List all topics Sun, 17 May 2015 23:19:40 -0400 d3forum en grief over losing a spouse, or beginning dementia? Hi,Pammij I'm so sorry for your losses. I'm also sorry for not getting back to you sooner. I thought I had turned off the ability to post new questions because we really don't check the site anymore (our day jobs are so busy we don't check ElderHope hardly ever - which is not respectful to those who are posting expecting replies.) The psycho-physiological nuances of grief are so far-reaching that those who care for Grievers are rarely surprised by it's impact. The presence of dementia in the married elderly is especially thorny. There are many different dementia variants. As well, there are psychological components that make it harder to figure out what was/is going on. Often one member of a couple is very "with it" while the spouse appears to be when family comes around but that's because the functioning spouse is "covering" for the "impaired" one. When a functioning spouse dies, the impaired one is devastated, simply devastated. The gaps left by the deceased spouse are so complete, so utterly deep, that the impaired spouse simply can't function. This is very, very common. Family never saw the behaviors that the functioning spouse covered up. A viscous cycle starts. The impaired spouse feels a grief that s/he doesn't completely understand because of the dementia. The inability to maintain daily functions and obligations becomes obvious. They understand they are going underwater emotionally and physically, but they can't regain understanding, functionality, or emotional resilience. It is rather like kicking the legs out of someone who cannot possibly stand. Is it dementia? That wouldn't surprise me at all. Many traumas can exacerbate underlying Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). That's our guess. But, nothing can substitute for a thorough physical (including neurological) examination. If it's dementia someone who is very skilled in diagnosing and treating dementia should be engages ASAP. Since there are several kinds of dementia, there might be some opportunity to help, at least in terms of stabilizing decline). Try not to blame yourself. Instead, try to find out for sure: 1) the real diagnosis: dementia, depression 2) a treatment for the real diagnosis (no guessing). In this scenario, it seems obvious that depression is somewhat present but treating the depression without treating the underlying condition is not a good choice. 3) the neuropsychological origin of her condition. This requires a neuropsych evaluation such as those done by respected Alzheimer's Disease Centers. Vascular dementia may have some treatment options. Alzheimer's Dementia has treatments that (sometimes) slow the disease, but won't stop it. 3) a good plan of care that addresses her plan of care for the future. I always fear I sound insensitive. I hope I don't. My Mom passed with dementia last summer. She had great care from my sisters, brother, sister-in-law and hospice. Its really hard being in the place where we don't really understand what has happened. I wish you (and her) well. Mike Sun, 17 May 2015 23:19:40 -0400 Dementia Patient needing pacemaker Thank you Sun, 17 May 2015 08:13:53 -0400 pacemaker outside the body for man with half a heart Hi my husband and I are taking care of our friend he has only the top half of his heart the bottom half is gone. He has burning in his legs and is losing feeling in the tip of his feet plus half his foot on both feet the doctors want him to get a pacemaker my question and concern are this: if he wants to die a natural death (he has a dnr etc) he has a stroke or he doesnt know us or his surroundings in the state of KS do we as care takers or legal guardians etc have a right to ask the doctors to shut off his pacemaker so he can pass a natural death Mon, 08 Sep 2014 21:24:25 -0400 dementia, grief, an living alone For the past 2 yrs, my mother-in-laws memory has been slipping. She is on varios meds, as she has had heart attacks, a stroke, valve replaement, and other ailments. Her husband, a self-professed doctor, has been giving her what meds he felt she needed, not wehat the dr ordered. Ovewr the past yr, she has lost a lot of weight, and has become frailer. Her short-term memory is shot. He passed away on 7/8/12, and she is lost. She has 3 kids, which would take her in a heartbeat. 