When your mom is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, you may not know what’s to come. Take a closer look into a family caregiver’s experience with this devastating disease. You may decide that the helping hand of home care services is right for you.
The Early Stages of Alzheimer’s
During the early stages, you start to question if something more than age-related forgetfulness is happening. It can take several visits with a doctor before determining that your mom’s memory loss isn’t just part of menopause or aging.
Similar, But Not the Same
No two cases of Alzheimer’s are identical, so your mom may not have all of the symptoms you read about, or she might have others you weren’t expecting. Joining a support group is valuable. More experienced members can answer your questions or share similar experiences.
Your mom is going to ask the same question over and over. Is it frustrating? Sure, but it’s not her fault, so you cannot try to correct her. Just answer the question every time she asks it.
No More Driving
Your mom’s medical team may recommend taking away her keys now. She won’t like it. She may view it as a loss of independence, but it’s necessary. Her reaction times may not be quick enough, and she may forget how to get from Point A to Point B. You don’t want to get a call that she’s lost and has no way to get home or even where her home is.
The Middle Stages of Alzheimer’s
Your mom’s temperament may also change as the disease moves into the middle stages. She cries more and becomes easily frustrated. When she is frustrated, she lashes out at you. It’s hard to have a parent who was your best friend suddenly tell you she hates you and wishes you’d go away forever.
Mobility and Vision Changes
Your mom’s mobility and vision may begin to change. She falls more and has a more challenging time walking up and down the stairs as her depth perception isn’t the same. She may have a more challenging time seeing contrast, so she becomes fearful when walking on checkerboard tiles.
Asking for Family
Don’t be surprised if your mom starts mistaking you for her sister or mother. She may ask her parents or siblings a lot. Act like they’re alive and well and just on vacation somewhere. Reassure her they’ll be home soon.
The Late Stages of Alzheimer’s
In the late stages, your mom’s fine motor skills diminish. She may need a walker and extra support from home care aides when moving around the home or taking a shower.
You don’t always think about things like the foods you serve, but you need to. Your mom will have difficulty using a fork, spoon, or knife, so switch to finger foods like tuna sandwich quarters, applesauce pouches, yogurt tubes, potato wedges, fish sticks, and chicken fingers. Banana slices, cubes of ripe peaches, and kiwi are other good options. If you serve vegetables, make them softer.
It’s not unusual to find your mom becoming bedridden. Instead of showers, you’ll move to sponge baths. Keep moisturizing her skin. A cup with a straw can help her stay hydrated.
Caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s is mentally and physically exhausting. Make sure you support your well-being by having time each day for self-care. Home care assistance ensures you can take breaks as often as needed. Call a home care assistance specialist to schedule services.