PDA

View Full Version : Life Anyone here have someone in their life who had Alzheimer's?


pr_capone
03-17-2009, 09:17 AM
Just found out that my grandmother was diagnosed with alzheimer's last week. She is a proud woman and is stubbornly ignoring the issue and refuses to talk about it. We don't know how severe it is at this point nor how aggressive the disease is because she won't tell anyone.

Anyone here have someone go through this? Looking around on the net for info but I'd prefer firsthand accounts.

Any info is appreciated.

Thanks

Nzoner
03-17-2009, 09:21 AM
Just found out that my grandmother was diagnosed with alzheimer's last week. She is a proud woman and is stubbornly ignoring the issue and refuses to talk about it. We don't know how severe it is at this point nor how aggressive the disease is because she won't tell anyone.

Anyone here have someone go through this? Looking around on the net for info but I'd prefer firsthand accounts.

Any info is appreciated.

Thanks

My Grandfather had it,got really sad at the end,one minute he knew who you were and the next he was back in the 1940's.

Just be there for them,talk to them and help them remember if at all possible.You won't regret it,good luck man.

Jilly
03-17-2009, 09:26 AM
pr capone - I am so sorry to hear this. It really is not a good experience, but there is hope in it. My grandma died two years ago, but we struggled with the disease for 5 years before that. I know not every experience is the same, but my best advice to you is to go with the flow and laugh when you can. It sounds like she's in the beginning stages as of now since she is still aware of her ability to hide was is happening to her. That will continue for a while, then she will begin to get agitated and angry which manifests itself in so many ways. My grandma said words I didn't even know existed or that she knew and many times her anger was directed at my dad and I because we were closest to her. After that occurred, she drifted into funny, incoherent stories, and hilarious comments that made no sense. All we could do was laugh and enjoy her moment to moment. It wasn't my grandma, but still a human being, all the same. My regret has always been that I didn't spend more time with her those last few years because I was so uncomfortable with that. But I learned my lesson: At her funeral, all the nurses and caregivers from the home she stayed in came. They all came up to me and told me how much she had touched their lives and how much they loved her. Although she wasn't my grandma, she still had worth and meaning to the people around her. I wish I could have seen past myself to have enjoyed that.
It is a hard journey, but that's my best explanation for it - a journey, and through it all, loved ones have to remain flexible, realize that it is ALWAYS the disease that is talking and not the person inside, and continue to love no matter what the cost.

My prayers will be with you.

Lumpy
03-17-2009, 09:27 AM
My g/m had alzheimers. One word of advice... u must stay patient. There will be times when strange things happen. For instance, my g/m grew up during the great depression and my mom was always finding food stowed away in her dresser. There were also a few occassions where my g/m thought that my dad, (her son), was her husband... that was interesting! My parents couldn't show any intimacy towards each other b/c my g/m would get pissed. Not to mention, my dad couldn't drink beer in front of her, so my mom would pour beer into a soda can. We just had to more or less adapt to my g/m's behavior.

Jilly
03-17-2009, 09:28 AM
and my last advice, sorry.... never try to make them remember things or correct them, it's just a trigger for agitation and does no good for anyone involved. Just be in the moment no matter how silly it seems.

mikeyis4dcats.
03-17-2009, 09:28 AM
Sorry to hear it pr...

My wife's granfather died last year after a short and ugly bout with Alzheimers. Within 18 months he went from lucid to off the charts. He knew no family most of the time, and had troubles with violence and other medical issues (incontinence, etc.).

His passing was a great relief to all involved including himself I am sad to say.

seclark
03-17-2009, 09:33 AM
my grandmother...diagnosed w/it.
symptoms kind of like nzoner described, plus she became very paranoid. thought everyone was out to get her. it got so my mother couldn't handle her. the only one she trusted was me, and the only reason why, was our political beliefs. she signed papers making me her guardian. i sold her house, and brought her up from south missouri to kville. i had her checked in to a home for dementia related patients. she lived there for a year before she passed away.

she said she hated the place, but the fact was, it provided stable surroundings. she had her own private room w/her own tv and bathroom. she didn't admit it, but she was always ready to go back after spending time at our house, or after taking her out for supper.

i felt pretty shitty doing what i did, but i know it was for the best.

if you need any info, or want to talk, send me a pm.

it's a pos disease.
sec

Fish
03-17-2009, 09:34 AM
My grandfather had it as well. It was a very difficult time for the whole family. Grandad was a very proud man, and it was really rough watching him go through it. It was a struggle for him. He got to the point that he tried to walk out to the pasture and kill himself. It was really difficult not letting him do that. He withered away slowly in a home, and got worse and worse till his mind was completely gone.