1 lives in Ga and is the best suited to care for her as he is retired and works for his wife, and has the money to care for her. She won't live there because she never liked his wife. Her daughter had her for 2wks, and couldn't wait to dump her on us. She wasn't working, but has since gotten a job so that she can't take her on a permanent basis. My husband and I would be happy to take her, but my house is noisy and busy and she doesn't like it. I am willing to resign my job to take care of her. She thinks that she can live on her own. At this point, she doesn't remember that he died, she doesn't remember to take her meds, and she doesn't eat because she's never hungry. She gets angry if told that she can't live on her own. She is grieving, but won't talk to a professional. We are going to let her go home, and have a caregiver check in 2hrs a day to make sure she eats and takes her meds. We are very scared about this, but don't know what else to do. We can't force her to live with one of us. If we don't let her try it on her own, she'll never forgive us or realize that she can't. Any advice/help would be greatly appreciated. I'm at my wit's end, as is mthe rest of the family. Thank-you! Fri, 24 Aug 2012 20:12:22 -0400 Dementia patient and loss of a caregiver- funeral concerns Hi. I am looking for some advice. My father in law passed away this past weekend and he was the primary caregiver for our mother in law. She has been diagnosed with dementia and we did not realize how bad it was until we started to care for them both. Obviously she is grieving and we all have different patterns, but I have noticed outbursts, agitation, more confusion.. especially when there are alot of people around. I'm concerned about the funeral. There will be many people there wanting to console her, share memories etc. Does anyone have any recommendations on how we can make this easier for her? Thank you!!! Mon, 23 Jul 2012 12:03:09 -0400 Grieving dementia patient Hi, JacksMom: I'm sorry it took so long to respond. We just keep ElderHope alive so that people can maybe get info that will help but we really aren't checking it. Still, I did want to respond as I read this morning. I'm not sure what Barb would say. She's the expert. Still, I will try to channel her. :-) Does she naturally remember your Granddad? Or, is family invoking Granddad's memory? If it is the latter, it may be worth minimizing discussion about him while she is present. If his memory is being invoked, in many ways, perhaps she is reliving the grief, reigniting the grieving process. That might be inordinately painful for her. Also, with dementia patients, the capacity to have a rational conversation is often non-existent. Explanations just won't work: they especially don't hold over time (like longer than five minutes). The condition of the brain precludes it, for the most part. What may help is diversion: To an activity, to food, to pleasant childhood memories. Basically, the here and now, and pleasant memories of days gone by is a great place to camp. Still, there will be those occasions where she remembers Granddad. Maybe, in those times, it's best to say, "You and Granddad had so many happy years, " and go and light a candle. Of course, blow out the candle afterwards so nothing bad happens. :-) Mike ElderHope, LLC Sat, 09 Jun 2012 02:46:56 -0400 HELLO! Im the new guy! Hi, Mandy: I'm sorry it took so long to reply. We have been considering closing the site because we are not able to respond as readily as we used to. Hence, we don't check the site much. At all, really. We are just leaving it open for people to get help if they can. Still, I read your post. You are a very kind person to tend to someone for whom you really aren't responsible. I'm guessing you can't bring yourself to leave for fear that 1) Your partner's mother will be left alone and something bad will happen; 2) You don't want to leave your partner; 3) You are so invested in the present chaos that you really aren't sure where you'd go or what you'd do. Perhaps significant connections to others have dwindled because you've been so involved in caring for everyone else. Anytime we feel trapped like this, it's a terrible situation. Do you know what you want? I suspect you do. Read your post again, sentence by sentence and ask yourself, "If I was disembodied, and watched myself read my post here, what would my disembodied self advise my real self?" Your post is filled with pain. What would your wiser, disembodied self counsel you? I could tell you what I think but it would have little to no meaning. You are trapped and [u][b]only[/b] your advice, wisdom, and resolve[/u] will allow you to move past this point. Do I have any other advice? 1) Find your anger. 