Same old, same old.

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I just came from a visit to the NH. Now that she is eating better, she is talking more and getting feisty and argumentative again. Mom was on the "I want to go home" merry-go-round. I know she can't help it, but when this goes on and on like an Abbott and Costello skit "Who's on first", it completely wears me out. With her dementia (and hearing loss) I have to write everything on the white board. It does no good because she still can't remember and keeps on and on. "I was going to go home tomorrow, but I think I'll go home today with you". "Why am I still here?" (me- You have a leg infection that they need to treat so you have to get stronger. Her - There is nothing wrong with me. I want to go back to my house (my ans - (5x) you sold your house 10 years ago". Where is my furniture" (me - storage) Then I have to pay storage fees. (me- Its in my basement) Then I should pay you. I'm still paying rent on my house. me- You sold your house. Then where do I live? I want my own place. (me- you need to get stronger then we can talk about going home.)
Nothing works, can't change the subject - she goes right back to it. Whatever I say, she has a counter answer.
Finally I wait until she starts to nod off so I can sneak out. Otherwise the nurse tells me she raises a fuss the rest of the day because I left her.
I guess there is no way to get around it - they have dementia, they can't reason, they obsess, they miss their independence. I feel so sorry for her. I wish there was a way to spare us both these endless conversations that go nowhere.

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I have some friends in Canada. Both are quite well to do, but still opt for the state-sponsored healthcare. They could both afford the private care, but they say the free service has met their needs. One of the people has good health, but the other has a heart that can only be fixed with a transplant. He wants to put that off as long as possible. Since he trusts his doctor, the state system there must have some pretty good ones. This friend tells me how he takes out travel insurance anytime he comes to the US. He frequently visited Washington state and Hawaii. He is afraid something will happen while he is here and wipe him out financially. Our healthcare system has a bad rep internationally.
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Hmmm, some of us in Canada like to say that both rich and poor get to have equally bad healthcare lol. I wonder about your friend with cancer though Amy, I expect that she was told she had to wait for surgery because the doctors determined that it was safe to do so, but that isn't very comforting when someone throws the big "C" word your way.
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It seems that way Jessie. And even with senior health care, the cost, deductible and copay increase each year, well above the measly increase in social security. My mother is lucky, she has TriCare for Life (which is grandfathered and not available for military now) She pays a small copay for meds, and nothing for anything else. But, the $370 a day in the nursing home is wiping out her savings anyway. I guess we should be glad we have what we have. Health care in Canada is rationed and in the UK, seniors are last in line for surgeries, and get only palliative treatment if they have something that could be terminal (they just let them die). I know a woman in Toronto who had breast cancer. She was given two choices - wait for 4 months for surgery and radiation or close up her house, quit her job and move to Calgary because they had an "opening" there. Thank God it hasn't come to that yet in America.
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It's really rather sad and maddening that it is so scary to grow old in the US. There have been some efforts to close the gap between the haves and have-nots, but those efforts have failed for the most part. At least now most people have health insurance. A few years ago, millions wouldn't go to a doctor because they didn't have insurance.

I would like to think that people are good and will strive for cost containment in health and elder care. I know better than that now. Isn't it strange how we come up thinking people are inherently good? It is a shock when you find out that some people love money so much that they would hurt others to get it. And those people tend to end up on top, since they have all the money.

The only solution I see to the problems in the US is universal healthcare with a single payer who sets the price of what will be paid for a service. The way that it is now, the middle class and below will be wiped out of any resources before death, and all that heirs will receive is the chance to clear out a house before it is sold for recovery. This is the way things are going at the present time.
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Jeanne, that is so true. Advances in modern medicine give us the hope of living longer, of being active later in life which is good. (Until one reaches an age where the brain is gone but the body lives on.)
Unfortunately, in hindsight, society should have made more effort to come up with a system of affordable care for older people but it didn't. Plenty of care if you have money - otherwise not. Years ago infirm seniors were 70'
-80'and children in their 40's & 50"s could provide short term care. Now the infirm are often 90-100 and children in their 60's & 70's. I am so sorry for those widows and widowers living in poverty in the shadows who have no one to look out for them and no money to buy medicine.
Its similar to the 60's when millions of women began to enter the workforce and put their children in daycare. Only those with a big enough income could afford childcare (or had family to help) and many who wanted to work stayed home because the care cost more than they earned. That is still going on. No matter how much they raise minimum wage, it isn't enough to cover childcare any more than it is enough to cover in home care for a parent.
Its the way it is and there doesn't seem to be any solutions on the horizon.
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Here is one thing that definitely accounts for many cases of dementia:

Polio Vaccine.

Yup. People who used to die very young don't so much anymore, because of the elimination of many common and not-so-common childhood illnesses. When did you last hear of someone dying of whooping cough?

In realistic novels set in colonial and frontier times, families lose children, and often the mother. Step-families and half-siblings were as common then as they are in this age of divorce and remarriage. But I digress ...

People are living MUCH longer now. Of course we are seeing more cases of disease of old age!

There may be other factors, too. But definitely we can blame a lot of it on vaccines and antibiotics. We keep people alive longer.
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While I didn't come up with this theory, I do think there's something to it. My hairdresser cuts hair for a woman who is the head of the "think tank" on Alzimers at the state teaching hospital. She said they believe one of the most important things a man can do to avoid this disease is to not retire. That there is a correlation between continuing to work for pay and not getting the disease. Not good news for folks hoping to follow the sun in a r.v. But think about the timing of the advent of social security and mandatory retirement ages. Think about the new and growing American Dream - retire sad early as possible. While it's true that the SS retirement age keeps getting pushed back it's also true that the number of Americans retiring early is growing by leaps and bounds. Think about your own grandparents- those of you over 55 - how long did your grandfathers work. Did your grandparents have dementia? I know in my case both grandfathers pretty much worked until their deaths. My paternal grandmother lived to 97 - sharp as a tack. Makes me wonder.
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I agree with you Ashlynne. We are eating so many chemicals, so much plastic in our foods, soy that wasn't intended to be in every single product, artificial stuff, etc. I'm convinced that is causing the huge Aspergers rise (1 in 88 children) It isn't what the kids eat - its the exposure to all the plastics and chemicals in food and air in their parents.
We seniors are the first generation to deal with taking care of even older seniors. If only they could come up with care that doesn't completely bankrupt us. Truth is, when you are a senior you simply can't care for someone 90-100 years old, lift them and be 24/7 for them. I wish the government would realize that - but hey - this govt would just as soon seen those seniors disappear - until those politicians reach that age themselves - lol!
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Jessie I'm inclined to think a lot of illness is caused by eating years of processed, GMO and sprayed fresh (transported thousands of miles in winter) food. Never thought about it but once I moved to the country I was horrified at how much the crops were sprayed to death. Growing and preserving my own now and I'll be keeping chickens so I know what we're eating. My dogs like chicken too lol
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AmyGrace, it sounds like you're doing what you can already. There's no fixing things when they reach a certain stage of the disease. About the only thing I've found that works when my mother gets stuck in a groove is to try to distract her or leave the room. I'm fortunate that I can still do that. I know with advanced Alz, it would be far more difficult.

The only way I've found to deal with the frustration and anger is to wait until I get alone to release the bottled up emotions in a way she can't hear. She's two rooms away, so screaming curse words wouldn't be good. I just whisper them with force.

I don't recall when I was growing up anyone going through what we face now. Everyone just had a grandmother and one day there was a funeral. Now it seems like a huge percentage of the elders have dementia. What in the world happened? I don't think that age alone explains this epidemic.
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