I hate the disease. I hate what it does to strong proud people. I hate that you can't fight it. All you can do is be there for them as much as you can.

Prayers to you and your family.

Jilly
03-17-2009, 09:34 AM
my grandmother...diagnosed w/it.
symptoms kind of like nzoner described, plus she became very paranoid. thought everyone was out to get her. it got so my mother couldn't handle her. the only one she trusted was me, and the only reason why, was our political beliefs. she signed papers making me her guardian. i sold her house, and brought her up from south missouri to kville. i had her checked in to a home for dementia related patients. she lived there for a year before she passed away.

she said she hated the place, but the fact was, it provided stable surroundings. she had her own private room w/her own tv and bathroom. she didn't admit it, but she was always ready to go back after spending time at our house, or after taking her out for supper.

i felt pretty shitty doing what i did, but i know it was for the best.

if you need any info, or want to talk, send me a pm.

it's a pos disease.
sec

true. very true.

No matter how much one wants to, it's impossible to care for someone with Alzheimer's by yourself.

pr_capone
03-17-2009, 09:38 AM
Thanks for the info.

She lives a long way away from me.. she still lives in Puerto Rico. As soon as school lets out we are heading down that way to go visit her. Hopefully it will not have advanced too much by then and I'll have one last good chat with her face to face before I lose her.

This sucks. I'm not ready for this. She is way too young (mid 60's) to die. Her mother lived to be 93... I was expecting that from her too. Hope we can give her her first great grandchild while she is still capable of knowing him/her.

Nzoner
03-17-2009, 09:38 AM
and my last advice, sorry.... never try to make them remember things or correct them, it's just a trigger for agitation and does no good for anyone involved. Just be in the moment no matter how silly it seems.

Like you said it's different for everyone,we never scolded or tried to correct my grandfather but yet in a loving manner tried to help him remember when we could.We never experienced the agitation you describe.

Jilly
03-17-2009, 09:41 AM
Like you said it's different for everyone,we never scolded or tried to correct my grandfather but yet in a loving manner tried to help him remember when we could.We never experienced the agitation you describe.

It is. I just know it made her so angry when we did that or forget even more. And one of the members of my church husband just died from it and she was constantly correcting him and it just pissed him off so much. I just wanted to tell her to stop because their lives at this point could be so much more peaceful if she just would have gone with it. As a result he died angry at her...which broke my heart and hers. But it is different with everyone, for sure.

Jilly
03-17-2009, 09:42 AM
Thanks for the info.

She lives a long way away from me.. she still lives in Puerto Rico. As soon as school lets out we are heading down that way to go visit her. Hopefully it will not have advanced too much by then and I'll have one last good chat with her face to face before I lose her.

This sucks. I'm not ready for this. She is way too young (mid 60's) to die. Her mother lived to be 93... I was expecting that from her too. Hope we can give her her first great grandchild while she is still capable of knowing him/her.

She could live for another 10-12 years....you never know. It's been my experience that people with ahlzeimers are pretty resilient. I now volunteer in a nursing home for people with the disease and it's amazing how long some of them have been sticking around with a pretty good quality of life.

Nzoner
03-17-2009, 09:48 AM
Towards the end I spent a night alone with my grandfather in the hospital.He awoke around 3 a.m. and the tv was on a very old black and white comedy movie.I'll never forget how he was so tuned in at that moment,he was actually laughing at times and I remember thinking I wish I could know what he was thinking,seeing,etc.I believe it was of a time long gone and a much better place and that's what brought the smiles to his face.It is one of my greatest memories of he and I together before he passed.

seclark
03-17-2009, 09:52 AM
It is. I just know it made her so angry when we did that or forget even more. And one of the members of my church husband just died from it and she was constantly correcting him and it just pissed him off so much. I just wanted to tell her to stop because their lives at this point could be so much more peaceful if she just would have gone with it. As a result he died angry at her...which broke my heart and hers. But it is different with everyone, for sure.

