A Caregiver's Story #2 October 31, 2019
Let me start by saying that my wife is in the later stages of dementia. She has early onset Alzheimer’s. She is now 62 years-old and has had aphasia for a couple of years. I have to say that we have been lucky that she has not had any severe pain or illness as described above. What I can speak to is our issue around constipation. Early on this became an issue with my wife. She has not been able to let me know of any discomfort that I know she must be feeling when this happens. Usually after a couple of days of not going, her body starts to lean forward and her stomach starts to feel rather hard. I know she is in discomfort, but she has not been able to tell me about it. In the most severe cases I have had to use a suppository. Her pain is much more evident when trying to have a bowel movement. The facial expressions and crying with pain is quite evident. Once a bowel movement is passed things get back to normal.
Our team's response: Thank-you so much for sharing your story and for your courage in supporting your wife. Clearly, there are many challenges when people cannot verbalize their pain. It is good that you are able to recognize nonverbal signs of discomfort. Working with a health professional in monitoring and managing her distress may help find some solutions.