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Posted by markdohle , 19 October 2006 · 34 views

Bob is in moving into his late 80’s, doing ok, but along with his aphasia he is starting to get more confused.  He does not have Alzheimer’s, but his confusion seems to becoming more and more a permanent state.  Add to this his inability to communicate what he wants into the equation, and you get a fair amount of frustration for him on a daily basis.   He sometimes gets worried that he has a doctor’s appointment in town, and will obsess over it, until we can convince him that he does have an appointment.  He is on the home bound program set up by the VA, so nurses, and if needed a doctor, will come out and see him when needed.  He may have one visit to a doctor in town once a year, if that.  We even have a dentist come in to take care of those for whom travel would be a complication.

We have also put an alarm on his mattress to alert us if he tries to get out of bed.  He needs help in doing any kind of walking, and has already had a number of falls.  One which fractured his hip, and had to have a pin put in.   He also tires easily during the day which leads to lengthy napping. Also if he sits up for extended periods his blood pressure drops, so the problem is not easily rectified.  He has to be put into bed when this happens, since fainting could result from the blood pressured dropping.   So it can be hard to have him set up for long periods of time.  He is also very thin and sitting up can lead to skin problems around the hip area, another situation that has to be dealt with.   Each case is unique, and so as time moves on, we will have to decide when it is time to give him some stronger meds to help him sleep at night, which could make things a little easier, and perhaps less confusing for him.  What could evolve is Bob sleeping most of the day, and then staying up all night, becoming restless and needing a great deal of attention.

He eats well, and is often in good spirits.  His highly developed sense of humor helps him to cope, and gives us a way to lighten some of the situations we can all get into with him.  He sometimes tries to communicate some problem he is having, but simply can’t.  When this happens, and he sees a certain look on the faces of those who take care of him, he simply laughs, which goes a long way in reliving some of the stress he is under.  He does trust us, so he has the ability to believe for the most part what we tell him, though it may take a little time.  Hopefully it will never happen that he gets lost in his own world, making it impossible for him to believe or to trust us.  A very painful situation for all involved.

He will sometimes think when he is brought to the breakfast table that he has already eaten, and taken his meds, so he will at first refuse to eat.   If we don’t exert pressure on him, but try to calmly explain that he has not had breakfast yet, and needs to take his meds, after awhile, he usually comes around.   He is underweight so it is important to have him eat all of his meals everyday.  

He is a very quiet man, and seldom makes a fuss that will cause a disturbance on the floor.  He is soft spoken, and gentle, for the majority of the time, but like most humans he does have a stubborn streak that will shine through once in awhile.  Which is fine, having a stubborn streak has its positive side, it does cause him to speak up, and putting his heels in can make us stop and listen more attentively.  

We each slowly get backed into a corner as we age, his corner is getting smaller, but all in all he is adapting well, and hopefully he will continue to trust that we have his good at heart.