granny and grampa were made for each other. crazy about each other. when he passed away, i didn't think she'd live for a year.

when the alzheimers kicked in, she started saying all these terrible things about him. stories, that i knew weren't true, and couldn't figure out where she was getting these thoughts. same w/my father, who passed away 3 years before she did. it tore me up to hear some of the things she'd say. all i could do was shake my head and try to change the subject to something better.

i'll always remember the morning in the hospital 2 days before she died. i walked in and a nurse was helping her w/something. granny told me that 2 men stayed w/her all night and took very good care of her. the nurse just looked at me and shook her head. she told me later, that no men were with her that night.

the next morning, i went back to see her and she said those 2 men were back last night taking care of her again. they talked to her, but she couldn't hear what they were saying. about 6 hours later, she passed.

i'd like to think those 2 men were my dad and grampa...who knows, but it makes it easier for me to remember those last few days.

sec

Mile High Mania
03-17-2009, 09:54 AM
Sadly, my grandmother also had it... very strong will, sharp minded woman that never drank nor smoked. But, she died last year after dealing with this for about a decade.

There were early signs and as mentioned earlier, she was very stubborn and refused to deal with it or accept it. She thought that people were after her money, estate, etc... paranoia.

Finally, when things got so bad... my dad and uncle had to make tough decisions and things got really ugly with the estate matters that she failed to address when she was of sound mind.

Patience is key, but also... if she's not willing to accept it or listen to anyone, I don't know what to tell you. It's hard on everyone and to me, always knowing her as this vibrant and smart woman... the final 3 years were very tough.

She spent the final 3-4 years in an AZ care facility and it was really unbearable to visit... no true memories of any of us. And, she became evil at times to my dad. I think there were a few moments when she would recognize us, she did seem to recall her best friend. But, all in all... it was incredibly difficult.

It's an incredibly tough situation... I wish you and your family all the best through this, it really just sucks.

Demonpenz
03-17-2009, 09:55 AM
it is a bitch of a disease

Jilly
03-17-2009, 09:56 AM
granny and grampa were made for each other. crazy about each other. when he passed away, i didn't think she'd live for a year.

when the alzheimers kicked in, she started saying all these terrible things about him. stories, that i knew weren't true, and couldn't figure out where she was getting these thoughts. same w/my father, who passed away 3 years before she did. it tore me up to hear some of the things she'd say. all i could do was shake my head and try to change the subject to something better.

i'll always remember the morning in the hospital 2 days before she died. i walked in and a nurse was helping her w/something. granny told me that 2 men stayed w/her all night and took very good care of her. the nurse just looked at me and shook her head. she told me later, that no men were with her that night.

the next morning, i went back to see her and she said those 2 men were back last night taking care of her again. they talked to her, but she couldn't hear what they were saying. about 6 hours later, she passed.

i'd like to think those 2 men were my dad and grampa...who knows, but it makes it easier for me to remember those last few days.

sec

I don't know, in my line of work, I've heard all kinds of stories that point to loved ones accompanying their loved ones into new life and it usually involves two people. I've never found anything more peaceful then that moment with the last breath is taken at the end of one's long life....to me, it is holy.

seclark
03-17-2009, 10:00 AM
I don't know, in my line of work, I've heard all kinds of stories that point to loved ones accompanying their loved ones into new life and it usually involves two people. I've never found anything more peaceful then that moment with the last breath is taken at the end of one's long life....to me, it is holy.

sure it is...i'm just glad that when she took her last breath, i was there to hold her hand and...whatever it was that i was doing.

thanks jilly...it's the eagles concert for sure now, because i'm no longer in any mood to drink!
sec

Donger
03-17-2009, 10:02 AM
I have standing orders to give my parents "the milky drink" if either of them get Alzheimer's.

Best of luck, pr.

Frazod
03-17-2009, 10:05 AM
My grandma didn't have Alzheimer's, but suffered dementia and didn't know shit from apple butter the last three years she was alive. It was horrible. In the end, she had the mentality of a toddler, perhaps even pre-toddler.

I hope if I ever get like that somebody smothers me with a fucking pillow. I was just at a nursing home over the weekend visiting my aunt (same place my grandma died) and just driving up to the place makes my flesh crawl.

