Home Instead Senior Care, Birmingham

A Loved One with Alzheimer's

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Submitted by Allison Youngblood, Operations Manager

I received a call yesterday from a client's daughter. There was sadness in her voice that brought a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. The first words out of her mouth were “I need someone to help me. My mom…” and then the tears started. She explained that her mom was in the first stages of Alzheimer’s and would not eat her breakfast, is screaming at her and will not get off of the floor. I asked her a few more questions just so that I had all the information I needed to try and get her some help.

Her mom still lives at home but doesn’t think it is her home. She tried to hit the daughter the day before because she was so angry but couldn’t really explain why she was angry. I tried to speak to the mom to try and get her to get off the floor but all she could tell me was that she had a son that had been missing for two years. It turns out this son lives in Georgia and comes and visits all the time.

The daughter was at the end of her rope. She mentioned that her mom was at the first stage of Alzheimer’s. Based on our conversation I would say that her mom is at stage 5 – which according to the Alzheimer’s Association is:
Moderately severe cognitive decline
(Moderate or mid-stage Alzheimer's disease)
“ Major gaps in memory and deficits in cognitive function emerge. Some assistance with day-to-day activities becomes essential. At this stage, individuals may:
• Be unable during a medical interview to recall such important details as their current address, their telephone number or the name of the college or high school from which they graduated
• Become confused about where they are or about the date, day of the week or season
• Have trouble with less challenging mental arithmetic; for example, counting backward from 40 by 4s or from 20 by 2s
• Need help choosing proper clothing for the season or the occasion
• Usually retain substantial knowledge about themselves and know their own name and the names of their spouse or children
• Usually require no assistance with eating or using the toilet”

When you are the one living with someone who has Alzheimer’s, it is hard to recognize or even admit to a decline. Emotionally it is exhausting. And like our client’s daughter, you can’t do it alone.
Our CAREGivers are trained to work with Alzheimer’s clients. Our approach of encouragement and assistance helps family members cope with the challenges of dementia. Please contact us for more information or visit www.homeinstead.com/bham.

As far as our client goes we are working on creating a schedule to have a CAREGiver in the house a few days a week. This will give the daughter a break and allow her to come back refreshed so that she can care for her mom.


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