Alzheimer`s Disease/Dementia and amputation

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Question
Hi Cindy: My husband is 91 years old and he suffers from dementia. Because of his diabetic he developed gangreen on his left  leg...The vascular doctor sugeste amputation,he said that otherwise the gangreen will take over his whole body and eventualy die...as you can imagine this is a very hard decition for me to do because I know the risks for a person like him to have such a mayor surgery. At this point I am very confused and don't know what to do..will you be able to help me? Thanking you very much yours truly:
Carmen

Answer
Hello Carmen:  I'm very sorry to hear about your husband's complications with his diabetes.  I know it's very hard to make decisions when you're under such tremendous stress.  Please remember I am not a physician, but I can tell you what I would do if this were my husband or my father.  
Gangrene is a very serious thing and it will end his life if it's not stopped.  Many times, the only way they can stop it is to amputate the affected area.  You are correct in that having major surgery at his age is a serious thing, but at this point, it is the only thing that gives him any chance for recovery.  If his heart and lungs are strong, he may very well come through the surgery in good shape.  If he doesn't have the surgery, the gangrene will slowly poison his entire system and he will succumb to it.  The longer he waits for the surgery, the harder it will be for his body to recover from the damage.  Regardless of the outcome of the surgery, you can take some comfort in knowing that you are doing your very best to make the right decisions for him--as I'm sure you have done for many years up to now.  You cannot know what the outcome of the surgery will be, but if he doesn't have the surgery, he will succumb to the infection.  My prayer for you Carmen is that you can find the strength to make the decision, and know that you are doing everything in your power to help your dear husband.  Cindy

Alzheimer`s Disease

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Cindy Keith, RN, BS, Certified Dementia Practitioner

Expertise

As a nurse and dementia consultant, I can answer most questions on all types of dementia. If I cannot answer your question, I will attempt to find someone who can. My passion is to help caregivers of people with dementia, which in turn helps all those wonderful elders with dementia live better lives. When caregivers are better educated, they are able to better care for themselves and their loved ones, so education is key to decreased stress levels and healthier, happier families.

Experience

I have worked as a nurse in various disciplines of nursing for over 20 years, most of which was with the elderly. I was a health care coordinator in a dementia dedicated assisted living facility for 4 years before I started my own business (M.I.N.D. in Memory Care) as a dementia consultant six years ago. As a dementia consultant, I help families nationwide through phone conference calls as they struggle to care for their loved ones with dementia.

Organizations
Alzheimer's Foundation of America Geriatric Interest Network Sigma Theta Tau International

Publications
Published "Love, Laughter, & Mayhem - Caregiver Survival Manual For Living With A Person With Dementia" which is a collection of stories about people with dementia I have known, loved and worked with. Every story has a lesson to teach and this book gently teaches family caregivers lessons about how to better care for their loved one, as well as themselves during their caregiving journey. Published "Love, Laughter, & Mayhem In Eldercare Facilities: The Master Key For Dementia Training" Created "Bringing Nurturing To Memory Care" staff dementia training video Created Ebook: "Hair Stylist's Helpful Tips For Working With People With Alzheimer's & Other Dementias"

Education/Credentials
Registered Nurse with Bachelor's degree in Nursing; Certified Dementia Practitioner; Author of 2 books and an ebook

Awards and Honors
Sigma Theta Tau National Honor Society of Nursing

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