In October, Barb called and said that she had to start taking over Mom's financial stuff because she had forgotten to sign checks, missed paying a few bills and was seeming a little more confused. They took her to the doctor for some tests and he confirmed that she has dementia. From there things started happening at rapid speed and by November she needed someone to help her get dressed and fed. She started doing things that were uncharacteristic of her and would get into OCD types of loops and they'd have to redirect her.
Angie was driving over to her house every day to get her up and out of bed and feed her breakfast. Richard would get her lunch and keep an eye on her and then Barb would get her to bed at night and bathe her. It was getting harder and harder to keep watch on her. She wasn't very steady on her feet anymore and a few nights Barb heard her getting up in the middle of the night and moving in a loop to the bathroom, back to her bed, pull the covers up, pull them off, and then back to the bathroom. Other times she would get up and be searching in drawers for something but not know what she was looking for. My siblings were starting to get concerned that she would fall during the night.
They finally released her to home hospice care in mid February and they took her to Angie's house to live. Hospice provided a hospital bed and all the things she needs for at-home care. Angie is her full-time care giver now and she is doing an amazing job. Mom continues to decline rapidly and
we're not sure how much longer we will have her with us. She is down to about 70 lbs and is eating very little now. She is more confused each day but some days she is very alert and we see glimpses of Mom in there. Hospice has told us several times that they don't expect her to live much longer and she continues to amaze them with rebound after rebound.
I hate this disease called Alzheimers. It's hard watching her become something she never wanted to become. It totally scares me knowing this disease is strongly in our genes on her side and if any of us live to be very old, we too might follow this path. In some ways it's like looking at a mirror into our futures and it's not a reflection any of us want to see of ourselves. I love my Mama and I pray that God will give her a peaceful and pain-free departure from this life and wrap her in HIS arms as she goes to her place of rest.
It amazes me how rapidly this disease has attacked her as I write and compare the June picture at the top to the June picture at the bottom. In just 9 months we've watched her fade from us at warp speed. I guess in some ways it's more merciful than 5-10 years of this. If I had known then what I know now there are so many things I would have done differently. I would have talked to her more and asked more questions and had her tell me more stories. The stories and memories are all lost within the depths of her confused mind. I really miss talking to her now. To anyone who may read this, take time to hug your Mom and hear her stories. Take a lot of pictures and take her out to eat or let her show you her garden. Sometimes we all get wrapped up in our busy lives and forget about our elderly. They have so much to teach us about life. Knowing how much she loved her crafts and her genealogy it's sad watching her staring at a television now because that's all she can do. She kept busy in life and I had hoped with as much as she used her brain it would prevent dementia from finding her but it didn't. All the dates she had locked in her brain are gone, all the knowledge of sewing and crocheting and ceramics are gone. So she sits and watches TV or sleeps in her chair and waits......and occasionally she'll surprise me with an "I love you, too, Donna" when I'm visiting or saying hi on the phone and it warms my heart. I cherish those words so much.