AD;Not just a mental health disease

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by allylee, Apr 1, 2007.

  1. allylee

    allylee Registered User

    Feb 28, 2005
    180
    west mids
    I took one of mums oldest friends to visit at the NH yesterday, she brought lots of photos of them over the years for us to look through.
    She had a pic of mum taken three years ago when her memory problems had just started, and what hit me was how much of a physical deterioration has occurred.The photo showed a still attractive , healthy looking lady, a far cry from what mum looks like now.
    AD is very much considered as a disease affecting mental health, but the physical change in mum in just three years was shocking.
    I guess seeing her every day I havent really noticed how much her body and appearance has changed in such a short time.

    Ally XX
     
  2. BeckyJan

    BeckyJan Registered User

    Nov 28, 2005
    18,972
    Derbyshire
    Allylee - yes quite right! In my husband's case his physical abilities have deteriorated more rapidly than his mental 'state'. Although I think some of it is due to his ability to 'cover up' his lack of mental awareness but he is less able to do that physically - he would just fall over he he tried too hard. He has just become most depressed at a photo a took of him with friends last week - in his own words he looks like a bl...y old cripple! - this has all happened over the past three years, whereas his mental deterioration seems slower but has gone down over 6/8 years.

    I do have some thoughts now that both are beginning to gain pace and maybe he will deteriorate more rapidly over the next year or two - again it could be that the medication is becoming less effective.

    We just have to plough on. Best wishes Beckyjan
     
  3. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    69,569
    Kent
    It`s so true about the physical deterioration.

    My husband has stiffened up considerably, slowed down, lost stamina, and tires easily. He is unsteady too. But the more upsetting physical change is his facial expression, which at times is blank, at other times is anxious. When he looks, he doesn`t see.

    He isn`t on any medication, other than for his diabetes.

    With love
     
  4. twink

    twink Registered User

    Oct 28, 2005
    265
    Cambridgeshire UK
    hi

    Same here, Steve looks older now than he did a year or so ago. In the Care Home where he is, they have photos of the patients outside their rooms by the door and it's absolutely amazing how different they look, most have photos that are about a year or two old. One lady is very attractive, at a party, blonde hair and mak up and 12 months later you wouldn't believe she was rthe same lady. Steve is getting more unsteady on his feet too now, very careful when he walks and sits down.

    Sue
     
  5. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    17,000
    SW Scotland
    #5 Skye, Apr 1, 2007
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2007
    That hasn't happened -- yet -- with John. After seven years he shows no physical deterioration at all, in fact no-one looking at him would know there is anything wrong with him. And yet he understands little of what is said, and his speech is very limited.

    I think it all depends on which part of the brain is affected first.
     

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  6. Michael E

    Michael E Registered User

    Apr 14, 2005
    619
    Male
    Ronda Spain
    Same here. Almost exactly. I hate the blank look perhaps even more than the anxious afraid look.. The AD shuffle is so painfully slow and she feels she has to be so careful, stepping over shadows or where the floor changes colour is like a chasm... Now when Monique looks for something - even the wine glass she does it sideways -- Unlike others I have no desire to take photos of her now.. I just want to remember how it used to be.
     
  7. BeckyJan

    BeckyJan Registered User

    Nov 28, 2005
    18,972
    Derbyshire
    Skye - that is a lovely photo of John and I can understand you posting it. BUT as with Michael I could not post a photo of David - he would never forgive me if he were able to understand - so to do it would be betraying him. (Perhaps one day a 'before and after photo' because I am so proud of what he has been).
    Is this deterioration a bit like a reverse of childhood development - they go up in stages sometimes progressing physically at the cost of mental development and then the physical growth may take a break whilst they achieve academically?

    Best wishes all Beckyjan

    (I have had difficult phase as David is deteriorating mentally now too - regularly thinks I am his Mother and has no sense of time or where we are - the few days away were not too successful).:eek: :confused: :confused: :confused:
     
  8. Nebiroth

    Nebiroth Registered User

    Aug 20, 2006
    3,518
    The mind and the body are connected.

