Every family’s experience with Alzheimer’s is unique. There may be similarities with the things your parent does or says, but there are things you’ll never expect. Don’t let these unexpected moments catch you off guard. They may never happen, but if you’re prepared for them, they cannot catch you off guard.
Many Things Get Hidden
This happens regularly with people who have Alzheimer’s. They start squirreling away valuable items and even non-valuable items. You have no idea where you’ll find things, and you’ll spend a lot of time looking for them.
One family found their mother was cleaning the cat litter and putting the clumps in a box of powdered laundry detergent. That box of detergent was hidden behind the water heater. Their mom also removed the access panel to the bathtub pipes and was hiding bras in there.
Others have found wallets in freezers, eyeglasses in the refrigerator deli drawer, and toiletries balled up in socks in the trash can. It’s best to remove anything of value, such as credit cards and passports, and tuck them in the safe.
Hoarding Patterns Kick In
People with Alzheimer’s may start hoarding items. You are helping your mom clean and find she has 12 bottles of dish soap. She insists she needs them all. If you try to reduce her stock, she becomes angry.
Toddler-Like Behavior Happens
Imagine taking your mom for a walk around her neighborhood. When you return, she denies it’s her house and refuses to go inside. Nothing you do or say will convince her that’s where she lives. If you try to lead her in, she starts yelling before going into a full meltdown with tears and sobbing.
Your dad asked you to make him a tuna salad sandwich. Ten minutes later, he’s saying he never asked for that. He hates tuna. It’s another situation family caregivers have experienced. You will come across foods she loves. Be prepared to whisk away one meal to store for later and swap for his favorite food. Bananas, yogurts, granola bars, and other sweet items tend to be very appealing to someone with Alzheimer’s.
These and other issues you face when you care for a parent with Alzheimer’s become exhausting. Most of the time, you simply agree to avoid agitating your mom or dad.
Home care is not to be overlooked when you have a parent with Alzheimer’s. As tempting as it is to save money and handle all of their care and supervision on your own, you will burn out. Call a home care agency to talk about respite care services and how caregivers can help you care for your mom or dad.