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MIL diagnosed with Alzheimers - what do I need to know?

(11 Posts)
MothershipG Thu 14-Mar-13 13:11:12

OK, so I've looked at the Alzheimer's Society website and I know we need to get her to sort out a will and a Lasting Power of Attorney asap, is there anything else?

She lives on her own so on a practical level should we get her to replace her gas cooker with an electric one?

She doesn't like using banks and only has a Building Society account where she draws out cash every month and pays all her bills that way so we are going to have to persuade her that is no longer a good idea!

She's not very sociable and has a tendency to be secretive and suspicious, even with those close to her, she has the default view that everyone is out to get her. sad

This is going to be a nightmare isn't it? confused

Any tips or experience or advice much appreciated.

acrabadabra Thu 14-Mar-13 13:17:41

Marking my place as I think we will be in your place soon enough sad
It's awful, isn't it. Is it an early dx or is she showing signs already? I seem to remember the suspicion/antisocial thing being early signs, or has she always been that way?

Sorry, no help but bumping for you.

Magimedi Thu 14-Mar-13 13:28:59

You have my sympathy. My mother had this dreadful disease & died 14 years ago.

Yes to will & enduring power of attorney & if you bring that into force asap you or your DH will be able to manage all her money for her & maybe just let her have a little cash.

I would not bother to change the cooker - she is just as likely to put an electric kettle to boil on an electric hob as to leave the gas on.

The suspicion paranoia is very common.

Music helps hugely, even in the latter stages.

As does taking the patient out for a drive. It's stimulation with no threat or need for action on their part.

If you can face it I highly recommend reading 'Keeper' by Andrea Gilles - an account of living with her MIL who had dementure.

MothershipG Thu 14-Mar-13 14:09:15

I'm worried that she'll switch the gas on and forget to light it and blow up the house! At least an electric kettle on the hob would 'only' be a fire. shock

She's always been secretive and suspicious with a bit of a persecution complex so I think this is only going to make her a lot worse!

We've just had the formal diagnosis but I've had concerns for a while.

Magi Did your mother live with you? If I'm brutally honest although I am fond of MIL I don't think I could have lived with her when she was well and I really couldn't now. [guilt] I don't think any of the other daughters in law would either, so I guess we will be looking at her staying in her own home as long as she can and then a care home, which she will hate. sad

digerd Thu 14-Mar-13 15:51:38

My DM was naturally a nice happy person who never had a bad word to say about anyone
and never complained.
After dad died she immediately lost her mind with grief and pulled the shutters down to protect herself from the pain. She was vacant with no expression in her eyes.
All her bills were put on direct debit. She had meals on wheels, but put it in the oven and forgot as she never felt hungry, often forgetting to put the oven on low. She would go to bed leaving the back door open and or a window open in summer. Once the gas fire was on very low, as she thought, but the gas had not ignited.
She always said she was managing and was very grateful for any help we insisted on.
A neighbour came in every day to watch Countdown which they played
together. For 10 years this continued, until Mum lost the use in her legs and had to go into hospital, then a home < which confused and distressed her greatly> and she died 3 months later of a stroke.

Magimedi Thu 14-Mar-13 16:30:58

Mothership - my mother did not live with me. I lived a long way from where she lived, boat crossing or flight necessary, & at that time had young DCs & OH in a forces type of job. She eventually went into a home & settled there quite quickly & was, in fact, happier there with a routine than she had been at home.

If she had lived with me I would have killed her or myself, I reckon. I don't feel guilty, the care home was good & she was far happier there, with expert care than I could ever have made her. It is an illness & there comes a time when specialist treatment is what is needed.

I really, strongly recommend you get in touch with the local branch of your Alzheimers Society & find someone there to talk to - it will really help you.

And I re-iterate about getting hold of a copy of 'Keeper' by Andrea Gilles.

PM me if you want to talk more than here.

MothershipG Thu 14-Mar-13 16:44:21

Thanks Magi the local branch is just around the corner from where I live so I will definitely do that! And recommend it to my brothers and sisters in law.

If I'm honest I'm not sure I'm brave enough for the book, I have a fear of dementia, it's my biggest age related fear, I've already mentioned to my DH that I will do my utmost to be supportive but I know I'm going to find it hard. And that sounds so self-pitying when it's not me or even my parent with this tragic condition. sad

Magimedi Thu 14-Mar-13 16:54:32

I can understand where your fear is coming from - I really can.

The only thing I can say to you that, in some ways, it is a disease that gets easier to cope with as it gets worse. It's still horrible & vile & upsetting but I found the worst bit was when my Mum still had some insight left & realised there was something wrong. She once told me the inside of her head felt "all fizzy". It was very upsetting as she got blanker & withdrew from us but not quite as awful. I feel I'm not expressing myself very well but I hope you see what I'm trying to say.

Don't read the book if you don't want to but do go & talk to people who are knowledgeable about the illness & do tell them about your fear, it's very common.

A very un MN hug - (((x)))

ChocsAwayInMyGob Thu 14-Mar-13 16:59:15

Interesting to read this thread. My MIL has Dementia. Luckily her partner cares for her day to day but it is difficult for him.

Lots of good advice on this thread, I will be reading it with interest.

My deepest sympathies to you all.

misspopsicle Fri 05-Apr-13 10:14:35

Hi there,
I've just come across this thread while doing an Alzheimers search. My MIL was officially diagnosed yesterday and even though we've had suspicions for a while, it's still come as a bit of a shock. She's always said what a horrible life she's had and I can notice this getting worse although maybe it's a reaction to her diagnosis. Her husband died 2 years ago and she doesn't really have anyone else close by. She's been ringing me over the past few weeks saying she doesn't know where she is or that she feels dizzy one day and the next day saying she just wants everyone to leave her alone as she's fine - I gather this is quite common. I'm trying to see her as much as possible but only managing once a day really, as I have 4 children to look after. I don't really know why I'm commenting, nice to share with people in a similar situation perhaps?

DowntonTrout Fri 05-Apr-13 10:21:40

This thread is a couple of weeks old so you may be better starting your own if there are things you want to ask.

There is also a very good forum on the Alzheimer's Society called Talking Point. Lots of good information on there and it is very supportive.

It's a horrible and very sad disease.

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