Is it normal for loved ones with dementia to act almost their normal self at times? - AgingCare.com

Is it normal for loved ones with dementia to act almost their normal self at times?

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My mom has days of almost claritiy. She is almost "normal". Meaning, back to herself prior to the dementia. Most days mom is confused about everything. I have been noticing increased confusion lately, making her almost impossible to talk to and take care off. On these days I do 100% of everything for her, she is unable to dress herself, difficulty eating, and trouble communicating, just to name a few. However, periodically(twice this week) she just snapped out of it. She was very lucid, no signs of confussion, her bathroom habits came back, she was able to show emotion appropriately, bath herself, do simple tasks,and she slept all nite like 10hrs(she hasn't slept more than 3-4 hours/day in 8-10months). etc.. There has been no medicine change!
Has this happened to anyone else? Is it the "calm before the storm" so to say?

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Thanks to all for your comments!!!
Today was one of those HORRIBLE days!!! I just want to run away. She was beyond confused, and very aggitated. Nothing satisfied her. These are the days that I question how long I can continue to do this. And then she has those "good" days and then I feel guilty for thinking about placement to a PCH. Today I took her out shopping for a bit thinking that would help. But it made it worse. Her worse time of the day is between noon and 4-5pm. Thats when her anxiety is at its highest. She is back "digging" at her face again, I no more get it cleared up and she is back at it. I have pleaded with the doctors to give her something to help calm her, but no doctor will help. I am going to take her to a geriatic psy tomorrow. I am hoping that an 1 1/2 drive to this doctor will have benefits and just not another wasted trip. I think that this disease is actually harder on the caregiver than the person that lives with.I know that sounds mean, but this woman is killing me mentally and physically. I get so angry when "other" people in the community(like moms "former" friends) try to tell me what I should do!! One friend of moms had enough nerve to tell me that I should never consider taking mom outside her home. That it would be wrong to do so. Well, this woman calls about once a month not to check on mom but rather to tell me what to do. She hasn't been here to see mom since last summer which was about 15 min visit. She talked to me and ignored mom who was sitting in the same room. This friend tells me that she can't handle to be around mom cause she is not the same person. On moms good days she always asks why her friends don't come to visit. Of course, I make excuses so she doesn't get upset. Dementia/AD takes everything from the person and its so sad. Especially, when they have those good days and they are aware that something is going on with them in their head. I remember one day a while back ago, mom looked at me and said I have a problem. So I asked her what she needed? She proceeded to cry and told me she felt trapped in her head and that she prayed no one would feel like she did. A moment later she was asking where her daughter went? I was sitting there the whole time!! In that moment I knew that she understood something she was unable to control was taking her over. I feel that a higher power gives us caregivers the strength to move forward each day. No matter how much we feel we can't do it we manage to do it!! We do this out of respect to the ones we love. Knowing that if the roles were reversed they would be helping us!! Caregivers are not given the dignity and respect like we should get. We are in every city, town, every community everywhere. We are men and women from every walk of life who are trying to do our best!! GOD BLESS US ALL!!!
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I too am having a hard time. I am 80 and taking care of my 82 year old husband. When I feel that I just can't do this anymore I try to think of the years when our children were babies and he was a career military person and he worked and worked to take care of us the best he could and that was not easy. Now I tell myself NOW IT'S MY TURN. It does not bring him back from very advanced alzheimers but it helps me.
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As has been said, it's part of the disease. In many respects you have an advantage because some who acquire the disease rarely, if ever 'come back'. Enjoy those livid moments.

My Mom had Alzheimer's and after it became well ingrained within her mind she would very, very rarely come back. I will say though, that while I took every advantage of those lucid moments to enjoy her company and nurture her from that perspective, sometimes when she would 'come back' she would experience horrific mental anguish almost always tearfully sobbing and asking me, 'What's wrong with me'.

In a very short amount of time though, her inner terror would diminish and she might even again be joyful... but only when the grips of Alzheimer's would once again take her back. Sometimes her terror was so great I would think that it was somewhat of a blessing when she once again didn't know what was going on and could comfortably bask in the 'seeming' peace her Alzheimer's caused lack of brain activity brought forth.

No fun, but try to thoroughly enjoy her 'awake' times by remaining active with her.

