Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Alzheimer's Patients Do Strange Things

Pat went to her daughters house for the weekend. It was a nice break from the daily grind of Alzheimer's. We enjoyed our time away but as always, we just pay for it when she returns. She is so confused about where she is and where her daughter is.

Yesterday I must have answered 50 times or more that Kelly wasn't coming down. I think she just had the feeling, not the memory, of Kelly so she thought it hadn't happened yet. I feel so bad for her that an entire weekend was gone for her. She really misses her daughter because she doesn't remember that she came to see her. She doesn't get satisfied with a long weekend of visiting like you or I might.

Things only continued to get worse for her. Last night she was so confused and even went to bed without taking her teeth out. We didn't bother to correct her. We just thought she would sleep with them in all night and it was one less thing for her to worry about. We were wrong.

This morning she came out of her room with tears and fear in her eyes. When she said she couldn't find her teeth, Mark and I started helping. We searched everywhere, having her take all the contents out of her pocketbook, opening drawers, pawing through mountains of collected tissues and couldn't find her teeth. Finally, Mark found them wrapped in a tissue on the dresser. Plain sight, but invisible to Pat and me.

Already she has forgotten there was any altercation this morning and the day goes on like normal. For Mark and I though, we shared a raised eyebrow, knowing this is just the beginning.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Day Out Is Good Medicine for Alzheimer's Patients

Every week for 50 years or more, Pat has gotten her hair done every week. It works out perfect for us because they let us leave her with them while we run around town as quickly as we can, doing errands. It makes it so much easier not to take her shopping. Now that she has begun shuffling her feet even more, and has excruciating pain in her back, she walks a lot slower. A lot slower.

Before we left for her appointment today she seemed down, irritable, and like Alzheimer's had taken over. I even thought about cancelling her appointment, but she had already been two weeks so we went. And I am so glad we did!

When I walked in to pick her up, she was glowing with a bright smile. It was great to see and made me smile. She grabbed a lollipop, hugged Jamie goodbye and we headed out. Mark even noticed she had an extra skip in her step.

Now we're back home, the sun is setting, and in comes the Alzheimer's stare. Her hair looks good but she probably doesn't even remember having it done.

That's what is so hard about Alzheimer's and the stage we are in now. Pat doesn't know she has Alzheimer's. Telling her something louder or more often doesn't make her remember it, doesn't make it stick. But still we do it. We think of where we are in that moment, not her. We don't stop to think how weird it would be if someone told us huge chunks of time had happened to us and we just don't remember it. I can understand why she is never happy. I understand why this disease is so trying. So, seeing her today, relaxed and sitting with other people, in a normal, non-Alzheimer setting, was great for my soul. These moments, few as they are, are why I do this. I am a caregiver.

For more information on Alzheimer's and other topics, stop by my website.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Exelon Patch for Alzheimer's Patients

Things are finally starting to go back to normal, if there ever was such a thing. Pat has been taking Namenda for a day and a half and she seems to be calmer. Maybe its just my hopeful thinking but I really do think the Exelon patch wasn't the right choice for her and her state of confusion will improve.

Namenda twice a day is what we are sticking with for now. We tred Aricept last year and we noticed a big decline then too. Namenda holds her steady.

For all my thoughts on the Exelon patch, read my complete review. What medicines seem to work for the Alzheimer's person in your life? Share here!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Change in Schedule for Alzheimer's Patient Creates Havoc

What an interesting day yesterday was. With an Alzheimer's person it is all about patterns and rituals. I think they do this to help remember things. Plus, there are some things we just automatically do like brush your teeth, then wash your face, then comb your hair, and they are ingrained in your mind. Pat has several of those. Which is good that she still remembers these things... most of the time.

Anyway, yesterday I noticed around 3:00 that Pat's eyes were droopy and she was tired. She had been up until 1:00 the previous night and up at 6:00am in the morning so I'm not surprised. I suggested that she lay on the couch for a while because the physical therapist recommended it to stop her back pain. And she did it! Only a couple of questions from her but nothing like the norm. She even let me take her sneakers off and cover her with a blanket. When she fell asleep I was in even more shock. And when the phone rang and she WENT BACK TO SLEEP, I was completely floored and felt I was on a mini vacation. Of course, I couldn't leave my recliner, my little island for fear of waking her, but I felt blessed. Thank you Lord for that breather.

