Howdy...My Father In Law just got diagonsed

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by downing, Apr 4, 2005.

  1. downing

    downing Registered User

    Apr 4, 2005
    4
    Northern VA
    Howdy, I just found out that my father in law has dementia yesterday from his doctor. The doctors are going to send social services, nurses, home assessments, etc to my father in law's house today to give him a full survey/evalcuation to see how severe Alzheimer's he has.

    My sister in law thinks he is in category 6, I am not familiar with Alzheimer's as long I am doing reasearches to help my husband and his two oldest sisters to get familiar with the disease. My mother in law is not accepting this every well, since her oldest sister died from this same disease. My father in law's mother had the same disease, had it for ten years until her death in 1996. This disease has ravenged my father in law so fast before our eyes. I don't know if this is genetic since my husband is terrified if he gets the same thing?

    We (me and my husband) started to suspect something was wrong with dad by telltaling signs last spring (2004), we finally convinced my husband's two oldest sisters to come and see what is wrong with dad. One sister was willing to move to East Coast from West Coast to help us since we have two boys under age of three which was overwhelming for us to handle this situation alone since my husband's sisters are in west coast and southwest.

    So, one sister did move back to East Coast to help us to deal with dad, we persudaed him to go to see a doctor last spring, the dr told dad that he needed an MRI done. Dad refused and did not see a dr until last month (time span is about 6 to 8 months). We finally convinced with struggle/hardships with dad to see another dr for another second opinion. Dr wanted to treat this as depression before proceeding to have a full diagonsis of dementia.

    He was given anti-depression pills like two weeks ago, his health deteroiated so fast, he was taken to hospital last week for two days. Right now, he can not personally take care of his personal hygenie (he has to wear depends now), he sleeps all day and all nite, stays in bed, stares off like a zombie, he looks at us like we are imposters.

    It is really devasting to see how much he has changed over few months, I think my father in law has the rapid set of disease. I don't know since I have no experience with this disease. Hopefully by today, we will know if dr will put him in assisted living or nursing home or capable of having home services.

    He can not drive anymore, he can not walk, he walks like 1 centimeter each step. he gets stuck on the toilet over a hr, we would practically have to pull him off, it is like teaching a child since we have two boys under three, it is so much a like handling a child. We have to change his sheets 24/7 which is a lot of work. Too much for my mother in law to handle this.

    we have to take keys away since dr finally gave the orders to dad not to drive anymore. my father in law seems to resist against a lot things when we ask him to do, it makes so difficult. Should we wait until after today and see what the drs think what our father in law needs to be placed? I feel his home is not safe for him anymore since he can not go up or down the stairs, he fell down...my mother in law refused to call 911, she called neighbors instead to help them. I have noticed and we offered mother in law hotline for alzhiemers, she refuses the support or help. it makes it more difficult. We live over 30 miles from where my husband's parents live. But sister lives like a mile away.

    I don't know where to start off since I am new to this board, any advices to me how to proceed help for mother in law since we know that she is under big denial right now? We are meeting a lawyer this week or next week for power of attorney and elder law. My father in law's brother is coming down to stay with us to help us out since he is an lawyer himself.

    My mother in law has made up excuses to me like I am extremely ill and doesn't want our little boys (age 3 and 1) to get sick or visit them. I have this feeling that my mother in law does not want me or boys to go over except for my husband. Do you think my oldest is too little to be understanding of what is happening to his grandpa, he has been just picking up things and kept telling me he is very very sick. I am not sure if I should keep on brining him to see grandpa and get more confused? Too much exposure of what is happening here.

    Any help will be much appreciated.

