If there was one thing you could say to help people better understand Alzheimer’s, what would it be? How would you describe it? Take a read and Comment on the blog to Raise Awareness!
Several of my friends’ parents were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
A. One mother, a housewife, declined very rapidly within several years’ time to the point her abilities for self-care, ability to use language, feed herself and use the bathroom by herself were drastically reduced. After a 90-day wait period, which was required by her insurance, her daughter was able to enter her in a board and care facility before passing away from several complications, including pneumonia.
B. My friends’ father had the same Alzheimers diagnosis but didn’t decline so rapidly. His daughter discussed the eventual transition to the same board and care facility. He wasn’t as bad off as his wife. I attribute that to a life-long habit of using his brain for high reasoning skills. He knew he was forgetting things. He understood his diagnosis, but he still had a sense of humor and an ability to recognize his children, most of his grandchildren, and what was happening in his daily activities. His daughter visited him several times a week, seeing to his doctor’s visits, and having lunch with him. He lasted well into his 90’s.
Read more: Alzheimer’s Took My Diamond
C. Another friend is caring for her mother with the same primary diagnosis, Alzheimer’s. Her mom has meltdowns sometimes, doesn’t understand what’s going on at times, which is difficult to bear. Her daughter tries to avoid such, of course, but these moments happen. Her mom is now 98 years old, still at home, with a routine that seems to overall work with her daughter.
D. Another friend, that I’ve known since childhood, promised her mother to offer care AT HOME until her passing. Although her Mom was declining slowly from a debilitating bone disease for over 20 years, she didn’t receive the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s until the last six months of her life. I asked, “You mean, she has dementia?” My friend said, “No, Alzheimer’s. Very definite on that.” The Mom had frightening episodes of thinking her son had died when he hadn’t and other such delusions. Calming her became a regularly occurring priority. My friend suffered from lack of sleep, asking her buddies to cover for her. In spite of hospice care, she still had the heavy burden of caring for a woman who barely recognized her own daughter.
Read more: Alzheimer’s: A Caregivers Story
From all this, I realized enough to tell my sons that if I ever begin declining so much that I can’t care for myself to please put me in a facility that’s nearby to one of them where they can visit me at least once a week, check on the quality of care given me, and to never think that caring for me at home would be the only choice available. “And, if I’m still able to make something or do something with my hands, please make sure I have the materials for me to be busy with. I’ll be o.k,” I’ve told them.