14

Caring for my Mom, (mother-in-law) with alzheimer's disease.

Posted by ycandrea 5 years, 2 months ago to Philosophy
38 comments | Share | Best of... | Flag

Our Mom has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease by a neurologist. He says the onset began about 6 years ago and went untreated and there is not much that can be done at this point. He said even if caught early he could have only slowed the progress. He said that along with her memory loss, this disease is also causing a slow degeneration of her entire brain and her body. This woman raised 7 children and was a very outspoken and dominant person. She got things done! Without going into her history, needless to say it is so hard and so sad to watch as her cognitive and logical thinking becoming increasingly non-existent. And to watch her body wasting away. Her internist says she is losing muscle mass and she will not be able to walk much longer. She will become very weak and her organs will begin to fail.

My point in sharing this is to say how I cherish my mind! My ability to think logically. To take things right down to the root. To check my premise. To know that I am. I write this with tears in my eyes because I have known this woman for a very long time and I have always admired her. I will be at her side through it all and she does not even remember me. Or my husband, her son. I know my post may not be very objectivist, and kind of emotional. But I am keeping my wits about me and this blog helps me keep in touch with the best part of myself. Thank you all.


Add Comment

FORMATTING HELP

All Comments Hide marked as read Mark all as read

  • Posted by $ Abaco 5 years, 2 months ago
    I'm sorry to hear this. Sorry you are going through it. I can relate.

    My son, my only son and the only one who can carry our family name, was born healthy and beautiful. At about 11 months he came down with an encephalitis that rendered him catatonic. I was so ready to teach him all I had learned in life, to launch him into the world equipped to take it on and be successful. But, our family name ends on this...

    Remember to be glad about the life your mother was able to have. It really was a gift.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by johnpe1 5 years, 2 months ago
      Abaco, I am the last carrying my family name. . I tried hard to make
      a family in this life, but failed. . my sister, however, has two great
      kids, and she's passing on the line. . the name dies with me, though.
      it's a curious thing that brings tears to my eyes, yet truth is truth....... -- j
      .
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by $ jbrenner 5 years, 2 months ago
    If there were a charity that Objectivists might find reasonable instead of altruistic, it would be to find a cure for Alzheimer's disease, a disease of the mind. Some Objectivists might find it in their own best interest even. I am about to submit a paper on self-assembly and aggregation of proteins associated with Alzheimer's disease. I was inspired to do so first by watching my father's father deteriorate. Now I am watching my own father suffer from Alzheimer's. There is a set of proteins that basically act as scavengers of amino acids and protoproteins that are no longer produced in Alzheimer's patients. A therapy for Alzheimer's that works will probably exist in 20 years, and there are already drugs that severely inhibit its progression. Hang in there, ycandrea, and don't be offended by odd behavior. Although my father still remembers names pretty well, he struggles to finish thoughts. What is odd is that he frequently wears multiple shirts or pairs of pants, and even wore two different shoes the other day. I am working on the Alzheimer's problem.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by 5 years, 2 months ago
      My Mom was always a problem solver and she now still tries so hard, but her solutions are just not logical. We have learned to let her do it because it makes her feel relevant instead of incredible angry if we try to stop her. Then later on we undo what she did. She doesn't remember things from 5 minutes ago. The doctors say she doesn't even realize there is anything wrong with her. I think I would rather die than have this disease.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by handyman 5 years, 2 months ago
        I'm sorry to hear of your situation. I can sympathize as my sister, wife and I cared for my mother for 3 years as she slowly sank deeper and deeper into the void that is Alzheimer's. One thing to keep in mind is that it is often much worse for the caregivers than for the patient. The patient often, as you have observed, know there is a problem. Also, be sure to take care of the caregiver - seek out support resources and be sure to give yourself some respite time.
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by $ Technocracy 5 years, 2 months ago
    Thats a tough issue to deal with, you have my sympathy. We had to deal with my Father-in-law having Alzheimers. The saddest part is that as the degradation was going on, he knew it but could not do anything about it.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by 5 years, 2 months ago
    I want to thank each and every one of you for your kind words and thoughtful insight and especially those who shared their own experiences in dealing with this insidious disease. My husband and I are in our 60's and Mom is 88. Caring for my Mom in our retirement gives us both something very worthwhile to do. It has also reinforced in me to appreciate all that I have and especially a mind to know it. Again, thank you all.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by Herb7734 5 years, 2 months ago
    It is not irrational to care for someone you love. Depending on the circumstances, expressing sympathy, empathy, or emotion under the circumstances you describe is perfectly valid. Of late, I have revealed in this forum my recent trip to the hospital, my advanced age, and ancient (60th) anniversary. The outpouring of support, congratulations, and good wishes was nearly overwhelming. Objectivism is not, as some would have one believe, a philosophy sans emotion. It is a philosophy of properly posited emotion.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by maxgeoac 5 years, 2 months ago
    I understand what you are going through, as I watched my Grandfather go through all stages of the disease. My mother, and aunts, were always over at my grandparent's house helping; cooking, cleaning, and taking care of both of their parents till the end. Trust me, it will not get any easier; however, the best suggestion I can make is to not allow the emotions become bottled up inside. Talk about what you feel, write, do what ever you can to let what you are feeling out. You have already taken the first step, please continue.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by cranedragon 5 years, 2 months ago
    Alzheimer's is hard, and I have no first-hand experience with it, but I did watch my mother succumb to Parkinson's. I found that as bad or worse because she retained her intelligence throughout; she could measure the deterioration of her abilities without being in any way able to affect the downward slide.