Steel yourself. You're in for some bad times, and sadly, nothing but death will make it better. Hope it comes sooner rather than later. I know that sounds awful, but eventually you'll understand.

Lzen
03-17-2009, 10:09 AM
Both my grandmother and my grandfather on my mom's side got it at about the same time (10 years ago). It was weird because it happened so quickly. Before you knew it, both were in hospitals/homes.

Like others' stories, my grandfather would suddenly be back in the 1950s when my mom and her siblings were kids. His particular version was called Sundowner's.

My grandmother had a different type. She couldn't even talk. She was pretty much in a vegetative state. It was almost as if she wasn't there. It was only her body.

It was really difficult to see them like that. I didn't visit them very often because I couldn't handle seeing them like that. It was not long before they both passed (2-3 years). For me, it was a relief to know that their suffering was over.

Mile High Mania
03-17-2009, 10:10 AM
My grandma didn't have Alzheimer's, but suffered dementia and didn't know shit from apple butter the last three years she was alive. It was horrible. In the end, she had the mentality of a toddler, perhaps even pre-toddler.

I hope if I ever get like that somebody smothers me with a ****ing pillow. I was just at a nursing home over the weekend visiting my aunt (same place my grandma died) and just driving up to the place makes my flesh crawl.

Steel yourself. You're in for some bad times, and sadly, nothing but death will make it better. Hope it comes sooner rather than later. I know that sounds awful, but eventually you'll understand.

I am in total agreement... it's the saddest thing to ever think about in this situation, but until you're there... it's hard to fathom even having the thought.

PastorMikH
03-17-2009, 10:14 AM
I've had one grandmother die from it and another has just recently been diagnosed. Also have been in contact with several through churches with it.

My grandmother was always scatter-brained so for most of her time with alzhiemers it was just grandma with advanced scattering and more forgetfulness. She did a lot better than most I've heard but she was on the meds that just came out in the late 90's/early 2ks which did a good job of slowing things down. She was already in a older adult living center when the alzhiemers was diagnosed. The center had a seperate building on the same grounds for A patients and when she got to the point that she was unable to care for herself with light help, they moved her to the other building. As things progressed into her last year, she did start to develop some of the things others have mentioned, though she never did do much cursing. She would walk the halls half dressed or less. She also got to the point where if she was taken out of the facility she would panic because she wasn't familiar with her surroundings. She finally got to the point where she not only forgot to eat, but the staff said they thought she had forgotten how to eat. As much as I loved my grandmother, it was a blessing the day I got the call that she had passed.


If your grandmother has just been diagnosed, I wouldn't get too upset about her "not accepting it." That is pretty much natural. Denial is the first stage of the grieving process and she will also struggle with these emotions upon hearing of such an illness.

Also, keep in mind there is only so much your family can do. You all can help for a while, but it will get to a point where you can no longer safely take care of her. Start looking now for facilities that can provide care, it is possible that you could be on a waiting list for quite some time before a spot opens up in a good care center.

Be prepared for her to forget your name, then get to the point where she doesn't remember you at all (Even up to the last month my grandma was alive, she knew who I was but this isn't normally the case). Also, be ready for much of the rest of what you read in this threa to take place. Not all A-patients exhibit all tendancies, just be prepared. Make the most of the time you have with her while she "is still here".

Frazod
03-17-2009, 10:33 AM
I am in total agreement... it's the saddest thing to ever think about in this situation, but until you're there... it's hard to fathom even having the thought.

In the beginning, there was still some recognition. She didn't know who I was, but was aware that I somehow belonged to her in some way. The last time I saw her, though, there was nothing. She was playing with a goddamn doll and didn't even acknowledge my presence. I stood there for a few minutes, then went outside, sat in my car and fucking bawled. Never saw her again. Of course, there was really nothing there to see.

I'll never understand why it's OK to put pets down in a terminal, irreversible situation like that, but our loved ones are required by law and religion to needlessly suffer. Here's a great big 4321 to both of them.

Mile High Mania
03-17-2009, 10:41 AM
In the beginning, there was still some recognition. She didn't know who I was, but was aware that I somehow belonged to her in some way. The last time I saw her, though, there was nothing. She was playing with a goddamn doll and didn't even acknowledge my presence. I stood there for a few minutes, then went outside, sat in my car and ****ing bawled. Never saw her again. Of course, there was really nothing there to see.

