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yakkyetc posted:
Just joined this community. I'm the caregiver/daughter to my mother (for 17 months) who has been diagnosed with Alzheimers/Dementia. She was prescribed Namenda/Aricept combination and after two months showed no improvement. Mom no longer takes the Namenda but is still taking one dose of the Aricept daily.

Mom had cataracts in both eyes, her doctor rated her as a 10 on a scale of 1-7. Last Tuesday she had the first eye implant done, today was the first day she has noticed (& expressed) that she can see better such as the clock accross the room (didn't believe that it was 10:30am and she had just woke up) she could see the flowers outside in the garden (which she hadn't commented on for months.) The jury is still out (Dr. hasn't given us the verdict) as to whether he will proceed with the 2nd eye surgery tentaively schedule for early November. Mom is 85 years old and no longer expresses many pleasurers in her life. She shows little interest in TV (except for Music on PBS occasionally,) she no longer reads because of the lack of memory function. Mom still enjoys her food, sometimes I am astonished at the speed with which bananas and toast disappear from her kitchenette.

I have found that daily rides in the golf cart is something that gives her a sense of pleasure. It's open and the wind blows through her hair, we live in a community that is hilly and she likes the sense of speed we the cart picks up speed going downhill (it's electric and uphill is slow going for sure.)

It's frustrating to keep trying and to find so little that makes a difference for her. Working hard with little to show for it!
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cjh1203 responded:
Welcome to the community, yakkyetc. I'm sorry about your mom.

Alzheimer's medications like Namenda and Aricept don't normally improve symptoms, but they can slow the disease's progress. It's always hard to tell how well they're working because you don't know if the person would be worse without them.

One of the sad things about Alzheimer's is that patients often don't find a lot of pleasures in their lives, and even less so as the disease advances. It sounds like you've done well to find some things that do make her happy.

It's wonderful that she's been able to find joy in some new things since her vision has improved so much. If you think about it, if you couldn't see very well, it would be quite isolating and probably depressing, which would certainly affect your ability to find happiness.

Music can definitely be soothing and uplifting for an Alzheimer's patient. I don't know how often you play music for her, but maybe it would be worth a try to have it going in the background when she's awake.

Most Alzheimer's patients love talking about the past. Maybe you could interview her now and then, and record what she says. She would probably enjoy it very much, and it would be a nice record for your family to have. Or maybe the two of you could work on a scrapbook or photo album together.

Jigsaw puzzles can also be entertaining -- maybe one with sort of large pieces.

Does your local Alzheimer's Association or Senior Resource Association (or whatever it might be called where you live) offer day care or activities for people with dementia?

You might contact your Alzheimer's Association for other ideas.

Please don't blame yourself if it's hard to find things that bring your mom pleasure. Unfortunately, it's the nature of the disease -- making it worse is that a lot of dementia patients also suffer from depression. You seem to be making a real effort, and that's the best anyone can do.

I hope you'll continue to post here and let us know how things are going.

Best wishes-
Carol
 
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yakkyetc replied to cjh1203's response:
Thanks for your kindness. We're getting ready for a cart ride now. Actually mom likes JigSaw Puzzles. She also likes to play with the scrabble board.

I'll try more music, she has a lot of music available but doesn't remember that it's available. It just occurred to me that she has probably forgotten how to turn it on. I often get caught up in the daily necessities of cleanup. Thanks for the reminder!
 
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Judith L London, PhD replied to yakkyetc's response:
Hi yakkyetc,

Welcome to our community!

You're doing a great job! The fact that your Mom responded so well to the cataract surgery is good news - and if medically appropriate, advocate for the second eye while she can be so cooperative with the procedure. The better her senses are, the longer she will be able to relate to her surroundings, as you already observe.

Add walking with her to your regimen - and social stimulation, which is great at the day care centers for people with memory problems. Often attendees feel more at home when they are with others like them and there's a staff who can give you a break in figuring out ways to stimulatae her.The sooner you get outside support for her, the easier the stress for you since this is a long journey.

Look for a support group for you and you will find great ideas from others with the same issues. www.alz.org is a great resource.

Looking forward to hearing from you,
Judy


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