Management of the disease has progressed a little, although there is still no cure. It is apparent from some studies that vitamin and mineral supplements can sometimes help a little in the early stages of Alzheimer. It is also a help if people can recognize that they do have the beginning stages of the Alzheimers disease, as the recognition of it leaves them a little less frustrated and they can make their own long term plans for their own future.
Try to keep the person you love as active as possible. There are drugs on the market today for improving brain function, typically anti-dementia and psychotropic drugs (Doc-194823.pdf). Ask your doctor about them may be the Blood Pressure increase. “Try to have some laughs along the way. It does help!!”
My Own Experience with Alzheimers:
I would like to share with you an experience with a person suffering from Alzheimers in my own family. The person was my late father-in-law. He was a lovely man, had no vices, and was even tempered. His two loves besides his wife and family were to eat an apple a day and to enjoy a glass of beer at the end of the day.
My husband and I married when my father-in-law was in his early forties. He was an active man on the farm. He played golf and lawn bowls. He was also extremely active in the Masonic lodge and held a high ranking there. It was not until 20 years later that we realized that Alzheimer’s was slowly and insidiously taking hold way back then.
The first signs, of Alzheimers, as we now know, but thought little of at the time, were that he retreated from both golf and bowls. He told us that he didn’t want to go any more as “people” were talking about him.
He also relinquished responsibility for making any decisions about running the farm to my husband. He said that the new chemicals were too complex for him to learn about. He also became less involved with his wife and social events. His wife, thought him a little “difficult” and made sure to see her friends during the day, without him, and stayed home at night with him. We still didn’t know that anything was wrong!!
Twenty Years On with Alzheimers:
He became extremely forgetful. He started to repeat himself, over and over with the same piece of conversation. When visitors arrived, he just sat and didn’t contribute to conversation. However, he always managed to answer a direct question that was asked of him in a manner that the visitor thought was okay. His personality, always withdrawn, became even more so.
He would still manage to read the daily newspaper; however, he would latch on to one paragraph and read it aloud again and again, each time seeking a response. The day we caught him reading the newspaper with it upside down, we knew something was very wrong.
However, it was not easy to get an accurate diagnosis. A person at the beginnings of Alzheimers becomes very cunning. They know something is wrong, but can’t figure out what it is. They know they have short term memory loss, but don’t want to admit it. Consequently, unless you go to a very skilled physician, the person being diagnosed can often bluff their way out for quite a while.
He was now entering into the mid-stage of the Alzheimer’s disease. He was 60 years old, and the disease had been developing for 20 years. Sometimes there can be a long first phase in, others time the disease can progress quite quickly.
Mid-Stage of Alzheimer’s:
Now, he was becoming increasingly disorientated. He could not recall what day it was, he began to have problems finding words, and would often make up words that simply made no sense of the conversation. His personality started to change from a mild and docile person, to one who was irritable and erratic. He became extremely difficult to live with. This stage lasted for about three years, with deterioration of personality, memory and ability to manage his personal daily life quickly disappearing.
Late Stage Alzheimers:
He was still living at home with his very patient and wonderful wife as his caretaker at this stage. We would laugh at some of the things he would do. As his illness progressed, we could see him very definitely regressing through his age groups.
He became quite bad tempered and sometimes violent, which was of concern. As he regressed through his teenage years, we found him one day carrying a bottle of beer around the house. Asked what he was doing, he said, “Looking for a water trough”…he used to hide his beer supply from his parents in the horse water trough on the farm!! He now substituted the deep freezer for the water trough and we always had to be on the alert to check, before the beer bottle froze and burst.
Another time, going through the two year old tantrum stage, he would pull apart every drawer and closet in the house, leaving a huge mess, looking for his “apple”. The day he was no longer safe to have at home was when we found him dismantling the electric fuse box. He was trying to “fix” it, not knowing what or how to do this and that it didn’t need fixing anyway.
He also started to wander. One day he took off on his bike. It was a hot day and he was found 25 kilometers away on a back dirt road. We knew we had to act.
Eventually, we had to admit that he could no longer be looked after at home. The next stage in coping with Alzheimers was for him to go to a place where he would be “accessed.” When we visited, he sometimes knew us, and at other times he didn’t. He would often not be wearing his own clothes. Much to the distress of his wife, he even “shared” false teeth!!
We found a place in a locked ward in a nursing home. Now the disease progressed quite quickly. He didn’t recognize any of the family; he needed help to shower and to dress. He needed help to eat and then to walk.
You never Know How Much They Can Understand:
His wife died. His daughter broke the news to him. He cried! This man, who had lost all control of his system and we thought his mind, understood that his wife had died. Never write off a person with Alzheimers, thinking that they just can’t understand anything, as there seem to be brief moments of lucidity.
He died, not long after his wife. He died effectively from starvation. However, we know, as a family that he had the best of care, and that’s all we could hope for.
Written By: Mrs, Ibraheem