03.13.15 Some Things I Learned About Alzheimer’s

10425030_811944768873755_2666115152794112957_nThis will be the last blog I will publish on a regular basis about Alzheimer’s.  I’ve basically covered all the important things I wanted to pass along and have actually lost all the material I collected from other sources.  I must have trashed the wrong file and in WordPress there is no trash bin to retrieve things out of!  I will continue to pass along information I find informative from the various places I subscribe to about dementia.
As my own story progresses I will share with ya’ll.  One thing I recently did was to have my hand scanned to find out what essential oils my body needs.  The two main ones were grapefruit oil which helps your brain and coriander which helps diabetes and other things.  I’ve been putting 3 drops of grapefruit oil in a large glass of ice water every morning and drinking it.  I asked the doctor to be sure it was okay and they said it’s okay.
A while back I asked my sister to share with me what she remembers about our mom and her time with Alzheimer’s.  I’m not going to edit it, just present it as she told it.  Below that I am including a couple my own thoughts that may help someone.
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When she was in her home and I would visit, she gradually became not her usual talkative self. She complained that people asked too many questions. She would get especially upset when Pat called (her long time close friend).  I guess she didn’t know the answers and couldn’t remember who Pat was referring to.
I always found the microwave very dirty with boiled over coffee.  She forgot how to operate it. Also the same 10931306_1097965880229685_8471053185574325462_nwith the dishwasher.  I would find up to 17 capsules of dishwasher cleaner thrown in and she would never turn it on.  Sometimes she would remember to put the dishes away (dirty of course).  One time she tried to open a tin of danish cookies with a knife.  She punched a hole in the lid and peeled some of it away.  It’s a miracle she didn’t cut herself.
My first real shock was when I told her I was coming but she didn’t know who it was at her door. When she finally let me in, she said she didn’t know I was coming but Harriett would be there later.  Maybe this was the first time she thought I was her sister.  I had come to dress her arm but could not find the bandages for she had put them in a very odd place.
It’s interesting how the brain doesn’t work at times,  for when I would call her, mother, she couldn’t make the connection that I was her child.
I also found that food I brought never moved from the spot in the fridge where it was  placed.  It really hurt to think she was not eating.  When I would put food in front of her, she would eat and really express delight that I brought something.By the time she was at the Village, Assisted Living Facility, she certainly didn’t know where she was and who visited.  I could come right after he brother Aubrey and she wouldn’t remember he had been there.  One time she kept calling for Chip, her grandson, and when I told her he wasn’t there, she said he was but just wasn’t listening.
I always thought I had brought her enough snacks but when I returned a few days later, they were all gone.
 
I tried to remember that even though she didn’t know me, her face would always light up with a wide smile when she saw me. I will always be grateful that she knew you and that brought her great comfort.
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About feeding tubes.  There does come a time in the natural progression of a body dying that they no longer desire nor need food.  In case you do not have hospice and that time comes, I urge you to not insert a feeding tube.  When the body is trying to shut down I’ve been told it is actually painful to the person to receive food.  You think you are doing the right thing.  How could you possibly not feed your loved one when there’s a way to do it, right?   Here are a 10550869_798241600244072_4872256279882376078_n couple of  links to articles where this is described better.
Some of ya’ll may choose to not read through all that so I’ll include a brief quote from the second article:

10013906_10152873429361718_2039051400472671846_nMyth: A person with advanced disease or a terminal illness who stops eating will “starve to death” painfully.

Fact: When a person with advanced disease or a terminal illness stops eating, usually it is because his/her disease has progressed to the point where the person is no longer able to process food and fluids as does a healthy person.  Forcing this person to eat, or starting artificial nutrition and hydration does not help the person to live longer, feel better, feel stronger, or be able to do more.  In fact, such a person given artificial nutrition and/or hydration will often feel bloated, nauseated, and/or develop diarrhea.  Studies have shown that the majority of dying patients never experience hunger, and in those who do, small amounts of food and fluids, offered whenever the person wants, relieves the hunger.

Mama stopped eating about a week before she died.  They say that it usually takes two weeks from the time they stop taking in nutrition.  A friend of mine whose mom died from Alzheimer’s lasted well past two weeks.  Each person is different.  If allowed to die naturally you are doing the very best thing you can for your loved one.  I firmly believe that.

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Kleenex – oh the many dozens of boxes of Kleenex Mama went through was eventually hillarious!  We all bought her1466202_537448149725518_6129419143299088950_n cases of Kleenex for Christmas the last year.  She wrapped everything in Kleenex and fidgeted with that Kleenex all the time.  Her glasses were thrown away in the Kleenex.  She’d wrap each piece in  bowl of fruit with Kleenex.  The thing was once she put it in the Kleenex she didn’t know where the thing inside had gone. The first year she did that was thought it was terribly strange and couldn’t see the point of constantly buying Kleenex.  But we did and the last few months she continued to wrap and fiddle with it all the time.  She did use it for its intended purpose often, since her nose seemed to continually drip and we never could determine what caused that.  So we just kept buying Kleenex.  I’ve heard this same thing from several others whose family member had Alzheimer’s so I believe it may be something you’ll eventually see your loved one do.
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If you want to get an email whenever I do post a blog (I write about other things, not just Alzheimer’s) find the “FOLLOW” box which is usually to the right hand side somewhere, enter your email and respond when the confirmation email is sent to you.

If you are in need of prayer for yourself, in your role as a caregiver, or if you have any specific questions please send me a comment with whatever information you want to share or ask about. I’ll say again that I’m not expert, but I probably experienced with my mom a lot of things you’re going through and will try my best to help. If I don’t know the answer I will tell you I don’t know. I’ll never judge, I’ve been judged enough to last a life time and would never do that to someone else. My email address is rosalyn@selu.edu if that is an easier way to communicate.

Until next time,
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