Chapter 3 – Staying strong in forgetfulness


We take so many things in life for granted. Sometimes we don’t realize that until something happens to change our life. Mom is really recognizing just how much she is struggling to remember and is very bothered by it. Stage 3 of this disease attacks the front of the brain where logical thought develops. This makes a person unable to make plans, solve problems and grasp concepts. I think this is where we are beginning to move to. It is a slow process and I am very thankful for that.

She tries to stay strong and keep her positive attitude but it is not easy. My father was a very strong figure and so my Mom was always very easy going and “went with the flow”. I truly believe this attitude is helping her now. She is troubled but seems to have found a place of calm. I struggle with it and we talk about it as much as we can. I have learned from her body language when it is enough discussion.

She has always been a writer, keeping a diary for over 50 years. I find now she is writing notes about the events of her day. I have purchased a day planner which is helping her to be able to track her activities as well as the day of the week. She may not remember but she can check the notes to see what happened.  The challenge is that she knows she can’t remember and can’t figure out why. We have discussed this many times but she just does not remember. This is not an easy journey.

She has started taking Aricept as the Doctor feels that may help to slow the progress of the disease. She is a very healthy 85-year-old woman on very little medication. I fill her dispensers with the medication she takes daily. I keep all the other medication away from her home. This seems to be working well so far and she records on her calendar what time of each day she takes her pills. This process of recording gives her comfort and she reads her notes numerous times daily.

I am concerned that she is not eating properly. I buy fruits and vegetables and simple proteins for her to cook, that seem to disappear but I struggle to know if they are being consumed. I have encouraged her to record what she eats every day now which is really helping. I have contacted Meals on Wheels and she is getting a hot lunch daily. This brings someone into her world for a short visit each day as well as a healthy meal. She still cooks and I encourage her to do that. I think it is very important for her to continue daily tasks as long as she is able to. She has friends in for coffee and makes the coffee at least twice weekly for their gatherings.

It can be challenging trying to track all the “things” going on. Struggling with the guilt is difficult. Questioning yourself as you are trying to do the “right thing” when at times unsure what that is. Trying to remove the emotion to be able to make decisions based on logical thought is extremely difficult.

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