Sunday, September 03, 2006

Confusion just seems to increase

Mother's confusion just seems to increase. We know it's to be expected, but it's still hard to see. Most days she cannot find her room at all, even if she just came out of it. She also doesn't believe it IS hers when we lead her to it. An interesting new twist has been that she can't seem to see that there is a room there at all, unless the light is on in it. Even a couple of weeks ago, she would just flip the switch on as she entered the room. Now, she seems to believe that it is "outside" in there, because it is dark. We are trying to always keep the overhead light on in her room at all times. Hopefully that will help.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

New Challenges

Each day brings new challenges right now. Previously, Mother did not try to get outside on her own, but I ran an errand yesterday and came back to find her sitting on the porch. Now that is fine in and of itself, she does still enjoy it, but with her walker and eyesight problems, she has always needed help to get out the storm door and get settled. If no one was home, or no one helped her, she would never have tried to go out on her own. My 18 yr old son was home with her, but he had gone to the basement for a few minutes and she slipped out.
So I guess we are back to "if I am not home, one of you must be sitting in the same room w/ Grandma and not leave it until I get back" stage. Or maybe I need to hire a caretaker's helper.... I only had to be gone for 15 minutes though, so maybe I just need to take her with me each and every time I drop someone off at an activity. It is just so disruptive for her to have to get in the car, she doesn't like leaving the house very much.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Can't Find Her Room

This week, we've added a new wrinkle to our Alzheimer's experience... Mother cannot find her room anymore without help much of the time. Our house is only one floor, with her room being directly off the kitchen, and with an open door into it all day. But she cannot find it because she doesn't think it is hers. Two nights ago, she said "I hope I can find where I sleep... I 've only slept there once. They moved me to a new room and took all my clothes!" Of course, she's been in the same room for over 3 years, etc. She is getting lost inside her own room, too, and cannot find the bathroom that is right inside it. We remodeled our garage when she moved in and built a beautiful bedroom with bath that has a pocket door, to make it easier for her to get in and out with her walker. I'm thinking it is time to put a latch on the door that keeps it open at night (she likes to keep it closed), so that she can see the bathroom from her bed. She has been wandering the house again some nights, perhaps looking for the bathroom.
Today was especially tough. She had another bout of bowel problems, poop everywhere since she decided to throw her diaper (inside out) at the trash can and missed, with it hitting the panelled pocket door and wall.... you get the picture. Most of her day was spent in bed, she was too weak to do much else, but by evening she was sitting in the livingroom with the rest of us and whistling as usual. We'll hope for a better day tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Wanting to be in bed a lot

This week, we're hitting the opposite problem of not sleeping.... now Mother wants to take a nap several times a day. I find her taking off her shoes or already snuggled under the covers, even though it is only 10:30 in the morning. One day, she decided to nap at 5:00 and another day at 7:20, even though she had her usual afternoon rest. It is getting much harder to keep her on a daily schedule. We've done well with that for three years, having breakfast around 8, a glass of Ensure around 10, lunch about 12:30, nap at 2:00, juice or cookies after her nap and dinner whenever I can get it made. With kids still at home, that meal just can't always be at the same time daily. Now, she asking for lunch at 9:30 and doesn't believe it isn't time. I know this is all part of the progression, but staying on schedule was so important to her until just recently... now she doesn't care because "what is a schedule?", anyway. If you show her a clock she can tell you what it is. But she doesn't remember anymore that she has a clock, or to look at it before deciding what to do next.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sleep Deprived

Sleep deprived... you see it on the today's show, and in commercials for wonder-sleep aids. But how do you get enough sleep when you need to be on night duty, not sleeping peacefully because of the little pill you took before bed?
Mother was up again last night... I finally fell asleep just before midnight, reading later than I should have because it had been a quiet evening. At 1:00 a.m., I was awakened by her calling "hello, hello" in the kitchen. She was up, dressed, her bed made, and ready for breakfast I guess. Thank goodness she is still compliant part of the time, and was not too difficult to get back to bed. But that didn't help me get back to sleep. I think it was around 2:30 when I finally drifted off.
My husband is of course away on a business trip once again. That has been the pattern lately too, about one week out of every month he is gone for the week. I did talk with him and we agreed it is time to put a lock on her bedroom door, one of those little gold thingys that slides into place at the top of the door. Perhaps if she can't get into the kitchen, she will go back to bed on her own?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Missing Objects, Once Again

Once again we are dealing with "missing objects" being the main problem with Mother. Yesterday, it was her comb. She used to have four, but if one went missing she was distraught until it could be found. We finally changed to having just two combs (one for each hand), and that worked for a year or more. She could keep track of them because she carries them everywhere all day. Somehow, though, this week, she lost them both. In one bedroom, that has been simplified to meet her needs. After looking for most of the day and enduring the agitation that wouldn't quit, I went and bought five more combs. I decided it would be better to just hand her a new one whenever she needs it. Of course, as soon as I got back from the store and gave her one of the new combs, we found the other one, UNDER THE MICROWAVE. She must have shoved it under there when she came in to sit at the table for a meal, as that is next to where he walker goes.
Today, it's not combs, it's lipstick. She has two tubes. Both are suddenly missing. She cannot be consoled. I saw one yesterday on her bathroom shelf. We have tried distracting her with juice but she gulped it down and went back on the prowl. I have quiet music on now in hopes it will calm her down. Where am I? Back in the office at the computer, where I have a little distance. But then there's the guilt of not sitting with her...

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Troublesome Behaviors Explained by Harry Lipscomb

A very simplified but nicely explained definition of some of the most troublesome behaviors in Alzheimer's patients can be found at http://www.theribbon.com/articles/behavior2.asp . If you are dealing with being a main caregiver, please read it. It is short and to the point, but might be just the reminder you need to get you through another "bad" day. It was written by Harry Lipscomb.