Things To Watch Out For .......

marylmiNovember 14, 2009

My husband has Alz. and I have seen him do some things that I would never have thought to watch out for. Maybe this will be of help to someone else that is a caregiver. What prompted this post, was at dinner tonight, I noticed my husband kind of chewing on something in between bites and I could hear a slight noise, which I thought was a filling that had fallen out, as he grinds his teeth a lot..or a crown had fallen off. I got a napkin and had him spit it out was a penney!! How he managed to not swallow it I don't know..but thank God he didn't!! I don't know where he got it or how long it was in his mouth.

I have caught him trying to put a toothpick in his ear, brush his teeth with antibiotic cream, eat a candy wrapper, throwing paper towel in stool. Of course after each of these incidents, I watch him closely so it doesn't happen again....but something new always comes up, like tonight. I have never read anywhere about these types of things. I don't think the Alz. website even has things such as these to watch out for. If so, I must have missed it.

If anyone can add to this, please do so. I never would have thought he would do that and will now keep any change away from him.

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They forget everything. My husband was forgetting to wipe and how to wipe when I told him to. Someone told me today they eventually forget how to swallow and can choke to death. I was prepared for him to wander, but he didn't. I did put a cast iron bench in front of out bedroom door with it closed to keep him in. He lifted it and left the room one time so I hung a small wind chime on it, that would wake me up. He never tried to leave the home or yard. If it is possible to have an easy time with an AZ patient I did. My husband was fine in the mornings, I could run my errands as long as I got home by 3 PM. He had sun downers and that is when he got confused. He had so much fun in the evening going through all the drawers in our bedroom. He would forget by the next day and go through them again. He forgot who I was and my name, but when I entered the room at the hospital or care home his eyes filled with tears, so he knew I was the one he loved and that I loved him. When someone ask him my name, he said he didn't know "I just call her my lady".

    Bookmark   November 14, 2009 at 7:29PM
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Connie Kru

I use to put a large bunch of Christmas type jingle bells on my Mother-in-law's walker when I could not be where I was watching her. I especially did this at night. She would reach for the walker and the bells would ring and if she tried to remove them they would ring also.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2009 at 8:02PM
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maime and connie-k..... those are good tips. Thanks for responding. My husband never tryed to leave the house or wander off and now he needs help walking as his balance is bad, plus he has arthritis in one knee and I notice him limping more as he walks. He loves apples but a week ago he had a piece caught in his throat which he finally brought up. So no more apples- have to use applesauce or apple juice, also I don't give him any raw vegetables. I will also grind his thanksgiving turkey portion as he did get a piece caught several years ago and the chance of that happening would be greater now. So many things to worry about!!!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2009 at 3:06PM
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Mary, I remember about three years ago when my mother was first showing definite signs of dementia. She was still living in the assisted living section of her place. One day as I was straightening her end table, I went through her "odds & ends" box. She always had bobby pins and emery boards and other small items in it. You can imagine my shock when I discovered an old fashioned two sided straight shaving razor blade. When I asked her what in the world it was for, she calmly answered,"It's for cutting my corns."

Now here was a woman with severe arthritis in her hands so manipulating any small objects was difficult. Plus she also had severe macular degeneration in both eyes so her vision was horrible. But she was still determined to cut off her corns! Needless to say, I made a thorough search of everything in her small assisted living apartment and removed all the razor blades I could find. I also alerted the AL staff about my discovery.

Yet, a few weeks later, I found another razor blade by her end table. I have no idea how she got a hold of it. Again, another search. Talking to her about the dangers of cutting herself and bleeding profusely were useless. All she said was, "I used to do it all the time." Reminders about her arthritic fingers and poor vision were useless too.

I sure sympathize with you. It's simply impossible to anticipate everything an Alzheimer's sufferer will do or get a hold of.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2009 at 3:08PM
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Connie Kru

Has your husband had a Swallowing Test or evaluation done.
You might ask you Dr. about it.
My Mother-in-law had to have lots of her food thicken so that she did not aspirate one it. This helped her quite a bit.
I will also remind you that taking care of a loved one is work and you need to pace yourself. If you don't have some help make sure you look into it-Give yourself some ME TIME.
If you don't you will be sick yourself before you know it.
I was younger and taking care of a parent and I needed me time, I know that if I was now taking care of my husband, I would need it even more.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2009 at 4:09PM
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shambo....OMG, just the thought of her having that razor blade in her hand gives me the shivers! Thank goodness she didn't cut herself. Even the bobby pins could have been disasterous had she put one in her ear., I don't think he ever had a swallowing test unless the neurologist gave him one. I'll ask the next time he goes. I am finding out now that I need some time for myself. I am the only one to take care of him (he is 77 and I am 66). I had a neighbor lady come over today(she does home care) and she will come next week and spend a few hrs. with him so I can do some shopping, etc. I am already worrying if something should happen (falling) but I know I need some down time and she is capable, although she doesn't have any Alz. clients. I have told her about the apple and penney incidents.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2009 at 7:26PM
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yikes, I need a rest....I just noticed I spelled penny wrong! :)

    Bookmark   November 15, 2009 at 7:32PM
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I'm just visiting here but thought I'd add what a friend's mother did while living with my friend. She collected scissors. Friend had no idea, but she managed quite a collection periodically, after friend had disposed of them. She also put a small blanket over a lamp and it smoked and nearly caught fire. After that, and some hired caregiver assaults, they had to take her to a live-in facility, where she would periodically set off the fire alarm that was in the hall outside her door. The fire dept. finally said they were going to have to charge the facility for false alarms.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2009 at 6:14AM
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My MIL once draped a cotton kitchen towel over the gas stove top "to dry". TG I was right there because I turned around just as it erupted into flames from the pilot lights.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2010 at 4:23PM
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Thankfully, haven't (yet?) had any of this stuff. However, constant vigilance is required once even mild dementia sets in. Hard to determine where the person's at mentally after that. It waxes and wanes. Confusing because the person looks the same, sounds the same but there's just no telling what's going on upstairs.

My deal with mom (97) is forgetting where her walker is and schlepping around looking for it -- even though she can barely walk without it and can barely see anyway. Trying to "help" in the kitchen with sharp objects or anything having to do with the stove. Forgetting to clean up after using the toilet, etc. Constantly being alert for indications of her present "status" can be exhausting all by itself!

She doesn't have a mean or devious bone in her body. Never has. Her brain just isn't working right anymore. It's almost like having to watch a toddler except at least she moves slowly.

What to watch out for? Almost everything, almost all the time!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2010 at 5:12PM
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