Alzheimer`s Disease/Grandmothers condition

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Question
My grandmother is an excellent facility and we feel she is being cared for . Our only concern is is her muscles are pulling up to the point she is almost in a ball with her head thrown back. She is on pain meds because they think she is having some pain. We have asked the Hospice Dr if anything can be done for the muscles pulling up and he said no not really. Can you advise if you know of anything that might help with this? All my mom wants is for my grandmother not to suffer and the way she looks seems she would not be very comfortable.
Thanks in advance for any advice

Answer
Hello Kyra:  I'm very sorry to hear of your grandmother's contractures--I'm sure it's upsetting to see her in that position.  You don't say whether or not she has dementia, but even if she did not have dementia, without regular, daily stretching of those limbs and spine, the contractures would happen.  It would be very hard to keep any contractures from happening in any event.  There really isn't a way to get her straightened back out without doing surgery to cut the tendons and ligaments that are contracting, and I'm sure that is not something the doctors or your family would want to do.  If she's on hospice, then they are the experts at determining whether or not she's in pain or discomfort and I'm very glad she is being cared for by them.  As it is now, if you tried to stretch out those limbs, it would likely cause her pain, so you're letting nature take it's course.  Be sure to provide comfort measures to her every time you see her.  Doing things like playing her favorite music or songs, talking to her to tell her what is going on in the family and that you love her, or bringing in a pet if she loved cats or dogs.  Don't assume she's "not there" at all.  What about some favorite scents?  Did her husband wear a certain after-shave that you could bring in for her to smell so she would remember him?  Gentle massage of her hands and feet with a scented lotion would likely feel good to her. I wish you much luck Kyra as you and your family move forward with your dear grandmother on her journey.  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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