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My Granny

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My Granny

Postby Spiggy » Mon Apr 09, 2007 3:37 pm

Hello. I didn't really know how to title this post. I introduced myself in the 'intro' topic.

I am the 34 year old granddaughter of an 89 year old woman with Alzheimer's. She is my Mum's Mum, and she now lives in a nursing home which specialises in Alzheimer's. I'm writing this on behalf of my Mum really, as she would like to know more about other people's experiences, but she doesn't want to be a burden and she's not confident enough with computers to be able to use this forum.

Granny was in sheltered housing, with a flat to herself and a warden. This was about 5 years ago. She was first diagnosed with Alzheimer's after she lost the following:
Ability to tell the time.
Ability to recognise the values of coins and notes.
Became forgetful (would leave the stove on, etc), and confused about things.
Began to wander around town at night, until she was found by a good-natured member of the public or a police officer.
Regualrly insisted that people/neighbours were coming into her house and stealing/moving things around. She would have arguments with the neighbours, accusing them of all sorts of things.

Mum and Dad tried to take her on holiday, the journey was taken by car with frequent stops. Dad had a sattelite nav system in the car, which was switched on. At the end of the journey (a few hundred miles) Granny leapt out of the car and ran away accross the road, in a distressed state. She had got the idea into her head that the sattelite nav computer was controlling Dad (because it was telling him which way to go and he was obeying), and that he wasn't Dad any more but some imposter ('bad' Dad) who meant to harm her. She also thought that this 'bad' Dad had done away with 'good' Dad, and had convinced Mum to be with him instead of 'good' Dad.
After Mum went after Granny and explained to her the real situation, Granny didn't believe her. She would not let Dad into the holiday cottage, so he had to wait down at the local pub until Mum phoned him to say that Granny was asleep and it was 'safe' to come back.
In the morning Granny still believed in the 'bad' Dad, and would not accept food or drink from Mum or Dad, as she believed that they were trying to poison her.
They had to cut the holiday short and bring her home again. They contacted the doctor immediately.

After that, Granny was put into a residential assessment centre where she stayed for some months until the progression/level of her Alzheimer's was established, then a suitable place was found for her to recieve residential care.

The care home is only 10 miles away from Mum and Dad, and Mum goes to see Granny every day. Nowadays Granny talks mostly nonsense, but she does have short periods of lucidity (ie: only a sentence or two at a time, 5 minutes on a good day).
I live over the other side of the country to Mum and Dad, so I don't get to see them or Granny very often, but we are in telephone contact regularly.

A couple of weeks ago I went to visit her with my Mum and my sister, who brought her baby along to meet Granny. That went well - in amongst the nonsense Granny understood that this was her great-granddaughter. She was very proud and pleased to have her family around her, she was able to hold the baby for 10 minutes with no problems.
Baby needed a feed, and my sister and Mum left the room. I said I would catch them up, and stayed talking with Granny for a little longer. She seemed to be more lucid with me than with the other members of the family - we spoke about Grandad (who had died when I was 17), who she has not mentioned for years and years to anyone else - Mum had thought that she had forgotten about him!
But then Mum called me to leave - I didn't really want to as Granny seemed to be having a good time with me, but I had to go - Mum can't spend too long with Granny as it upsets her and she finds it very stressful to see her mother deteriorate as time goes by.

Mum has manic depression, and has been told by her doctor that she would not be able to look after Granny, which is why she can't spend so much time with her.

I wish that I lived nearer so that I could visit Granny more often, but money and time are short (I work in the community support area, which means low wages and long hours). I speak to Granny on the phone, but she is rather deaf, and refuses to wear a hearing aid, so I know that she doesn't hear much of what I say, even when I raise my voice.

Sorry about this, I'm rambling - here come my questions soon....

7 days ago Granny fell over in her room while Mum was visiting. An ambulance was called, and luckily Granny had not broken anything. After Mum and the ambulance left Granny fell again, this time she broke her hip. She was on the floor for 30 mins before staff found her (luckily, as if it had been a different time of day she could have been lying on the floor all night!).
She went straight to hospital and her hip was pinned. The doctors' plan is to give her physiotherapy to get her back on her feet, and then she can go back to the nursing home.
The trouble is, Granny is not sure where she is in hospital. Since the operation she has had no lucid moments at all, and is increasingly confused. She is very suspicious and thinks that people are trying to poison her again. So, she is refusing all food, drink, and medications. She has another urinary infection (she has always been reluctant to drink for fear of wetting herself, so she gets loads of these infections, which don't do her mind any good) because she will not drink. Doctors did put a drip in her arm, but she kept pulling it out, so they won't put another one in. She also tries to pull out her catheter. She has become violent with doctors and nursing staff, trying to bite and hit them.

I'm very glad that she was able to see her great-granddaughter before she broke her hip and took a turn for the worse.

I am wondering if there has been anyone else who has had similar experiences of:

Being told by doctors that you can't look after your loved one because you have a mental illness.
Alzheimer's patients taking a turn for the worse since being under anaesthetic for a major operation.

I think that's about it really, thanks for reading. sorry it was so long, but it all sort of flooded out!
Spiggy
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Postby libbylou02 » Tue Mar 11, 2008 10:29 pm

Uggh, Alzheimer's is such a terrible disease. A Couple of my Great Aunts have it, I dont see them much but I do work in a nursing home as a CNA , so many of my residents have Alzheimer's.

Many people think that the quailty of life for people who get this god awful disease is totally gone, but I disagree. Many of my residents live very happy fufilling lives ... in their own worlds of course, but most of them are very pleasent and cherry.

So don't let doctors tell you everything. Do what you and your mom see fit.

Thats the best advice I can give.
Two steps forward One step back... The story of my life....
libbylou02
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