1. Expert Q&A: Protecting a person with dementia from financial abuse - Weds 26 June, 3:30-4:30 pm

    Financial abuse can have serious consequences for a person with dementia. Find out how to protect a person with dementia from financial abuse.

    Sam, our Knowledge Officer (Legal and Welfare Rights) is our expert on this topic. She will be here to answer your questions on Wednesday 26 June between 3:30 - 4:30 pm.

    You can either post questions >here< or email them to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll answer as many as we can on the day.

  1. Natalie

    Natalie Registered User

    Apr 19, 2004
    3
    Overseas
    My father is in a nursing home, cared for by wonderful people, but we have been told that he is unfortunately in the final stages of AD.
    I live overseas but try to get back home as often as possible to see Dad - each time I see a terrible deteriation of his condition. He no longer recognises anyone, doesn't speak at all etc.
    My brother, who lives in the U.K., just rang me and has asked me to send a letter stating that I do not want Dad to receive medical treatment should he lose the ability to swallow. This seems so cruel - as if I'd be condemning him to starve to death.
    Has anyone had any experience with this? I'd be grateful for any advice.
    Thanks in advance.
    Natalie
     
  2. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    I'm not sure there is an option to let your Dad starve, though others may put me right on that. If he can't swallow, I'd have expected him to be fed intraveniously. In such a situation, I would expect that to be done for my wife Jan.

    My advice to you is to seek clarification from the consultant and the people at the home, so you understand exactly what it is YOU want to agree to.

    YOU have to live with what you decide, so you have to do some thinking on this, and to do that, you need to know situations that might occur, and how you believe they should be tackled. Doesn't mean that what you want [bad word, of course none of us WANTS any of this!] will happen of course.

    Take it slowly; what you will actually be doing is to show which side of the net you are on. Some people would say 'do everything that is possible to keep the person alive, regardless of anything'. Others would say 'do as much as you can, but otherwise let nature take its course'.

    It will help the home to know which view you take. They can then decide how extreme should medical procedures be in given situations. I don't think his inability to swallow - a common effect of dementia - would permit anyone to let your Dad starve.
     
  3. susan

    susan Registered User

    Aug 18, 2003
    125
    east sussex
    Dear Natalie
    i really don't know how to reply to this, as i may sound callous and cold - i can assure that i am not and our decision as a family was made with a consultant in hospital 4 years ago to put him on a DNR.
    Dad is in the final stages of AD and he lays in bed every day sleeping, he's lost a huge amount of weight and the only time he gets up is to eat. There is no speech at all and his eyes are just grey and distant. Eating will be the last thing he does - he loves his food!
    As a family we made the decision, including my mum that there was to be no medical intervention to prolong his life - a very hard decision but one, now dad is no longer with us in any form, that none of us regret. We have had the tears and there will many more, but dad was an independant person, who enjoyed the out doors - hated being inside as well as hating doctors - never went to one until we needed an assessment done for AD!!
    As Brucie has said it needs careful thinking through and questions asked to the relevant people. You know your dad and that decision is a very personal one - any doubts - don't agree!
    Talk it through with your brother and the specialist and ask all the questions you need to.
    Take care regards Susan
     
  4. Natalie

    Natalie Registered User

    Apr 19, 2004
    3
    Overseas
    Las stages

    Dear Susan and Brucie,

    Thanks for your replies. I will try and ring the doctor and the people at the home to get some additional information.

    My Dad, like yours Susan, led a very full life and that makes the whole situation even more tragic - it that's possible. As you say, many tears have been shed and will be shed in the future, no doubt about that. Those "what if" s are a killer! I'm of the opinion that the old adage "if you don't use it, you lose it" might be appropriate in Dad's case, as for the last 10 years, since his 2nd marriage, he hasn't been as active, mentally and physically, as he was when Mum was alive.

    Keep well and thanks again,

    Natalie
     
  5. kate34

    kate34 Registered User

    Sep 23, 2003
    51
    #5 kate34, Apr 25, 2004
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2004
    sad times

    My dad is advancing in his disease now, doesnt speak anymore, doesnt recognise me or my mother and though he eats and is occasionally alert, we are sadly coming to terms that he prob wont last that long. I dont want any thing dynamic performing on him. It would be cruel to prolong this living death. If he was aware at all he would be horrified at what he is like these days. My Dad had the most brilliant brain and has led the fullest life and has been a great man despite all his faults and like the rest of us, deserves a little dignity
    I hope that when the time comes, that it wont be long and drawn out and that he is allowed the dignity of a peaceful death and if possible we are able to be with him to say goodbye.
     
