Questions on Why My Aunt does what she Does?????

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pr glo
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 78
   Posted 11/13/2008 11:35 AM (GMT -6)   
My Aunt has Alzheimer's she is 70 yrs old she was diagnosed in January I am her primary CareTaker  as her three sons do nothing for her they don't even call her but her disease has progressed rather quickly and she does certain things that I don't understand and don't know if it's the norm for this disease can u guys give me some input??? First of all her short term memory is gone u tell her something seconds later doesn't remember you never told her she hides her purse in the closet as if some one is going to take it and then forgets she put it in the closet and gets frantic looking for it. she checks her wallet every ten minutes looking for her money, checkbook and credit cards, She wants to wear the same outfit every day and doesn't want to take a bath or wash her clothes, If I buy her new clothes or new sneakers she doesn't want to throw away old clothes or old sneakers, She makes up these elaborate stories that u know are untrue like she spoke to someone that she hasn't seen in 20 years, She constantly loses everything even if its right in fron of her she can't find it like going to her room she forgets where her room is. She is in the bathroom all day long with diarrhea she goes through a roll of toilet paper a day. She doesn't want to eat food just junk food and she has lost a lot of weight, she gets very aggressive sometimes because she needs constant care 24 hrs a day she can not be alone at all because she has wandered off and got lost and can't remenber where she lives or who to call also because I have had to take all her credit cards, bank card, checks because she will give info to anyone and anybody and purchse things that she has no money for she says I am not a kid I can do what I want. And she also always says that what some one else has is hers????? Can any of you let me know if this is normal and what I can and can't do I feel helpless and exhausted. Please help. PR Glo 

Red_34
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Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23353
   Posted 11/13/2008 2:58 PM (GMT -6)   
Unfortunately, yes that is a "normal" symptom of AZ. My gma was the same way except she wasn't aggressive. She would hide her purse all the time and forget where she hid it as well as her checkbook. Then she would just start crying because she thought someone stole them. We found quite a bit of money in her room after we moved her into an assisted living center that she doesn't recall having hid it. I think what you are doing for your aunt is awesome. Not that many people would take the time for the elderly and assist them like you are. Is your aunt on any medications? As for the junk food, you can try making her nutritious meals but make it "sweeter" by adding honey, sugar, corn syrup. Does she trust you? Does she feel safe in knowing that you can keep her money, credit cards and checkbook? Does she have an ID bracelet just in case she gets lost again? Do you keep locks on the doors that she can't open? As for her not finding things that are right in front of her, she may have forgot what it looks like that she is searching for.

I know this is rough and hard not only on the sufferers but the caretakers as well. Right now, your aunt is scared and confused. The best you can do is try to keep her out of trouble. Do you have anyone that can help you? Have you looked into assisted living centers - not nursing homes?


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pr glo
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 78
   Posted 11/13/2008 3:32 PM (GMT -6)   
Yes My Aunt trusts me with all of her belongings as I take her to all appoinments and she also lives with me. My Aunt does take medication she takes Namenda and risperidol for the memory and she also takes lisinopril for high blood pressure, Metformin for Diabetes and Lipitor for Cholesterol She was in an assisted living facility for two months once her doctor and myself decided she should not live by herself any longer but last week they told me should could no longer live there because she needs 24 hour care since she keeps getting lost and they are not facilitated to take care of her on a one on one basis 24 hrs a day they wanted to put her in a convelescent home but the ones that are state assisted because she has no money to pay for  are filthy and run down and I don't want to put her in those places. I went to see her today at my lunch time because she stays with my mom during the day while I work and she started crying she said something is very wrong with me look what my life has come to I can't remember anything I don't even remember who I am anymore It took alot for me not to cry in front of her but I stayed strong and told her not to worry lets take it day by day. I have no one else to help me but my mother who is her only living sibling and my mom is retired I'm going to try to look for some sort of daycare facility for her to atleast get her out of the house. She does have a bracelet but she keeps throwing away the paper that has pertinent info should she get lost out I have changed it 5 times.

