Practical References for dealing with Dementia
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  1. #1
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    Default Practical References for dealing with Dementia

    My husband and I have been living with his mother since he lost his job in 2007. I am on disability.
    Earlier this year my MIL had 2 serious falls-landing on her head and it's possible that she's had some small strokes.
    She has lost periods of time. Her sister's marriage, her parents death, my marriage to her son and many more. She get extremely agitated and accuses people of lying to her or keeping things from her.
    It used to be evenings were the worst, similar to Sundowners with Alzheimer's, now her frustration and confusion are starting in the morning.
    He doctor says she does not have Alzheimer's or Dementia. I disagree. The doctor says it's only old age.

    Does anyone have any tips or reference book suggestions that are not overly complicated to understand?
    The library has only nursing references which are too much for my feeble brain.

    I know that saying things like "Remember", or "No, you were there", or "Don't you remember?" just cause MIL to become more agitated.

    What are better ways to deal with this problem?

    Thanks in advance for any help
    lelap

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    Registered User mom2three's Avatar
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    This will sound weird, but I would encourage you to try a change in diet if you can. My MIL is having some dementia as well and we get the same answers from the doc.

    This paper is interesting

    Celiac disease diagnosed in the elderly. [J Clin Gastroenterol. 2008] - PubMed - NCBI

    Also, see if you can get her vitamin D levels tested
    Vitamin D and Alzheimer's disease: is there a ... [Consult Pharm. 2010] - PubMed - NCBI
    A novel perspective for Alzheimer's disease... [J Alzheimers Dis. 2011] - PubMed - NCBI

    Dementia

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    Registered User Incognito's Avatar
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    There are many medical conditions which can present in memory loss, other than dementia or Alzheimer's. And old age can contribute to the condition, due to inevitable loss of brain cells, poor diet, hardening of the arteries (poor circulation), etc. Two serious falls could certainly contribute to some head trauma which could affect memory.

    Could it be possible to get her into an exercise group for Seniors; this is just simple on-the-spot stretches within a group. It improves circulation, gives Seniors an outing and contact with others their age.

    I have a serious illness which caused memory loss, and have been experienced some recovery over the past several years. Diet is important; I drink grapejuice daily, and apple cider vinegar drinks to improve my arterial circulation. I participate in online groups with others who have this condition, and we help to motivate each other. The brain can heal, but it heals very slowly. Therapy such as music, hand-eye co-ordination activities, online clubs of interest could improve her general mentality in time. Keep in mind that all of us are heading towards that state, sooner or later; and it's a significant challenge and a labour of love to support and stand by a person in this condition. But it's all a part of life.

    (((hugs)))

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    You can try the diet and nutrition stuff and that may be helpful. I only have advice on the day to day stuff.
    Roll with the punches. Have NO expectations.
    "Don't you remember?" frustrates her because she doesn't. And no amount of arguing will make her remember.
    If it gets where daily activities are confusing try to narrate things simply. Here is your bra. Here is the shirt.
    If she thinks you are her long-dead sister, clarify once but after that just BE yourself.
    Sometimes it is easier for me as a caregiver because I have not memories of the past. I don't know that she spent 6 months planning the daughter's wedding that she doesn't remember. I can still gush over how beautiful the wedding pictures are and not be stressed about how she doesn't remember.

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    Please have her doctors check her thyroid, B12 levels and vitamin D levels. Low thyroid and low B12 can cause dementia and Parkinson's like symptoms.

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    Registered User frugalfranny's Avatar
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    Some very good points made here......and like daylily said, have some testing done but the first thing I would do is 'clean up' her eating habits.......and see if you notice any improvement.

    Having just lost my father to Alz. the best advice I can give is IF IT TRULY IS DEMENTIA...........you have to join their world.........they are no longer able to be in yours!!!

    No arguing........and no comments..........just keep answering the repeated questions. They want conversation and sometimes "what time is it" is all they can ask.

    A good book.....geared specifically for Alz. but will help with ANY dementia is............"The 36 Hour Day".......can't remember the author. Geared toward care giving.........most libraries have it.

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    Registered User mrsfoamy's Avatar
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    The 36 hour day is the best book. Also see if your area has a chapter of 'Leeza's Place' or another resource group of it's type.

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    Registered User lparker's Avatar
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    My Dad had dementia. I helped my Mother take care of him. Do you remember the movie "Groundhog Day"? Where the same scenes happen over and over again? Somewhat similar except you KNOW what happened. You have to pretend that you didn't and it gets very frustrating for you, but you have to keep on pretending because they DON'T know. A lot of patience and time off once in a while for you and your husband. Do you have adult day care where you are?

    Good Luck.

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    oh honey I live with this daily and it never ends... some days are worse than others.... U just have to roll with it... Grandma has alcohol dementia

    Grandma is getting some exercise now don't know if it is helping or not yet.....
    she also reads daily her bible and I let her do what she can or will with supervision....

    U also make sure u get some me time away this will save your sainity.....

    it is hard.... I feel like Goundhog's day a lot because she does get it.... I am her dead sister, hubs is her brother... she is also petted and spoiled by her family and I don't spoil people except when needed....

    the hardest thing for me is she grasps almost all of it then she looses it... for example it is like her is a calulater (sp mistake)
    that answers 2 + 2 = 3.75 rather than 4 ...it is frustrating....

    but help 4 u and rolling with the punches...... is the only adivice I have for u.... we have a caregivers group on here that may help...

    when I pray I ask God for humility, grace, and humor to deal with my situtation....My attitude has helped alot with us here...
    Last edited by oheoh's momma; 04-15-2012 at 11:02 AM. Reason: forgot

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