My mother, Ruth, was always a very strong and vibrant woman. She was active, and when she had spare time, made sure she visited with family and friends. Then, one day, family members and several friends noticed mom began forgetting things. Was she losing her memory? At first, we were not sure. Her memories came, and then slipped away. Her forgetfulness continued for a couple of months. Gradually, performing daily activities were difficult for mom. Just putting on a dress was an ordeal. One day, my wife gave her a gown. The next day, she forgot my wife gave it to her. She said, “What gown?” Our family members were convinced mom was really losing her memory. She kept forgetting more and more.
A few weeks later, out of concern for my mom, my wife and I decided to ask her if she would like to move in with us. She was living alone, and my dad had died 15 years ago. To our surprise, mom was excited that we asked her moved in. She was thrilled to be around family, especially her grandchildren, who were out of school for the summer. Now, we were officially caregivers.
Mom was always glad to see her sons, daughters, and grandchildren. Sometimes she would call me David. Well, that was my brother’s name. David had been deceased for a couple of years. My sisters visited mom often. Once in a while, mom would get upset with them because she asked why they did not visit her the previous week. She forgot that they did.
Finally, we decided to take mom to our family doctor who was also trained as a geriatrician; a doctor who specializes in the care of older adults. Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. After a while, we could no longer care for mom the way we wanted to. It was a difficult choice, but we found a senior living community that included a community for people with Alzheimer’s disease. Yes, this was the best place for mom. She even enjoyed being there because someone was around her all the time. That’s been so important to her.
If you or someone you know is experiencing what my family experienced with my mom, maybe it’s time to have them see a geriatrician. Receiving the right diagnosis is important. My family learned that a senior living community that specializes in caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease was the best place for mom. For additional information about Alzheimer’s disease, contact the Alzheimer’s Association.