New here, Mother-in-law has Alzheimers and father in law has vascular dementia

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Happyone, Apr 2, 2008.

  1. Happyone

    Happyone Registered User

    Apr 2, 2008
    31
    Hello Everyone,

    It is so nice to find message boards where peopel will know how we are feeling.

    My Father-in-law has suffered from vascular (mini strokes caused) dementia for the last 5 or more years. We blamed most of the strange happenings on him and thought he had stressed my mother-in-law out. However, 18 months ago we realised it was more than that and after a series of events, she was diagnosed with Alzheimers.

    We are lucky in that she was prescibed Aricept and it really worked for her. Within 2 months her scores on the MMSE had risen from 18/30 to 24/30 and have been around 22 to 24 since starting the medication.

    The last couple of months we have noticed some deterioration in her condition. She appears very confused at times (I am sure you will all know what i mean when I say she "looks confused, as if she doesnt quite know how to put information together, and you can see the confusion in her eyes".

    The only thing is, she does remember she has been told she has Alzheimers, which sometimes makes me question the diagnosis myself. She is insistant there is nothing wrong with her, even though she can't leave the house alone as she cannot remember her address, and has no idea of her phone number, despite having lived at this address for over 4 years. She thinks this is normal.

    She can no longer cook a meal for them, she doesnt know where to start. She never knows what month we are in, or what day it is and has to keep our phone number written next to the phone (we have had the same number for years and years).

    She often threatens to stop taking her Aricept, and it scares me how bad she would be if she did just stop.

    It has helped finding this forum, and having read many of the posts I have already found some useful hints in how to deal with things.

    One issue we have is her getting up at night and trying to get out of the apartment they live in (sheltered retirement apartment). Her husband manages to get her back to bed most of the time, but sometimes he cannot deal with her, resulting in him getting angry and frustrated himself, which in itself is part of his dementia (anger issues),

    Any advice would be appreciated. And thank you all for reading our story.
     
  2. gigi

    gigi Registered User

    Nov 16, 2007
    7,788
    East Midlands
    Hello Happyone,

    Welcome to TP,

    Phew..you have brought up a lot of issues..there are folk around who will come on board and give you support and advice..

    From my point of view I'd like to comment on...
    My husband was diagnosed with AD/Vasc Dementia 2 years ago..he knows he has Alzheimers..he will tell people he has it..but he still thinks he is normal....

    It does sound like some input is needed..is there a CPN involved?
    There will be others around with more experience than me of your situation, who , I'm sure , will be helpful.

    Love gigi xx
     
  3. blue sea

    blue sea Registered User

    Aug 24, 2005
    270
    England
    Hello Happyone
    What a difficult situation for your family. Do your parents in law have the support of a CPN (community psychiatric nurse)? A CPN can work with a family to support and offer advice. The GP could do a referral.
    Wandering at night is a really challenging situation for anyone to deal with and your father in law's condition means it must be very hard for him to be patient. I assume the GP is aware and has tried different medication to help your m i l sleep? Unfortunately medication cannot always help such situations, but worth a try. It could be that things are reaching the stage where your m i l needs 24 / 7 care. Perhaps some respite care could be organized through social services to give your f i l a temporary break? This might be a starting point to reduce some of the pressure on f i l.
    Best wishes
    Blue sea
     
  4. Carolynlott

    Carolynlott Registered User

    Jan 1, 2007
    232
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    Dear Happyone,

    Welcome to TP. So sorry to hear about your situation, which is similar to mine - both my parents have AD. Like you, I thought (hoped?) Mum's problems were due to the stress of living with Dad. However she couldn't care for him properly and he has been in a care home for four months.

    Mum seems to have deteriorated a lot in the four months - but I think I just notice it more now because I can focus on her without Dad being there. She knows there is somtehing wrong with her although we haven't used the "A" word.

    Obviously everyone's situation is different and I don't know how much help your in-laws get in their sheltered accommodation - or from any carers - but in the end I felt Mum and Dad were like a pair of three year olds trying to cope on their own, and because they wouldn't accept any day-to-day help it just wasn't safe.

    The only way Dad could have stayed at home was with a capable person looking after him 24/7 - and Mum couldn't do that. i think in the end it comes down to safety.
    Best wishes,
    Carolyn
     
  5. Happyone

    Happyone Registered User

    Apr 2, 2008
    31
    Thanks for all your comments and thoughts.

    At present, my MIL has family support only, although she is under the care of Geriatric Psychiatrist who we see on a 6 monthly basis. My husband and I do the majority of the care side of things, we take them a hot meal each day and ensure they have breakfast things left out prepared so they just have to add milk, we leave lists that we can ring them and tell them to refer to if needed. We ring them a couple of times a day to make sure all is well and remind them to take tablets etc etc. (MIL just needs painkillers for arthritis and her aricept, FIL is on mots for a variety of ailments).

    We have looked after their banking requirements for quite some time (this was one of the pointers that made us realise all was not well with MIL, she lost ability to pay bills, sometimes even "mislaying" money etc).

    Neither of them have the ability to complete forms now so my husband and his brother have POA.

    HAving said all this, they do seem to be coping in many ways, what she forgets, he seems to remember and vice versa.

    He will not admit openly to her wandering at night, but he forgets himself when just chatting and often admits in general conversation that he has been up a couple of times "putting her back to bed"....he won't admit to her problems either and says if she really had alzheimers she would be much worse than she is. Little does he know what i think lies ahead.

    We can still have very "normal" conversations with them both, but then she will go off into her "confused state" and thast the end of it. I have just got back from giving them their tea (luckily their retirement apartment is only 15 mins away)and have had to spend another half hour telling her how important it is for her to take her Aricept. We shall see if she takes it.

    Thanks again for your comments, I have known there are many in our situation but it is good to share your thoughts with people who know.
     

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