Bella33
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 478
   Posted 11/13/2008 11:20 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, you said your aunt was diagnosed just the beginning of this year? She sounds like she's had it for many years. My mom is also 70 this year and I've been watching her for over 6 years now when she was first diagnosed. I can certainly relate to the hiding her purse and belongings. She hogs all the toilet paper and tissues like they are gold and hide them as well. No one can have a decent conversation with her because she makes no sense. I know it's selfish of me to say this but I really think this disease should be a top priority over cancer or AIDS since everyone will get old and can turn like this. There's nothing worse than losing one's mind and be totally dependent on others.

CharleyRice1931
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 397
   Posted 11/14/2008 11:10 AM (GMT -6)   
It is impossible to know what goes on in a loved one's mind. There are ways of helping to understand. One, is to talk to them while they can speak, about their childhood which will be very different from from childhood of to-day. Also keep in mind all older folk are on the normal ageing road and often reminisce about the olden days, to-day's world is strange. Now add the confusion of AD to that it's a bad mix. My wife use to hide money, she was puting it somewhere safe for a rainy day, but she forgot where she put it! I understood, we diden't have credit cards, and as for cloths, I still have cloths for 30 years! we had to make do and mend. The journey back to childhood can be painful to watch, yes they will repeat things but then kids do, "Are we there yet? are we there yet?.......... I chose to enjoy looking after my baby and learned not to let anyone come between us. That meant me being with her all the time when she went to hospital. I insisted on being present at all times. The doctors and nurses got use to it in time and learned that it was better for her that I was there. Once when she was in hospital they had given up hope, I was told she would not eat. I asked the nurse to fetch me a yogurt, she looked amazed as I fed it to her. I explained: "Do you thing if I was to take a young child of yours to my house and try to feed it, would he/she eat? My use of a baby bottle was welcomed. I can smile now at the memory of applying lipstick. She would open her mouth to eat, bless her. Against all medical advice I tood her home when they said that there was nothing they could do for her and would put her in the geriatric ward. I've always tried to think the best I could, how I would have acted if I had been in her place. I think I would have hidden food all over the place, why you might ask? We were starved as kids. Who could have understood me? We used slates to learn to write on, a different time and world. As I feel a stranger in the present day world I dread to think how much more confusing it must have been for my wife. I hope this has given you food for thought.
May your God go with you. Padraig

AlwaysRosie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 8616
   Posted 11/14/2008 11:53 AM (GMT -6)   
(((((((((( pr glo )))))))))))))) 
 
Hugs for you sis!   It is so hard, isn't it?   You are a saint!  Helping with your aunt to such a huge degree.   God bless you!! 
 
Yes . . . hiding things is really common in this disease.   We finally gave dad some good looking fake money and he was pleased as punch.   But he eventually would wrap it in a kleenex or paper and rip it up . . . so we kept plenty on hand.    I would fold it in my palm and "secretly" hand it to him . . . like we were passing contra ban . . . he would wink and palm it, take a peek and put it in his wallet.     Hopefully, you eventually find ways to manage each of these issues.   Some of it is just ignored. 
 
When she comes up with the "stories" . . . they may be real, but in the past . . . and it seems to me like Dad had a hard time realizing what was in his memory and what was present.   So everything he would "think about" seemed like it was happening now.  
The crying . . . Dad did that too.   He would say "My mother is dead" and start crying.   And I would say, "Yes, she is gone . . . but you were so good to your mother".   He would be so happy to hear that.   Other times, he would say "I'm broke, I have no money." and cry . . . and I would give him a piece of paper with my name and phone number and tell him to call me any time he needs something.   Somehow this was a huge comfort to him, to have that number in his wallet.   I probably gave him my name and phone number 100 times, because that's what gave him comfort. 
 
