Many times over the years, I would fly home to Illinois and visit my parents and family. Since 1996, many of those visits revealed more cognitive impairment for my mama. I understand how scary and heartbreaking this revelation can be. Every time I left, I would be in tears and my family would laugh thinking I was just emotional about saying goodbye. In reality I was worried how bad it would be next time I returned. Each visit showed more loss; words, memories, odd statements. We tried Aricept but saw only gastric issues and mama getting angrier than usual. We then tried Namenda, but its efficacy was minimal after a very short time.
I was working with the Alzheimer’s Association at that time on the help line and began learning as much as I could to understand how this disease progresses. Several books which I have listed on my RESOURCES page of this website, were extremely helpful in helping me to better understand her mindset, although it did not take the pain away. Learning redirection skills did help enormously and led me to the conclusion that this was the only thing that would be effective in helping with her disease. Another piece I understood quickly was that I needed to help my family with managing their emotions so that we did not lose patience with mama, and even with ourselves. Getting angry, upset and having down days was not going to help anyone.
I jumped into reading everything I could get my hands on, our family joining a research study, hiring home care and employing strategies and techniques for every behavior. All the while, I was using her likes and dislikes to create activities for her to keep mama engaged and social, so that she did not slip into deep depression. For all accounts, we were very successful. That is not to say that at times is was incredibly difficult and heartbreaking. There are very few situations that I have not seen over the years, in either my mama or people I have worked with over the last 20 + years. I am hear to answer your questions and help in any way I can. Peruse this website for information about me so that you feel comfortable about my ability to assist.
Please reply and tell me what you are living with and how I can help by clicking on the heading at the top. Share with friends in need please.
Also listen to my radio show Dementia Resilience with Jill Lorentz on Sundays 10 am MST on Cruisin’ 1430am Denver, or access past podcasts on this website.