WELCOME TO A NEW PATH FOR MOM
Mom didn’t see it coming. None of us did. On February 13, 2005, the love of her life and husband for 55 years died very suddenly. In the midst of that shock and turmoil, we didn’t know that her brain was going through irreversible changes that would affect her and us for the rest of her life.
It wasn’t long before Mom was diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), and eventually she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. I want to share our story and be a source of help to other people who are trying to navigate through this horrible disease. You may know someone who is showing signs that something isn’t right and you just don’t know what to do, where to begin or what is ahead. You may also have to face a new path.
I think Mom would want me to help others, even if only a little bit, and give her journey through this disease some meaning.
Now with her Alzheimer’s disease, Mom was missing home but it wasn’t the home in southern California that she and Dad owned for 50 years that she missed. It was her childhood home in Ithaca, New York.
Mom always saw the bright side of things and she loved a good laugh. That’s why I was not understanding her personality changes. Her symptoms of Alzheimer’s included a lot more than memory loss.
Finding an appropriate assisted living home for Mom had its challenges. After two rather large mistakes, I was losing confidence in my ability to find a good place.
As I described in my last blog post, we had unsuccessfully moved Mom to an assisted living facility that we thought would be perfect. Since Mom had other opinions on our choice, we knew we had to give this next move more thought.
Moving. There is nothing easy about it. It’s especially difficult when the person who has to move, doesn’t want to.
Driving is not an easy issue. It is a powerful symbol of independence, mental competency and is routine for most adults. When someone is in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s disease, removing their ability to get behind the wheel must be considered.
We were starting to be concerned about Mom’s safety. However, the thought of having someone from an agency with her all day to make sure she was safe didn’t appeal to her at all.
I didn’t know it at the time, but getting my name on Mom’s checking account was only the beginning of helping her with finances.
The drug called Aricept is a very commonly prescribed for dementia. The sample pack contained pills that were each in a plastic bubble labeled with the name of the day it was to be taken. Simple.
I had already taken Mom to see her general practitioner, but after six months of uncertainty and confusion about Mom’s behavior, it was time to see a neurologist. I needed a specialist to tell me what was going on with Mom’s brain.