    These slow degenerative diseases have always seemed to me to be the medical equivalent of the drooling beast in the Fountainhead.

    Be as gentle with yourself as you are with your M-I-L, ycandrea. Best wishes.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by johnpe1 5 years, 2 months ago
    my wife's father went down the same path -- it was all we could do
    to hold on to him as he faded away. . we just loved him and tried
    hard to mention things which would keep his brain active.
    Hang In There, Andrea!!! -- j
    .
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by cjalgire 5 years, 2 months ago
    My Mom (now deceased) watched her Mom go thru the physical, mental, and emotional changes from Alzheimers for 10 years.
    Mom's solution: she helped lead a support group. She worked with the Chicago Alzheimers chapter. She kept up with latest news and at the same time, offered support and suggestions to care givers.
    Please consider joining a support group, the emotional strain you feel just MAY be helped by joining others in the same situation.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by $ Olduglycarl 5 years, 2 months ago
    I work at Connecticut Hospice. Even though I do not have much contact with the patients, I will tell you that what ever conscious time you have with your loved one is valuable.
    Hospice bought a beautiful piece of property on the sound. We have made it a place for emotional healing for families and patients alike.
    Due to the fact that mankind has become conscious, times like these are most distressing but you have an opportunity here to make it a time you will remember fondly.
    I sense that is what your wishing for.
    Take care...
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by jdg 5 years, 2 months ago
    Did that. It was horrible to see my father's brilliant mind turn stupid, and nothing could be done about it. I'm not sure if I'd want to live any longer once it started to happen to me.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by NealS 5 years, 2 months ago
    My condolences, experienced the same thing with my mother after my dad passed away. Fortunately for me, my sister took care of her until she passed away. I was about the only one she still remembered. Then she fell and broke a hip, and things all started downhill really fast. I thanked God when she died, she always said she missed her man, my dad, and now they would be together again. The experience made us all realize what a nasty disease this really is. Think about the good times and laugh as much as you can, it really helps.

    My dad always said he was worried about her, that her mind was failing and he was afraid for her that he would go first. He was the lucky one, he passed away with his pockets bulging with quarters in Las Vegas while pulling handles. When mom called me from Vegas to tell us, she was in tears, but her only question was, "Do I have to claim his winnings on my income tax?" They always won when they went to Vegas, and always got something new from it, a new car, a new washer/dryer, new clothes, or something for their kids or grandkids. Those are the memories I cherish, I'll never give them up.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by philosophercat 5 years, 2 months ago
    Here is to your will power and love. I had been an Objectivist for 20 years when my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. He died 10 agonizing years later exhausting my mother after 5 years. I studied him and held him as long as he responded. That was as long as he could squeeze my hand back. I learned something that most theorists don't pay attention to. Alzheimer's is the loss of body functions in the reverse order we learned them from potty training to where the car is parked today. The key is the Objectivist concept of focus as a volitional act. The first thing you learned was to focus your eyes. So fight for your consciousness by volitional focus. Above all it is the sense of touch that was the first gift you received from you mother and it is the most precious gift you can give when they find themselves losing themselves. Be proud of your gift of touch even when they cant thank you. Bless you.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by helmsman5 5 years, 2 months ago
    Our hearts go out to you. I was able to take 4 years off work to personally care for my Mom who succumbed to Alzheimer's. We can care for those who did so much to make us who we are. I have bittersweet memories bathing, dressing, feeding, and even patiently participating in dementia conversations about virtual people in the yard.. Best of luck and patience with your M-I-L. I recommend googling/ reading 'The 36 Hour Day'
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by LibertyBelle 5 years, 2 months ago
    So sorry. But that's the way things happen some-
    times. Still, research is going on all the time, and,
    who knows, they might come up with a preventive
    or even a cure someday.--I doubt that it will be
    soon enough to do your beloved mother-in-law any good, but who knows?
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by wiggys 5 years, 2 months ago
    Regardless of the ultimate cause of a loved ones death it is just something we all for the most part have to deal with. Having been there I support you.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by term2 5 years, 2 months ago
    And our illustrious president spends trillions on wars and military exercises in places in which we have no business being- all the while wasting the money that we could be spending on medical research to eliminate these terrible diseases. I guess these government people think they will never grow old and suffer problems like this. Except for defense on your home turf, wars are pretty stupid.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by $ Abaco 5 years, 2 months ago
    Your experience and mine point out this KEY POINT. It's what's between the ears that make the man. People, in general a WAY too cavalier about this. From the drugs we take, to the sports we engage in, to our addiction to television. I came to realize this in dealing with what happened to my son. I wish I had realized it earlier. I was just asked yesterday by a young man if, given the chance to go back in time, would I have worked through my football career. Without hesitation, "no". I have lost friends and old teammates in what should have been their prime. We used to celebrate concussions...
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  

FORMATTING HELP

  • Comment hidden. Undo