My Mom passed away from Alzheimer's. She had it for 10 years and finally just gave up. It is a horrible and devastating disease. I watched her go downhill and it was not something I want to go through again.
The last 2 years of her life she was in a Nursing home. My sister and I rotated nights going to be with her. We fed her, changed her to her gown, made sure she had her medicine and was put to bed properly.
I would even take her down to their Beauty Salon and wash, dry, and curl her hair for her. She had the most beautiful silver hair.
If you ever have to put someone in a Nursing home and think they are well taken care of, think again. They are overworked and under staffed and their turnover is outragous.
While I was feeding Mom, I saw too many of the other patients go hungry because their staff did not have the time or the patience to put into getting them to eat. Mom and I were the last ones to leave the Dining Room every night because I took the time to make sure she ate.
I even had one of their aides ask me why I didn't change her adult diaper since I fed her, changed her to her gown and washed her hair. I told him that if I did, he would be out of a job.
They put a new Namenda patch on Mom every day. Sometimes my sister or I would find the one from the day before still on her along with the current day one. That was too much of that medicine in her system and it would leave a rash when we did pull it off.
My sister or I would find bedsores on Mom that the nurses or aides missed!! One of the nurses actually told me that we were like an extra set of eyes for them.
My sister went to change Mom to her gown one night and she cried out when my sister pulled her arm. The nurse said they do that sometimes. My sister insisted they call in the doctor and guess what. Mom's arm was out of the shoulder socket from someone pulling on her too hard.
I know this sounds like I am nickpicking, but she was our Mom and we wanted to make sure she was taken care of properly.
Mom was a happy-go-lucky person and always on the go. She fitted contac lenses on people and she free hand, painted wood crafts that were beautiful.
Then this disease got her and robbed her of EVERYTHING!!!! I was so depressied when I'd leave her at night, I would cry all the way home.
After the problem with her arm, Mom gave up. She stopped eating because that was the one thing she did have control over. She died 8 days later. She was 76.
I don't think she knew who we were towards the end, but I'd like to think she did. I miss her desperately every single day!!!!
I can't do any more now for Mom, so my family walks in the Alzheimer's Walk for a Cure. For the past 4 years. we have taken 1st place for our costumes and our big mouths getting the word out.
I have severe neuropothy in my feet, so this is a test of wills when I walk for a cure for this disease that will probaby kill me in the end.
My wish to you is to hug and tell your loved ones "I love you" every day because you never know what could happen.
Update for 2013 - I'm sorry to say, but we did not win the 'Spirit' award this year at the Alzheimer's Walk! A group who had a bull horn won it.
We will try again next year! Wish us luck!