I grew up with just my mom on my side. We used to run around, play hide and seek, go for a walk around the park, go shopping, cook, and more. We used to do almost everything together. But time flew so fast. I finished school and had to work overseas. I came back after two years to get married and had to be away again to raise a family of my own. We used to see each other often. Either she visits us, or we visit her. It’s a must that she comes on every special occasion – birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays.
But suddenly, during her grandson’s eighth birthday, she didn’t show up. I was worried that I called her to ask how she was doing. She said she’s fine, but I sensed something in her voice. When I came to visit, I was surprised. She has been in her bed for quite a while and didn’t seem to remember some things. She didn’t tell us the truth. She had been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s.
I was in denial. The doctor might have gotten it wrong. We brought her home and had her checked up by some specialists. To my dismay, they all said the same thing. I felt like I was at the lowest point of my life.
Mild Cognitive Impairment
Millions of people worldwide are affected with AD or Alzheimer’s disease. It is projected to intensify as the years go by quickly. There will be variation in brain functions. Prior to the AD, the patient will experience MCI or mild cognitive impairment. This is the transitional period between the normal aging process and AD.
My mom experienced some sort of cognitive decline. Her memory and thought processes continued to fail her.
The Progress To Late Stage
Alzheimer’s Association published that more than five million people are already affected by AD, and that by year 2050, it could increase to up to 16 million.
Caring for a person with AD is very tough for families and friends. He has to be watched 24/7 for years. It is even reported that older adults with Alzheimer’s disease are one of the main reasons why grownup children have to be the caregiver of their elderly parents. This is what happened to me.
The need for care increases as the disease progress. Time will come when they won’t even be able to do their ADLs (activities of daily living) such as bathing, dressing, feeding, and using the bathroom by themselves. As the late stage AD approaches, the patient will often experience incontinence and can be fully disabled.
We all have become the victim of this awful illness. The physical, emotional, mental, and also financial stress is beyond one can imagine. We even have to save money for her treatment because her insurance doesn’t cover everything. Friends and relatives would sometimes extend help, and we are thankful for it. I just hope the government would have some provisions for our elderly with Alzheimer’s.
Our Family Stands As One Against Alzheimer’s
I remember my mom as the sweetest and most patient mom. Single-handedly, she raised me without hearing any complaint whatsoever. She did all things with a smile and enthusiasm. Now, that she is ill with this dreadful disease that is slowly eating up her brain, those traits of hers remain. I can sense how embarrassed she feels towards me, my husband, and her grandkids. There are lapses and times when she will get a bit disappointed and irritated, but she tries hard to make up for it after some time.
Years have passed, now 75, she is increasingly dependent on the nursing aide, who comes in every morning, and me. Sometimes, I would feel burdened and very stressed by her disease, but I will immediately feel resentful when the idea of bringing her to the nursing home crosses my mind. Even my kids don’t want me to do it. They are trying their best to help out in looking after their granny during their free time. I know it’s hard for them too, but they willingly do it out of love for their granny. That’s how we all want – to give back the love she had shown us.
We’ve managed to stay strong together because we came prepared by equipping ourselves with the knowledge and understanding of this disease and how we are going to deal with it.