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    Alzheimer/Dementia Concern
    avatar
    kabing posted:
    On a recent visit to see my parents, my dad (who is 81 years old and has Alzheimer's/dementia) was always in a reclined position on the couch. He shaves, eats, etc. (which, I know is dangerous) laying down on the couch. It is also of great frustration to my mom, who is his current caregiver. Can anyone shed some light on this? I am thinking of informing his doctor of this latest development.
     
    avatar
    cjh1203 responded:
    Hello kabing-

    That is really dangerous for him to eat in a reclining position; I can see why you're concerned.

    How advanced is his Alzheimer's? If he's in an advanced stage, he may not be able to sit up on his own. Does your mother try to sit him up with his back supported? If he tries to just sit up on the sofa without anything to support his back, it might be very difficult for him to maintain that position. He could need some pillows behind him.

    It could also be that sitting up is painful for him. If she can get him to sit up, can she see a change in his facial expression that might indicate pain? It might be good to try to sit him up and ask if it hurts.

    This probably sounds off the wall, but is there a mirror in the room where he can see himself if he sits up? Alzheimer's patients often don't recognize themselves in a mirror, and may still picture themselves as being young, and when they see an old stranger staring back at them, it can make them very anxious and even afraid. That's why some Alzheimer's patients are afraid of showering and bathing.

    If it doesn't seem like any of those things are the problem, maybe your mom could make sitting up to eat sound like a fun thing -- tell him that today we're going to have a great meal at the table and when he's finished, there's a delicious dessert at the end. That kind of approach will usually work better than trying to reason with the patient, because he doesn't have the ability to understand that it's for his own good. If he watches TV all the time, she may need to bring a little one into the kitchen or wherever, so he can still see his programs.

    It's definitely worth mentioning to his doctor.

    Best wishes-
    Carol


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