I'll never understand why it's OK to put pets down in a terminal, irreversible situation like that, but our loved ones are required by law and religion to needlessly suffer. Here's a great big 4321 to both of them.

Yeah, very similar. Early, she would recognize us, but she would confuse me and my brother... and she couldn't keep track of our kids. Then, it just slowly morphed to non-recognition.

The last 2 times I saw her, I would just get these evil stares... she apparently said some horrible things to my dad and that really hit him hard. I couldn't deal with the fact that she had no idea who I was... the final visit, she was barely mobile and half awake. It was like I was staring into these very black eyes... I would like to think she had some idea as to who I was and recognized the pictures I showed her, but I'll never know.

I had hard times dealing with the face to face and have hated the fact that I didn't see her more often before it got really bad.

DJay23
03-17-2009, 10:56 AM
My grandpa died from it 3 years ago to this day. He was a tough old SOB. Wasn't very nice to people most of his life. But as the Alzheimer's got worse he became more friendly, even making friends with people in the home my family had to put him in.

I remember my dad and I sitting down with him one visit and listening in awe as he described his basic training for the Navy in 1943. Really neat experience that I'm glad I had with him.

He lived a lot longer than the doctors predicted, about 3 full weeks after they first thought he would go. Eventually, they removed his tubes and all that and he hung on, until my grandmother told him that she would be ok, that he could go and didn't have to take care of her anymore. Apparently he kept fighting because he needed to take care of her. He let go after the talk. Anytime I need personal strength, I think about my grandpa and how long he held out, just to fulfill his responsibilities.

cdcox
03-17-2009, 10:57 AM
My aunt and my mom have it. My aunt is like 18 years older than my mom and is in the very late stages. I'm not sure if she still recognizes her daughter. Last time I saw her she was in poor health and really didn't interact much with anyone.

My mom is doing okay, she's 72. She's been diagnosed for a couple- three years now and is on regular medicine, which helps quite a bit. Dad is still in great health at 75 and is able to care for her. I live 12 hours from KC, so I only get to see her a few times per year, but talk on the phone a couple times a month. It's hard to have a conversation, since so many of the things you'd talk about she doesn't remember. She'll read a book, but not really follow the plot. She'll typically remember selective events from earlier in the day, but maybe not a conversation you had 5 minutes ago. Sometimes she also thinks long time friends are trying to make moves on my dad, just paranoia. Sometimes she'll also tell stories about family members that aren't true. Really hard to watch. I don't know how my dad copes as well as he does. But I count myself lucky because it seems to be progressing slowly with her so far.

Frazod
03-17-2009, 11:09 AM
Yeah, very similar. Early, she would recognize us, but she would confuse me and my brother... and she couldn't keep track of our kids. Then, it just slowly morphed to non-recognition.

The last 2 times I saw her, I would just get these evil stares... she apparently said some horrible things to my dad and that really hit him hard. I couldn't deal with the fact that she had no idea who I was... the final visit, she was barely mobile and half awake. It was like I was staring into these very black eyes... I would like to think she had some idea as to who I was and recognized the pictures I showed her, but I'll never know.

I had hard times dealing with the face to face and have hated the fact that I didn't see her more often before it got really bad.

At least mine was never hateful. As bad as it was, that would have made it so much worse. Sorry you had to go through that.

Bad, bad times.... :(

sd4chiefs
03-17-2009, 11:15 AM
My Father has had Alzheimer's for the passed 8 years. My mother was able to take care of him but when she passed away a year ago I had to put him in a AZ care facility. He has really gone down hill since then. He does not who I am anymore. I go see him about once a week and it gets harder every time. The people who work there are very nice and take good care of him.

soundmind
03-17-2009, 11:35 AM
It's a regrettable situation indeed. My grandmother is currently dealing with this, and she's just bitter all the time - she can't tell you why of course, but when she does, it's usually terribly inappropriate. The nicer times are things like telling you she's ready for lunch at 8:30am, convinced she's had breakfast (do not try to correct her, she gets PISSED). My dad still goes to see her every few days, and I'm not sure how....she mixes up his name with his brothers, tells him "he never comes to see her", it's heart-breaking, but it's his mom, so he continues.

