great day!
3 people like this
@cdparazo (5769)
• Philippines
24 Mar 07
I don't think that tips such as drinking more carrot juice or taking antioxidants would still help because what your father is experiencing is part old old already. I guess this would be the time that we could reciprocate what our parents did to us when we were children by taking care of them in return to the best that we could.
@flowerchilde (12520)
• United States
23 Mar 07
After my dad's stroke he had a lot of memory loss.. and slow speech and confusion.. He has recovered just about all his thinking, better than the physical.. but he's still somewhat forgetful, and confused just a little sometimes.. (but heck, who ain't?) But my mom isn't real patient with him, has to correct him everytime, and yes, she's forgetful too! - I've had one other experience with this, and it was at a doctor's office. A (cute) little old lady had been driven to the doctor's office by her granddaughter. And she said "the last time I was here, I.." something or other.. and the granddaughter spoke up and said "no grandma, it wasn't like that! This is how it was.." This happened about three times. And I really wanted to tell that girl to not argue with her grandma. She was making her feel bad. Have a little mercy, who cares how it went last time? Or anything else.. Ever since then I always want to tell people, just keep loving them.. love them like they're a small child.. Not baby talk or anything of course! But just love 'em! Kiss their beautiful cheeks, and give 'em a hug everyday.. It must get like it is watching a small child, and you have to watch them all the time.. I would think that's plenty on the plate without worrying too..
@RobinJ (2501)
• Canada
24 Mar 07
You are in a very difficult position, being a care giver is probably one of the most difficult jobs you will ever have, and Part of the reason is it is almost impossible to wrap your head around the fact that person is you dad. We grow up believing our parents will never change, so when it happens we are devastated by the change and yet we have to in order to give good home care, I would highly recommend that you phone the Alzheimer's Association, and ask if they have any caregiver meetings in your area, They are open to any person looking after a person who has Alzheimer's or dementia of any kind. They have a ton of information to assist the care giver, and if there meetings you will be able to meet people in your position, and be able to exchange information and ways to deal with a lot of things that go on now. One I heard was a box of old photos, and let him look at them and if they spark a memory you can talk about it, another is music, If there is any way you can get your hands on any music of his aria, he will remember it, there are certain things a person with dementia will forget and others he will remember. It is just finding them. I myself suffer from Vascular dementia and attend the support meetings at the Alzheimer's society in Vancouver I go in twice a month, I am very fortunate that I and my doctor have been able to find medications that are working for me, If it were not for the medications I probably wouldn't be able to live alone, and there is no one that can be my care giver, so I would be in a home. I hope that doesn't happen for a good long time, I can still notice when a bit more of myself gets lost. It is happening very slowly but it is happening, Please take care of your self and get help if you need it the worst things that happen to care givers is they burn them selves out and end up as bad as the person they are looking after.
@webeishere (36377)
• United States
25 Mar 07
I thank you very much.I've had a lot of stress in my 52 years. But let me say this caregiving has got to be the most stressful I've experienced so far. It's really rough being my own father. It's even rougher getting him to recall when he last ate. Anyhow thanks for all the info and good luck with yourself also. HAPPY POSTINGS FROM GRANDPA BOB !!
1 person likes this
@naty1941 (2336)
• United States
24 Mar 07
You need a lot of patience. Make sure the Doctor gets all the information from you. He is not capable of taking care of himself and you will have to be more careful in the future with his medication so he doesn't over medicate himself. Sometimes they leave the house and forget how to get back home so it is a good idea for him to carry your phone number on him.
2 people like this
@ashjoe76 (1459)
• India
24 Mar 07
Well, this is something I have gone through as well. It was pretty difficult at that time, but I am glad that I took it very patiently, when I think of it now, since my father passed away onebyear ago. He used to exhibit the same symptoms, kept on asking about the same things over and over again, demanded food many times a day and so on. As you may perhaps know, the condition is a shriking of the brain and is quite understandable that the patient suffers from short term memory loss. The best way to deal with it is to keep it cool and to be patient.
2 people like this
@KarenO52 (2951)
• United States
24 Mar 07
Memory loss will occur with normal ageing, depression, and dementia, so your dad needs to be carefully evaluated first, but I would strongly suspect depression if he's had a sudden decline in memory. A good friend of mine has been taking care of his mother who has dementia, and she can't remember something she heard 5 minutes ago. She's also diabetic, but refuses to monitor her blood sugar. My friend has had to take charge of her medications because she forgets whether she's taken them or not. He will give her Tylenol when she complains of a headache, and then an hour later, she's asking for more. I've heard that patients with depression will be concerned with their health, but those with dementia don't seem to care. That is certainly the case with her. She will not do anything for herself to improve her health, and fights all efforts of her family and friends who try to help her. My father-in-law has had alzheimers for years now, and he is not that bad. He has trouble remembering some things, but he still enjoys himself, and likes company. He's 80 something years old now, and still likes to work in the yard and do repairs on the car. He can still drive, but someone has to be with him or he'll get lost. Good luck to you and your dad.