  6. kate34

    kate34 Registered User

    Sep 23, 2003
    51
    is this humanity to allow this suffering?

    If we are humane at all, why isnt euthanasia legalised to allow these individuals to make a choice at the beginning of their illness to choose when to go? We dont let our animals suffer like this so why each other?
     
  7. Chrisanne

    Chrisanne Registered User

    Feb 22, 2004
    5
    We were potentially faced with the dilemma of an operation for my Mum as she was finding it increasingly hard to swallow.

    Her GP told us that to transport her to a hospital to have the operation (I think it is called a 'peg' bag or something, which is a tube inserted into the stomach) would almost defintitely kill her.

    Mum's condition deteriorated last week, she had a series of strokes, developed a chest infection and died on Friday night. I was with her (with my dad and husband) when she passed away so we could comfort her and say goodbye.

    If this can be of any comfort to any of you fearing the worst, being with her was so important and nowhere near as bad as I had imagined. How can you prepare yourself to watch your Mum take her final breaths? But in fact it was a huge comfort and relief to see her drift peacefully away and know she was in no pain, mentally or physically.

    We were so relieved in the end not to have had to make such an important and emotive decision, thankfully nature took it's course and she went when the time was right for her.

    I miss her dreadfully and always will but I am so relieved she passed away with dignity, no pain and most importantly, the comfort of her loved ones.

    I hope this helps and my thoughts are with all of you.

    Chrisanne
     
  8. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    Hello Chrisanne,

    As is usually the case, one can say how sorry one is, because it is always sad to lose someone so dear.

    But one can also be thankful that the end came relatively quickly, and that your Mum no longer suffers from all the problems of dementia, nor will be subject to any of the symptoms that might have been yet to come.

    Thanks for your update on your Mum. I take heart from your comments about being there, for when the time comes with my wife Jan.

    My best wishes for your future.
     
  9. Norman

    Norman Registered User

    Oct 9, 2003
    4,348
    Birmingham Hades
    chrisanne,
    I agreewith all that you say about your Mom and not prologing the pain and heartache.
    You say you obtained comfort from being with her at the end,I can understand that as well,but how did your Dad take it.?
    Sometimes I think it would be a blessed relief for my wife but I cannot imagine life without her after 57 years,how would I cope?
    How is Dad coping?
    Best wishes to you
    Norm
     
  10. Chrisanne

    Chrisanne Registered User

    Feb 22, 2004
    5
    Bruce / Norm

    Thanks to you both for your comments. It is sad to lose someone so dear but we still have our memories, these may fade for our loved ones with dementia but we can always cherish the good times.

    My Dad is doing quite well, we live near to him so are in constant contact with him. Whilst he loved being with Mum and visited her every day he also felt the relief when she passed away. It is unbearable to think of someone you love being in possible pain or discomfort.

    The remarkable thing was that I was in Spain when we got the call that Mum had taken a turn for the worse. We managed to get a flight straight back but the staff at the nursing home didn't think we would get back in time. However, Mum had hung on as if she was waiting for me and seemed to sense my presence. We thought that in the latter stages of AD there may be little or no recognition/awareness but I'm sure Mum knew I was there.

    I wish you all the best.

    Chris
     
  11. Natalie

    Natalie Registered User

    Apr 19, 2004
    3
    Overseas
    Dear Chris,

    I know what you mean about being there . I live overseas but we got "the dreaded call" 12 years ago when Mum, who'd been in hospital for months, took a turn for the worse. I feel that Mum, G-d Rest Her Soul, waited for us to get there, although she wasn't really conscious at the end.

    I don't know what will happen with Dad. I would like to be there with him, even though he doesn't recognise any of us, hasn't for a while. Just to hold and stroke his hand.

    Natalie
     
  12. Chrisanne

    Chrisanne Registered User

    Feb 22, 2004
    5
    PM

    Jenny

    Thanks for your message which I have lost somewhere in the system - I have not used PMs before so please forgive me! I did try to reply but it disappeared.

    Chrisanne
     

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