I am trying to figure out how to help my mother-in-law who has been with us 2 months.
I need an official diagnosis but would like more details on caregiving and what level she's at, and whether certain meds are affecting her paranoia. Need advice on psychiatric meds, etc. So do I go to appointments using HER insurance? Or go to my own psychiatrist and ask questions about her? (I don't actually have one) How do you manage these things?
And I'm afraid to say to her "you have Alzheimers so I need… read more
My husband himself sought out his diagnosis. He questioned his own memory issues a few time with his medical doctor who eventually explained that Neuropsychological testing would be necessary to determine any changes. He had the testing, and medical testing to check any brain disease, eye disease and finally referred to a neurologist who had him take the special PETscsn to identify ALZ. Once the diagnosis was official he felt there was a purpose for him to have found out at the early stages so that he could educate others. That was 2 1/2 years ago. Today he defies that diagnosis and feels it has stigmatized him so that people treat him differently. Two and half years ago he had mild to moderate cognitive impairment, today he questions how many grandchildren he has and he sees his grandchildren regularly as we live in the same town. I guess with anything it’s case by case, and knowing the individual. Early diagnosis will definitely help with making executive decision for the patient, Preparing power of Atty and living wills, car registration etc.
Not to sound selfish but the diagnosis help me , his wife, understand him better.
My Uncle has already prewritten his requests for funeral arrangements. The clothes he is to wear...the newspaper obituary. This man put all of that together before he became too ill with Alzheimers. We talked about the disease when he was first diagnosed officially... he knows what to expect (His two brothers had it) but will often say things like, " I don't know how someone can lose so much of their life in one fall swoop!" That made me cry. :( He now remembers very little and spends his time doing simple things, colouring, word search, puzzles... anything I can get him to do to get his mind working. He never seems to mind when I talk to him about the disease and what he is going through. His main responses are "I don't know, Never thought of it, or Never gave it a another thought." He is very mellow...always has been...not aggressive in any way. I will get the steely Blue eyed look once in a while if he is getting annoyed, but in most cases that lasts a few seconds and is gone. I am very blessed to have him still with us. He is 94.
It is 9 months later and many changes. We sold our house and moved out of state to be near my daughter & family. Very very hard move - he wasn’t able to do any business decisions or transactions so I had to sell that house and buy another on my own. He was able to pack boxes but was very mixed up and packed things I marked give away, and threw away many things we needed. He became more disoriented with time and place. I had him stop driving completely and he was ok because he felt lost. New smaller house - routine was most important immediately to help calm him down and make him feel secure, safe and comfortable. We’re here 6 months now and he’s adjusted to everything but has definitely slipped. He’s on anxiety meds Paroxitine and has had increase month ago. It lessened his restlessness and anger during the day, helps him sleep and is eating better. Has lost 10% of his weight in a year. I do all financials, most of cooking but he can still grill a few meats. He likes to help with some chores, reads, likes puzzles and is trying to write his memoirs. He forgets anything recent and is losing many words - anything liquid is a sauce, any container is a box, and others. I have to watch that he doesn’t throw things out, I fill his pill bottles because he gets them all mixed up. He’s still restless in bed some nights and I’m a light sleeper so I feel like I only get 1-3 nights of good sleep. I’m exhausted much of the time. With Covid I’ve not been able to get out and make friends so I’m lonely for a friend. I see my daughter weekly and for awhile was having her and my granddaughters here once a month for a crafty evening of fun and dinner. (My husband loves having the girls around but didn’t used to like that). It’s hard to believe that 4 months ago I was afraid of the man who was angry, mean spirited, and tried to hurt me. The anxiety med has helped so much. He’s happier, more relaxed, and not resistant to everything. But the real credit goes to God for answered prayers and calming my husband’s spirit. Without God I wouldn’t be able to do this.
My Uncles psychiatrist respected him and would call him in alone first and have a sit down talk with him. She would then ask him to sit out in the waiting room and call me in to discuss what they talked about. This gave him the opportunity to say what was on his mind as his own person without me hovering. I think that gave him a sense of himself even though much of him was “missing”. I will be forever grateful for that.