Tell me your thoughts on: When a Parent KNOWS they have Alzheimer
OK here goes:
My Mom just diagnosed after comprehensive visit with memory clinic. Early to early Moderate.
Was on Namenda, now Aricept added with goal to titrate up to 10 mg, so far she tolerates the 5 mg.
Mom knows she has it. She is living at the Independent wing of a senior community and loves it. She's been there since August (some of you know we just sold her condo, if you read the buying and selling forum). She even discusses it from time to time with the other seniors there, and they all say, "honey, none of us remember anybody's names!"
She still walks, bathes, takes care of 2 cats, dresses properly, toilets, takes the center's bus to coumadin clinic BY HERSELF, and no inappropriate behavior so far... but she forgets names, and the appointments better be on her calendar!
I was a tad surprised, though, when the doctor told me she basically scored a big fat ZERO on MOST but not all the tests.
The doc also told me that from time of diagnosis until death is an average of 7 years, and Mom is 78. She said 7 years because most people (like Mom) have co-morbid diseases, like Mom has atrial fibrillation of the heart (hence the coumadin), controlled hypertension and cholesterol, and glaucoma (OK that won't kill her, but her vision is impaired to a degree).
She is happy, does her art, has good appetite, enjoys meeting the friends.
Questions for you all with early Alzheimer's parents:
Do they seem better than what their doctors led you to believe, at the time of diagnosis?
Her doc told me that most likely, she'll come down with a pneumonia some year in the future, and that will be the nail in her coffin. She also told me to consider having a DNR in place at the senior community in which she lives...so if she doesn't wake up in the AM, and they call the medics, if she is dead, they won't revive her. I have not done that yet....she is still too with it, IMO. Although I suspect if I did resuscitate her, she'd probably have a further insult and brain damage, and require long term care of a more diligent nature, so I can appreciate the doctor's advice.
Do your folks talk about it to you? Do they say to you "geeze, I feel like a jerk for not remembering that, of course we just talked about what Christmas presents I want to give my great-grandkids....now that you reminded me of what we decided".
Look, I know it won't get better. I've already told all the siblings and grandkids that she is as good as she is EVER going to be, so do stuff with her now.
I'm looking for discussion with those of you who are caring for parents who know they aren't mentally all there anymore.
FWIW, she does have all her papers, wills, POA, health care surrogate in order, thank goodness.
OK, Let's talk!