November 23, 2010
Alzheimer's can break your heart. I know. My mother had it. The first signs were subtle-a light bill left unpaid, a name forgotten. The later signs were gut wrenching - being found a mile away from home by a good samaritan, forgetting who her children were.
November is Alzheimer's awareness month. If you suspect a loved one has this terrible disease, seek help immediately. The National Alzheimer's Association can direct you. Right here in Raytown, the Shepherds Center provides respite for caregivers by offering the Breaktime Club for older adults with limitations. Some wonderful people provide activities, meals, songs, stories, and fun for the attendees.
Personally, I have checked out library materials that helped me understand Alzheimer's. The Alzheimer's Advisor: a Caregivers Guide to Dealing With the Tough Legal and Practical Issues by Vaughn E. James, Mom's Ok, She Just Forgets: the Alzheimer's Journey from Denial to Acceptance by Evelyn McLay, and the DVD, The Forgetting: a Portrait of Alzheimer's are some good choices.
My mom passed away three years ago, but I am grateful I got to spend so much time with her, and that she always seemed to be so happy. One thing her disease taught me was compassion. She'll always be in my heart, even if it is slightly broken.
10 Signs of Alzheimer's:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life.
- Challenges in planning or solving problems.
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks.
- Confusion with time or place.
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.
- New problems with words in speaking or writing.
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.
- Decreased or poor judgment.
- Withdrawal from work or social activities.
- Changes in mood and personality.