Alzheimer`s Disease/Alzheimer Sipking Fevers

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Question
My father has been down with Alzheimer’s for about 10 years.  He is completely disabled.  He must be feed liquefied foods, he has a catheter, his legs and arms are drawn up most of the time etc…

Recently he has been spiking fevers.  At one point his nurses thought he had phenomena and put him on antibiotics.  But that was two weeks ago and he is still spiking temps.  Last night it got to about 103.

I have read articles that indicate this may be the beginning of the end for him.  These articles suggest about 6 months expected time before he goes.  What do you think??  Thanks for caring.

Answer
Hello Lisa:  I'm very sorry to hear of your father's fevers.  I am hoping he is not showing any signs of discomfort with them.  If he's not restless, grimacing, moaning, or fidgeting, then he is probably not in discomfort.  I'm thinking that if he's having fevers, it is in response to some infectious process going on in his body somewhere, or, with advanced dementia, the possibility exists that the part of his brain that controls the body's thermostat is being destroyed.  If it is an infectious process, then they would have to culture whatever area is infected in order to determine which antibiotic would be effective--and it doesn't sound like that's possible in this case.  My first guess for an infection in him would be with the catheter.  Either way, I would recommend you speak with his primary care doctor to ask if it would be possible to put him on hospice.  Once he's on hospice, they will make sure he's not in any discomfort and would be able to keep you apprised of what is going on with him and how long they feel he has.  My feeling is that if the fevers continue, whatever is causing them will affect the rest of his organs and they will begin to shut down.  Please continue to reach out to him, tell him what a great father is he, play his favorite music, maybe rub his feet, hands or legs if it appears he takes comfort in that.  I wish you much luck as you move forward with your father in these later stages of his dementia.  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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