Alzheimer's and nursing homes are not a particularly good combination. That's the conclusion of research showing that Alzheimer's patients decline much more rapidly in nursing homes than in a community setting. The finding is sure to tug at caregivers, who often are pressed to place loved ones in homes because of the 24/7 stress of dealing with Alzheimer's ravages. … The Caregiver's Hotline
Patti has Multiple Sclerosis though deterioration of her cognitive abilities certainly qualifies many of her related symptoms under dementia. However the labeling and coding of symptoms is the busy work of medical insurance companies. From a caregiver’s perspective if it looks like a duck, waddles like a duck, and sounds like a duck … well, it’s probably a duck.
The above article does open the door on something we have certainly stumbled upon which is the importance of maintaining involvement and outings even after the dawn of the 24/7 care facility era.
Just looking at the last 30 days on average I have Patti out or at home 4.5 days/evenings a week. On average an outing lasts 4 - 5 hours.
Unattended home care is unsafe for Patti and with her progression to near total loss of ability to participate in her own Activities of Daily Living even attended outings are physically demanding and require constant vigilance.
Certainly some behaviors are more challenging than others to work with when out. For example just last night at a grocery store while turning into an aisle and encountering side by side carts blocking the aisle, my soft spoken “Hello, could one of you please move your cart” was more than adequate to create access. Yet Patti decided to add “Move it, bitch!” with much too much volume, snapping heads around and leaving shoppers a bit stunned. … Such dementia like symptoms are unpredictable and beyond control. Plus I’m sometimes left with spontaneous and creative damage control.
Caregiving moves to a different level with the 24/7 care facility era. For the past three years I’ve intuitively felt continued involvement with the world outside is critical. Studies like the above are interesting because they seem to touch the thought that while 24/7 care facilities provide the safety needed the environment itself may accelerate progression. Families may be able to neutralize that to a degree or slow progression by remaining actively involved and getting 'out' and engaged in life.
Definitely easier said than done, in our case “on average 4.5 afternoons/evenings a week” is so much easier to type than to do.
Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer