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Hellbent

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  1. Hi,
    My grandpa has Alzheimers. I figured I'd start a thread to discuss the mysteries and challenges of dealing with someone you know who has it or to just discuss it generally.

    My grandfather knows that he hasn't done much exercise today so therefore he doesn't need to eat much at the meal time, but he doesn't know what I just said 10 seconds ago, nor what my name is, or who is living in his house.

    The odd thing is, no one wants to emphasize to my grandfather his disease. He doesn't know he has Alzheimers. He doesn't know anything is wrong with him. Today at dinner he said something to the effect of : "I have a confession to make; I am having too much fun." I suppose it's nice that despite the degeneration of his mind, he is happy. But he can be combative and sometimes I think giving him a necklace with a little placard on it that reminds him that he has the disease might help him be less combative and not be so confused as to why he doesn't know things or why there are people living upstairs in his house (my dad and I) or why my dad has converted the Eurythmy room into a common good finance office.

    EDIT: I have heard stories about Alzheimers on the radio and often they are portrayed as a fight. But no one in my family is fighting the disease. We are giving him medicines to help it a bit, but it's not like every day we are doing anything for my grandfather to help him combat it. I guess you need to know you have a disease before you can fight it. Like I said, he doesn't even know he has a problem. But maybe since he's pretty old, it's best to just let him enjoy his twilight years in peace.

    1. Show previous comments  8 more
    2. Hellbent

      Hellbent

      Darkreaver and Joshy, thanks for sharing. I don't think my grandfather is a different person in the way you are describing, Joshy. He isn't bad-shit crazy, he's just a little bit crazy in a sweet sort of way. He's just got bad short term memory loss and his common sense is pretty shot. Otherwise he's the same old, congenial friendly person he has always been.

      I feel it is a privilege to take care of my grandparents somehow. Haven't really figured out why, but somehow it feels that way. The elderly deserve to be taken care of properly.

    3. fraggle

      fraggle

      Hellbent said:

      Darkreaver and Joshy, thanks for sharing. I don't think my grandfather is a different person in the way you are describing, Joshy. He isn't bad-shit crazy, he's just a little bit crazy in a sweet sort of way.

      I know it's not a good situation, but if that's the case, count your blessings because it could really be a lot worse.

      One of my grandfathers had a very difficult personality. He was stubborn, very independent never listened to anyone else's advice. As he got older he started to suffer from memory problems. I don't think it was Alzheimer's specifically but it was some kind of dementia. It wasn't just that he would forget things, but he would imagine things that never happened and get in fights with people over things they never said.

      My mother was responsible for him and endured several years of this as he got progressively worse. The worst part was that he had a sort of mask or facade of sanity to him: when doctors would speak to him they'd find him to be perfectly reasonable. It was usually when he would be put in unfamiliar situations that he became confused and caused problems.

      If he had lived a few more years, I expect he would eventually have had to be put into a nursing home. If that had happened I have no doubt that he would never have accepted it and would have caused all kinds of trouble (he was put into one briefly after having a fall). In the end he died before that could happen; I see it as a blessing in a way, because it would probably have been as unpleasant for him as it would have been for the rest of us.

      darkreaver said:

      Once, during family dinner, my grandfather suddenly said: "Who are you? Why are all of you in my home?". The people sitting around him were his daughter, his son, his wife, and 4 grand children.

      Yeah, I had a very similar thing happen about a year before my grandfather died. He never had a problem identifying my mother (whom he had the most contact with) but he didn't recognise the rest of us at all.

      On a lighter note, a slightly amusing story: my other grandfather lived to 100. At his 100th Birthday party there were probably around 50 of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Everyone sings "happy birthday to you", my grandfather stands up and says, "thanks you... of course, it's not my birthday".

    4. Hellbent

      Hellbent

      There is a good cover article to Time Magazine June 6 2012 edition titled "How to Die" by Joe Klein but I can't find it. Here's a video talking about his experience switching his medical care for his parents:

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