2 people like this
• United States
24 Mar 07
Could you make some sort of chart to help him get through daily activities, like have him check off tooth brushing, eating each meal. I would definately take away his medications and give them as needed. If he has a real need to take them on his own I would put them into a pill dispenser, but only that days at a time.
2 people like this
@charms88 (7546)
• Philippines
24 Mar 07
Taking care of a person with dementia is not a chicken work. It takes ton of hardwork and patience to do so. My grandmother was 90 when dementia began to set in. I was still in high school during that time. I am talking about a girl of 14 (that's me) who didn't know the meaning of patience yet. I was always upset about my grandmother because she always acted like a baby girl. When I reminded her something, she will be annoyed that I didn't tell her earlier. You know what I mean, grandpa. It took us 6 years to cope with my grandmother's dementia. She passed away at the old age of 96. Your topic brought back my guilt feeling for not understanding my grandma better. But I know my grandma is finally free of her dementia. Happy posting, grandpa!
@bindishah (2063)
• India
24 Mar 07
I have really no experience dealing with anyone who has dementia but I just wanted to respond and tell you that I find it very commendable that you are taking care of your father through this. A lot of people would just give up and have their father institutionalized but you have taken it up on youself to do so. I think we need more people like you in the world.
2 people like this
@Debs_place (10551)
• United States
24 Mar 07
HAve you tried Namenda - I think it is for early onset, but it still might be worth trying. My ex's Mother had alzheimer's. I tried being a good Mom, she was a good lady and deserved my respect, I took my son to visit her one time in the home she was in. She was pretty out there, she said nothing the whole time we were there, but she did play catch with my son. Well, we were just leaving when all of a sudden she saw the back of my son's head. He had a tail that went down almost to his waist. All of a sudden she smiles and says 'Would you look at the hair on that little sh*t'. We all roared. SHe had those few lucid moments, it is the only memory my son has of her. At least, given the situation, it is a good one.
2 people like this
• India
24 Mar 07
When my sisters father in law had dementia from Alzheimers he was put on Aricept and I believe it did slow down the dementia. He was also on anti-depressives because the dementia can cause them to become combative and aggressive over very trivial things. Their personalities change completely which can be very hard on family members. Talk to his doctors and find a support group if you need to talk it over with someone. Good luck and remember to be patient with him.
2 people like this
• United States
24 Mar 07
I work in a long term care facility for the elderly. Alot of patients there have Dementia. There is medication that will help slow down the process of Dementia and help stimulate his memory. Ask his doctor about it.
2 people like this
@bkfuels (1606)
• Canada
26 Mar 07
I can not really help you on the dementia , but my father lived with me before he passed away over 10 years ago and he had gotten really hard of hearing which was bad enough. I would say something and he would repeat something totally different back to me. It got to be such a chore just to talk to him, then if I told him just forget it he would get mad and insist on knowing what I said. He was a real sweet heart and I miss him dearly. You are a good man for taking care of your father keep it up you will remember him with fondness always.
@webeishere (36377)
• United States
26 Mar 07
Thank you. Dad also is hard of hearing. I've learned to raise my voice. I haven't dont that since the kids grew up. WAIT I LIED! hahaha HAPPY POSTINGS FROM GRANDPA BOB !!
@susieq223 (3742)
• United States
26 Mar 07
Hey Grandpa Bob. Most of the time my husband is ok mentally and I am the one who seems really forgetful! Occasionally, when his oxygen level is really low, he seems to lose it. When that happens I get funny, mixed up stories. Today he was talking about electric motorcyles racing on hockey rinks! My main concern is his medications. He wants to be in control of them. Most of the itme that is ok, but I know as his illness progresses, he will not be able to keep track like he should. For now I just try to watch him. When the elderly do get so forgetful, you have to treat them like a child who is just learning how to do things. I do have to repeat myself a lot, especially when explaining things and that really tries my patience! As the dementia gets worse, each moment is like a new day. Try to keep him grounded as much as possible by asking questions: What day is it? When is the next holiday? What did you watch on TV? Where are you? That kind of thing. The short term memory is always the first to go. Good luck and God bless you and your Dad.
@webeishere (36377)
• United States
26 Mar 07
Hey I've seen them elctric bikes on the ice racing. Oh wait that was a bad trip in the 70's. Hahahahaha! He is always doing the asking of almost the exact same questions you just listed. He may be forgetful but somewhat helpful it seems. Thanks for the response and the help also. HAPPY POSTINGS FROM GRANDPA BOB !!