Knows how you feel

I read your comments about your mom and how it is affecting you now.  As I told you I have many years of experience with Alzheimer family’s and those stricken with the disease. My grandparents, two of them, lived with my family for all of my teen years prior to their death even at our house, and my dad having it just a few years ago.  I know the stages your mom is in and will go through yet. I got myself educated about it and am still an avid member of the Alzheimer’s assoc.  and I can tell you in all honesty that your mom is very happy in her own mind and that is the most important issue here. She has no idea that her mind isn’t healthy like it used to be. To her she is still  the same as she always has been but she really don’t know what that means even.

When we are young our brains are very healthy for so many reasons. One they have found is it hasn’t had medication to the extent of effecting it.  Our cells are all there and healthy. As we age we lose some every day (we have billions) and in time it is noticed by either us or others. Unfortunately our body’s or brains cannot replace what has been lost or destroyed like some other organs, muscles etc. can.  Once gone, always gone. But,,,when it was in full healthy form it was holding all the information we received in our life as it still does but with full capacity back then.  That is why those with Alzheimer (and a lot of us now) can remember things from way back when we were even 5 yrs. old. I remember names of kids I was in grade school with 55 yrs ago but can’t remember who I called this morning at times!  That is because we got that info while we were with that healthy brain. Alzheimer’s is nothing more than cells starting to die and the arteries hardening so the blood and oxygen can’t flow through it like it used to, until it closes. We all are in that process every day but some to the extent that it affects them and some of us it never really will to any extent that it changes our life. My dad was 85 when he died from it and my mom is 84 and you know how healthy her mind and body is. We don’t notice any difference in her from way back when.

That is what happens when the death stage hits. They keep going back and back farther in their minds because that is all they can remember because they retained it while brain at 100% function. Finally it is back in the womb and they sleep very peacefully from then on.

The only people that disease effects is the families and that is better us then them.

Can you imagine them along with the rest of the senility knowing they have to live with others that also have lost  their minds and knowing it? You think they get ugly and mean now……wow, picture that. Yet they don’t think we are crazy either because they are in the stage of not even knowing what “normal healthy mind” means. And that’s okay.

Your mom is doing just exactly what she should be doing at this stage of it. For that, consider her very normal because that is exactly what she is, normal. Just in a different mind set than we are. (and I’m not so sure sometimes I’m not in that mind set also). Also think of what it would have taken from your dads life at this age if he were still here. Someone knew better for your dad.

I saw far too many old folks have a very healthy mind and knew everything that was going on in the world and were right on about it too, but were half paralyzed from strokes and that is the worst illness anyone can have.  Losing our minds would be a blessing for us compared to that, and for you to see your mom that way. Just struggling to talk to you and ask you all about you, family etc. and just can’t get the words out and know they never will.  I took care of a elderly man in Florida that had that, stroke took his right arm and voice from him. He cried every single day as did his wife and kids. He tried so hard to get words out and it would upset him tremendously until he’d break down and cry, then leave the room. All the hugs and kisses on the cheek couldn’t ease that for him, because he was well aware of the fact he was never going to get better. A second stroke took him suddenly after living 6 yrs. like that.  At least you can have some laughs about and even with your mom.

You mentioned she speaks her own language. Well, not at all, she is speaking what they call “salad” all words tossed all over the place and they ALL do it. Funny how they know what they are talking about when their together too. Even though you may think she isn’t happy because she is yelling and cursing at people, that is short lived right at the moment thing, and she is very happy.

All we can do now is just remember the good fun times with her because that is all you have now. I’m sorry but it is true. And that isn’t so bad is it? My dad, as crabby as he was to the end, he still made us laugh. I always remember my dad saying that we will all be better off loosing our minds than losing our arms, legs, speech or any other function, because we won’t even know it.  I found that to be the best truth I ever heard.  I now know what he was talking about. I’ve seen both sides to that coin and thank God Mike your mom has Alzheimer and not a suffering disease .

It will all be good some day for you.  Us kids feel it so much more than the grand kids. And you are a very strong and very smart man.  God forbid it, but if you every have a stroke you will think of me and say,”that girl sure talked a lot but knew what she was talking about with his one”. Then you’ll say, “I wonder what ever happened to her”.  I can tell you right now, I’ll be in a center with all the other senile people with Alzheimer’s and still talking up a storm. The others will be yelling at me to shut the hell up for once. I can see it now!

It’s all good with your mom, believe me, it is all good with her. I hope this makes sense to you and I also hope it will help you with your mom and her condition.  Remember this always as it is very important for her, you have the capability to go to her level of thinking when your with her but she does not have the capeability to get to yours, so don’t ever argue with her about a topic no matter how off she is. It will only make matters worse. Believe me, agree with her. Just an example, I had a lady, Mary, that was in her late 80′s that wore a coat round the clock because she was waiting to get picked up to go to her mothers funeral. That was stuck in her head and wasn’t ever going to leave. I was with her for about 6 yrs. Every day I dealt with that. Never an argument, never, I just told her the funeral wasn’t until 1:00 and she had plenty of time so she could take her coat of and wait until they came to pick her up. When she took her coat off I kept her busy with whatever’s until she put the coat back on, I’d tell her they were on their way and she NEVER til the day she died argued or got upset about them never coming to pick her up. Not once in the 6 yrs. I was with her. Others would tell her the truth about her mom being dead for years and she would cry and fight with them. Just agree with her no matter what, as long as it is a safe thing your talking about. There is no harm in that at all, infact it is the best thing for her mind and certainly her heart.

I’ll shut up now, just had to tell you some things I do know about this.

Elaine