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Old 10-26-2015, 11:35 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,370 posts, read 35,864,624 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hedgehog_Mom View Post
We're going through this right now with my dad. He can still move around (actually he can't stop moving, can't even sit still long enough to eat), but he can't carry on a conversation anymore, can't understand simple instructions. Sometimes he will be sure that someone in the family is dead, usually one of my kids and usually while he's standing there looking at them. He recognizes me most of the time, but sometimes he will think my dog is my mom. He also cries any time he feels any kind of emotion...hug him and he cries, give him a yogurt and he cries, etc.

I've noticed that my dad likes it when I'm talking to him as if we're having a conversation, kind of like the way you'd talk to a small kid who can't really communicate yet. I also hug him a lot and I'll put lotion on his hands or feet if he's willing, or rub his shoulders.

Don't feel like visiting your MIL is a waste of time, and don't get upset if she doesn't recognize you. Take her a few flowers or something else she'd like when you visit...we used to take flowers to my husband's grandma and she had no idea who we were anymore but she was crazy about those flowers, and also about little boxes of chocolates.
Those are such good ideas - thank you. I think I will stop and get some sweets and take them up there for her and for the staff today. Her birthday was just a few weeks ago and even as bad off as she is, she did seem to enjoy the extra attention and the goodies. She doesn't remember when her birthday is - maybe I can just give her another one.
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Old 10-26-2015, 11:39 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,370 posts, read 35,864,624 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dblackga View Post
Hugs (((((((((KathrynAragon))))))))))) For people such as you who are so adroit at finding solutions to life problems, Alz. is a stone wall that you can't climb over, slip around or crawl under. It's just THERE.

Your mother-in-law is blessed to have family who genuinely care about her and her well-being. Who knows, inside her head, she may be perfectly happy. It's hard to know. :-( As others posted, visiting without any expectations of reliving happy memories or hoping for a flicker of the woman she used to be may be the best mental frame for you to adopt -- just visiting as a kind visitor who stays for a few minutes to talk about some simple topics, perhaps bringing flowers or a treat (favorite candy or cookie, etc.) will be a blessing to her, and to you.
Wow, you hit the nail on the head - I am a "solutions, action oriented" person and there's NOTHING I can do to stop this disease from ravaging her mind and body. Nothing. It's going to happen. It's going to kill her. It's already taken her from us, and taken us from her. It's terrible.

But she may be spending many hours a day in some sort of dozing, suspended mindset - it does seem that way. She doesn't like to be disturbed, but she doesn't seem to be in any pain when she's not being moved or changed. So maybe - HOPEFULLY - she's not suffering during those times.

I am going to stop and get some goodies for her today. She's not eating much of anything but maybe even if she doesn't eat a brownie or a cookie, she will like the attention. She does seem to respond to love still some of the time, which is heartening.
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Old 10-26-2015, 11:40 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,370 posts, read 35,864,624 times
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Thank you, everyone for the sweet responses. I am facing another visit to her today and I just want to cry - but I can't leave her all alone. She is a good person. She doesn't deserve to lose the people she loves, even if she doesn't remember us.
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Old 10-26-2015, 12:05 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
11,140 posts, read 20,319,586 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
Those are such good ideas - thank you. I think I will stop and get some sweets and take them up there for her and for the staff today. Her birthday was just a few weeks ago and even as bad off as she is, she did seem to enjoy the extra attention and the goodies. She doesn't remember when her birthday is - maybe I can just give her another one.
I have "birthday" parties for my dad pretty often...I make cupcakes and we light candles and sing Happy Birthday. He loves it. I figure we're celebrating all the future birthdays we won't get to celebrate later on.
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Old 10-26-2015, 12:40 PM
 
Location: Georgia
4,560 posts, read 4,065,612 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
I am going to stop and get some goodies for her today. She's not eating much of anything but maybe even if she doesn't eat a brownie or a cookie, she will like the attention. She does seem to respond to love still some of the time, which is heartening.
All living creatures respond to love -- whether it's a plant, a pet, or another human being. I suspect that, wherever she is where her mind has taken her, she's content -- you and your family are the ones that are living in Alz. hell, mourning the loss of someone who hasn't quite left, yet, desperately searching for a flicker of the woman she used to be. It's a suspended state of grief with no discernible end in sight.
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Old 10-26-2015, 01:08 PM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,370 posts, read 35,864,624 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dblackga View Post
All living creatures respond to love -- whether it's a plant, a pet, or another human being. I suspect that, wherever she is where her mind has taken her, she's content -- you and your family are the ones that are living in Alz. hell, mourning the loss of someone who hasn't quite left, yet, desperately searching for a flicker of the woman she used to be. It's a suspended state of grief with no discernible end in sight.
Gosh, this is so right.

She really only seems distraught when she is "disturbed" for feeding, changing, bathing, that sort of thing. Otherwise she seems to be dozing or picking the air in some imaginary way. I have no idea what she's seeing or thinking or dreaming. I hope they are gentle, good thoughts.
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Old 10-26-2015, 01:09 PM
 
Location: FL
291 posts, read 449,359 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
I hate Alzheimer's so much.

