Mom says Dad is getting better. Isn't that just wishful thinking? - AgingCare.com

Mom says Dad is getting better. Isn't that just wishful thinking?

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Mom and Dad live on their own at home. Both are in their 90s. Dad was diagnosed with "dementia" 6 months ago (actually AD, but his doctor wouldn't come right out and say it). We know it had been coming on for years, but his doctor wouldn't do anything until my sister and I brought up the subject with him. Dad is now on Namenda and Aricept, which we think may have slowed the progression of his symptoms (constantly repeating himself, forgetting something we discussed just moments ago, fretting about totally inconsequential things, inability to plan even simple tasks such as deciding what to wear or performing any calculations, getting confused and disoriented in familiar places, etc.)

I've tried explaining to Mom that Dad's condition will eventually get worse and that she should be prepared to need more help or to move into assisted living. She is the primary caregiver. She now says Dad is getting much better. When I asked how, she says he is not repeating himself any more. Really? He's done that for several years. This I gotta see. My siblings and I all live several states away but have been spending more and more time with them over the past year. I'll be traveling there in a few weeks.

Anyway, is it possible to really see a reversal of symptoms with Namenda and Aricept? Or is she just building a case for them to continue living at home? They have long term care insurance and Dad is surprisingly open to relocating (although this varies depending on the day), but Mom stubbornly refuses, insisting everything is fine. I think the constant demands of shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc., plus caring for him keep her exhausted, and the situation is not sustainable. She gets some household help but it's minimal. She even tries to clean the house before the house cleaner arrives. Then she has to go lie down. Is she just in denial?

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Is it possible to get them the help they need so they can stay at home longer? LTCI sometimes covers that. Don't people get confused and go somewhat downhill after a relocation, even to assisted living? If their home can be made safer, and they want to stay in their home, is that possible?

I expect to end up in a NH, but I hope it happens after I am too far gone to care!
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When my grandmother stopped asking questions it wasn't long before she stopped talking altogether. I would be worried about that if my mother got quiet and gradually stopped repeating herself and arguing with me about what she remembers different than I remember it.
Mom is on Namenda and her doctor, who has helped her a LOT in recent months, says she will not get better memory, but hopefully won't get worse as quickly.
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Great to always plan ahead, burial trusts are extremely helpful as well.The best place to go for answers is the Department of Aging and Disability. They are familiar with seniors and the many aspect/needs that will help you help your parents. Medicare will pay for house cleaning and visiting nurse for the disabled, check it out, your father will qualify with a doctors order. We purchased a lock box to keep car keys and medicines in to protect the dementia patient. Make sure your mother does not allow your father to drive. In the mean time do what you can to set up house keeping so it is simplified and safe. There are services that also offer grocery shopping. Make a list before you go the Dept of age/disable, they can provide you with contacts. There is also resource information at your local senior center. It is difficult to move parents. We had to move our parents from Ark. to Wisc. then mom went into Alzheimer unit within 4 mos. If they can get care and services at home, I would let them stay there as long as possible. Nursing staff is usually good in the nursing homes, but the basic needs staff isn't as efficient as one would like. It has also been noted that patients deteriorate faster when taken from there home, I think that is what happened w/my mother. Best wishes.
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I understand Darcy 123
My mom heard something on tv and thought it was a story about her roommate. And when she made the comment to a nurse aid, her roommate was not happy. That's the story I heard. I heard it the same way several times. My mom comes up with these wierd stories. She is wheelchair boun cause she is a fall risk, which she says she falls. But don't know the truth of that, cause she can't get up by herself. And she says she gets up by herself cause it takes to long for somebody to get there to help her. They become impatient in nursing homes. it seems that everybody needs something @ 4pm in the afternoon. And there's only one aid and the rest are feeding those that need to be fed. Nursing homes have there staff issues.
Take care
Equinox
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RuthAO-As a nurse, it is a good thing to not expect miracles with dementia. However, like I said previously, Aricept, Namenda and Exelon are NOT going to stop the progression of his dementia, but just take each day as it comes. Your parents sound lovely, having taken care of each other for so long and your mother still likes that role. It is very important to maintain her role as caregiver to her husband, and you adult children can ASK her what she would like to do. Your dad's symptoms show he cannot be left alone (and if he was a veteran they can apply to the VA for Aid and Attendance pension). Yes, planning for the inevitable is always a good idea since dementia does not improve. Best wishes for your family!
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Chicago1954,
Bless you my friend and hugs for being there for your parents. it's a good feeling helping those that help themselves. We caregivers have a calling to help others, not just our family members but we reach out and help out.
Take of yourselves also, cause you are important to your mom and dad.
Equinox
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I am in a similar situation. My dad swears my mom is no longer confused????? She has been telling tales of her childhood lately... but recent events are still a hot mess! My parents have been married 61 years, but she swears there are 3 men, all with the same name as my dad who she is married too. They are different ages, etc. She knows EVERYONE on TV. She doesn't know who I am most days. I could go on and on with the goofy stories she comes up with. (They are sometimes quite funny... I say laugh or go crazy!) I think he really wants his wife back, that and he is very hard of hearing. I think it is part of the grieving process, grieving a very real loss, as real as a death! They are in denial. :(
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Gas being left on and water running those you know are emergencies, you could shut the gas for the stove off, maybe they could use a slow cooker, it is really up to you, if you have had enough.
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It sounds like he might have had the normal forgetfulness of aging and the medicine has helped. A dementia diagnosis can be wrong. Many doctors are hasty to make one so to prescribe meds and therefore get in more doctor visits they get paid for. If the doctor did not say Alzheimer's disease, then that is not what he is diagnosing. Perhaps one of you could move closer and all could help finance more help for them.
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Sylbert, that is exactly the scenario I fear. Mom and Dad live in an old 2-story farmhouse. We have tried to arrange all their living space downstairs, but they find reasons to go up and down those stairs every day. (They say it's good exercise!!!) I have frequently found water left running and cooktop burners left on--always after Mom was the last person in the room. Again, I think she's so tired and stressed, she just get weary and forgetful. She says her wishes to remain at home are about quality of life. But I think it's about a quality of life they used to have there--not what it is now.

So my resolve is to help them however I can, to plan for what may come, and to help prepare them for that. I would love to move them to that beautiful independent or assisted living facility (it has both) that we visited a few months ago. People there looked happy, relaxed, and busy with their chosen activities. What you said about your mom worrying how it looked to everyone else sounds familiar. I think my mom likes being able to tell people they still live on their own at their age.
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