How does Alzheimer's impact a person's ability to function within their environment?

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I was also wondering how Alzheimer's disease would affect a person's ability to shower, cook, using the restroom and other things which make someone independent. If anybody who has a relative with Alzheimer's could respond that would really helpful.

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Thanks, jeannegibbs! We are looking at places that can continue to care for dad as the disease progresses. You are a wealth of info & kindness!
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Angelscare, what a wonderful service you provide to your clients. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we all had access and the funds to provide such a service for our loved ones. It's unfortunate the woman you mentioned was given such poor care at the nursing home she was in. Especially when there are truly lovely nursing homes out there providing personal and quality care by dedicated nursing staff, etc. that is overseen by the caregivers. Yes, God bless all caregivers for all they do for their loved ones in all various settings.
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My home is an "Alternative to a Nursing Home." I only take two clients at a time....they are elderly... either Alzheimer's...or Bed Bound...Cancer... or Hospice. They are in the last weeks?...months?...of their life. One of my clients had come out of a nursing home where they kept her drugged on morphine. She was bed bound with a cath. The wounds on her body from never being turned were horrible. She was 94...her family was told she had about a month to live. She lived with me for 15 months without any morphine. She was such a happy lady...she always had a smile on her face!!!! I have cna's working in my home...Doctor visits to my home...Therapist....and even a Dentist who makes house calls!!! I give them a quality of life that they would never experience in a facility. If one wants a bowl of ice cream at 3 a.m....I get it for them...after all...it could be the last one they ever have. I become so attached to them...when one passes...unless they do so in their sleep...I am with them...holding them in my arms. My Mother also lives with me...she's 86...and she has Alzheimers. It is more difficult to take care of a relative....especially a parent!!!! They have been telling you what to do your whole life....now you are telling them what to do.... and they don't like it. When I had to stop my mother from driving her car...she hated me. She kept calling the police to my home....she wanted the keys to her car!!! That was in the earlier stages...about 1 year ago. She has declined so rapidly. But she still wants to argue about everything....she hides everything and accuses everyone of stealing it....then when we find it...she says she didn't put it there...of course she didn't!!!! LOL Just 3 months ago she could get herself a bowl of cereal or make a sandwich...now even if I leave a bowl and a spoon and a box of cereal on the counter...she doesn't know what to do with it.
No matter what I do for her...it's never right...yet she can't do it for herself.
You just have to treasure the time you have left...you have to give back the unconditional love they gave you while you went through your stages of growing up!!! This is the time that the parent becomes the child....and the child becomes the parent. God Bless all the caregivers...




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Lilygirl, it sounds like you are doing a wonderful job with your father. He is very lucky to have you. May I suggest that when you look at long term care facilities you look for those that have memory care units he could transition into if/when he needs more support than assisted living could provide. If his behaviors change, such as increased violence, be sure to report that to his doctor.
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My father has stage 4-5 Alzheimer's and lives with my husband & me. Dad needs assistance in showering, dressing & personal grooming. We have added a potty chair, shower chair, handles & rails to our home. He feeds himself (does no cooking) and goes to the bathroom by himself & makes his own bed. Dad walks with a cane or uses a walker. I'm in charge of all his medications, doctor appointments & physical therapy. In the afternoon, he has "sundowner's syndrome" & becomes a bit agitated & rocks back & forth. We listen to Cowboy music (his favorite) or play a card game to calm him. His short term memory is pretty much gone. Last week he become angry, agitated & walked out the front door. We are concerned about the anger/violence in the future. Indoor keyed locks were installed & bells were tied to the knob in cases he wants to leave again. Dad does like to go out & be around other people so we take him to the Farmer's Market, estate sales & city events. He especially loves dining out. I learned something every day! Right now we are looking at assisted living for him. He's normally sweet & funny. Dad's 88 and it's so hard to see him this way. Good luck to you!
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My Dad is now at the point where he has not cooked in years, needs help to bathe and shower (and loves the attention), wears adult diapers in case of "accidents" and at night to bed. We also took away his underwear once he got used to the "Product" as they euphemize it here. He can still go to the bathroom by himself but he chants the sequence so he doesn't forget: "Wipe, pull up pants, flush!". That will probably be the last to go...
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Alzheimer's disease is sometimes described as child development in reverse... It does have stages and people do respond differantly that is very true. Some folks lose their language skills others do not. I would encourage you to do some research on the Alzheimers web site.Also get some books, one I really recommend is A Dignified Life by Virginia Bell, and also Richard Taylors's books, Alzheimer's from the Inside out and Be with me Today. Find a support group, and they can help you with information too... take care!
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Good suggestions above! Please follow them. Imagine you can't remember that you turned on the stove. House can burn down. We removed the knobs from my mothers stove because when she refused to believe that she left the stove on.

She as been using pads for months now. She still hides them everywhere.

None of what we have accomplished was easy. But, we had to find a way and did. Stick with it. You will find a way.

It took us months to get her to agree to have help with bathing. As she became more physically unstable, we were very afraid she would fall and break something. We added grab bars, non-skid mats, etc. Eventually she had to have assistance.
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You asked about showering, cooking and use of the restroom. As mentioned, alzheimers effects different people at different times with varying degrees of the disease. Preparation is key here as you deal with all the changes. Losing ones independence is gradual and heartbreaking. We prepared the bathroom with high seat with handles, shower with seat in tub with extension to slide in easily; also with handles. I had to watch my MIL very closely with these three most important every day functions.

If the person is not incontinent; at least have some Depends on hand for when it does happen; and it can happen quickly. I had to take away all regular underwear from her drawers; as Depends became the new underwear and after a time, she became use to them. Most times, she did not even realize the Depends needed to be changed - this was a challenge, but told her we need to check them often so that she will not get a UTI; and this she seemed to agree with.

Cooking was off limits - when the memory is going the stove is difficult to remember. I would engage her in preparation, setting the table and washing dishes as these tasks made her feel useful. Had to keep a sharp eye on her if she was in the kitchen alone. Dinner is extremely important to the elderly so having them involved in some way makes them feel needed. I think it is the one thing they look forward to all day.

It is a journey that we were never taught how to handle; but all the many books, and on-line resources available now about alz. help tremendoudly.
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My previous post should refer to their health not their house, also making sure your house is safe is very important too. Changes in abilities and functionality can be seen quickly or take a long time to develop depending on other health issues. please look at the resources on this website on what Alheimers is how i develops, the stages and what you can do to prepare.

ALzheimers only gets worse, unfortunately. So the more you know the better prepared you will be
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