Hi, I am a newcomer to the site - taken me a while to fathom out how to post onto the Forum; let's hope I get it right
I am full-time carer to my 76 year old mother who was diagnosed initially with Vascular Dementia following a brain scan (shortly after having part of one of her lungs removed through Carcinoma), and then subsequently, following a further brain scan, with Alzheimer's 12 months ago. Having successfully overcome the Carcinoma it seemed a very cruel blow to then be stricken down with AD. Since that time she has also developed Diabetes.
This site has been a much welcomed find; it's been very helpful to read postings from other carers experiencing similar difficulties to myself. No matter how helpful the Professionals may be, it's better to speak with those with first-hand experience.
The past 18 months has been a roller coaster of emotions. Throughout that time, Mum has constantly recurring Urinary infections and chest infections. Because of the AD, it's sometimes very, very difficult to get her to drink sufficient quantities to maintain her hydration and to help keep the Urinary infections at bay. Mum is incontinent and on occasions, doubly so - which again results in Urinary infections; even though I constantly ensure her personal hygiene is maintained to a very high standard. All in all, it's a constant battle of repeated Antibiotics for infections. In addition, each time the infections occur, the AD symptoms become more severe. She has many days when it is extremely difficult to rouse her, she presents in an almost coma-like state.
Prior to the onset of the AD, Mum had a long history of mental health problems, i.e. obsessional washing, which tended to rule her life. So, at times, in her brighter moments, it's difficult when she returns to her old habit of wanting to repeatedly wash - which becomes even harder when she can't remember that she's only just washed them!
For some months now, Mum seems obsessional about folding everything - from tissues, clothing, etc. Which is very difficult when you are trying to get her to use the toilet and all she appears interested in is folding the toilet tissue! When I ask if she has 'finished', she will reply 'nearly' - then on entering the toilet I find that she means she's nearly finished her 'picture', as she refers to it, with the toilet tissue. Does anyone else have this problem?
Toileting is very time consuming, I can easily tell when she needs to go, she becomes agitated etc - and to be blunt, the odour is unmistakable, however, she will still say she doesn't need to go. (This may also relate to her old obsessional problems, when she hated going to the toilet and would take a bath each time she did). Then of course, having persuaded her to 'try' several times and she fails to go, the inevitable incontinence problem happens - and she will say, 'who's done that'! And it's bath time once again! If you didn't laugh about it, you would break down and cry.
In her brighter moments it's very difficult to find things for her to do as her mobility is bad and her co-ordination and balance is very unpredictable. And of course, her concentration is zero when given a simple task.
I am very grateful for the three days Mum attends Day Care. Although, over the last few weeks, because of repeated infections, she has been unable to attend. And it becomes very tiring.
Anyway, that's all for now. I would be very interested to learn if any other carers are experiencing similar problems. And how at time you cope, without banging your head up the wall! - but I still love her!