2) If you are still in this situation, choose not to continue as things are for another week without resolving the best thing for you to do [b]for yourself[/b]. While you still have a self. I fear you're losing your self. And, it would be a loss to the world to lose someone who cares so passionately for others. Mike Davis ElderHope, LLC Sat, 09 Jun 2012 02:25:32 -0400 Mom is suffering Although you may want to rationalize with your mother about her dementia and why she moved to Texas in the first place, it may be better for her and you if you respond in a way that shows that she’s been heard and that you care about her concerns and will try to help her faster next time and then change the subject. Usually, a person with dementia who is agitated about something does better with a kind response and reassurance than trying to make sense out of what a person is trying to make them understand. If her agitation becomes worse, you may want to take her to a geriatric physician who may prescribe a medication to help her with that agitation. More importantly, however, is that your mother may need to be in a different type of assisted living center (or a memory care unit) – one that cares for persons with dementia. The staff would be better able to help her with her activities of daily living, help her to get all her medications taken appropriately, and engage her in some activities so that she is not alone as much as she may be now. I wonder how your mother is caring for herself now at this adult community, given what you have said about the level of her memory impairment. Does this community offer varied levels of care? Could you move her from one setting to another while still remaining in the same larger community . . .You may want to consider another setting if not because as her dementia progresses, she will need more involved care from staff members trained in dealing with someone with dementia. Getting back to your question about communicating with your mother, there are also some really helpful brochures and other informative suggestions about behavior and communication available through the Alzheimer’s Association’s website. In the meantime, please let us know how she is doing and if we can offer any other information about Memory Care facilities across Texas or . . . any other question you might have. Take care!! Barb (4Hope) Wed, 23 Nov 2011 14:52:26 -0500 grief in the dementia patient We just moved my husband's elderly Aunt here from out of town. She was never married and has dementia. The reason we moved her here is because of three falls in one month and a social worker becoming involved and she ended up in a memory care unit in a hospital in her home town. After moving here the Aunt started asking about her family members including her widowed sister whom she lived with for over 40 years and who passed away from heart trouble about 4 years ago. When we told her that her family members had passed away (the brother and parents years ago), she has become distraught at times and insists that someone has murdered them and wants a investigation. It has become a huge mess. You cannot distract her from this thinking. Can anyone give me any ideas how to handle this situation? All she wants is for to call the police so they will investigate. I have no ideal what to do get her away from this type of thinking. Mon, 14 Nov 2011 19:55:32 -0500 Grief in the elderly with early dementia or possible onset of Alzheimer's Well, I’m not a doctor but I’ve been working with Alzheimer’s patients for quite a few years. I’m wondering if your grandfather is really taking his Aricept considering that he is living alone, what the doctor says his diagnosis is if not Alzheimer’s disease (is it another dementia?), whether your grandfather’s confusion may also be related to some medical condition or some other medicine he is taking – or not! Point is, there could be many factors causing his current behaviors and a good evaluation by a doctor – perhaps a geriatric specialist - would be needed now. Regarding the issue with him holding onto those photos of your grandmother – it sounds as though this is helping him cope with her loss now . . . it may be seen as odd behavior but if he does have Alzheimer’s disease, he is probably have a very difficult time thinking through whether those photos are real or not! And, this would not be unusual for someone with AD. So, my suggestion is for him to get a thorough medical checkup, have those children that have questions about the disease and his behavior accompany him to the doctor so that they can ask the doc and get a better idea of how to best care for your grandfather during this time. Hope this helps . . . let us know if we can help with other questions . . . Barb (4Hope) Fri, 31 Dec 2010 09:21:07 -0500 Mom demented- what now? Your mother in law's UTI is probably adding to her confusion right now. If this confusion persists once her UTI is cleared and she is off of her medication, she may have some other issues with her cognitive functioning or maybe has some other physical issue causing her confusion. Or, it may take a little more time for her awareness of time and place to get better. For now, at least - if she is still agitated and saying she needs to go home, just try to reassure her that she is at her home and