Location: PA, United States
Bio: caregiver for mother in her early 90s, university professor
alzheimers, caregiving strategies, coping with stresses of caregiving
DRUGS I AM TAKING:
mother is on Aggrenox, Keppra, and Exelon
I'm a professor. My mother came to live with my husband, a retired schoolteacher, and me in April 2009, when she and we realized she could no longer live alone. I have three older sisters, and none of them was in a position to offer to (or wanted to) take her in, and she does not want to be in a nursing home. She's my mom, and I'm happy to have her and know she is getting good care, under my roof, however difficult it's going to become.
My mother's alzheimers diagnosis came after a series of doctor's visits that occurred while she has been living with us. Right in front of us, she started having seizures. After testing, it was clear she'd had at least one stroke long ago. Until April 2009, she was driving her own car, and lived on her own. I made dinners for her, which I froze, and she'd have one of my dinners each day. After her seizures (at a family gathering), I was able to talk with her about driving -- how she could have one of these incidents at any time -- and she decided it would be best for everyone if she didn't drive any longer. This is what precipitated the decision that she could not live on her own any longer; her home was situated in a small town, and she needed to drive in order to get her mail and go to the grocery store, and so forth.
My mother is doing well, so far, and she tries very hard to be helpful around the house. Our little rescued cocker spaniel has become her main companion during the days. She reads a lot, though her recollection of what she has read is diminishing. So far, she remains in a fairly steady emotional state. She has outlived many of her friends, and this distresses her a bit. But overall, right now (Dec 2009), she seems generally happy, or as happy as I'd imagine she might be were she not suffering with alzheimers disease.
As for my husband and me, we are coping. My husband is understanding, and he is kind with my mother. We don't have children, so our attention is not divided. Sometimes it's hard to manage both my professional life, which is quite demanding, and this life at home. I'm hoping to find suggestions for coping from those more experienced with this situation who are working outside their home and doing caregiving at home, too.
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