Other times, when I couldn't figure out why he was crying, I would say . . . "Can I pray for you, Dad?" and I would take both of his hands and hold them.   And he would bow his head and close his eyes and I would say a short prayer like "Dear God, thank you for this wonderful man.  He is very frightened right now.  Please bless him and comfort him, and help me to know his needs and care for him."  He was always comforted by prayer. 
 
Do talk to her doctor about the D . . . because she might not be getting full benefit from her meds if they are leaving her body so fast.   I would also talk to your pharmacist and bring the full list of meds so he can tell you the best way to take them.  Some meds can be taken together and some just work better if they are taken a certain way and with or without certain foods.    So the offending med, might be best taken at night when the colon may be less active.    Just a thought. 
 
Make sure you are utilizing the Alzheimer Associations in your area.   Ask each of her doctor's what help is available and make as many phone calls as necessary to get some help.
 
WRITE a letter to her sons.   When my Dad needed round the clock care, I was going to mom's about three days a weeks for a few hours each of those days.  But I was concerned that Mom needed more help than that.   My brothers are dear . .  . but no number of phone calls elicited any more than one visit.   So I made out a schedule and wrote a letter:
 
Dear sibs . . .   Mom needs your help.   She will not ask and I am afraid that this is taking too great a toll on her.     I am spending a couple days each week there, but it just isn't enough.  If you could each spend one Saturday per month with Dad, it would give Mom a bit of a break.   In birth order, could you each take a turn.  
  • Ed, 1st Saturday of each month,
  • Bruce, 2nd Saturday of each month,
  • Donald, 3rd Saturday of each month,
  • Judy 4th Saturday and
  • I'll take the 5th Saturday.   
Please come at 10 am and plan to stay until 2:00 pm.    If you can't visit with Dad on your day, please call a sibling and switch days.   Please don't let mom talk you out of your day.   She has a hard time asking for help or accepting help, but she desperately needs a break.   I have asked her to keep a list of things she needs help with.   I started such a list and posted it on the refrigerator, so make sure you check the list each time you come to see if there is anything you can help with. 
 
Thanks so much for your participation.
 
I am happy to say that this letter began a couple years of help from every sibling and they were very dependable and actually took care of all items on that list.   I was amazed that siblings who were not involved at all were happy to help when they knew exactly when to be there.   It was awkward for each of them at first, but after spending a day or two with Dad, they found some creative ways to spend their time together and Dad enjoyed it too.
 
Sorry this got so long and I don't mean to be talking about myself so much, but it is the easiest way to show some ways of problem solving.   I deeply appreciate the help I received on this forum . . . so I check back here occassionally, even though Dad is gone, because I know how hard it is to go thru this with a loved one. 
 
Some hot tea for you sis . . . and a big hug too!!
 
Blessings!

In His Grip

AlwaysRosie           "We can't control the waves, but we can learn how to surf!!"

Psalms 139

Co-Moderator - Lupus Forum

UCTD, Inflammatory Arthritis, Diverticulosis, (recent dx - Sjogrens, Crohn’s 4/08)

Clickable Links:  Lupus Resources    Lupous.Org   Lupus Criteria (4 of 11)   Lupus Chapter Locator


Bella33
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 478
   Posted 11/14/2008 3:51 PM (GMT -6)   
You have a great family and I'm happy for you that everyone takes their turns. It's not like this in my family. Distance is always a factor and excuse. Having brothers is another problem. They are used to being cared for and less doing the caring. We do what we can until someone dies. Isn't that the honest truth? Death is the only end.

SnowyLynne
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 1539
   Posted 11/14/2008 6:23 PM (GMT -6)   
For your information Resperidol is a antipsychotic.Namenda generally is given with Aricepet or other AD medication....I take Razadyne..........
SnowyLynne


Bella33
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 478
   Posted 11/14/2008 6:46 PM (GMT -6)   
My mom was on Risperdal before. It's a big no-no if you take parkinson medication.  It blocks out the PD meds and turns them into shaking idiots. I had to find out the hard way from seeing my mom. Her doctor didn't know there was a problem with the combo. Please be informative with your meds at all time. Doctors don't know everything.

