Posted: 17/01/2017 at 09:35
MIL had Alzheimers, hubbys paternal aunt had vascular dementia. Vascular dementia took her in five years, with decline being a step down process with each mini stroke. His mother had a slow decline over 15 years. Both are equally horrendous.
We learnt a few coping mechanisms. The Alzheimers society can provide a lot of pointers in the right direction. For instance, MIL did not have to pay council tax, and got a rebate from the time she was diagnosed. The Alzheimers society can also give help in filling forms in.
Get Power of Attorney in place before diagnosis, at the first signs of forgetfulness. Otherwise the council can take over, sell the home and put your mother in care whether you like it or not. By the time your elderly relative needs to have someone with power of attorney and a valid will made, it is too late. Do it while they are still compos mentis.
Dont argue that they are wrong. When she insisted she had had no breakfast, just give her another slice of toast. Hubby did have to draw the line when his mum thought he was her husband, because he looked like his father did when younger. When she insisted she had to get home to her mother, we used to distract her by saying that she was out shopping and would collect her later. Then change the subject.
She thought programmes on television were real. When she broke the second television by throwing something at the bad man, we resorted to carefully selected DVD's. The good thing was she never got bored with them, they could go on a loop , because she had forgotten she had seen them by a couple of hours later. Ken Dodd, Morecombe and Wise , and David Attenborough nature programmes went down well. She also like programmes about tootling along canals.
Body clocks go haywire, sleeping through the day in four hour stints, then being awake most of the night. Unless you want to resort to sleeping tablets, you have to live with this. Sleeping tablets in elderly lead to more falls and hospitalisation. Having supplied medicines for nursing homes, it seems that many people go on sleeping tablets as soon as they go in to a nursing home. Nursing homes deny that this is for the convenience of staff.
Carers need respite otherwise they get ground down as well. Social services try to insist that the caring is a social problem , and should be paid for or done by the family.
However, in the later stages it is a mental health problem. MIL used to hallucinate, talking to people that were not there. It then becomes a mental health issue, in that it was not safe to leave her on her own. if it is a mental health issue, then it becomes nursing care, to be paid for by the NHS. The powers that have to pay for this will argue it is not, because they know that family will not abandon their relatives, or that there is a lifetime of saving out of taxed earnings to pay for it. We got 24 hour cover at the finish, paid for by the NHS. Did we feel guilty at the cost of keeping her in her own home when it would have been cheaper for her to go into a Nursing Home. No.
If drug addicts who have never done a days useful work in their lives can get hot and cold running social workers, key workers and the rest, because it is a mental health issue, then someone who has worked and paid taxes all their lives should get at least the same.