• Alzheimer’s Reading Room HERE.
• Alzheimer’s Association HERE. He is in stage four of seven stages.
• Mayo Clinic HERE. He is in stage three of five stages.
On July 8, 2012 I posted Part One HERE. As in Part One, the red below is from the Family Doctor Organization, but the link in Part One seems to be broken. Nonetheless I want to credit these red descriptions.
• Recent memory loss. All of us forget things for a while and then remember them later. People who have dementia often forget things, but they never remember them. They might ask you the same question over and over, each time forgetting that you've already given them the answer. They won't even remember that they already asked the question. My husband is very conscious of his short-term memory and we use techniques to compensate. I have been working out in the yard and he has wondered where I am, upsetting to both of us because of course I had told him I had gone out. Now I have a sign that says Carol is outside.
• Difficulty performing familiar tasks. People who have dementia might cook a meal but forget to serve it. They might even forget that they cooked it. When I have left the house to substitute teach early in the morning, hubby would often forget to take his morning pills. I have been dealing with this aspect for quite some time now. For example, he kept the sprinkler on overnight some time ago. Fortunately Kenny comes in and the two gentlemen take their own pills together, with Kenny pointing out that he takes more pills than my husband does. No more forgetting lunch. Kenny comes over and fixes it for hubby and sees that he eats.
• Problems with language. People who have dementia may forget simple words or use the wrong words. This makes it hard to understand what they want. He does forget nouns, but really no worse than in July of last year. I have read about “word salad” and have been watching for that, but it hasn’t happened.
• Poor judgment. Even a person who doesn't have dementia might get distracted. But people who have dementia can forget simple things, like forgetting to put on a coat before going out in cold weather. Hubby's judgment is still fairly good. I am not sure if this is because I give him coconut oil, turmeric, and Ribonucleic Acid, but he has good judgment and often if something is arbitrary, or not to my liking, I bend to his suggestion. I do not need to get my way, unless something has to do with logic and safety. For example, I can talk him into a shower and shave with reason. You need showers so you do not end up back in the hospital with another Urinary Tract Infection, or You have to shave with your razor every other day or I have to use the trimmer on you.
• Problems with abstract thinking. Anybody might have trouble balancing a checkbook, but people who have dementia may forget what the numbers are and what has to be done with them. Has little to do with finances now, or will ask how we are doing financially. I tell him the IRS owes us our tax refund which should come by the end of the June according to our accountant, so we can make it through the summer when I work less. Hubby likes to take notes now on what is happening for the day. DH wants me to say only one idea at a time—to not switch subjects. I still have to work on telling hubby one idea at a time. Hubby is training me by how he reacts when I say too much.
• Misplacing things. People who have dementia may put things in the wrong places. They might put an iron in the freezer or a wristwatch in the sugar bowl. Then they can't find these things later. Sally has trouble with Jake misplacing things. Jake put his electric shaver in their RV for example. I thought "Alzheimer's" and suggested she look there and sure enough Jake was planning a camping trip in his mind and put his shaver there. "Thinking Alzheimer's", as Bob DeMarco on the Alzheimer's Reading Room suggests, helps you to help your loved one. So far he is not losing cell phones as he once did.
• Changes in mood. Everyone is moody at times, but people who have dementia may have fast mood swings, going from calm to tears to anger in a few minutes. DH can swear at other drivers when I am driving, as if that will help. As I noted in the last post, swearing is common in Alzheimer's patients.
• Personality changes. People who have dementia may have drastic changes in personality. They might become irritable, suspicious or fearful. Have yet to see much personality change. Love his sense of humor. Hubby is happy. Kenny often texts me while I am working that hubby is in a good mood. Linda Born calls it "pleasant dementia" HERE. I am accepting that loss of initiative and grateful for every little thing hubby willingly does. For example, to get our gas guzzler in the garage is a challenge now with bags of mulch to be spread in the yard. I have him direct me so I do not get too close to the bags of mulch. I thank him for his help.
• Loss of initiative. People who have dementia may become passive. They might not want to go places or see other people. Monday night hubby wanted to go to Toastmasters with me. On the way home from Toastmasters he said he doesn't want to attend this two hour meeting again, but worries about me being out in the evening. I said to him that we will work this out and that the LORD is our protector. He agreed. So glad for my husband's faith, and mine. Knowing that he has loss of initiative makes me not nag him to do something he used to do enthusiastically. Sometimes I just say to him that he and Jake are lucky they married younger women and pass inactivity off as part of the aging process.
I am so glad that I blog. The July 8, 2012 entry helps me see that my husband is really not going downhill quickly. Caregiver Kenny thinks that he will remain like this for several years.