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Alzheimer’s Highs & Lows: The Difficulty of the In-Between

Judie Rappaport
April 21, 2015

Dear Judie:

One day my Alzheimer’s Mom (88) seems happy and hugs me; the next day she stares at me and says, “Who are you? How did you get into my house?” Can I prevent these monstrous highs and lows?

- Tim, Ft. Pierce

Dear Judie:

At breakfast Dad (84) and I discussed his investments; two hours later he couldn’t remember how to write a check. Is this normal for Alzheimer’s?

- Frank, PSL

Dear Judie:

I have no idea what my Alzheimer’s Dad (79) will do on any given day. Some days he seem fine, some days he can’t find the bathroom in our house so he pees in the pot with the corn plant. I never know if Alzheimer’s has permanently taken over his mind or he’ll be “fine” again the next day. This is a living hell.

- Pat, Vero

 

Dear Tim, Frank, & Pat:

You’re describing a place called “in between”—one of the most difficult periods in the disease process. At this stage, patients sometimes appear to be able to make safe and sound decisions for their safety, financial matters, self care, and everyday activities of daily living. This is an illusion: Alzheimer’s impairs the brain very early the process, long before families recognize or acknowledge the danger signs. As the disease progresses the clarity of “good days” will vanish. Patients are at high risk in this stage: they cannot recognize a scam from a legitimate offer, suffer dangerous adverse reactions from incorrectly managing their medications, may allow strangers into their homes, leave the stove/oven on, etc.

The clarity patients exhibit on “good days” frequently causes families to doubt whether they needs help and treatment. Here’s the gospel: Dad needs a full medical work-up, definitive diagnosis, and a treatment plan from a Neurologist specializing in neuro-cognitive disorders. The tests will show how far the disease has progressed and much supervision and assistance Dad needs to keep him safe. Equally important, you will have the basic information you need to plan for Dad’s housing, care, and medical needs as the disease progresses.

We urge you to get more help from the experts at Alzheimer’s Community Care (Martin/St. Lucie-772-223-6351; Ft. Pierce- 772- 466-3261), Alzheimer’s Assn. 1.800.272.3900; Vero Beach Alzheimer’s Assn. (772-360-4838).

 

Judie Rappaport, President & Founder
Preferred Lifestyle Services

Trust Yourself. You Have the Knowledge, Insight,
and Power to make the right decisions for you and your parent. ©

 
 

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