She slept from 3:15 until 4:30 and then continued to lay on her back for another 20 minutes. While she was sleeping you could see her exhaustion. She flinched and clenched her hands, moaned, and actually looked relaxed a little. Mark came home and she continued to sleep for a while. I was able to finally get out of the recliner and visit with him for a few moments before she woke. I didn't want to be out of her eye sight when she finally did. I'm her security blanket. I need to be in eye sight at all times or she gets upset so I went back to the recliner. It's a good thing I did.

You know how you feel after a hard sleep? Disoriented and groggy? Add Alzheimer's, an already neurologically wacked disease, on top of that and look out. She kept telling us she felt funny, which she tells us quite often, but I still haven't figured out exactly what that means. I don't know if it is the confusion, the forgetfulness, the pain, the drugs, or something different like the flu. She seemed a little warm but no fever. It made for a long night and when she said she was tired at 8:00, I let her get ready for bed.

Today, she seems better. I know it is important for an Alzheimer's patient to get sleep. It makes sense. Clarity comes best to me after a good nights sleep. Why would it be any different for her. Who knows, maybe I can get her to take another snooze today. The confusion was so worth the rest she clearly needed. And yes, the relaxation I was forced to enjoy. I have such a hard time staying still.

For other articles and information visit my website:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Be Home 24/7 Security System for Seniors

BeHome 24/7 offers an outstanding home security system that can provide caregivers a sense of security knowing they can monitor their loved ones at all times no matter where they are! Live video broadcast to your computer, iPod, cell phone and more offers you constant awareness, control and peace of mind.

The ability to control certain elements remotely is a great feature if you are trying to get away and need to manage electricity or heat, this can help with that too. I know how hectic it is trying to get ready with the family. Our family has an Alzheimer's patient and that can create challenges with getting ready. As long as you are near a computer, you can double check your home and make sure everything is okay and still get to your destination on time.

This home security system would be great for anyone caring for an Alzheimer's patient or for senior parents. Affordably priced, easy to setup, and easy to use, this system is perfect for anyone needing to add extra security or wanting to implement surveillance in their home. If you don't have a computer or an email account, you may want to get these first before pursuing this product as these are the requirements for operating it.

Pictured here is the senior system. The wireless panic button that is included is a great option to have! The best part about it is it works with local alert systems so they can be on the way at the same time as you. Quick respond time is important and with the panic button it greatly improves.

I was impressed with how much equipment is included but there should be more cameras to cover more rooms. BeHome 24/7 has a store though for those on a budget or just looking for extra equipment. You can slowly build your system up to what you want it to be.

BeHome 24/7 does have a minimal monthly fee but with it comes excellent support! 24 hours a day, seven days a week you can contact them via computer as well as through the telephone or email.

The set up of the system only takes 20 minutes and the best part is, you get to do it yourself. I like this because I feel uncomfortable having strangers in my home. And I hate having to wait for an appointment to have something installed. That's why this Do-it-Yourself Security system seems to be a perfect fit!

I have seen that the battery doesn’t' last as long as I would like with BeHome 24/7, but it is good for a few days. Keep this in mind if you are planning on going on a trip for a long time. And make sure you have access to a computer if you want to record anything or take still photos.

This home security system offers relief to caregivers for a small cost. Just think, you'll be able to go for that walk, to the store alone, or to visit a friend now. You'll be able to revive senses to give the best possible care when you are there.

To receive your loved ones system in as little as two weeks and start enjoying your time away, visit BeHome 24/7 today.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Silence is Deafening, But Each Conversation Creates a Confusion and Ends in Upset

The silence is deafening at times.  When I finish my meal and am waiting for her is the worst. I know stimulating conversation is whats needed. But sometimes I just can't do it. Sometimes I'm just tired, mentally. But, lets face it, there is only so much you can talk about when you are together 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And then add Alzheimer's on top of it. It's hard to have a conversation with an Alzheimer's patient. Especially when they don't remember most or any of it. I need to remind myself that the interaction with her, at this point, isn't so much abou what I will get out of it. It's so rare now that I take anything away now. She's deteriorted so much.

