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Alz+, question
Posted: Friday, October 9, 2015 8:53 AM
Joined: 6/6/2015
Posts: 36

Hello Alz+!

Nice to see you. How is that dog of yours?

Last week grandma told me she has very few thoughts anymore and that she feels as if she is on vacation? Please advice.


Mimi S.
Posted: Friday, October 9, 2015 6:39 PM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 7027

Hi Herman,
Sorry I'm not Alz+ and I don't have an answer to your question. I'd need to know a lot more about your Grandma to answer.

You can call our help line and have a chat: 1-800-272-3900.

Posted: Friday, October 9, 2015 11:20 PM
Joined: 6/6/2015
Posts: 36

Thank you for the response Mimi. I had directed at Alz+ because I have engaged in dialogue with her before and very much enjoyed our conversation. But, any and all responses are greatly appreciated as well as new perspectives.

Grandma is in the moderate stage of dementia, according to her neurologist, and I think she has had so much trauma recently that her cognition has decreased drastically. We have always gone places together and engaged in different activities. Recently she said she has very few thoughts anymore and that she feels as if she is on vacation. In my mind that is a good thing because she is contented right where she is at. She does not have sundowning issues, they are very mild compared to what I see around her in the facility. She simply wants to sit, quite happily sitting. I suspect that this is the new normal but will wait to see if it becomes a regular pattern.

I have not had good luck with the hotline, in fact they were altogether disappointing.

Posted: Friday, October 23, 2015 7:33 PM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3608

Grandma is in the moderate stage of dementia, according to her neurologist, and... Recently she said she has very few thoughts anymore and that she feels as if she is on vacation. In my mind that is a good thing because she is contented right where she is at.


Oh gee whiz, I have been away from internet and missed this.

I have had MOMENTS when I am not thinking or worrying as much, similar to what your Grandmother said. It was divine! I am hoping to hang in that state a long time if it ever comes and sticks!

Now I am not sure what you are asking me about this. I have lots of opinions and beliefs, but have only my experience with my self and my Dad to really compare.

If she is happy, that seems to me to be a wonderful experience for her and you and all who care for her. Truly contented dementia is possible.

Please share more as you observe, and asking her about it again might reveal more of what her mind is doing.

I kind of feel there is difference between my MIND and my Brain Thinking.

I suspect the MIND is aware of stuff and having thoughts even when we are unable to speak cogently or at all.

Posted: Friday, October 23, 2015 7:37 PM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3608

My dog is doing well for her age!

She has gained weight and while still runs every day, it is only short distances, not the miles she used to cover, and so she gained weight. Now I am working on smaller meal portions for both of us.

She has begun to get on my bed when I wake up in middle of night with anxiety, and being about 90 pounds when she presses her body against me it helps me go back to sleep. Then she apparently goes back to her own bed or the couch.

Thanks for asking. I do think dogs are helpful to ALZ. I see her white face and want to keep her alive and well as long as possible!

Posted: Sunday, October 25, 2015 12:37 AM
Joined: 6/6/2015
Posts: 36

I also think dogs help for animal overs. It sounds as if your dog instinctively knows how to protect you and gives you a greater focus. I have a similar relationship with my dog and would do anything to keep him healthy. Except lately he has been naughty, I think it is time to take him to the vet for castration. Very sweet…

I am curious about your anxiety; did you have it before you were diagnosed? Has it increased with the progression of dementia and if so is the increase consistent with the progression of the disease? Are there certain triggers? Does it tend to be environmental or is it your internal though processes that are causing the anxiety? I ask because grandma has bouts of anxiety and I am unable to ascertain what triggers it. I do know that when she talks to her son the anxiety generally increases. She is also prone to hives and they also appear when she has had conversations with him.

Her son abducted her recently, holding her in his home for 3 days, during that time we were not able to see her because he would not let her come outside to talk to us nor did law enforcement insist that she come outside and talk to them alone. It was quite harrowing. Once we secured her release she spent the next 2 days screaming at everyone around her for no apparent reason. I attribute that to the confusion that was created by her captivity. During the 3 day time frame he drained one of her checking accounts and attempted to force her to change her POA. She had a sharp decline in cognition after that and I had hoped it would rally back up a bit; it has but there were other changes to her cognition that have appeared. I am not certain if they were hastened by the traumatic event or if perhaps they were simply the next progression and the timing was of little relevance. She is safe now, and she appears to have relaxed…

I suppose my question is an attempt to understand the changing thoughts and thought process. It is such a mystery and I am attempting to understand her and her frustrations but she has very little to say to anyone. She is all consumed by getting her hair colored… And still has not accepted her diagnosis of dementia.

I also think the subconscious mind knows things that the conscious mind may not be capable of articulating.

I am pleased you are back, I missed you!

Iris L.
Posted: Sunday, October 25, 2015 3:19 AM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18362

No wonder Grandma is anxious after being kidnapped! I am feeling anxious just reading about this! I hope she is in a safe and secure environment now. What is being done to protect Grandma from this happening again? Is the perpetrator in custody?

Iris L.