My formerly beautiful mother in law, who is 84, is now completely bedridden or chair ridden (the chair has to be reclined and her feet propped up). She seems frozen in one posture - with her arms stiffly crossed on her chest, tilted over to one side, legs crossed, and mouth open and moving, eyes closed for the most part. She is down to 100 pounds and I honestly don't even know how she is living because she barely eats or drinks anything.

The facility she is in keeps her very clean and neat and as comfortable as possible. They don't force feed her but they do sit with her and feed her whatever she is willing or able to eat or drink at meal times. She does not seem to have forgotten how to swallow - she just doesn't seem interested at all in any food or drink.

She can barely talk - she tries to and we can understand a few words, but much of what she says is either nonsensical (she will actually repeat "blah blah blah" over and over again) or impossible to understand.

She is combative whenever anyone tries to move her, change her, dress her, bathe her, etc.

I don't think she recognizes me any more. The other day one of the aides said, "Oh, Mrs. _____, look who's come to visit you." She managed to say, "Who are you?" and when I said, "I'm your son _____'s wife," she looked shocked and then burst into tears and wailing. I said, "_____, what's wrong?" and she managed to cry out, "_______ is dead!" (her son, my husband) She would not believe he was alive till I called him and he talked to her on the phone. I say "talked TO" not "talked WITH" because it is nearly impossible to have any sort of conversation with her.

She seems so completely miserable and depressed. She has every reason to be, so I don't blame her. We are living in this state of suspension where every time the phone rings I think it's the facility calling to tell me she's passed away, or been taken to the hospital. She is under hospice care, but amazingly, they continue to tell us that she's actually pretty stable - which is sort of horrifying to us because we feel like she has absolutely no desire to continue living, and we can't blame her for that.

It's a terrible situation. I don't know how often I should even visit her because my visits seem to confuse her and the last thing I want to do is stress her out. But I also don't want to abandon her in her final days.

It's so depressing and tragic.

I just had to vent.
I understand. My mother died from Alzheimer's almost a year ago, and I am still haunted by her condition during the last year of her life. I know she never would have wanted to live like that. She lost her ability to swallow solid foods 11 months before she died, but was still able to swallow thickened foods almost up until the end - although, like your MIL, not nearly enough to sustain life.

She was under hospice care in the memory care facility during the final two months, and just as I thought it would never end, in the evening on a day I didn't go to visit, the hospice nurse called to tell me she thought my mother was starting to "transition" because she was so much less responsive. When I visited the next day, she was totally unresponsive. I knew it was near the end by the change in her breathing. She remained unresponsive and died four days later. All I felt was complete, total relief.
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Old 10-26-2015, 01:44 PM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,370 posts, read 35,864,624 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KayT15 View Post
I understand. My mother died from Alzheimer's almost a year ago, and I am still haunted by her condition during the last year of her life. I know she never would have wanted to live like that. She lost her ability to swallow solid foods 11 months before she died, but was still able to swallow thickened foods almost up until the end - although, like your MIL, not nearly enough to sustain life.

She was under hospice care in the memory care facility during the final two months, and just as I thought it would never end, in the evening on a day I didn't go to visit, the hospice nurse called to tell me she thought my mother was starting to "transition" because she was so much less responsive. When I visited the next day, she was totally unresponsive. I knew it was near the end by the change in her breathing. She remained unresponsive and died four days later. All I felt was complete, total relief.
So sad - thank you for sharing this though.

My MIL's heart rate is all over the charts. Her blood pressure is too. I think her body is not regulating itself well. I am hoping for her sake that she doesn't suffer much longer.
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Old 10-26-2015, 03:25 PM
 
40 posts, read 32,185 times
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I am so sorry you are going through this. My mother passed from this same disease in February after 7 years of suffering. I used to talk to her as much as I could as I am sure you do but it is nearly impossible to hold a one-sided conversation for any length of time.

Not sure if this will help or not but maybe you could bring a book with you and read aloud from it when you visit. She may be able to follow it a little here and there and you can have something to focus on while you are there. She may just enjoy listening to the sound of your voice even though she may not understand the story.

The other thing is She may be able to relate to music. If she has favorite songs you can sing or play a tape and they can often remember the tunes.

Hope this helps.
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Old 10-26-2015, 03:53 PM
 
Location: Southwest Washington State
21,588 posts, read 14,193,916 times
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I went through something like this with my mom. After her stroke she was so confused! She asked me again and again the same questions, trying to pin a memory down which eluded her. She was never so unresponsive or immobile, but she so obviously had declined and was not comfortable or felt secure. It is heartbreaking. I don't think your visits are bad. I do think you should monitor her condition, if nothing else. I am so sorry that you have to go through this. And I am so sorry your MIL has to endure this.

It will pass, however. And that will be both relief and heartbreaking, as well. Poor woman. Thankfully for her, her family is taking care of her as best they can.

God bless you all.
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