    I think that with AD, and indeed with many mental illnesses, you can see the effect because of the slack expression, poor posture, slow movements...etc.

    Its strange, but you can so often tell that someone is not quite "right" simply by looking at them. I think it's the expressions that give it away, you can see the thinking going on behind. Or indeed, the thinking that should be but isn't.

    One look at Dad's face with his "blank zombie" or "hopelessly confused at something simple" expressions, you can instantly tell that something is wrong.

    The body reflects what is going on in the mind.
     
  9. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    The business of whether to take photographs, or not to do so, is a very difficult one, and - as with so much else in DementiaWorld - the decision will rest with each family.

    In my particular journey, I have taken pictures.

    Why? because - for me - not to do so would be to change the habits that Jan and I had throughout our lifetime. Not to take pictures of us now would be to admit that things have changed between us, and that I was in some way ashamed for her. And I'm not. I'm proud of my Jan, and when the inevitable happens, I want to remember her valour in the face of huge adversity, and the pictures will be part of that.

    And of course things have, in so many ways, changed, but at the end of the day, when we are together, it is Jan and me, and I am not fearful of showing us, as we are.

    Anyway...I'm no picture myself.
     
  10. Michael E

    Michael E Registered User

    Apr 14, 2005
    619
    Male
    Ronda Spain
    The image problem is just vanity of course but I hate it that everybody in the street looks at Monique and knows she is ga ga.. the blank look the shuffle the hunched back -- its like nature wants to demonstrate publicly that this person is 'out of it'.... I feel pain with the curious looks, the pitiful looks, the disdainful looks et al of total strangers... I did the same once of course.. I was in this big supermarket complex in the earlier days when I knew for only a relatively short time that Monique had AD... there was this man, a quite big tall man walking slowly with his wife's hand in his. She was just totally blank.. clean and tidy but the hair done in the plainest way, her clothes somehow inappropriate and the Alzheimer's shuffle.... He just looked beaten.. totally without hope or aspiration. I am ashamed that he saw me staring but he was too far gone to even give me the finger! And now its a bit like that for me - except I am not beaten even if Monique is -- and I will be as 'groovy' as I can be when I am out with Monique and if they stare too much I will give them the finger... Nothing like being a middle aged rebel...

    by the by on a happier note I just responded to the 'memories' email and put a nice one of mine up there... Have you all done the same? Hope so?
    love and here's to the next glass of wine

    Michael
     
  11. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    17,000
    SW Scotland
    That's exactly how I feel, Bruce.

    I'm proud of John. Proud of the way he copes in a confusing world. Proud of his tolerance when I lose patience. Proud of the fact that when I'm feeling ill, he will show consideration, even though he can't do much to help.

    I do publicity, not for myself, but to show the world that a diagnosis of AD is not the end of happiness, though it may be the end of the life we were used to.

    Yes, we're lucky that's John's form of dementia does not seem to bring the worst of the symptoms many of you have to cope with, but it has still brought about a huge change in the life we had planned.

    'Ga ga', Michael? I'd go berserk if anyone dared to use that description of John.
     
  12. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    69,569
    Kent
    Dear Hazel, It is a lovely photo and you have every right to be proud.

    If I had the ability and the equipment, I`d be tempted to post one of my husband, but perhaps it`s as well I haven`t, for like Beckyjan`s husband, mine too would never forgive me if I`d publicised his plight.

    With love
     
  13. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    10,824
    london
    #13 Margarita, Apr 1, 2007
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2007





    Just like my mother I have notice that blank look on her face and she has diabetes and is on medication for AZ , and when at AZ day center they take photo of my mother and give them to her , I notice the change in her face , but just like every one who ages she has bad days . when mum has her hair done I put on make up she looks just like she did before AZ , just slimmer on the face .

