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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Subtle Changes April 30, 2015

When is the appropriate time for a referral to hospice services for an Alzheimer's disease person?
When the subtle changes begin to add up to a pattern of decline.

We were blessed this week by the physician's referral and by the Hospice of the Valley's concurrence that my husband is now eligible for their services. Not only was he assessed by their nurse, he was seen by their social worker and Rabbi Susan visited with him and sang with him this week.

"He made eye contact with me, he nodded at the photo on his table, listened to my singing and then comfortably nodded off," the rabbi reported.

It is good for him to receive visitors who walk with him or play ball. Lately he has been rolling the smaller ball across the kitchen table to another resident, who thinks of my spouse as his friend. Both of them are pretty good at catching the rolling ball. Only once in a while does the staff member have to chase the ball and find where it rolled.

The mind is so complicated and this disease is so strange. Ball playing involves many skills, first and foremost, concentration, remembering what you are doing and remaining focused. You can see that he is interested nd capable of performing this task and continues for a long time to play. There is no smile on his face so we cannot be sure, but being engaged seems to make him feel good.

And of course, my husband has always liked to be active and engaged with life. He was never one to sit around doing nothing or even watch a ball game on tv, except for the World Series or the Super Bowl.

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