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A Tough Week and a possible Solution
This was one of the worst weeks so far. The condition of my DW is as follows:
Can't form full sentences
Can't use simple devices, remote control, microwave, stove, dishwasher, etc
Emotional, crying, sobbing
Thinks somebody stole items from the house or long ago
Thinks her daughter who has been so good about calling daily, is in on a conspiracy to take things from her.
Due to the crying and emotional outbursts, i got her a quick appointment with her Behavior Science doctor. He got her to admit she is grieving over her mother who passed away from Alzheimer's a few months ago. She just sobbed in his office and the doctor was taken back by it and apologized.
He increased her Prozac and is now giving her a patch for the Rivagastamine medicine which has not been able to take fully, since it made her throw up. She is already calming down considerably from the increased Prozac and doesn't start the patch until next week.
We actually put the Christmas tree up last night, lit the candles, and listened to Christmas music over a cup of tea. She was relaxed and smiling, but saw her day dreaming occasionally, maybe thinking about Christmas with her departed mother. Just posting because it was good news for a change, or a reprieve.
So sorry about the loss of your mother in law and what it is doing to your wife. Your wife may soon forget about her mother's death and then you may have new behaviors to contend with. Best to foster the idea that nothing remains the same when caregiving for someone with Alz.
I remember the early stages being some of the worse for my mother because like your wife-she was sad, confused, scared, paranoid. I found that keeping her life simple and on a strict routine helped the most. Sure I took her to the grocery store, but no more malls with hurrying crowds, or the Easter Bunny or Santa. Every day we did the same things, at the same time and I think that brought her comfort as it was calming and didn't stress her brain. I stopped reminding her that her husband died when she asked about him, and I let her live in her mistaken reality-her world- instead of trying to reorient her to reality.
Now that my mother is in the final, very severe stages on Alz, there is no more crying, confusion, or fear-just the slow decline of the body. It is just as hard on me to be in this stage as the earlier one-but in time I began to understand that each person has a time when they will die. My job now is to keep her clean, hydrated, fed, warm and loved. I try to have no expectations, no regrets, no guilt, no anger. I just do what needs to be done to keep mother comfortable and try to keep my compassion and sense of duty strong so I can continue to the bitter end. Good luck to you and I hope the new meds will help your wife.
Thanks Tess and I am sorry about your mother. Sometimes, it feels you get robbed of some of the best years you can have with your parents. I feel that with my wife. We had great plans for retirement but it has all come crashing down. I still work and she is alone all day. She doesn't seem to have interest in leaving the house and she can get something to eat when she is hungry, although limited in what she can prepare.
I actually spoke too soon. I got home from work last night and she had emptied all the cabinets in several rooms. There was clutter everywhere. As I started to clean it up she began to get suspicious and kept asking, "what's going on?" It took me hours to get her out of this mode.
Me celebration was short lived.
H&caregiver, you described my DH perfectly as he was almost a year ago. Things did change quickly. You are going to have to think about how much she can be left alone. Emptying cupboards is relatively harmless, at least to her, but what next?
If something breaks, goes wrong, or bad happens, they will not know what to do about it. My DH never did anything to himself, but things broke, or the dog got hurt, he’d turn something on/off, etc and he could not respond correctly, even though he usually did not “do” anything himself.
Of course easy for me to say since I’m retired. I would still leave him for maybe an hour, playing the odds that nothing would happen, or if it did, I’d be home quick to deal with it. But I could not leave him for several hours, the safety risk was too great.