One thing specific to her that I've not seen yet was her daily routine. She slowly but surely committed to eating Tomato soup exclusively. The help at the nursing home has to find a new way everyday to get a protein shake in her in the AM, otherwise its just tomato soup. You can imagine what that does to your gums and everything with false teeth and whatnot.

The last time I visited, she called me Benjamin and told me I should just go back to Boston - which was actually an improvement (even though I've never been to Boston, and my name is certainly not Benjamin)....typically she'd just look at me and nod. I can't go back really, it's a lot to witness.

Needless to say, it's a heart-wrencher, I wish you and yours the best.

Jilly
03-17-2009, 01:29 PM
One time, my grandma, this was before we knew it was this serious, came in and told us all the street signs had been moved. We took her keys shortly after that. But I still can't help but snicker at it a little. Sometimes it was the only way we could cope.

HemiEd
03-17-2009, 01:47 PM
My Mother is beginning of stage 3 right now. It is very sad and sorry to hear about your Grandmother.

bobbymitch
03-17-2009, 08:49 PM
My condolences. The Bosslady's mother has it. She used to have the most remarkable memory. She could tell you what you or she wore during a function years ago. She used to be able recall the minutia that most of us couldn't care about.

Nowadays, she will ask you the same question over and over again, can't remember what happened last week, and gets frustrated easily.

A set routine works well for her but any break in it will cause her to throw a fit.

EyePod
03-17-2009, 10:30 PM
It's going to be extremely tough. My gf's grandmother had it, and I've been with my gf through the whole process. We'd visit her and she'd just smile and nod the whole time. She would call her daughters and think she was talking to her sisters. She forgot who her husband was and called him a strange person.

She finally passed away, and almost everyone is dealing well with it. But this did bring about some terrible mental issues that my gf's mother has, and we're still hoping she can get some closure, move on, and stop thinking that everyone is trying to kill her.

And this isn't even my direct family....

Groves
03-17-2009, 10:49 PM
My dad was diagnosed with it in his late 50s, about 4 years ago. He's more than half way down the slope. Still recognizes us, but it's slipping. I'll see him in Heaven, in many ways we'll meet for the first time there. I think I could fit every word he's ever said to me on one page of paper. We'll make up for lost time.

splatbass
03-17-2009, 11:59 PM
My mother has it. I went back to Missouri a couple of weeks ago to visit (she lives with my sister) and when she answered the door she said to my sister "some man is here". It is quite a jolt when your mother doesn't recognize you. Of course a few minutes later she was fine, it comes and goes.

Mosbonian
03-18-2009, 12:51 AM
My Mother suffered from Dementia the last 3 years of her life till she passed away last September...it's actually still too soon for me to talk about everything considering I had to go thru it all alone. My brothers wanted nothing to do with her and left me with all the hard decisions....I still cry knowing that my Mom breathed her last breath in the company of strangers.

My heart goes out to you...may you find comfort in the words that have been written here by your/my/our friends.

mmaddog
*******

wutamess
03-18-2009, 12:59 AM
My grandmother has it... Lives with my mother since my grandpa died Sept of last year.
Ask the same questions every 1-2 minutes. Call my mothers siblings 4-5 times an hour telling them to come get her.

Funniest thing though... We're all watching T.V. all of a sudden the channels change. We look around like WTF? It's her with the remote to her ear (because she thinks it's the phone). We just laugh it off. She never realizes that it's not a phone.

Blick
03-18-2009, 01:34 AM
My grandma has had it for several years now. I'm not sure exactly how many years, but it's been a while. She's at the point where she doesn't know who anyone is, and she is not very talkative when she is around. My grandpa put her in an assisted living center because he couldn't really take care of her anymore. My grandpa still visits her quite a bit and brings her out to see family sometimes.

I'm just glad that I'm old enough to have memories of her when she was healthy. She was a really great woman, and it's pretty sad to see what she is like now. I feel bad for my cousins, who are little, because they didn't get a chance to see her when she was healthy.

J Diddy
03-18-2009, 04:47 AM
I'm sorry to hear this. May god bless you both and make your time as gentle as possible.

tmax63
03-18-2009, 06:50 AM
My Uncle Hugh died with Alheimer's. He was an old bachelor and he got lost driving home from town one day and it scared him enough to go assisted living. He just drifted away, never got mean or anything. Did speak to anyone or recognize anybody for close to the last year. Guess we were lucky compared to some of the folks here.