Something Has Changed
By Joyce Guyett, Home Care Resources, Scottsdale LIVING WELL Magazine
You have finally come to the conclusion that you just can’t ignore what is happening in a loved one’s life. At first you joked and made light of your loved ones unusual forgetfulness, getting lost and some confusion. Surely, some of this is normal behavior that comes with age; I, myself, many years younger, have experienced some of these things.
Finally Grandpa, who has lived with this strong, beautiful woman for over 60 years tells you that there is no denying it anymore, something has changed. He needs help, which he never asked for in his life, even when living through the Great Depression. Grandpa takes the love of his life to the doctor for an evaluation to make sure that the behaviors she is exhibiting are not caused by some undiagnosed physical problem.
The doctor asks:
- Is she having trouble making decisions?
- Has she been confused about what time and day it is?
- Does she get lost in places she knows well?
- Is she having trouble learning and remembering new information?
- Is she having trouble finding the right words to say what she wants to say?
- Is she having difficulty performing daily tasks?
Grandpa agrees that she is displaying these symptoms, the doctor goes on to explain that he needs to learn about taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s, what he can expect, and how to make the most of the person’s abilities as they change. The doctor also tells him that knowledge can help him deal with new problems as they arise, and that at some point he may also need outside care as the disease progresses.
Grandpa is not fully listening to the doctor at that moment. He is mentally starting to go over the full implications of the news the doctor has given to him including how to handle insurance coverage and legal documents. He is starting to mourn the loss of the balance in his life. He is going to have to become a caregiver to the woman that has always been the perfect caregiver to the family, his right arm, his foundation, and the love of his life.
Grandpa did his research as suggested by the doctor. He found that being educated about the disease and bringing in a caregiver from an outside agency for respite care really helped him keep his health and allowed him to enjoy some quality moments with my Grandmother until she passed. He was able to keep his outside socializing and activities in place and to keep his mental and physical capabilities as healthy and normal as possible.
This story took place in approximately 1983. My Grandmother passed in 1995, she was 93 years old. Many years of research on Alzheimer’s has gone on since then. Research has explained to us what happens to our brains, that there are many variations to this disease, and that people can live many happy years with proper medical care and support.
If you or someone close to you is facing this same scenario, please know that there is a lot of guidance and information to help you in the new path you may be taking. Contact a medical professional for an evaluation if you, as Grandpa, did see changes in a loved one.
The Alzheimer’s Association is an excellent source of information; you can visit their website at www.alz.org. We are also privileged in Arizona with two of the most prestigious research and educational institutions in the U.S.: The Mayo Clinic, website: www.mayoclinic.org
and John Hopkins Medicine, website: www.hopkinsmedicine.org.
Having outside help would allow you to take a break from being a full-time caregiver. This also helps you to get necessary things done and provides you private time for yourself so you can keep healthy, active and give the care and nurturing needed.
To research what caregiver services can do for you, please visit our website at www.homecareresources.net. Feel free to call us at 602-443-4700 with any questions you may have regarding non-medical home care.
In Loving memory of Nora and Carl