    Mods, I don't know if this is proper place to start a thread, if you do know where, pls move it to a proper place, thanks again. :eek:
     
  2. Sheila

    Sheila Registered User

    Oct 23, 2003
    2,259
    West Sussex
    Hi Downing, welcome to TP. Hopefully you will now have some answers from the assessments today. You need to sit down and discuss them as a family, take your time and work through all possible scenarios till you reach a decision which you all can agree on and live with. It will not be easy and no one can make it for you as every family has different needs and circumstances. Your Mum in law is doing what most spouses do, trying to sheild their partner from the horror of the disease by keeping things as quiet and normal as she can. She is not trying to shut you out, just aware that any change makes your father in law more anxious which in turn makes caring for him more difficult. She is doing this out of love for him, nothing more. She needs all the support you can muster in whatever way she can accept right now. Also a hug and a friendly shoulder to cry on. She is probably feeling very alone in spite of you all being there if she is trying to deny the illness for him. Make sure you have been given all the facts from the assessment and if there are still questions, get them answered before you make any plans or do anything. Help can be arranged in the family home if your planning to do that, there are also day centres, regular respite weeks and night sitters which could help your Mum in law at home. Ask your GP or the specialist for advice on how to obtain them. If a placement in a residential/nursing home is decided apon, check out several and do it more than once at different times of the day to see how the residents are cared for. Glad to hear you are getting an EPA sorted, this will prove invaluable in the days to come. Post soon and let us know how things are going, love She. XX
     
  3. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    Hi, and welcome to TP.

    First thing I'd better say is that you will need to check regarding things said about doctors, day centers and social services etc as the majority of us are here in the UK, while I reckon you are in Virginia, USA? In which case a double welcome to you - dementia knows no country boundaries!

    Sheila is quite correct [as always] in all she says, so I'll add just a few comments of my own.

    Dr wanted to treat this as depression
    ... same thing happened with my wife Jan. Understandable I guess, since depression can generally be sorted out, whereas dementia is a case of holding back the tide for as long as possible/necessary.

    his health deteriorated so fast, he was taken to hospital last week
    ... selecting the appropriate medication for someone with depression is a problem to start with, getting the level of dosage right, etc, but it is a particular challenge to identify the right medication, dosage, etc for someone who hasn't got depression as an illness in the first place. Where depression is effect, not cause, and where the brain is already under strain, all sorts of things can happen. I'm not saying that this route isn't one we have to try, but only that I believe results can be unexpected.

    he was taken to hospital last week for two days. Right now, he can not personally take care of his personal hygenie ... in my experience in the UK, the hospital staff tend to put incontinence pads on patients regardless of whether they are needed at the time. Patients can then get left unattended past the time they needed to relieve themselves, and that means they start to use the pads. Once that pattern is started in a dementia patient, it is very difficult to stop. Again, no-one to blame, just a fact of life. It would happen sometime anyway. When we care for loved ones at home we can give them much better care than happens at an institution of some sort, but there is just so much we can manage.

    He can not drive anymore, he can not walk, he walks like 1 centimeter each step. he gets stuck on the toilet over a hr, we would practically have to pull him off, it is like teaching a child
    ..Praise Be that he is not driving! Dementia patients either seem to walk constantly, or not at all. They lose spatial awareness and control of their limbs, so feel very unsafe when trying to walk unaided. Yes, it is very like teaching a child, except you have the knowledge that the teaching will not stick, and the subject will regress rather than improve.

    Sorry to be so dismal, but I always preferred to know the worst news so that when things were not that bad, one day or another, then I could be relieved.

    my father in law seems to resist against a lot things when we ask him to do, it makes so difficult
    .. he probably thinks the world is going mad around him and that he is the only sane one. Although very difficult to handle, resistance at least shows they are fighting the disease. The ones I find most difficult are the ones that become almost vegetative, with no movement, no resistance at all.


    I feel his home is not safe for him anymore since he can not go up or down the stairs, he fell down...my mother in law refused to call 911, she called neighbors instead to help them.
    ...stairs are certainly a major problem if he can't even walk on the straight. I wouldn't call the emergency services for my wife until she fell out of bed one night, biting clean through her lower lip. Mind you, when they came they said they wouldn't take her and that the lip heals faster than anything else. So I called the doctor the next day. They were correct, but it doesn't make you feel well protected. The fact is that, in the UK at least, most ordinary hospitals can't handle dementia patients at all. They simply can't understand why they don't behave absolutely normally. They often try to return them home as soon as possible.

    we offered mother in law hotline for alzhiemers, she refuses the support or help
    ...until my wife became too bad, I was the same. Way back in the 1960's I promised to look after her in sickness and health and felt I had let her down once I couldn't do that myself. Crazy, but the spouse may just be like that.