Posted: Sunday, October 25, 2015 11:36 AM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3608

First, traumatic for everyone to have her stolen and money taken, and then to come home and be yelling and having what I call a meltdown.


When I get pushed over the edge it is from a few main things. Overloaded, filled with panic chemicals, no way for me to leave so I can recover, and that sense of not being able to go some place else on my own adds to it. Lack of sleep. Imbalance in my life of helpful and unhelpful, friendliness and privacy vs being monitored and having my behavior brought up for me to fix.

My anxiety is from the disease making everything a test, will I be able to take a shower on my own and not get burned? Will I figure out how to get the clothes washer working again? Right now having to make on the spot decisions for a builder gets me riled (I had water damage in house and had to replace walls and floor in downstairs). Interacting with most people drains me of goodwill after a time. But to wake up and test things out, can I still see? read? type? get to the bathroom in time? Get dog out? Am I less competent?

The looming further loss is like the feeling of being followed on the street, creepy.

I had anxiety before but this is different, or magnified. Fear of cruel or incompetent people running my life, becoming homeless, being taken to hospital for meltdowns and given antipsychotics drugs. Most fear is of becoming more helpless, a kind strong person can really help. Patting me makes it worse. Telling me NO always makes it worse.

Certainly after coming back from her son's captivity she was dosed with brutal fear chemicals which take anyone a few days to get rid of, and it seems to me those chemicals and the fear state is slower to go with dementia.

I had a famous meltdown last spring over 4 days on a long road trip. My husband would not and could not comfort me but yelled at me, tried to drown my voice with loud radio, persisted in driving in an ice storm behind giant trucks at night and more, scolded me, demanded I be silent and so on - he never let up and it was dangerous.

I don't know how it would have ended if my daughter had not come 225 miles to my rescue and gave me cannabis, which ended the screaming terror in 3 minutes. The cannabis and her calm strong presence ended it for me.

One thing is to simply agree with her. If she is angry, agreeing, "That's understandable". "I can see why you're angry". "I want to help you so that does not happen again." Body language relaxed, voice soft and confident. Smile more often around her, if you can make her laugh that is always good.

That your Grandmother does not seem to know she has dementia is a mixed blessing. My Dad never indicated he knew or that he cared. I think the current wisdom on that is to let them be, not try to convince them of it since it does not work in achieving anything you would want.

What I have read about ongoing anxiety or anger is to remove the excess stimulation from her world and I add to have a room or space to retreat to, or an outdoor space. A comfort zone. A safe place.

yesterday my husband was having a word war with me over something and I felt sick from it but neighbor was up and her 2 dogs came to say hello and I instantly forgot whatever it was he did not like.

If you have a bird feeder or whatever and ask her to "come see this!" it might shift her out of her state. I also would ask my Dad for help with something, there is a strong altruistic need in people with dementia you can call on.

It seems like you treat her very...non reactively? I used to take my Dad outside for little walks, a block or 2, we looked at the trees and flowers and birds and clouds. Nature heals, walking can shift the mind too. "Grandmother, I am going for a walk." smile "I want you to come with me." smile

Then there are all the things a person with dementia can not describe. Bladder infection, dehydration, constipation, cracked tooth, a rock in the foot...

Maybe someone else has better advice today. I have not had a long sleep in 3 weeks so I came back to the house under construction, shut myself in my upstairs Panic Room and am going to take a nap!

I love that you are there for her and sharing the things she says and does.

You are to be admired for that. You don't seem to take things personally, a key to getting along with anyone!

Iris L.
Posted: Sunday, October 25, 2015 12:40 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18362

Obviously, you need legal advice. If you visit the Caregiver's board, you will find members who are dealing with these serious legal and family issues. If Grandma had bruises, I do not see why the police did not do anything.

Patients--let Grandma's plight be a warning to you. Think about who is trustworthy enough to be in charge of your affairs if and when you need help. Vultures who prey on vulnerable adults are not only in the public, they are also in families.

Iris L.

Posted: Sunday, October 25, 2015 4:39 PM
Joined: 6/6/2015
Posts: 36

Alz+, I have had nightmares and am now on an anxiety medication myself. I have not been home in three weeks and miss my children terribly. When I was home last my 17 year old son who was playing his guitar in the garage with several friends dropped everything and ran to hug me. It was bittersweet. My beloved Herman (Rottweiler) would not let anyone near me and circled around me (like a shark) when my husband attempted to get close to me.

I have never attempted to fix grandmas behavior and my mantra is, “its okay grandma I will sit here as long as it takes you to tell me what you need.” Often the memory regresses to a much better point in time and if I sit with her long enough we can get there together. I have heard the same story a 100 times and that helps me take her back to those places that were good for her. It certainly does help me keep her calm when need be because I can refocus her on those topics.

In the facility she shares a room but has access to a very lovely patio but she appears to forget that she can access it any time she likes. She is sleeping well, and the staff appears to be engaged with her although she never wants me to leave. I visit every day sometimes twice a day. I try to arrange my visits around activities she enjoys, baseball, the Dodgers game so I can stay longer and have a focus to direct her towards. She relies on me heavily for nearly everything.

