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Alzheimer's

(7 Posts)
HolidayArmadillo Fri 12-Apr-13 20:12:57

My lovely Grandad has apparently been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, I say apparently as my grandma is a bit vague as to the outcome of an appointment with the consultant, he has had memory tests which he has done very poorly at and has been offered a tablet, although she can't remember what it's called, to help try and slow the progress of the disease down although she is aware that ultimately his mental health will decline no matter what. I'm concerned as my grandad seems to be unaware of this diagnosis and she won't talk about it in front of him and doesn't show him letters re his own health etc. I've tried to explain that he is more likely to become angry/upset if he thinks this info has been withheld from him rather than at the diagnosis. Also, if his memory is that bad than he won't blinking remember anyway [wry grin].

Any advice, how I can help, words of comfort etc? They have 3 children of which my mum is the eldest and I'm the eldest grandchild (30) so they have support but my grandma has never been the easiest of women and I'd say as a grandchild I've a better relationship than her children do with her, my grandad on the other hand is one of life's nice guys, gentle, witty, intelligent (and my grandmas enabler it has to be said) and he is adored by everyone he met.

I already help with paperwork side of things as well as Internet accounts etc and dealing with sky/gas electric company, they're both in mid to late 70's but my Grandad has always been the doer, who deals with things and my grandma is struggling with having to take on that role as he becomes too vague to undertake the simplest of mental tasks without becoming cross at his own confusion.

I guess I'm just after a bit of handholding and advice if its out there.

rowrowrowtheboat Sat 13-Apr-13 20:15:04

Sorry to hear that.

Sure there must be someone with experience out there.

Your Grandma is taking all of this in too, keep taking to her about it, she may have her reasons for doing things her way. Sitting in another room with a cuppa, may draw the details out, once you understand these, her thoughts, and your grandma feels listened to, she may become more open and you talk to you more about it.

HolidayArmadillo Sun 14-Apr-13 20:55:47

Doesn't seem to be anyone out there.

I will keep talking to her and hopefully she will start to open up.

Thank you.

sillymummy11 Sun 14-Apr-13 22:13:25

Hiya HolidayArmadillo. I have some experience of working with people with Alzheimers (I worked, until last month, for social services and most of my caseload was people with dementia). Also my Gran has had it for what must be over a decade now.

With regards your Gran not discussing the diagnosis with him- have you asked her why? Your Grandad will have been through a long assessment process to get his diagnosis, with explanations throughout about what is happening and why so he will definitely have been told many times that he has memory problems. I know that I have been out to see quite a few people who, when you mention their diagnosis, or even the fact that they have memory problems at all they will get very cross indeed and argue that there is nothing wrong with their memory at all thank you! Because quite often in their mind, there isn't! So, each time you bring it up, it is like a fresh accusation of inability/insanity. With people with dementia, often it is easier and indeed kinder to go along with their version of reality rather than contradict them. Your Granddad's self image could well be in the past- where he is independent and 'his old self'....it may sound horrible but having seen many people with dementia often those that are happiest are those that don't see themselves as having a problem.

I think you are doing completely the right thing offering to help your Gran with the practical matters such as banking She is going to have her hands full caring for your Granddad and all his appointments etc.

Also, talking to her as you said. I would try and find out (gently!) exactly what she is doing, and if there is anything she is finding difficult. I know a lot of older people are scared of asking for help as they are worried that their loved one is going to be put in a home. That doesn't tend to be the case any longer- residential care is a very very VERY last resort and most people with dementia live in their own homes. Depending on your area, your Gran and Granddad may be able to get help from Social Services- especially if your Gran is having to help with personal care (getting washed and dressed etc- even just talking him through it). I know a lot of people find the morning routines, in particular, a cause of much stress and sometimes having a support worker come in to help can make the day a lot easier. Your Granddad may be entitled to an assessment for support/assistive technology or other equipment, and your Gran is entitled to a Carers Assessment. The Carers assessment would look at her needs- I don't know how much caring she is doing, but if it is a lot she may well need a bit of looking after herself to ensure she is getting time off.

I think the most important thing you can do is be there for the both of them. Your Gran and Granddad are no doubt going through a difficult time- stick with them. I wasn't there enough for my Grandparents (they live hundreds of miles away but still) as my family were scared of the disease, and I was younger and dafter. It is the biggest regret of my life. I'm sure that you will do far better.

Millais Sun 14-Apr-13 22:32:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HolidayArmadillo Sun 14-Apr-13 23:33:00

Thank you everyone for responding, I'll have a read now, really appreciated.

Isabeller Sun 14-Apr-13 23:46:02

Hi Holiday I am involved with caring for DPs Mum who has vascular dementia. If he's been given a pill it sound likely it is Alzheimer's. At a similar stage I srated researching everything and that has helped a lot with managing as the illness progressed. Am almost asleep but will come back tomorrow.

Do look at the Azheimer's Society website. Good luck Is x

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