My mother and I are caring for my 82 y/o grandmother who lives with my grandfather. We only live 5 minutes away and see her every Saturday.
She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease about 7/8 years ago. We consider her to be progressing into moderate stages and have noticed a deterioration over the past while.
Her social skills are great. She still has her bubbly personality, always cracking witty jokes and knows all her close friends and family. When talking to her, you wouldn’t know she has Alzheimer’s except for the constant repeating. She hides her disease very well.
However, her living situation at home is different. While we let her help out with little chores around the house, (she doesn’t take no for an answer) her hygiene has declined. She has stopped changing her clothes and usually wears the same thing everyday unless we tell her to change.
She has been wearing a colostomy bag since she was 40 and we think she might be starting to struggle with it. We went into her bedroom to change her sheets and noticed a big stain in her sheets where the bag must have leaked. We also noticed the same stains in her sweaters. She never told us about these mishaps or even tried to hide them. We don’t know if she has even noticed.
Her room has always been untidy with clothes and old junk lying everywhere (which she cherishes) but now we noticed that she’s dumping her used bags with all her junk instead of putting them into a bin.
She is not incontinent and has never had any mishaps other than the bag leaking. She is still able to use the bathroom without any issue and always washes her hands. She seems to be able to change her bag and knows the routine. She has gotten very thin lately even though her appetite is great but we reckon that because she has lost a lot of weight, the bag may not be fitting properly.
We can’t talk to her about it. Any time we try to talk her about it, she will get defensive and deny everything. She won’t accept any help and will not allow us to organize home help either. She does not trust anyone going into her room. She gets quite aggressive if we bring up these subjects. My grandfather is no help either. He does not want any part of it and will usually stay out of it. He is very lazy and doesn’t even tidy the house.
She is due for a checkup with the doctor so that will be our next plan of action.
A few questions that I have are:
Is her disease progressing? Is there any further steps we can take to slow it down or even just help her?
Can we get smaller cholostomy bags that are a better fit? Should we mention it at her next doctors appointment?
Should we try to push the idea of home help? Just with keeping the house tidy?
any advice and information would be greatly appreciated.