Making Sense of Life with Alzheimer's
On September 13, 2005, an ominous crack appeared in the main tent pole supporting my family. Two days later, I made the difficult decision to pull the tent pole down. Ever since then, my family has scrambled to make sense of our lives.
For almost 50 years, my mother served as that strong support to allow our family as a whole and individually to prosper. Diagnosed in 1997 with lung disease from smoking, she increasingly experienced memory loss since 2002.
On September 15, 2005, my mom complained of breathing problems and told me to call the ambulance. But that wasn’t my main concern. During her two-week visit, I had seen her display some uncharacteristic mood swings, outbursts, delusions and paranoia. I pulled aside the emergency medical technician and asked him to relay to the emergency room doctor that my mom needed a geriatric psychiatric evaluation. The diagnosis soon came back: my mom had Alzheimer’s disease.
Since then, Mom has been placed in a secure unit at an area nursing home. My goal is to figure out how to provide appropriate support so that my mom understands she is cherished through this difficult transition in her life. My family and I also are trying to pick up the pieces and move forward in our lives.
During this challenging journey, we’ve found some resources, but the most valuable help has come from friends who have coached us through the various issues related to dementia, aging and caregiving. My purpose in writing this blog is to discuss the issues facing Alzheimers’ patients and their caregivers. I hope to honestly explore the decisions (both good and bad) that caregivers make so that we all can learn and support our loved ones, our families and ourselves.
Published On: April 20, 2006