Alzheimer's Disease with Li-Xia

This page gives information about Alzheimer's Disease with Li-Xia with which she was diagnosed on December 7, 2006.

Case history

Li-Xia has been suffering from chronic tiredness, dejection and forgetfulness. Some years ago, she already complained that her memory had declined. Early 2006, her short term memory became noticably worse. One day, I discovered that she had totally no recollection of something I told her the day before. I adviced her to have herself examined. On Thursday, June 1, 2006, someone came to perform some tests. Both Li-Xia and I were surprised by how bad she performed on some simple memory tests. Also on the Visual Association Test she did not score well. Later, I discovered on the Internet that especially people with Alzheimer's disease or suffering from a depression, do not score well on this test. It took some time before we received the results, and we were adviced to contact the Neurology department of Medisch Spectrum Twente, a general hospital, in Enschede. After the summer holidays we visited our GP.

On monday October 9, 2006, we went to see the neurologist for the first time. While we were sitting in the waiting room, I suddenly felt much older, because of all the old people that were sitting in the waiting room, several of them in a wheelchair. It felt a little unreal. The neurologist performed some simple test and a general examination. She decided some additional examinations: A psychological examination and a MRI of her head.

On Thursday, October 19, 2006, Li-Xia underwent the psychological examination during the morning. In the week that followed the Neurologist contacted me, because she also wanted to perform a lumbar puncture and have her cerebrospinal fluid examined. The puncture was performed on Tuesday, November 7. I went with Li-Xia. The examination went okay, and Li-Xia did not have any trouble afterwards.

On Friday, November 10, 2006, Li-Xia went for a MRI scan. Afterward she felt remarkable clear, but the effect did not last long.

On Thursday, December 7, 2006, we went to see the neurologist again. She told us that all examinations point into the direction of Alzheimer's Disease. She suggested that Li-Xia would start with Reminyl.

Since December 2009, I have started brushing her teeth. I also have taken over most of the home chores because she started to make more and more errors. She still can do some simple shoppings, not more than three kind of items at the time. She has almost completely lost the ability to write both with Chinese characters and Roman letters. Personal hygiene is also becoming an issue.

Twice a week, on Thursdays and Fridays, Li-Xia attends a group of young people with dementia at some nursing home. There they also have some sports activities and some memory training. (Some psychological exam has revealed that in a sense her level of functioning is too low for this group.) On all other weekdays she is visited by someone from Rondom for additional support.

Since the diagnosis, the condition of Li-Xia has slowly become worse, as was to be expected. She mainly suffers from apraxia in the sense that she getting more and more problems with performing daily routines. In July 2010, we have concluded that it is no longer safe for Li-Xia to go biking on her home, and that her impact on the family life is such, that it is better to have her accepted in a nursing home. Becaues this cannot be realized immediately, it was decided that she would go to some nursing home four days per week and that during other times, people from Rondom would visit our home to watch her.

On February 14, 2011, she was admitted in a nursing home in Enschede.

In the second half of 2011, she started to speak Chinese predominantly, occasingly using some Dutch words. She still seems to understand Dutch. It seems she is no longer aware that she speaks multiple languages and just uses the language that comes most natural to her.

She seems to be quite happy living in the nursing home, much happier than a few years ago, when she was very much caught-up by trying to perform all kinds of duties that she in fact was no longer able to perform. She truly seems to enjoy life as it is.

During the summer of 2012, her condition progressed. She has started to wander around more and more, losing contact with reality, suffering from angry moods probably in combination with delusions. She has been given some antipsychotic drug (in low dosage), which seems to help, but maybe also contributes to her becoming more withdrawn. She can no longer eat by herself and needs to be fed. Stage 6 "Severe cognitive decline" in Seven Stages of Alzheimer's now best fits her condition.

In the second half of 2012, she lost weigh with a rate of about 1.5 Kg per month due to the combination of eating slowly and walking a lot. Early 2013, verbal communication is becoming more and more difficult, but she is happy and smiles a lot. Non-verbal communication is still taking place and she looks more active than in the months before.

Links

Below links to interesting news article related to Alzhiemer's Disease and entries in my online diary.
Home page
About Li-Xia
Pictures of Li-Xia
Alzheimer's Association

(Dutch / Nederlands)