Is It Better Left Alone?

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Snippet, Jan 6, 2005.

  1. Snippet

    Snippet Registered User

    Jan 6, 2005
    My Grandad is 86 this month.
    He and my Gran are still together.
    Over the past year we have noticed a change in his appearance, memory, etc.
    Today my Mum took him to our own GP who confirmed it with her that he has mild Alzheimers.
    My Gran broke her hip 9 weeks ago and spent 3 weeks in hospital - he does not remember this happening.
    Our GP has suggested a specialist(to my Mum), but my Grandad has to agree, which I know he wont!

    Is treatment really necessary?
    This is all so new to us - any help would be gratefully appreciated.
  2. Chesca

    Chesca Guest

    Dear Snippet

    Sad to hear about Grandad. And your Gran! She is going to need some support after her operation, poor thing.

    I'm not sure if this is going to be of any help to you, but this is from my experience. We eventually saw a consultant when, with Mum, we had reached that point of the dementia known as Wits End. She was 79 by this time having slowly progressed over many, many years. She is now 83, barely cognizant and in a nursing home. That's the extreme end of our wedge. The initial consultation took place, however, after Dad by then her spokesman (not Mum as she was unable so to do) agreed to the consultation.

    Would a little kiddology work with Grandad? Don't tell him he's going to see a specialist - tell him it's a check-up or whatever (for the every five minutes he will ask you). You may have to learn this as you go along - white lies have become some of the best-used weapons in my armoury.

    Yes, treatment of some kind may become inevitable but that will be for a consultant to decide. From what you say, I would suggest that Gran needs some kind of carer package in place because you may be entering an area of great risk for both Gran and Grandad, she is herself very vulnerable at the moment. The social services will advise about this, but don't be surprised if Gran is reluctant. Slowly does it.

    Thinking of you and don't struggle on your own. There will always be somebody on this board to listen.

    Best wishes
  3. Snippet

    Snippet Registered User

    Jan 6, 2005
    Hey Chesca

    Thanks for your reply and kind words.

    The problem with my Grandparents is that they have never ever been ill!

    My Grandad has only this past year been taking medication for an under active thyroid and he still maintains he doesn't need them, when clearly he does! So trying to convince him to go to our own GP for a "check up" was hard enough!

    My Gran is aware of the changes in him ie. not changing is clothes often (he was in the RAF), forgetting she even broke her hip, forgetting we had Christmas at their house this year.....all recent things.

    As you said, she is very fragile at the moment, but we are a very close family and I personally would like to try and cope with this as much as we can - they have been there for us all my life.....

    I feel if my Gran were to highlight to him what she is seeing WHEN she sees it (instead of getting annoyed, as she does just now) it might make him aware of what he is doing, while he can see for himself. Does that make sense?

    I know this will get harder, but my Dad died of cancer and that was hard and we all coped (took me 12 years, but I got there)!

    I'm glad I found this message board and I'm looking forward to hitting my head off here instead of the walls!

    Take care xx
  4. Chesca

    Chesca Guest

    Dear Snippet

    You have had much sadness in your life, out of which has come, obviously, much compassion.

    For now, for Grandma, this is one of her hells. The conversations she will be having with Grandad are of no use - he has a memory retention of about 2 minutes minus zero, the saddest but the truest, horrible result of dementia related illnesses. I'm trying to say what I've said through many frustrated years of larnin', you can't reason with the unreasonable and tragically dementia relates so. There is no reasoning because the question has gone from the mind in an instant - don't expect an answer only angry frustration. We as carers have all done it. Shouting at the people we love, something we don't understand........until we are made/become aware that we are shouting at dementia the illness not the person we love.

    Don't underestimate your Gran, she's been around the block in her life one way or another, she knows what is going on - she's been living with this for a lot longer than she will have admitted, trying to protect Grandad. It is essential that Grandad takes the thyroxine or whatever, they're tiny pills so throw it into a jelly, trifle, favourite cake or tell him it's a vitamin pill - all variations worked for me with Mum.

    I know what you mean about wanting to look after everything as a family and I hope you will always be able so to do. I wanted this very much too for my loving family. Sadly it wasn't to be and we now make the best of a bad situation and fumble along. All I would suggest is that you never say never; there may come a time when help is needed and there is no shame in that - in fact, sometimes it can be an act of love, not to say, relief for everybody - you can come back to it refreshed from the stress. Anyways, that's for the future who knows.

    Like your Gran and Grandad, neither of my parents have been ill in their lives apart from the ravages of old age. Bette Davis it was who said 'Old age ain't for cissies' and she is right. It's one hell of a fight to hold it all together without serious physical infirmity, but dementia is an illness all on its own, devastating for everybody and extremely stressful and devastating for those who love. And now that I'm beginning to sound like a preacher it's time for me to go. With love

  5. Sheila

    Sheila Registered User

    Oct 23, 2003
    West Sussex
    Hi, just wondering if it would be possible to introduce a "check up to see how they are managing following the broken hip" type thingy with the specialist who needs to see Grandad, to see how things are? (I lied through my teeth with Mum when I had to!) Love She. XX
  6. Chesca

    Chesca Guest

    Sheila! A very nifty ploy, if I may say so (or even if I mayn't as Mrs P would say). Brilliant idea!