that she's not been feeling well recently and that her medications were causing her to be more confused. Reassure her that she will be feeling better soon and then she will remember that this has been her home for the past 5 years. Trying to reason with your mother-in-law may only increase her agitation. However, reassuring her that you both will continue to care for her until she is able to go home, may lessen her anxiety (or not!). If her confusion is related to the UTI and the meds for the infection, she may already be doing better by this time. If, however, you continue to notice agitation and confusion, you may want to bring her back to her physician for another check up, blood work done, review of medications, or whether she has possibly had a TIA or something else - just to rule out other causes for her confusion. Hopefully, your mother-in-law is better by now - if not, just try to help your husband understand that his mother is dealing with some health issue that is causing her confusion and that she isn't really aware of what she is saying or thinking right now. It's just hard to change the way you communicate and relate with a parent, especially when you've had good communication over the years . . . take care and I do hope that she is or will be better soon! Barb Tue, 08 Dec 2009 13:45:33 -0500 helping a parent with demetia grieve a spouse Hi Pam, Regarding your Dad - you said that he calls you in the middle of the night, being confused and disoriented. . .does he live alone? Does he have a dementia like Alzheimer's disease? Also you said that he fell down a flight of stairs - how is he doing since that fall - is he mobile - can he walk by himself? During this time, can he live with either you or your sister? I guess I have more questions than answers, but my suggestions will be based on if he does have Alzheimer's disease, how he is doing physically, etc. - if you could send us a message back answering those questions we will sure try to offer some options while you are trying to help your Dad. Looking forward to hearing from you, Pam! Barb Wed, 18 Mar 2009 09:47:16 -0400 A caregiving community Thank you! Tue, 20 May 2008 18:42:59 -0400 We have changed the module that controls the forums The new module seems to work faster, makes fewer calls to the database, and appears to be written better. The appearance leaves a little to be desired. We'll try to work on it in the days and months ahead. Thanks for stopping by! Mike and Barb Sun, 24 Feb 2008 20:00:12 -0500 fron1120 has joined the forum Hi, fron1120 has joined you. Let's start ... Profile: fron1120 | PM Wed, 09 Jan 2008 11:54:16 -0500 Soninlaw has joined the forum Hi, Soninlaw has joined you. Let's start ... Profile: Soninlaw | PM Tue, 27 Nov 2007 23:13:39 -0500 reichel07 has joined the forum Hi, Reichel07! Thanks for stopping by ElderHope, we hope you'll feel free to post or ask questions. Mike Davis Wed, 07 Nov 2007 21:55:09 -0500 Am I letting go of too much? Grief is a tricky thing, as are memories. At times, memories can bring us tremendous comfort - I still take comfort when I have a cold in using Vicks Vap-o-Rub, probably just because my mom used to rub it on my chest when I was a youngster. For whatever reason, I immediately feel better. This hitching post of memories - the timeshare - may have that effect on you. On the other hand, it may only bring heartache and remind you of loss. The difficulty lies in the nature of grief, especially when dealing with two losses in a year. It takes time to understand what grief's long-term effect is - and will be - on us. It's normal to have feelings of tremendous ambiguity in going back to someplace familiar, especially early on.   Widows and widowers may take months (occasionally even years) to go through their loved one's clothes. But, frequently, they begin to find a connection to those old clothes. I can't begin to tell you how often wives have told me about wearing their husbands work shirts to sleep in. It comforts them - not all of them, not all the time, but some of the time, indeed, often. The caution here is that you not do something irrevocable. It may very well be that the old place will only have value as it stays in cherished memories. But, it may well be that sometime later, with a special loved one - a grandchild, for instance, or perhaps a soulmate or lover - who wants to know what makes you tick - the old place will again be a source of life. In grief, there's not a right or wrong with how to process it. Only how it works best for you. Sun, 03 Jun 2007 00:32:49 -0400 jnhll has joined the forum Hi, jnhll has joined you. Let's start ... Profile: jnhll | PM Sat, 02 Jun 2007 19:29:21 -0400 mo-donnel has joined the forum Hi, mo-donnel has joined you. Let's start ... Profile: mo-donnel | PM Thu, 31 May 2007 18:17:53 -0400