Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Handful of Changes - Continued

Continuing yesterday's topic:

There have been times when I've been in a Skype conversation with Mom and Lyn and I'll witness Mom discreetly directing Lyn to return to the restroom because she needs to tend to a hygiene issue.  I experienced this first hand last week.  We were at the table playing a round of Bingo when waves of nauseating odor would hit me.  While Lyn was looking for a number on her card, I motioned to Mom.  A few minutes later, Mom whispered to Lyn and asked her to go clean herself again.  Lyn was instantly angry.  This incident is indicative of two things which is common with Alzheimers.

First, person hygiene tasks are complex, multi-step activities.  Alzheimer's patients forget the sequencing of the tasks involved and may omit steps altogether.  They may need verbal reminders and, in time, physical assistance.   Lyn currently needs verbal prompting on a nearly daily basis.

Second, Alzheimer's patients have ever decreasing abilities to smell.  We have noted before that there are seats that can serve as an early indicator of someone potentially having Alzheimer's.  Scents such as citrus, leather and peanut butter are not easy for someone with Alzheimer's to smell.  As the disease progresses, they continue to loose the ability to smell.  They can literally be stewing in their own waste without having any clue.

There are new changes with her phrasing as well.  She now asks "May I make an idea?" instead of "May I make a suggestion?" or "I have an idea."  I find this change charming.

Finally, I've noticed an odd little change.  Lyn's dog Nikka is a love.  She's a sweet and gentle dog who melts at the hint of a bit of attention.  If you try to pet her, she may become a boneless lump with her belly in the air.  She loves a good belly rub and was very insistent that I give them to her all week.  This provoked a bit of jealousy in Lyn which is nothing new.  What was new was Lyn's response.  She would tell Nikka "Close your legs!"  It became a regular statement when I was petting Nikka and I'm not sure Lyn felt that seeing the dog's genitals was inappropriate.

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