I certainly can see where your anxiety comes from grandma was happy to let us take over all things household. In the facility she cannot use the bathroom alone and that really frustrates her as it would me. It appears they are putting precautions in before they are required and I have mixed feelings about that, understandable…yes. It is a fine line between privacy and safety at this point but protection from a broken hip, in my mind, out weights the little bit of embarrassment. That creepy feeling describes so much, thank you for your articulation! I am certain I would feel that way as well.

Grandma was given antipsychotics and we only used them as needed which was about once every two weeks but now she is on them daily. I think I am a kind strong person for her, I know she always calls me when there is trouble or confusion within her and I sit and listen as long as need be. I am certain it is tiring for her as it is for me.

Laughter has been difficult because my humor is very different than hers so even when I think I have said something funny she sometimes does not understand it. Yet later that same joke is hysterical to her. I have not yet figured it out. Just in the last few days she appears to have some understanding that she does in fact need help and that “she is losing it.” Words I would never use.

I used to take grandma on long drives to the beach through the mountains and anywhere I could think of to take her but those have ceased now and I find myself longing for her companionship sans the mood swings.

I try not to take things personally and have learned to simply walk away when she starts attacking me which is rare now.

Alz+ thank you so very much for sharing your insights with me, I think I understand a little better now. It is all so very sad for the PWD and everyone around them.

Posted: Sunday, October 25, 2015 5:16 PM
Joined: 6/6/2015
Posts: 36


When I saw the injuries I called 911 and that combined with the restraining order allowed us to force the police to get her out of the house. The brother is such a devil that at the same time I was calling 911 he called them as well claiming that we were trespassing. Fortunately, law enforcement has been called many times by his wife for domestic violence so they knew him. My frustration was prior to that when I asked for wellness checks. They should have insisted she come out of the home and talk to them alone. Had they insisted on that then she would have been home sooner.

I must agree with your sentiments regarding POA, grandma has never wanted her other son to have any say regarding her affairs but I think that is also what has made him so very mad at us. He is completely disabled and a long time pain killer abuser. His behavior is erratic and downright abusive towards her but he has done it for so long that he knows how to hide it.

I did not want to post on the cargivers forum simply because I am trying to help her at this point and need to understand what is going on in her mind. We all have geared up for the ensuing legal battle.

Iris L.
Posted: Sunday, October 25, 2015 7:11 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18362

I am so relieved to see that 911 was called when Grandma showed physical evidence of abuse. The perpetrator had a restraining order but was not arrested?

As far as helping Grandma, I cannot say for sure, since I have not seen her. But I am frustrated, angry, and frightened, just reading about her plight. Grandma may be feeling the same. On the other hand, she may have some degree of emotional shutdown, in a subconscious attempt to modulate the emotional stresses she has been recently subjected to. I mention this because Grandma says she has few thoughts anymore. It may be good that she feels she is on vacation. Vacations are usually good.

The best way to get past a trauma is to resume normal activities. You used to engage her in activities and take her out and about. Sleep is good for trauma, but while she is awake, she can engage in fulfilling activities on her new level. In other words, do the same activities, but less intensely. Let her response be your guide.

Routine and consistency are very important to people with dementia. Also, being involved in successful activities is important.

I hope this helps.

Iris L.

Posted: Wednesday, October 28, 2015 5:10 PM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3608

Do you have a Rottie?

I had one, from pound, great dog, very funny. Her name was Gladys.

This is a really serious situation and how I wish I had some one like you to check on me every other day!

Must say I am confused, under construction in my house so living at rental down the street and no internet there. I have too much going on and no way to stop it.

Anyway, always great to hear from you and I will check in again when possible.

Love to everyone!

Posted: Wednesday, November 4, 2015 7:44 PM
Joined: 6/6/2015
Posts: 36

Yes!  His name is Herman.  I have been away from him with grandma for the last two weeks.  He was so happy to see me.  When I woke this morning he was snuggled by my side (scared me actually) but it has been so very good to be home after a very stressful month.

Grandma is doing well tough there is a notable decline in her memory.  I had to laugh last week when I went into the facility the women (5 of them) were gathered around the dining room table visiting, while their young male caregiver was looking over their heads watching the game.  It was sort of comforting to know that some things do not change.

How is the construction going?  Hopefully nearly complete.  That would be enough to cause anxiety without dementia I can hardly imagine how you must be feeling.

You sharing your feeling has really help me connect to grandma.  Thank you.

All the very best sweet friend.

Posted: Friday, November 6, 2015 10:22 AM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3608

It makes my life worth living to know I have helped you and a few others.

My ability to type is much better than my reasoning! I get confused and lack some insight that thankfully other people have in spades, like Iris.

A Rottie is so squeezable! I miss my Gladys, miss every dog I ever had. My dog Heidi that I live with now has more common sense in many things than I do now.

Just to add, it moves me to tears how you connect with your Grandma and protect her. Not getting a joke is something I can relate to. Then again, some times I laugh and laugh at things that were not intended to be funny.

You can always private message me too, I forget to check boards and since house became the monster money pit of anxiety and desperation I have not been doing much as I wish here.

thanks again for kind words!

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