    My mother in law has made up excuses to me like I am extremely ill
    ... put it another way - she is scared stiff of losing her husband. Carers get to a stage where they feel their only reason to be around is to care for their partner. I've been there!

    Do you think my oldest is too little to be understanding of what is happening to his grandpa
    ..children generally just accept what they see; they don't have our baggage. This afternoon I was crawling with my wife while a 7 year old and a 3 year old [her oldest friend's grandchildren] were crawling around us having a whale of a time. They didn't mind and Jan didn't mind - so I didn't.

    You are at the start of a difficult patch of indeterminate length. Please feel free to post messages here and we'll try and help on the basis of our own experiences as carers.

    You should be aware that, once the medics figure out the appropriate medication, then he may well improve a lot. It is not all a bad story.

    Best wishes


     
  4. downing

    downing Registered User

    Apr 4, 2005
    4
    Northern VA
    Just found out that my father in law's mother died from the same disease. Now we are suspecting that mother in law may have the same disease (her sis died from the same disease in 97). will find out on friday.

    it would be hard having both parents with alzheimers. sigh. :(
     
  5. Sheila

    Sheila Registered User

    Oct 23, 2003
    2,259
    West Sussex
    Hi Downing, this will indeed be a double blow for you to cope with if it proves to be so. Make sure you get all the help you are able to. Our moderator Jude, also has the same problem. She is not able to post at present, but when she does, I am sure she will have much in common and you will be able to help each other. Love She. XX
     
  6. downing

    downing Registered User

    Apr 4, 2005
    4
    Northern VA
    Gee thanks, I appreciate it. My hubby is managing it pretty well as I am surprised. He is Mr. Mom to our two boys, works at evening shift and help with his parents over weekend. A lot of work which I admire him.

    Tmw is the dr appt. Wait and see. We may have to put them in assisted living that also associates with nursing home in the same building which we think it may be easier for them. We just met our lawyers last Tuesday to do all the law stuff like power of attorney, will, trust fund and etc.

    I noticed u are from England? Off point, where can we find genealogical information, like history etc? for family members since my hubby is related to Sir George Downing on 10 Downing Street. Thx.
     
  7. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    Regarding family links - you really need to know when your part of the family headed West, and the names of the people, where they lived before they left etc.

    If you can get that then it gives you a link into the UK population census [1901 is available on-line, with some charges according to what level of information you want], which is available going back some ways.

    http://www.1901census.nationalarchives.gov.uk/

    Also, associated with the Friendsreunited site
    http://www.friendsreunited.co.uk/ is another that helps trace families - Genes Reunited
    http://www.genesreunited.co.uk/

    I'd guess that to do a decent search, you'd need to spend a couple of weeks over here, chasing around document archives. It is probably all there....somewhere.....
     
  8. Norman

    Norman Registered User

    Oct 9, 2003
    4,348
    Birmingham Hades
    Downing
    if you can afford it there are researches who work for you for a fee.
    They are not cheap but cheaper than living here for weeks
    Regards
    Norman
     
  9. Sandy

    Sandy Registered User

    Mar 23, 2005
    6,847
    Hi Downing,

    I have been reading your posts and just wanted to say "hi" and offer my support. It sounds like your family is facing some challenging times, but you seem to be doing a great job of working together to get through it.

    My situation is a little similar as my FiL is in the middle stages of AD (diagnosed several months ago, but showing signs for months before that). He is 84 and my MiL is 80.

    Hopefully, the doctor's appointment on Friday will give you a better handle on your MiL's condition. It can be hard to assess what's really going on when she's probably been under so much stress for a long time.

    BTW, I am also American (from California) but my husband is British and we live here in Cambridge, England. We have a nine year old daughter who we say is "haff" and "haaaaaaaalllllf".

    Also, I recently read a great book for families of people with AD, it is called "The 36 Hour Day" the details (from Amazon.com) can be found here:

    The 36 Hour Day

    Good luck and take care,

    Sandy
     
  10. downing

    downing Registered User

    Apr 4, 2005
    4
    Northern VA
    gee thanks. I think this board is way better than here in America.. I have posted there here in US, no one replied.. hmm. Thanks again.
     

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