  7. Snippet

    Snippet Registered User

    Jan 6, 2005
    Hey Sheila

    Would it be normal for a home visit? I think the only way around it would be for a specialist to see him in the house. He is, however, fit everyway else!

    He sadly only goes out for his pension once a week, so any sudden outings with my Gran, or any of us for that matter, would be way out of character for him.

    I guese I'm just thinking ahead, thinking of solutions before we meet our first hurdle!

    Chesca, what can I say? Thank you so much for your kind words. I'm going to spend a while with them tomorrow, I work for myself and have some free time. I really want my Gran to know she's not alone here!

    Love to you both.
  8. Chesca

    Chesca Guest

    #8 Chesca, Jan 7, 2005
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 7, 2005
    Darling, your Gran will never be alone while she has you. You're heart is too big to let that be. You are so right in thinking ahead to try and reduce the hurdles, but don't forget to legislate for those moments when your best thought-out plans will be peed on from a great height, despite your best efforts. Just be a little prepared for the disappointments that may arise.

    Yes, in conjunction with your GP, it is possible for a home consultation. Whether Grandad is fit physically is of no never mind, it is not unfortunately a physical determination you are seeking. He is in trouble, not well, and unable to negotiate the demands of what we would term normality, whether he can put one foot in front of another means nothing if he mentally cannot commit to taking those steps, don't fight it. So yes, press the GP for a home consultation, others have managed it. Good thinking! Best solution. Let's hope you have found the answer. See! Told you you could do it. And you will. The power of love can move mountains, however noisy they have to rumble in order to achieve their aim. Rumble, dear Snippet!

    Kind wishes
    Chesca xxx
  9. thompsonsom

    thompsonsom Registered User

    Jul 4, 2004
    Hi Snippet

    It is best if you can manage it somehow to get help for your grandad whilst he is in the early stages. It may be that they can get him on aricept or some other medication that will slow the progress of the illness. Maybe your mum can speak to your grandads GP who can then arrange for an home visit to discreetly check your grandad, we first had an home visit from people from the mental health team who are very good at assessing situations. It is a slow progress at best of times and we wish we had been more informed in the beginning as we have only just in the last couple of months managed to get mum on aricept and we have seen an improvement but often wish she had been given it in february when the illness first came to light.

    Best of Luck

  10. Norman

    Norman Registered User

    Oct 9, 2003
    Birmingham Hades
    we had never been ill in our lives,my wife has AD but physically she is fitter than me!!
    I agree with Chesca ,a check up is the way forward.
    Can you get an appointment with a consultant?May be at home. It doesn't matter what check up you tell Grandad it is,white lies are a tool of the trade.
    You may go through a little upset to achieve the desired result but that will soon be forgotten by Grandad
    I have found that my wife would refuse help,carers doctors etc.When we did get a face to face situation, they are not rude or obstructive and accept the situation,and the episode is soon forgotten
    You need a home visit.
    Good Luck
  11. Sheila

    Sheila Registered User

    Oct 23, 2003
    West Sussex
    Hi Snippet, yes, as the others agree, press for a home visit. Chesca put it into words very well, I often wrote to Mum's GP if I needed help. So, I am sure our Ches won't mind you using her words if you needed them to help. All the best, love She. XX
  12. Chesca

    Chesca Guest

    Snippet, use my words by all means, if they help to underline your justification for a home visit, or anything else for that matter. Send me a private message if you you feel it would help. I'm sure many here would also offer whatever help they can. And don't forget to use the Alzheimer's Society helpline - it does what it says on the tin, I've had occasion to use it with success.

    So saying, bear in mind, whatever social skills we like to demonstrate, Grandad no longer has them. From personal experience, I have never subscribed to the notion that the AD sufferer is trying to cover up for their supposed shortcomings, I don't believe that for the dementia sufferer there is the luxury of that mindset, there is only the conditioned reflex to situations - and those situations of socialising frighten them because they have lost their public face, the one keeping us all going in unnerving situations - meeting new faces, the boss, visits to strange places, etc. Anyway, that's for another time.

    Even today, Mum kicks up when a perceived stranger (could be the chiropodist, doctor) approaches her for treatment. But having me holding her hand and reassuring her, calming as you would a loved child, reaps rewards.

    Arrange the checkup, by fair means or foul as Norman said. You will have to learn tricks, by the end of this you may become a master conjourer. But the white lies will only be for the best of reasons.

    Take care

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