Alzheimer`s Disease/Mothers Alzheimers

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Question
My Mom was dx about 4 years. Any advice on how to handle her trying to feed their dog every 30 minutes and not eating her own food to save it for the dog? She will chase the dog around and pile up food in the fridge and get angry when he doesn't eat or if we tell her he just ate.  Thanks

Answer
Hello Jodi:  This is a really tough situation because her damaged brain is so focused on the dog.  She will eventually stop this behavior, but it may take awhile.  In the meantime, if she can still read and understand a short sentence here is what I what I recommend:  
Post a large print note on the dog food and on the refrigerator--probably on the kitchen table as well that comes from the vet (supposedly).  It can say something like this:  Your dog (name) must not eat any people food and must only be fed xx amount of "special" dog food at ____ a.m. and _____ p.m. every day.  If he/she eats anything else, he/she will become very sick.  Have the vet's name there, and if needed warn them she may call them to verify it and ask them to go along with you. Be sure she's the one who has the honor of giving the dog food out twice daily.  If she continues to "save" her food, remind her of the note, and if she insists on saving it, just throw the food away when she's not present.  Try to get her to drink some supplement drinks to ensure she's getting adequate protein and calories.
The second option--get rid of any of her saved food.  Figure out if she can still tell time on a clock--it's quite possible she cannot--and if she cannot, you may want to set out 2 serving of dog food per day, clearly labeled with the time to be given and the date.  She may be able to accept that in response to her desire to continue to feed the dog.  Telling her something like "the vet says it's dangerously unhealthy (and it is) to feed Fido people food and we must keep him/her on this schedule for awhile.  You can give her hope that some day she can go back to feeding the dog by saying the vet said this is only temporary.  
The only other option I can think of is to give the dog a holiday away with a relative until her dementia progresses past this point and you can return the dog. It may only take a couple weeks or so.  You could just say something like "he's at the vet's overnight and will be back tomorrow."   
I wish you much luck Jodi as you continue to try to give your Mom a good quality of life, as well as the dog!  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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