Sigh! We are living through stuff that's 50-60 years old - Steve Saunders Goldwing Forums

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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-12-2008, 09:50 PM Thread Starter
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I've mentioned a time or two that my FIL is 87 years old and in 3rd stage Alzheimers.

I've been told they call it Sundowner's Syndrome, but almost every night we go through a litany of "I'm going home, I need to go see mom, or My Crew needs me to check up on them (been retired for 32 years)."

Tonight it is his old farm place which was sold 40 years ago and has had 3 different families in it since then. It is where he was born and raised and he got it from his parents. He's looking for his car keys (no DL for over 3 years now) and if he had them, he would get lost or involved in a wreck.

Every night we go through the same thing about "How did I get here?, where's Margaret (his wife) and I need to get back to My Crew (he worked at GE in the electric motor shop for 30 years).

It is so sad, and there isn't anything any of us can do for him. Except to protect him and keep him comfortable. But the arguments just as we put him to bed are getting to be a strain. My wife has finally just let loose on him a few times and tells him what he will and won't do. I'm not sure how long she is going to be able to keep it up.

~ John

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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-12-2008, 10:47 PM
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Yup, John, sounds like FIL Frank... He went through that too... With him, he was mixing actual events, multiple different ones, to get new ones. A train ride, picking cotton, and a whoppin by pa, became I got whopped by pa for not picking enough cotton, so I hopped a train and got out of there...

Its easier when you remember they didnt choose to be like this.

Best wishes for peace, for all involved...

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-12-2008, 10:57 PM
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No easy answers on this one. We had the same with Mum, eventually my brother and sister (in the UK) couldn't cope and we put Mum in a Seniors Home, but after a while they couldn't cope either and asked us to make other arrangements. Fate intervened and she caught pneumonia before we had found anywhere, but it was a tough year.


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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-12-2008, 11:06 PM
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My mom is 92, happy as a lark, but very what they call demitia. She wants me to take her home (she is home in CA for some 40 years) to North Dakota where she was raised on the farm every day and wants to know where Bill is (her husband). But you know, she waited on me hand and foot when I was little, changed my diapers, etc. etc. Now it's my turn. My kids will be doing the same thing I suspect. What goes around comes around.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-13-2008, 05:45 AM
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I went through the same thing John, and I wish I could tell you that it will get better, but I can't. You are going through the toughest part because he still understands enough to get completely confused.

This is when he needs you the most to keep loving him and be as patient as you can with those crazy situations. It's a great thing that you are letting loose with people here who can help and hear you out, because you NEED to let it out; but not at your FIL or your wife. We'll keep the prayers coming your way John!!

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-13-2008, 06:12 AM
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The lady that used to live next door to us is now in a special care home at age 75ish. You couldn'tdream ofa better neighbour for over 25 tears. Our daughter calls her Aunt.

Three years ago she started having problems walking and the deterioration has progressed to her being in a wheelchair hardly able to feed herself and wearing a diaper. Her speech is affected as well. She still has her intellect but she knows the degeneration will soon take her mind.

She lives to see her two grandchildren and the family is as good with visiting as one can expect considering that they have their own lives to live as well.

She cries when we arrive to visit her and even more when it's time to leave. Her life is a small room with the basics and a TV. It's a good facility butit has limitations to staff as do most places. There is little to talk about and the visits are uncomfortable. It's like visiting a prisoner in a jail without bars.

Maybe the uncomfortable feeling stems from the possibility it might be me in that wheelchair some day.


I don't know what to say about your situation. The continued demand is hard on the nerves and people can say or do things under the stress that they later regret. When it's a baby you know they will outgrown the special needs and approximately when. You have no such future with your FIL. there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

You and your wife need help as well. At some point you may have to limit your exposure to the problem. It isn't an easy decision because you are too close to the problem. A councillor is needed to see the overall situation from a third party viewpoint. Do it now.

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-13-2008, 06:19 AM
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You and your wife are in my prayers, strength to you both in doing the right thing by Dad...

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-13-2008, 06:26 AM
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Our prayers are with you too.

My mother is in her early 80's and still lives on her own, but just a couple blocks from my house. All my brothers live next door to her.

Nancy, my daughter and I help her with everything we can. She doesn't drive, so we take her to the Dr. and shopping.

I can only remember one of her siblings that had Alzheimers and we pray she doesn't get it.

You and your wife have my greatest respect for the care you're giving your FIL.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-13-2008, 10:24 AM
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It's very hard at times I know to put your feelings into words, and this is one of those times for me....My father passed away from a very fast and deadly form of cancer, my mother at his funeral was very calm and composed..This should have been an awaking call for those of us who were close to mother, but we just figured she was in denial, and that she would do her grieving in private, as she was a very private person....In the next few months and years she progressed into 1st stage Alzheimer's, or dementia, as her Dr. said....

Finally a day came when she was no longer able to live with my two brothers,Roger and Jerry...Roger owns 30 acres on the highest point in the county where he lives, surrounded by thousands of acres of forest...My mother would get up in the middle of the night. slip out of the house with her small bag packed, get in my brothers truck and he would find her there asleep most times....Our worry was that she would one day walk off into those woods and we wouldn't find her, until it was too late....

We, all 7 ofher children,got together and decided that Mom needed more help than we could, even with a visiting nurse could provide...Mom needed 7-24 care.....It broke our hearts to put Mom in a nursing home, but she was treated well and seemed to be doing better.. We would for the first year or two, go get her and take her out to my brothers, out to eat,or to the lake to go fishing, she loved to fish....Plus Roger and Jerry would take turns going everyday after work to visit with her....

Then in a freak accident Mom fell out of bed one night and broke her leg and hip, when they did the surgery, she caught a virus, we are not sure how but that virus more or less finished her.... because from there she went down very fast....the last, almost two years she lost all will to live, even with all the visits from all of us...I guess it was a blessing or a curse, I favor my father quite a bit, only heavier, but she would recognize me as my dad, and she would ask about her brothers, her dad, and friends most of them gone for over 25 years, and chat with me till she would go to sleep....

Its hard on everyone, I know been there done that, but this I can tell you, you can only do so much before its time to seek full time help for them, whether it's a nursing home or what ever but there comes a point to where you have to realize that you have done every thing with in your power and get him the help he needs..

I wish I had the answer you seek, but as a child of a parent that went through this curse of growing old I can only say that my prayers are with you, your Dad and your family.....I don't know if I could go through that again.....There is no easy answer my friend easy answer at all.....



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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-13-2008, 11:06 AM
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as said, no easy answers.... my mom died of alzheimers a couple of years ago... just remember, the "agitated periods" do seem to resolve, although when you are in the midst of them, they seem forever, and redirecting is the best approach

you two are to be commended for taking care of him and not dumping him into a nursing home
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