Oct 5, 2010

Alzheimer's Disease Strikes Close By -- Again

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

I want to be careful here to maintain confidentially. Let's just say that once again dementia has struck nearby. In my neighborhood and with someone I know.

As I am sure you will understand this is disheartening and disconcerting.

Ironically, this is happening while we are discussing Jane the wife, Bob the husband with dementia, Sheila the caring daughter, and Carole Larkin the geriatric care manager.

Once again, in this case, it is the 84 year old husband. The wife is 80 years old.

As is often the case, the wife has no real understanding of what is happening nor does the family. At least I doubt the family has any understanding since this husband and wife team just returned from an extended stay up North with family and friends.

Today, I observed the husband and I could tell instantly that their was a problem. Let me put this in, I am not a doctor. So these are my observations and thoughts based on experience.

As soon as the wife had a chance, she started vented about the bizarre behavior of her husband. Many of the things you might imagine. Getting up in the middle of the night more than once to eat. Sitting around and staring at the television for hours at a time with no real recognition of what he is watching.

And. And, wandering off aimlessly in stores. Repeatedly.

The wife actually said to me, he doesn't do anything. I have to do everything. He is wearing me out.

I can say at this point the "old gent" is very docile. Whew. Kinda weak and docile. He is now walking with a cane and/or a walker. He does not seem to be displaying any anger. Not yet anyway.

Sadly right now, he is not really "there".

Already he told me he talked to me a few days ago about a problem they are having. Well that was not possible, they just arrived here today. He did mention this to me almost immediately after they arrived this morning. He told me the same story again when I was taking them to the grocery store.

It seems I have my work cut out for me. In other words, time to practice what I preach.

Part of the problem here, I don't know them very well. I rarely spoke to them in the past, although I have seen them 100s of times. I don't know any of the members of their family, or any of their friends. As far as I can tell, they don't have any good friends down here in Delray Beach. So, I can't go in through the side door, or through family or friends that are already worried.

I will be thinking about this a great deal over the next week.

Your comments, advice and insight are welcome in the comments section below this article.

Thanks in advance.

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Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. Bob has written more than 1,880 articles with more than 95,100 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.

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Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room