Aug 28, 2011

Reader Seeks Advice on Alzheimer's Care

Please someone give me some advice, we don't want to send my dad to a home. We are a close family and we never want to do that.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

A new reader is seeking insight, advice, and support.

Below you will read her words, and my off the top of my head comment. If you would like to comment, please keep your responses brief and on track.

In a situation like this, its best to be short, so that we don't overwhelm the family. When caring you have to go one step at a time. You can only absorb so much information at any one time.

Use the Comment Box below this article to interact with this reader.

Subscribe to the Alzheimer's Reading Room

From Nanette.

My father has Alzheimer's not sure why some people can't just say that word. M

My mother is my dad's caregiver everyday, me and my sister and one of my brothers also take care of him like doctors appts.

I just found out today my dad had a bad day, my mom said he was just standing in the middle of the hallway with this weird look on his face and told my mom where am I. This just made me cry that was the first time he has ever said that. He also said to her that he wanted to hurt himself which I'm so sad about and worried about. He has a doctor's appt in 3 days to see a Psychiatrist not sure for what.

I hear that men get violent verbally and physically is that true? I'm new to this.

Please someone give me some advice, we don't want to send my dad in a home. We are a close family and we never want to do that.

This is my off the top of my head response. My main goal was to get something out via email.


I read your comment under the article, What is worse Alzheimer's or Dementia? Are they Different?

This is my off the top of my head response.

Each case of Alzheimer's is different so its impossible from a distance to speculate on what might happen.

Let me start by saying, your Dad is surrounded by his family. This is a good thing. There is no substitute for this.

Some of this might sound odd.

First, when you go to the doctor will you have them check each time for a urinary tract infection. Men can get this type infection. Sometimes, an infection can cause dull looks or mean behavior. Most Alzheimer's patients cannot tell you when they are sick.

Second, if possible will you try to see if you can get your dad out each day and into some bright light. If the weather is cold or bad you can get bright light in a store like Walmart or Target. Keep the curtains and blinds open during the day. If you have a good window with bright light coming in this is a good place to sit.

Third, Alzheimer's patients do best when they get exercise. The treadmill is very good. Or, long walks. My mother is often dull and in a bad mood before she exercises. In a much better mood after.

Fourth, if each of you can't see your father each day, please try and call and talk to him. Communication is important. Being around other people is also important. If friends can call or visit that is also effective.

I understand what you mean by why can't people say the word -- Alzheimer's. It can be disconcerting. Don't worry about what you can't control. Worry about keeping dad going and attached to the real world.

Exercise, bright light, activity, communication, and reassuring your dad by hugging him and holding his hand are the best ways to try and combat mean or bad behaviors, and to keep the person living with Alzheimer's attached to the world.

Sounds like you and your family really care. This is the first and most important ingredient.

Do your best, hope for the best, and pray.

This will bring to all of you the best outcome possible.

More Insight and Advice for Caregivers

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room