    My mother is 76 ageing well , but where she lost weight her face skin is hanging a bit around the chin , neck now a bit of plastic surgery would take that all away .

    I surpose really the deterioration of the physical body and the mental , you would really have to look at the age of the person who has dementia , you could I suppose notice it more if the person got it in they 40s , but then would you really ? I think its all down to the genes in how one ages in the first place , drinking from a young age , smoking ages one more sooner, suntaning a lot , and yes taking hard dugs ( not saying you mother does , Just makeing a pont ) so you have to take that all in to consideration .


    How old is your mother Ally ?
     
  14. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    5,379
    NW England
    Skye/Hazel - so understand .... mum sometimes says herself that she ' is away with the fairies' ..... and I can laugh with her and agree ....... :) anyone said it ABOUT her I'd be soooooooooo mad ....

    On the other hand, I rather like being a middle aged rebel .... thanks, Michael!!!!

    That AD shuffle - everything I've blamed on osteo-athritis and hip replacement before what we know now??????? All the consultants we have seen the last couple of years because mum's physical deterioration was assumed to be a spreading of previous cancers ..... ??? Somewhere along the way we all - myself included - lost sight that it was her mind and not her physical health causing the weight loss, the stoop, the gait ..... the shuffle ....

    Allylee, can do little other than to send my hugs...... Karen, x
     
  15. nicetotalk

    nicetotalk Registered User

    Sep 22, 2006
    155
    stretford
    hi all

    my mum was 62 when she passed away and i would say she looked the same age as her mum befor she passed at the age of 84 this illness can put years on a loved one
    kathy
     
  16. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    10,824
    london
    An interesting thread

    Thanks for shreing kathy

    So must be right then like skye said ?
     
  17. Gill W

    Gill W Registered User

    Jan 31, 2007
    190
    Co. Durham
    I've witnessed my Gran turn from a spritely 80 year old, who'd bounce out of her chair to greet us, and stand at the door til the last minute to wave us off, to a stooped over, shuffling, uncoordinated shell of her former self.

    She used to be on her feet all day every day, tackling her daily tasks with gusto. She even had her ovaries removed at 80, through an ovarian cyst, and bounced back from that within two weeks!

    Now she can barely put one foot in front of the other, keeps banging into things, (usually door frames), and looks at us when we walk in the room as if to say "Who the hell are you?!". She's also half the weight she used to be, although thankfully the Olanzapine seems to be doing its stuff as regards weight gain.

    The repercussions manifest in so many different ways. Heartbreaking when I think of all the times I had to run to keep up with her on our walks to the seafront with her and Grandad when I was a child.

    Gill
    XX
     
  18. dolly gee

    dolly gee Registered User

    Mar 9, 2007
    47
    merseyside
    Ally i understand only to well about pictures you really dont see the physical deterioation as mental deterioation, my sister and i have pics of my mum and sister as they were mum had ad for 10 years i worked in the home were both of them ended there days i still do what i do when i am needed it can be very daunting if that is the right word.This why web sights like this are very much needed wish you and everyone well Doll gee
     
  19. alfjess

    alfjess Registered User

    Jul 10, 2006
    1,213
    south lanarkshire
    Hi Skye

    John looks good and you should be proud of him and post photos, if you feel like it.

    Skye looks adorable to.

    Alfjess
     
  20. Michael E

    Michael E Registered User

    Apr 14, 2005
    619
    Male
    Ronda Spain
    Hazel you are quite right - He looks good and clearly being well looked after - also appears to be a nice man... Excuse me. I have a basic hatred of all things PCorrect and like to try to use 'normal' words to describe what's going on - and sadly Monique is more or less Ga Ga.. more more than less... I might not have written that yesterday except I had the blues and was hitting the wine a little earlier than I should.

    I find so little to commend this illness.. It takes away so much but I really do not want to get bogged down in sadness - rather try to stay as normal as we can...

    Michael
     

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