This is the third post regarding our situation, Living with Alzheimer’s. My MIL was diagnosed 6 years ago and during that time, she has lived with us for 4 years. Let me tell you, it is no easy task. My common sense tells me that she cannot be responsible for her actions, but I ask myself, “Why didn’t we get one that was nice?” I am embarrassed that I even wrote that.
My recent findings on the Internet lead me to an article about the disease that, like anything, there are certain stages in the progression of such disease. A statement that affected me the most was this “Alzheimer’s can be described as the death of the mind before the body…”. This statement in it self is devastating to read, yet imagine living 24/7 watching a loved one. Though Alzheimer’s is considered a fatal disease, the usual cause of death is normally another illness, which develops as a complication in a body already weakened by Alzheimer’s.
Check out the link 7 Stages of Alzheimer's. I’ve determined that my MIL is planted firmly in the 6th stage of this vial disease.
Severe cognitive decline
(Moderately severe or mid-stage Alzheimer's disease)
Memory difficulties continue to worsen, significant personality changes may emerge and affected individuals need extensive help with customary daily activities. At this stage, individuals may:
Lose most awareness of recent experiences and events as well as of their surroundings
Recollect their personal history imperfectly, although they generally recall their own name
Occasionally forget the name of their spouse or primary caregiver but generally can distinguish familiar from unfamiliar faces
Need help getting dressed properly; without supervision, may make such errors as putting pajamas over daytime clothes or shoes on wrong feet
Experience disruption of their normal sleep/waking cycle
Need help with handling details of toileting (flushing toilet, wiping and disposing of tissue properly)
Have increasing episodes of urinary or fecal incontinence
Experience significant personality changes and behavioral symptoms, including suspiciousness and delusions (for example, believing that their caregiver is an impostor); hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not really there); or compulsive, repetitive behaviors such as hand-wringing or tissue shredding
Tend to wander and become lost
We live each day with the pending decision to place her back in a nursing home. It is a difficult one. One that cannot be made without feeling some amount of guilt. OK, a huge amount of guilt. If my husband and I have learned anything through this experience it is that we never want to be a burden to our children.
Caretakers have no advocate to help them deal with Alzheimer’s family members. Most of our friends do not understand when they ask us to come over for a drink or watch a movie that we can never leave our home. Three and a half hours a week of respite care is not enough to attain any sort of mental health.
Who cares for the caretakers?
Who relieves our stress?
Who watches out for us?
Thanks for listening, my friends. Thanks for listening.