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September 28th, 2016

Aging with Grace…

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Caregiving is a challenging and rewarding experience that at times doesn’t receive the recognition and acknowledgement it deserves. This quote seemed appropriate:

“People will forget what you said,
People will forget what you did,
But people will never forget
How you made them feel.”
- Maya Angelou

Q. My husband has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s; is this illness the same as dementia?
Thanks,
Mary

A. Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia which is an umbrella term for illnesses involving memory loss and impaired thinking. Illnesses under the dementia umbrella include, but are not limited to, Alzheimer’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease. About 50 to 70% of all dementia cases are diagnosed as being Alzheimer’s, which is a very specific form of dementia with symptoms of impaired thought, impaired speech and confusion. A good resource for Alzheimer’s information/questions is the Vermont Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org/vermont.
Regards,
Grace

Q. I’m caring for my wife who is pretty far along with dementia. Most of the time she’s fairly mild mannered and pleasant, but lately she’s really ugly and uncooperative when she first wakes up in the morning. Sometimes her bad mood lasts for an hour or so. Got any suggestions?
John

A. This bad mood could be caused by a number of things; listed below are some common reason and solutions for you to try. If these don’t help, please consult with your wife’s doctor as there may be other underlying issues.

- Pain and stiffness from arthritis really affects people in the morning. Try arranging her morning so she can sit calmly with her breakfast for an hour or so before attempting anything else.

- Low blood sugar levels and hunger can also cause behavioral problems. Before she gets up and starts her day, try offering her some juice when she first wakes.

- Waking up and starting the day can be hard for those with dementia. It may simply take them longer to go between sleeping and waking. Try starting the day with quiet music and allow your wife to wake up slowly. Leave any bathing or dressing until after she sits quietly and eats her breakfast.
Best wishes and I hope these suggestions help,
Grace

If you have topics you’d like more information on or questions you’d like answered, please email me: DearGrace@pibarre.org or write me: Dear Grace, c/o Project Independence, 81 N. Main Street – Suite 1, Barre, VT 05641-4283

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