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Alzheimer's Assistance?

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John was speaking with his mother yesterday who informed him that their Community Nurse was concerned about his father. She thinks he is showing signs of progressive dementia.
Naturally, John is concerned for both of his parents. His father, Sean, is 93 years old and has had many health issues, not least battling cancer twice. His mother is 74 and consistently "wraps him in wool". She's always restricted what her husband has known about his illnesses.
When the nurse notified John's mum about her concerns for Dad, she dismissed them but then immediately after the nurse departed she rang John. I understand her apprehension and upset but she has refused to heed any advice given and won't take her husband to have the appropriate tests.
John is now concerned both for his parents, not least his father. I'm also, selfishly, concerned for him and me. I know for a fact that he's considered returning home for a few weeks on his father's death to help his mother. She will need assistance but I am hoping that he won't because she won't let him leave once he returns, that I am certain of.
He has a brother who shows interest, but not much support.

Anyone with similar experience, please advise me. I want to support both John and his parents but I also know that I risk losing him to his mother.
Thanks,
TE.
#1 - October 12, 2017, 06:22 AM

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I'm so sorry. I don't have any experience in this matter Thundering, but I want to send you extra hugs and prayers for what you're going through. It's terrible living with the fear of losing the one you love.  :flowers2
#2 - October 12, 2017, 11:05 AM
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I don't have any advice either, Thundering, but am sending all good wishes.
#3 - October 12, 2017, 05:43 PM
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My mom has Alzheimer's. It's been a horrific, sad journey.  You might want to tell his mother that time is of the essence to start medication which can slow the progression. At a certain point, there's not much you can do.  The medication only works in the early to mid stages. The sooner the better.

 I was there when the doctor gave my mom the initial screening.  The test has questions your MIL could actually give her husband if she's willing.  Like what is the year, where are we right now. She had to draw a clock showing "ten minutes before ten" and she couldn't do it.  They asked her to repeat the phrase "do as I say not as I do" (which I think requires short term memory to recall) and she couldn't do it.  You might be able to find all the questions on the test by googling.  Then if she sees for herself there are things he can't answer, she might be more willing to seek professional help.

It might also reassure her to know that most Alzheimer's/dementia patients don't remember they've been diagnosed.  My mom didn't.  (We're five years into the diagnosis now, and she can't talk anymore.  But when she could, she was either in denial or truly didn't remember.)  It's very tough.  She was only 65 when she was diagnosed. :(  Best of luck to your family.
#4 - October 12, 2017, 07:15 PM
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Hi Fiona,

I think you have to let John do what he needs to do. If you don't, he'll very likely resent you for it. If his mother can keep him there, you and he already have issues. Trust him. Warn him and set an ending date to his stay with his mother together (not with her, just you and he) but trust him.

Alzheimer's is tough. Symptoms can be caused by other things, including some meds. That might be worth a look. If John's mother won't seek medical advice, there's little you can do. But perhaps you can use the medication probably cause to get her to bring him to the doctor to investigate further.

Good luck. Stay strong together.
#5 - October 12, 2017, 07:59 PM

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I must clarify that I want to support John in whatever he needs to do to assist his parents. That goes without saying and of course, if he feels that he needs to spend time with his parents I won't stand in his way. That isn't my place. However, this has been recurring incidence in the 21 years we have lived with one another: his mother rings him every day to see if he has been eating. They are side issues.

The real issue is that she will complain but she won't hear of any suggestion of seeking assistance. This is having a traumatic effect on John because he is receiving at least four calls daily and there is not much his mother can tell him. Whether she permits her husband or not to take meds is most likely dependent on if she lets him have the initial tests.

I guess John and I are just frustrated that she consistently complains but refuses to heed advice. Her unwilling behaviour is hard on both of us. And if she pressurises him to return it may prove too much. She needs assistance from the proper systems but insists she can do it alone then she turns to John when she can't.

As for both of us staying in the house with parents, that's a no-no. She wouldn't hear of it. It's 1pm her and four calls have been made to John from her with no news.
The services are there and in place to assist when she needs it but she won't take it.
To be cliched, we're in a "rock & a hard place" situation.
It is approaching that stage where John will need to support his mother on his father's death. It is a sad fact that needs to be addressed which is made even worse when mother won't face it.
All of your support is greatly appreciated, by the way. It is ultimately losing John to his mother is what I fear. Hopefully, it won't happen, but a similar incident happened around fifteen years when he returned to rest after a bout of depression.
Hopefully it won't happen again, but if he returns to his mother's it is a possibility.
#6 - October 13, 2017, 05:23 AM

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It might be that John needs to set a hard line with his mother. Sometimes the best way to support someone is with the truth. She may hate him for it at first, but she'll thank him later. The truth I mean is that her own fears are getting in the way of her being able to care for her husband and of John being able to care for both of them. But you can't help if she won't let you.

Often times, people who are bullies really just need hugs. Not coddling though. A hug with the understanding of her fear and the statement that the family needs to go forward and have help. Also, it might be good for John to talk to someone professionally. Some communities have therapists who are specifically trained to help people manage this sort of situation. It could be worth looking into. Just because she won't get help doesn't mean he can't, even if just for himself in dealing with the situation.
#7 - October 13, 2017, 08:15 PM

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Thanks, Debbie.
As is the tradition on a Saturday, John went to visit his parents early this morning. He will likely return around three or four this afternoon...laden with food.
Despite his cognitive state, John's Dad does seem in good physical health, which has to be a positive sign, of sorts.
I'm hoping that his brother will assist with any support required, but generally, I think John decided a long time ago that it would probably be his responsibility to help his parents. Ironic, since his brother is a nurse.
Until (unless) Sean (Dad) has the required tests we can't really do anything except listen to his mother's ramblings and try to help in any way we can. I'm expecting John home in around three hours and I know he will be stressed. All I can offer is my emotional support.
Hopefully his mother will accept the same when the time comes, but it's looking unlikely.
Thanks.
#8 - October 14, 2017, 05:27 AM

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 Just an update: it was very bad weather here yesterday and both my parents & John's were without power for a considerable amount of time & obviously we were considered for all of them. John received several calls from his mother relaying her stress over the situation.
This morning he called their house phone to check on them & his father answered. He's completely coherent and his memory doesn't seem at all bad. John's mother had left for the village, leaving her husband alone.
So, while I realise that his father will need assistance, it is precisely how both John & I suspected: his mother is reacting a little too much, as she always does.
To quote John: "I'll go out when the time comes, but only then".
I was glad to hear him say that.
#9 - October 17, 2017, 05:19 AM

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Glad you seem to have made it through both the storms, Thundering.
#10 - October 17, 2017, 05:45 PM
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Glad you seem to have made it through both the storms, Thundering.

This indeed.
#11 - October 17, 2017, 08:31 PM

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We were lucky, indeed. Tiles and slates were torn off buildings and the county soccer stadium has been shredded.
It was a brief storm but it left its mark.
Our parents are safe. That is what I am thankful for.
#12 - October 18, 2017, 03:45 AM

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