Hi Darren . . . You are very welcome!! My dad actually functioned as a city Service Director for about
a year after we all KNEW that he had Alz. His darned doctor would NOT acknowledge it and delayed care for about
2 years. After he retired he was able to function on his own (driving and being home alone while mom ran errands etc.) for another couple years as I remember. Taking away the car keys was the most difficult step as Dad was actually a pilot, race car driver, previously a police officer for many years, etc.). We started "visiting" with Dad while mom went to run errands when he could not stand to be left home and he didn't want to go with her. From there it evolved to him actually needing to have 24/7 care. Each step unfolded bit by bit and we all adjusted to the new agenda. There was no way to foretell how long each milestone would last before he would begin another downward spiral. But the spirals would always bring him down with a tug as opposed to gradually eroding things. I know how desperately you want to be prepared for things, but things really do unfold as they will. God gave each family member a day-by-day Grace to manage each step. We never had enough Grace for tomorrow, but we always had just what we needed to get through today. If a little encouragement could help, that's my little montra for you.
From all you've said, I would join my voice with the relatives who want to keep her in the UK . . . but only if you are committed to visit her. The only way for me to consistently do that, was to say to everyone in my life . . ."Monday, Wednesday and Saturday are reserved for my Mom and Dad" and I didn't plan anything else on those days so that I could do this important thing of being their for my parents. You are a peach of a grandchild if you are able to set aside a day a week to visit your Grandmother . . . whether she can show appreciation or not, it will be a huge blessing to her (and it will improve the way the Nursing Home cares for her because they will know you are coming and will see evidence of any lack of care). I would also befriend the staff at the NH and bring them little treats now and then. Appreciation for their care will beget more care. . . and everyone likes to be appreciated.
As far as what can help . . . I don't know much about
natural remedies . . . someone talked Mom into buying $40/bottle Mangostiene Juice which caused no improvement in ANY of the 3 people in the family who took it religiously for a couple months. As I said before, Mom thought the Ginko Biloba helped Dad's energy level, but make sure you list it with her current meds for ALL her docs.
The best medicine I saw was planning activities with Dad. You can take your Gramma for a walk, take her to the park or to go feed the pigeons or the geese . . . take her to watch children play at a playground . . . put together small puzzles at the Nursing Home . . . play with play-doh or clay . . . draw . . . paint . . . any activity engages the brain and helps to delay the atrophy of the brain. Most of all, your presence WILL be a blessing, even when you think she doesn't appreciate it. Dad loved to listen to music and would gladly dance even when he could no longer form an intelligent sentence. Amazingly, he could also show me around on a Map of the World even when he could no longer recognize family members and grandkids. They ALWAYS love what they've always loved . . . so tune in on that early. Oh . . when Dad was really fading, he still enjoyed playing with a balloon. After he could no longer enjoy crafts, or a visit to a golf course . . . I would keep a couple balloons my pocket and I'd blow one up and tie it off and bounce it up a couple times and then send it his way . . . he would act like he didn't want to play, but he could never resist sending it back forth . . . you'll find your own fun activities, but you may have to try several things to find one that's fun for her.
Then . . . make sure you come back here and post your successes. Lots of people read here, but they don't post and your successes may help them with their loved ones.
I know Lyn will be along to welcome you too!! Keep us posted Darren!!
In His Grip
AlwaysRosie "We can't control the waves, but we can learn how to surf!!"
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Post Edited (AlwaysRosie) : 9/26/2007 1:01:15 PM (GMT-6)