Every conversation has the same pattern depending on who started it. If I start it, the reply is always, "What's that dear?" It sounds sweet doesn't it? It started out that it was, but now it's just one of those things she does a thousand times a day. The inevitable question is followed by me, repeating the statement and her questioning it over and over and over... If she starts it, it just doesn't make sense, or it is full of worry. I try to follow along but it's difficult. And her worries are always the same: "Where's my pocket book, my house key, my car, do I live here?..." and the questions go on and on. I admit it. I'm guilty. I just can't handle it sometimes. And so I crave for that silence I'm hating right now. Does that make me bad? Or just normal? I don't know anyone that wouldn't feel the same way, at some point in the same situation.

But we love her. And sometimes all she needs is a hug or for me to tell her I love her. And sometimes that's all I need too. It helps us both cope to be reminded of what we are to eachother. I am here in this situation because I love her. And if it had been me, she would have done the same thing. It's just what you do when you care about someone.

So each day we fight the silence to stimulate the mind, I bite my tongue and keep my patience with the questions, and we just get through it. Caregivers earn a medal in my eyes. To anyone in the same situation, my heart and support goes out to you. The seclusion can be maddening as it gets harder and harder to go anywhere or have your own life. It all slowly becomes all about Alzheimer's. I hate Alzheimer's.

I am writing a more in depth article: Communication with an Alzheimer's Patient: the Dos and Dont's for Peaceful Living and will publish it on my website, Here 2 Help Services. I'll add the link here when it is done. For now, check out the site for other stories and poems about Alzheimers and a variety of other topics including online business tips, poetry and other information.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Does it Matter if She Reads the First Page of the Newspaper Over and Over Again?

Does it really matter if she reads the same thing over and over again? Pat will flip the paper over and over again, reading the same headlines each time. She'll have the same reaction each time and then repeat, without ever opening it up.I personally feel if it is keeping her mind occupied, which gets harder and harder with each day, then it is good for her.

Maybe the reason any of her behaviors are a problem are because of how it makes us feel. We want her to progress. We want her to be the old Pat who devoured the entire newspaper including the Jumble and the entire crossword puzzle. The old Pat who was a whiz with words and random knowledge. But she is gone most of the time now. And watching her flip that paper AGAIN just reminds us of that AGAIN...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ah, the Quiet... we all need it

I love this time of day. Ah, the quiet and undemanding time while Pat sleeps...

I don't care who you are or what you are doing, you need a break. Especially when you care for someone with Alzheimer's disease. I'm no different.

Pat and I spend every day together, every moment... except for the sleeping hours. And its not that she is bad to be around. She isn't. She isn't nasty like I hear about some Alzheimer's patients being. She's the opposite of that. She is a worrier... about everything. But even being the "best Alzheimer's patient there ever was", I need to get away and have Christina time.

So, to get that time, one thing I do is wake up earlier than I have to and drag myself out of bed. It's peaceful and helps me get the right outlook before Pat arises. For other break ideas, check out my articles on my website:

From one caregiver to another, I strongly recommend creatng time for yourself.

I hear movement in her room...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Launch off Here 2 Help Services Blog

I have wanted to reach out to others to discuss Alzheimer's issues for so long now and I finally did it! I created my website, with content on a bunch of topics. One of the topics is Alzheimer's. I take care of my boyfriend's mother who has Alzheimer's. She has lived with us since last August (2008).

At first I cut my hours at the bank down to 20 and spent my time running around, worrying about her, and calling a hundred times a day(which got me in trouble at the bank). Finally, I knew I needed to be home with her to care for her and keep her going.

It was the right decision. She's still in there, although she disappears a little more each day. But I think my interactions with her have made a difference and I have enjoyed being home with her. I won't lie, it hasn't all been easy and I know the worst is yet to come, but this is my calling and it just feels good to make a difference in her life. Almost every night, when she goes to bed, she thanks me for being her friend and helping her out. She doesn't realize, but that means the world to me and makes it all worth while.

So this blog is dedicated to her. If it wasn't for Pat, I wouldn't be where I am today - here on my laptop, creating this blog.

For more information, visit my website: Welcome to my blog!