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MINDY KIM-MILLER, MD, PhD
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My father has had colorectal cancer & had his rectum removed almost 3 weeks ago. He’s 83 with Alzheimer’s. We were assured from all surgeons & doctors that his quality of life will be improved, and that he WILL be able to take care of his colostomy bag. That’s not happening. Do you know of any helpful ideas for taking care of him & teaching him to care for his self? He’s becoming terribly depressed with his failures. The American Cancer Society had no resources or advice for an Alzheimer’s patient w/cancer. Do you have any advice?
You raise a very good point about the difficulties of trying to help people with multiple health issues to take care of themselves. It can be very difficult for someone with Alzheimer’s to learn new self-care tasks. Your father’s ability to learn depends on his stage of Alzheimer’s disease as well as the teaching approaches of his caregivers. His illness may have progressed so far at this point that he may not be able to learn new tasks. On the other hand, he may be able to learn some simple tasks if taught using the right combination of approaches. You may need to try various strategies to help him learn.
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