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Hello everyone...

It seems like forever and a day since I've been here as it probably is. I can't remember the last time I've logged in and read messages to be honest because I just haven't had time.

Back in Aug, my husband's Gran had a stroke which has done some severe damage to her speech ability. Not only that Alzheimer's has set in so that has made things very difficult.

Because of the changes, she is staying with her daughter and now has 24 hour care. I am unable to do what is needed for her since I am a graduate student and my husband works long hours so that works well for us.

It is very difficult to see her deteriorate from someone who was once full of fire and now loosing spark. Not sure if that makes sense or not. Anyway.

Just putting a note out there to let others know I'm still around but it's been a little hectic around here. Will keep in touch.

PB
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Dear Pooh:

I am so sorry to hear about your Gran. The speech damage is so very hard to deal with! Yes, it is difficult to watch our loved ones deteriorate...

Do not hide from the situation. Go see Gran and give your sister support! Bring lunch with you or order take-in. Communicate in other ways if you can. Once the ability to speak is lost, there is a loss of confidence etc. But, we can communicate through our love and hugs... I am not sure that the desire to live doesn't go simultaneously with these serious deficits.

I remember when my grandmother was in the hospital, I begged her not to die... She said to me "I want to die - I am so tired of life". I was able to let her go after that. She gave me a great gift which was making it okay for me to accept her wishes. Gran is not young and may or may not be gone soon. If not, that is okay but meanwhile let her know you are thinking of her and care about her - and it is evident that you do. Find the time because you will never regret it...

Good luck in school! Your hard work will pay off - and goals do not disappear because you spend time with those you care about. I think it is important now to hug Gran and find peace because of it... You are a loving person and so good-hearted!

Hugs, Glenda
{{{{{PB}}}}}

Lots of loving hugs coming your way.. things are working out as they need to.. I agree with Glenda... watching loved ones deteriorate is not easy... but I can feel your love and you must understand that the Alzheimer's has taken over her brain.. coupled with the stroke.. it's difficult to watch... keep your memories in your heart.. remember the fire in her always as it will be the spark that encourages you to continuously live your own life more fully... be there to visit with her.. talk to her soul.. for her soul will know you and understand all the love, compassion and sadness you are feeling... she will be with you always...

please keep us posted... take care angel..

gail
The fact being that she does not know anyone any more is the most difficult. This is not the first relative for me to experience with this disease as my paternal grandmother had it. I remember one conversation which it took me about five minutes to use visual clues with her memory so she could recall who I was. In another situation it was 10 minutes. Each time I remember feeling how she was slipping away and it was going to be more difficult getting her to come back. I ended up ceasing communication because I could not mentally take the stress. She passed away at the age of 93 in September '07.

With Gran (husband's grandmother), she is being taken care of by her daughter every day at daughter's home. I speak with her daughter on a frequent basis and help when I am needed. It's frustrating as I once knew this woman as someone who had a fire and was quite able to handle herself when we were her caretakers. After the stroke everything just went downhill and it seems to be on a fast decline since. I suppose I never realized it could happen this fast and it's actually scary.

My husband made a comment the other day and I have to ask someone's opinion on this. Can a stroke actually mimic Alzheimer's stages?

I keep telling myself all I can do is take things one day at a time and that seems the best way to handle it. I've dropped my graduate classes from two down to one for next term so I can get a break there then will finish them up in summer. It's not much but it will allow us to do what is needed with the house as we need to clean and sort things out.

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers, I greatly appreciate it.

PB
Dear Poohbear,

I am so sorry for the pain you are going through. I certainly can understand; my mom has Alzheimer's, but for her, it has been a very slow process, now going on five years. I find it extremely painful.

I'm sorry I can't answer your question about a stroke causing Alzheimer's but I can tell you that Alz can be a very fast process, going through the stages very quickly.

No matter, it is a loss and when someone has Alzheimer's the family experiences a loss while that person is still alive, because they simply are no longer the same person. My mom really has not been "my mom" for about four years. Most of the time, she does know who I am. Like you, I spend my time with her trying to "bring her back"....it is so hard to accept their world, even though I have read it is better to step into their world than try to bring them back into ours, I still find myself desperately trying to bring her back.

Warm regards,
Miriam
Thanks Mimi. I was thinking the same thing as it seems in this situation Gran is deteriorating quickly whereas my paternal grandparent did not. She of course did not have a stroke either hence the question. I realize that Alzheimer's reacts on persons differently and at different times.

I cannot recall who had posted it however I did see something the other day on here with the stages of Alzheimer's and it got me questioning things like, where are we now and what can we expect. Does that sound silly? I was also wondering about Gran's stage because of what is actually happening with her now and if it is the Alzheimer's that is doing it or if it is the stroke or the combination.

The situation is very difficult as she has no control over her bladder or fecal. She now is using adult diapers and has been for quite some time.
Hi Poohbear,
If you go on www.alz.org, you can surf through some of the areas and find stages of Alzheimer's or just google "stages of Alzheimer's" and you will find information.

I was SO much like you, actually made myself nuts, reading for hours and hours on the topic, trying to figure out where my mom was, and where she was going. I have come to realize that NO ONE can really tell you exactly the stage, or what is to come. Alz hits every single person differently. Yes, there are some similarities but bottom line, everyone's journey is really different.

I have a friend who cared for her MIL who had Alz and she was able to talk until the very end and in fact recognized my friend and her husband and called them by name, yet, if you read about the stages, it will tell you that at end stage, they are incapable of talking.

There is a book "The 36 Hour Day" which I found to be very valuable, so much information and will probably help you through a lot of your questions. I would strongly recommend, though, that you not take that information as gospel. As I said, I drove myself nuts watching my mom, observing, trying to figure things out. The best advice I can give you is try to enjoy the moments with her and continue to let her know how much you love her...
be well,
Miriam

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