V
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Yellow I take care of my 86 y/o mother-in-law.....she has moderate dementia and is on several meds. I thought I would see a difference with her being on Aricept and Cymbalta, but I'm now thinking not so much. She has days when she is completely lucid and is pleasant to be around.....other days are an ordeal, went through hell with her Saturday and yesterday because I told her to clean the mascara off of her red, swollen, running eyes.....the battle was on. How many old women wear blackest black mascara globbed on then smeared, lipstick on the cheeks for blush? She has this Tammy Faye thing going on.....well not anymore....the mascara is in the trash. Back to your question.....you will find this happens and then all of a sudden there will be no more lucid moments.....as they age the brain cells die and no amount of medicine will miraculously make those cells come alive again. The meds are mostly for the caregivers if you really stop and think about it....keeps them in a place where they are more easily pliable.....bathing and changing diapers become an easier task. You may also start to notice "sun-downing"......during the day they are pleasant and easy going, but once the sun starts to go down they get confused and agitated a lot more. My mil would prefer to sleep on the couch with the tv blaring and all the lights on.....but she is not allowed to do that. Remember also, as the brain cells are dying, the actions they controlled are also dying, i.e. the ability to bathe, dress themselves, use the bathroom...appetite will start to wane. It is sad to watch the slow process.....sometimes it seems it shouldn't be that way. I lost my own mother to pneumonia in Dec. She got sick on Friday and passed away that next Wed.....in hindsight I'm glad I didn't have to watch her slowly fade away over the months or even years.
Unfortunately you will see a lot of little storms interspersed with the calm......as someone dear to me has said..."it is what it is".
Take care and let us know how things go.
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I agree with all of the above and also use the term "it is what it is"
Just remember that even though you may feel as if you are dealing with a child, you are not and you CAN NOT make it all better----I just try to keep things as pleasant as possible and pick my "fights" carefully. I choose to disagree with my mom now only when it is something that may harm her. After a year of fighting with her of for not letting me wash any of her clothes I've decided it was not worth getting her angry and upset
Now I "store" her clothes every season (4 times a year) and double wash them before I put them away. She bathes 2 times a week so at least she is not horribly dirty. "It is what it is" do what needs to be done and don't sweat the small stuff. Enjoy the lucid moments you have left.
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Ya know- you hit the nail square on the head when you wrote:
"this disease is actually harder on the caregiver than the person that lives with it". That is the absolute truth! There is no guilt in admitting that.
This is a journey you will never forget. Nor will you ever gain so much. This act of caregiving someone who has ALZ is the gift that keeps on giving. Honestly. You will grow and grow. When you read or hear about another caregiver who is caring for their loved one who has been stricken with this awful disease, your ears will perk up, and you will instinctively know that you can help that person because "You Been There".
You probably can't see any of that now because you are in the middle of it all. But you will be the one who truly benefits from this experience.
Also- I have been attending ALZ caregiver support groups for the last 5 1/2 years. They absolutely helped ME with MY sanity. They pulled me through every time. I beleive in support groups 1000%. If you havent gone, you can call your Alzheimer's Association. It's usually and 800 number. And they can tell you how to find a group. Really. As a caregiver, you need others who are going through what you are going through.
Sleep well, and please take care of your self. The more you take care of yourself, the better you will be able to take care of you mom.
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yellow......you've got it....and you are right there with all the rest of us. You have not found a good physician to help your mother with her physical problems..those need to be addressed as well as psychological problems. A psychiatrist can help only so far...some of her problems are probably medically related and a psychiatrist will not address those. And most of the time the two will not be working together for your mother's care. For instance, a year ago when we moved my mil closer to us, she had a bottle of gin stashed and her first night in her new home she got smashed, yes drank the whole bottle, then commenced to scream, yell, threaten suicide, you name it. My husband and I, both being medical personnel, are obligated to take action.....but the bottom line was she was out of control. The county sheriff's deputies as well as local ambulance came and took her to the hosp and she was put in the behavioral unit for some help. The psychiatrist put her on psych meds and it's taken her medical doctor and I a year to finally get her on something I think will do her some measure of good. She hasn't seen the psychiatrist again. Since you care for your mother only you know what needs to be done. Whatever you ultimately do, remember that this disease progresses and no amount of medications will make it go away. It will only continue to get worse. And you are the only one who knows what is best for you and your mother. If you feel she needs to be placed in a home don't feel that you have failed her....it's the opposite....you are showing her how much she is loved and that you want the best of care for her. As I have posted elsewhere on this site...no where is it written that our lives have to go into the trash can to take care of a parent or other loved one. My own mother was in a nursing home, put herself there several years ago, and she was happy. Physically I could not take care of her...I am retired on a disability and was not able to handle her weight. My mil is a skinny little thing, but I know if and when the time comes we will either hire assistance for her or she will go into a nursing home. I will not allow caring for her to further hinder my health.
This is a tough job we do and you're right we don't get any respect for doing it......we will get our rewards in heaven.
Take care and I hope tomorrow is a better day for you.
- JoAnne
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Ted,
I know what you mean. I feel that life prepared me for this! Prior to taking care of mom. I worked in Home Health for many years as well as attending Nursing SchooI. I have always been the "caregiver" personality wise. Doing home health care, I was exposed to many different illness including ALZ/dementia. God was preparing me to be able to look after mom with a little knowledge. Isn't it funny how life works in mysterious ways? A day before my dad suddenly died, we was talking about me being in Nursing school. He looked at me and told me God has a plan for me and to be patient and strong and that he would always support me. I sometimes wonder if he was forseeing this? At that time my mom was not showing any symptoms of Dementia that I was aware of.
My mom and I were never close, however she is now the mother I wish I always had. She can be so loving. Everyday is a growing experience for me whether I understand it or not!!
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Yes! I'm thinking wow mom is almost normal today she can say 3 word sentences(she has PPA) and laugh when a joke is said and roll her eyes when something she doesnt like is being said. then a day later she's confused and mumbling.
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I dont know what to expect one visit to the next with my Mom. On a Tues, Mom had the Nurse to call me and we talked just like in the good old days. Thurs I visitied Mom and Dad and she appeared as if she was leaving this world, I could barely get her to respond, she wasn't eating, wouldn't sit up etc then on the Sat following, she was sitting up, talking coherently...well mostly, eating and joking. But then came the confusion, every 5 mins where am I? Yelling at Dad to get his hat and come on, lets go home. I don't know "who" I will see upon my next visit this Wed. Oh well, I'm just trying to go with the flow..it's a toss and turn for sure!
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