Taking Each Day One at a Time

Dorian Martin Health Guide
  • Shortly after my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, I sent out an e-mail alert to my family and friends to let them know what was happening. One of my long-time friends, Leslie, sent an e-mail response that has proven very helpful to me in handling the months since Mom’s original diagnosis.

    Leslie had nursed her own mother through terminal cancer almost a decade ago. What Leslie learned was to take one day at a time in dealing with her mother’s situation. Leslie would see a decline in her mom’s health and then the situation would plateau. Through these ups and downs, Leslie had to learn how to be totally present and flexible in meeting her mother’s wants and needs, which changed at varying rates.
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    That observation is also true with Alzheimer’s patients. My mom’s mental health continues to change and I have found that you have to meet her where she is that hour and that day. And know that it will all change, for better or for worse. For instance, two weeks ago my Mom didn’t know me. I got up to get her a drink of water; her response when I returned was, “Where’s Dorian?” Keeping my composure, I answered, “I’m right here.” Five minutes later her memory lapse repeated itself when I got up to get her a tissue. This time she wasn’t buying my answer so I asked her, “Who do you think I am?” She thought about it momentarily and replied, “My granddaughter.”

    The next day, Mom was fine and knew me, but I have learned that every day is a new one and I can’t know what to expect. All I can do is to be there for her and to do what’s right for her as her mental capacity and physical needs change.
Published On: April 27, 2006