June 13 2019
Written By
Barbara Karnes
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Alzheimer's, Cancer and Hospice

Alzheimer's, Cancer and Hospice


Wendy Venza - June 21 2019

I’m wondering if the patient is showing signs of anger and confusion because she may be having pain from the cancer.

Kevin Haselhorst - June 18 2019

Life itself is a terminal illness with a limited prognosis. To single out Alzheimer’s (or any illness) as being separate from human existence and that it’s not terminal distracts family caregivers from accepting death when the time comes. Similarly, Infection/sepsis can be terminal and a blessing if palliative (compassionate) care was better understood by the powers that be.

Barbara - June 16 2019

Hi Sue, thank you sharing your experience of your husband’s dementia with me. You are certainly right, people can and do die from dementia with no other diseases present. I consider it a terminal illness with death the end result. Why doesn’t the medical profession recognize it as such? I don’t know except that the medical model has a difficult time recognizing that death is a part of living and we all will be unfixable at some time. Oops my frustration is showing! My blessings are with you. Good for you for having the goal of helping with hospice when your 13 months are over. You might find my booklet My Friend, I Care helpful in your grief. Barbara

Sue Beabout - June 16 2019

My husband died of Alzheimer’s on Jan 25th. I was his caregiver at home for 10 years. It is true that he cycled eating, not eating, hallucinating, sleeping and not sleeping. However, in November, there was a definite change in his eating. He wasn’t as hungry and I had to help him more. He could walk less and was more withdrawn than ever. We still did not know he was end staging until 1 week before. Then he couldn’t eat only a few bites of baby food. I never forced him. He stopped being able to walk and talk and everything. Barbara, I’m I huge fan of yours but did not receive your books from Hospice until 4 days before he died. I would have known for sure earlier that he was end staging. My nurse didnt know either. I took him to the emergency room 6 days before death to make sure. I believe that Alzheimer’s goes further than they just cant swallow. I believe that the brain controls all body functions and my husband reached the point where the disease shut down his organs. ALL of them were failing at once—kidneys, heart, liver. He had no cancer and no heart problems. But he had diabetes and it was controlled. Alzheimer’s is fatal and I am bothered that no one carries it to the point that it CAUSES death! My doctor did not put Alzheimer’s on the death certificate as the primary cause of death which upset me greatly! It was a long struggle caring for him. He died very peacefully at home, on Ativan and morphine the last 3 days. As you say, it was very peaceful! He was with Hospice home care for 10 months. I will be volunteering extensively after my 13 months bereavement. Your book, The Last Act of Living, is amazing and it helped me to heal in my grieving process! Thank you!!

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