A few weeks ago the Today’s Show did segments on Alzheimer’s for the week in honor of Alzheimer’s awareness week. One day they had Seth Rogan and his wife on. She said something that burned into my soul and I don’t think I will ever forget it. She said, “While all of my friend’s are becoming best friends with their mothers, I fed my mother dinner on Sunday.”
I literally felt as of I was slapped on the side of my face and did a happy dance at the same time. I am not alone. I always find myself thinking that I am fighting this fight with Alzheimer’s alone. The only 32 year old daughter going into a facility to visit her mother. The only pregnant mom waddling in and out of the memory care wing, trying not to walk out in tears because her mother told her she was getting fat and she needed to loose some weight. Wow. There really are others.
Most people don’t realize that Alzheimer’s is no longer a “old people” disease. It is starting to effect more and more people in their 40s, 50s and 60’s. Entirely too young. It is now being said that 1 in 6 people will die from it. Yet the funding for a cure is NO WHERE close to what it should be. If more funds aren’t allocated it will take longer and longer to figure out how to stop it. It is said that every 70 seconds someone develops Alzheimer’s. As many as 5.4 million people in the US are living with the disease. And Alzheimer’s is ALWAYS fatal, something I never realized before. We have to find a cure… soon.
Last week was my first indication that she may be moving towards a latter stage of the disease. She got angry with me, very angry. And anyone who has ever known my precious mother knew she didn’t fly off the handle and yell at people ever, if at all. Especially in a public place.
I had to take my mom shopping because in the 9 months she has been in the memory care facility she has gained at least 20#. It’s ridiculous. None of her clothes are fitting her and I had no clue what size she was, so she needed to be with me.
She is also having a hard time walking because she says her knee has been hurting. It seemed like eternity for her to walk from the parking lot into the building. I honestly think it is the extra weight she is carrying around and at 4’11 you aren’t built to be over weight.
She kept looking into the back seat and wondering where the baby was. We had just dropped Addy off at my in laws. The silver lining here was that she remembered there was a baby! 🙂
She likes to go to the restroom entirely too often. I think it is more of a “security” thing and she feels like she has to be in there? Haven’t quite figured that one out yet. Its honestly extremely aggravating to be on one side of the store trying to get this shopping trip done and have to stop what we were doing to walk her to the bathroom. She can no longer find places like restrooms on her own.
And of course every few minutes she asks if she is going to be in trouble for leaving the facility. Being out of her element is extremely stressful for her. Getting her into a public place is exhausting.
My adorable mother who always looked so cute and put together is now down to wearing shirts that have no buttons that have to pulled over her head and elastic pants. At 63 I feel like I am dressing my grandmother.
Once I felt like I had plenty of different options for mom to try on we went into the dressing room. She immediately wanted to sit down. I had to explain to her she couldn’t sit and needed to stand to try on clothes. She very nicely stated she didn’t need to try on the clothes I had in the room with us because she liked what she had on. “I understand you like those clothes mom, but we need to try on a few more.” “Why,” she says. “Because you need new clothes.” She then looked at me and said I just want these.” I kept my cool and got her to try on a few shirts and with each one she got more and more agitated. Once I got to where she needed to try on the pants she was about to blow her top. She then started screaming at me, “I don’t want to try on any damn pants! I want to take my clothes home and go!” Now realize we are in the middle of a Kohl’s dressing room with a ton of other people. She then proceeded to yell… “Why I was doing this to her, she hated these clothes, she didn’t need other clothes, she wanted to leave NOW etc. etc.” I was horrified. This wasn’t my mother. She looked like my mother but was a stranger in every other way. My affectionate, sweet and kind mom was gone.
Some days I become very self absorbed and forget about mom and go about my life living as a new mom and not as her caretaker. Sadly, taking a break every once in a while helps to keep me sane. Then after a few days I realize I haven’t heard my mom’s voice and try to call. It rings…and rings. My mom will never call me on the phone again. She will never ask me how my day was and if I am doing ok.
Praying for every family dealing with this struggle and who will go through it in the future.