Wednesday, April 6

Assessment time

How do I possibly express the destruction and devastation that Alzheimer’s brings? It literally is eating my mothers’ abilities and leaving her completely empty. How many of you have a loved one with this disease that is able to understand everything that is going on. She cannot do much of anything at all and yet she knows it. She told me tonight that she will die this year. She said that everything takes s o much energy and is so scary. She said when things are not flat or she has to walk over under or around things, it is hard. She feels that she will fall or that she does not have the strength to maneuver anymore. So I did some observations and here is my assessment.

Fine motor: She can no longer manipulate objects, knobs or small items. She cannot move her fingers independently. S he keeps her hands balled up more often now and even has difficulty wiggling her thumb in imitation. She cannot press things on or off and she can barely hold her pills or pick them up. She drops things constantly and does not realize it.

Gross motor: She can walk still but it is unsteady and shaky. She shuffles her feet and walks very slow S he can step over objects but not if the object is wider than four inches. She cannot step down even if it is a 3 in drop or less in some cases. She cannot walk backward is has difficulty with sitting on toilets, chairs or beds. Her coordination and balance are diminishing quickly. She can no longer lift one foot at a time.

Self Help Skills: She has no ability to care for herself. She is completely reliant on us and depends on us to do her hair, brush her teeth, and wash her hands. She never combs her hair or puts on deodorant. She cannot use a spoon without mass spillage and constant verbal and physical prompting. She does not participate in her bathing nor offers assistance with moving her arms/legs etc. I have to manipulate her body to clean or move her from place to place. When she is eating, she has difficulty with chewing, manipulating the food between her teeth and tongue, and swallowing. She cannot drink well either. E very now and then she snorts the liquid in her nose. She has trouble swallowing her pills.

Comprehension: She cannot follow simple one step directions and no longer understands directional positional and quantitative concepts. She understands her life, husband, family, children, and grandchildren. She still maintains a sense of humor. She enjoys pranks more than ever. She is more confused than previously especially with the hows and whys of everything. She has completely surrendered herself to us. For example, the other day she could not sit on the toilet so she peed standing up. She did not realize where the pee went or what she actually did. She now expects us to make her decisions and needs us to give her confidence in what she does. She has given us her complete trust and faith.

Behavior/social skills: Her behaviors have tapered off a lot from the past months. She no longer throws things and rarely screams as she did. She occasionally sees things from other people’s perspectives and does try to change herself to be better to people. She gets easily frustrated and will cry often. She has days when she is totally miserable and wants God to take her. She is tired of being a burden but realizes that God has a purpose for her even now. She believes that it is to save my brother and bring him back to Christ. She is passing my son now in regression. As he moves forward, she moves backward. The only area where she is still as an adult is in her logic and reasoning and understanding of life.

Today was really hard to watch as she spent three hours sitting on a toilet trying to go to the bathroom. When I arrived, she was so happy and silly. But after all that time on the toilet, she became sadder. She looked so pale and beat as I got ready to leave. I just wanted to hold her in my arms. Really what I wanted to do is to take her to Disney with my children or stay up talking about life. Share my frustrations, successes, dreams, hopes for my kids. Really I just want my mom back. She and all of us have lost out on so much and I wish it were different. But God is good and He does have a reason. I am just grateful I have Him in my life and that she does too. I cannot imagine going through this without Him and the peace that He surrounds me with.


Debbie said...

Hi, it breaks my heart to read about your family dealing with your dear mom. It was my experience dealing with my mother after 12 yrs. with Alzeheimers that God does have a purpose for them while they are mother did not even speak anymore but without uttering a word she was STILL teaching me.., She taught me, patience, compassion, and also about a kind of love that I never would have known had it not been for our situation..She was 97 yrs. old when she passed away on Christmas Eve and I feel her with me every day..I miss her so..Debie (Maine)

karen said...

Mom went throw this stage. She could not get her feet to move or knees would just buckle under her. My son would get behind her while I stood in front and pick up her feet one at a time and move them for her. It is like her brain forgot how to tell her feet to move. Good luck . I am in this with you. It is a long road.

Kimberly said...

Thank you Karen, I am starting to see that this will be a problem soon. I am not looking forward to that day. The one blessing (or curse depending on what way you look at it) is that she is progressing so quickly. Each day, each week she takes such huge steps down.

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