Alzheimer’s is a difficult disease for elderly and their family members. It’s hard to watch your parent’s abilities and memory decline. No one prepares you for what you’re about to face. It’s hard because every case is different. Here are some of the unusual situations family caregivers have experienced.
Loss of Common Sense
Here’s an example of where common sense slips away. A woman in the mid-stages of Alzheimer’s found a group of turkeys in her yard. They’d wandered from a farm half a mile away. She started feeding them bird seed on the ground. After a day, they followed her up the deck stairs, followed her through the door to the three-season porch, and roosted on her furniture.
Her daughter arrived and found turkey droppings everywhere and a dozen turkeys living in the porch. It took a couple days to find where the turkeys belonged. Meanwhile, the woman was upset because she found these birds and therefore, in her mind, they were her pets.
It was hard to handle this as the woman took the loss of the turkeys as a real loss. Her need for companionship was real, so the family purchased an interactive cat. Now, the woman has the cat for companionship and doesn’t even think about those turkeys.
You might find it hard to imagine your parent shoplifting, but that’s another situation that Alzheimer’s disease can lead to. One English man got his morning paper and forgot that the rule is you pay for things you get in stores. When his family returned later that day, they were told he was banned from that store.
If your mom or dad live close to a store, it’s a good idea to go in and discuss your parent’s health. Leave contact information so that if your parent does end up in a store and isn’t paying, you can drive over and pay or get your parent safely back home.
Undressing in Public
It’s common for people with Alzheimer’s to lost inhibitions. One man took his mom to the beach for a walk. With the sun beating down, she became hot. While he was taking a photo of a tide pool, she took off her pants. She was hot, so she was doing what came naturally when you’re overheating.
When this happens, you can’t overreact. Your mom or dad doesn’t have an understanding of modesty anymore. Don’t scold or say it’s inappropriate. Instead, help her get dressed and make up an excuse if necessary. You could say you’ve noticed she’s getting a sunburn or that it’s time to go and have lunch.
As Alzheimer’s progresses, you can’t leave your parent alone. Your mom or dad will need a caregiver to monitor their activities. Home care services can cook meals, walk or drive your parent to the store, and offer respite care when you need to take a break. Learn more by calling our home care services agency.