AlwaysRosie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 8616
   Posted 11/14/2008 8:13 PM (GMT -6)   
Bella,

DON'T give up on those brothers!! I had called each brother separately several times . . . to no avail. The letter rounded up the crew and kicked them into action.

This may not work for everyone . . . but "if you always do what you've always done, you will always get what you've always gotten." Expect more of them. Be nice but firm. Printing off a letter via computer and risking some postage has almost downside (a bit of time and possible rejection). But it also carries a bit of chance that you will get some help. I actually had given up on my own brothers and thought this letter was going to fall on deaf ears.

(((((((( Bella )))))))) I'm sorry you are doing this by yourself. PLEASE don't give up on those brothers!! and I hope you'll accept a hug, some hot tea, and . . .

Blessings!

In His Grip

AlwaysRosie           "We can't control the waves, but we can learn how to surf!!"

Psalms 139

Co-Moderator - Lupus Forum

UCTD, Inflammatory Arthritis, Diverticulosis, (recent dx - Sjogrens, Crohn’s 4/08)

Clickable Links:  Lupus Resources    Lupous.Org   Lupus Criteria (4 of 11)   Lupus Chapter Locator


Bella33
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 478
   Posted 11/14/2008 8:29 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks. My sister is worse. She said she would put our mom in a home if she were to stay with her.

Howlyncat
Elite Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 11/14/2008 8:37 PM (GMT -6)   
I could not have given better advice nor said anything more than Rosie has posted

Her tea is the best for what ails you

Please take care of yourself and no dont give up just yet

LYN
 DX: Crohns,Pyoderma Gangrenosum,Anxiety/Panic,
Fibro & Other DD

Donate at  www.healingwell.com
 
                               Moderator@Alzheimer's..
    CO Moderator @ Anxiety and Panic........Co Moderator   @ Crohns                    
                            ~ FIGHT the FIGHT with all YOU HAVE ~
               Look For The GOOD, Even At Your Lowest
  We Have Anxiety and Panic...................Anxiety and Panic DO NOT Have us         
   
..........LYN


AlwaysRosie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 8616
   Posted 11/14/2008 8:58 PM (GMT -6)   
(((((((( Bella ))))))))) I'm so sorry your options are so limited. (((((((((( Bella ))))))))

Hugs and Blessings!

In His Grip

AlwaysRosie           "We can't control the waves, but we can learn how to surf!!"

Psalms 139

Co-Moderator - Lupus Forum

UCTD, Inflammatory Arthritis, Diverticulosis, (recent dx - Sjogrens, Crohn’s 4/08)

Clickable Links:  Lupus Resources    Lupous.Org   Lupus Criteria (4 of 11)   Lupus Chapter Locator


Bella33
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 478
   Posted 11/14/2008 11:31 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you both. It's not so bad. My mom is the most important person in my life so I don't see it as a burden. Life is what you make of it.

Howlyncat
Elite Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 11/15/2008 11:42 AM (GMT -6)   
SO true Bella
(((((((((((( big huggles ))))))))))))))))))))) for you and your Mom

God Bless

LYN
 DX: Crohns,Pyoderma Gangrenosum,Anxiety/Panic,
Fibro & Other DD

Donate at  www.healingwell.com
 
                               Moderator@Alzheimer's..
    CO Moderator @ Anxiety and Panic........Co Moderator   @ Crohns                    
                            ~ FIGHT the FIGHT with all YOU HAVE ~
               Look For The GOOD, Even At Your Lowest
  We Have Anxiety and Panic...................Anxiety and Panic DO NOT Have us         
   
..........LYN

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