When I was 33 years old, my mother who was 73 began showing signs of Alzheimer’s. I was completely unprepared for the changes in her. She repeated herself, started hiding things in strange places, lost track of time and became emotional and distrustful. If your mom exhibits these signs of Alzheimer’s, here are a few tips to help you and your loved one.
1. Don’t pull away.
Instead, spend time with her. Set aside a morning or an afternoon where you have a few hours to really connect with your mom. Do something you both enjoy whether it’s sharing a cup of coffee or tea, going for a walk in nature or window shopping. Use this time to observe your mom.
2. Don’t confront or get emotional.
If your mother is upset, listen to her. Let her share without interruption whatever is on her mind, even if it doesn’t make sense to you.
3. Don’t take it personally.
Your mother may be angry that she is losing her memory or the ability to do things she used to do. Responding in frustration or anger will only make things worse.
4. Don’t embarrass your mother.
If she repeats herself, gets flustered and can’t remember something, stay calm and be supportive.
5. Don’t keep it to yourself.
Find support for yourself. Talk with a family member, friend, a counselor or a doctor who understands dementia. There are books (AlzAuthors has over 150 resources) and websites (Alzheimer’s Association and Being Patient are two sites) that offer helpful information. Any of the above can help you get perspective and understanding about Alzheimer’s disease.
Motherhood: Lost and Found is the story of my mother’s descent into Alzheimer’s at the same time I was trying to become a mom. My family and I helped care for Mom who had Alzheimer’s for 14 years. My hope is that my memoir will serve as a road map and a source of inspiration for others who find themselves on this confusing path. Read the first chapter for free by clicking here, or pick up a copy on Amazon.
I had the privilege of meeting Brian Kursonis at one of my readings. We connected immediately because of our intimate understanding of Alzheimer’s. I am pleased to be able to share his story.
Brian Kursonis was a father with a fiancée, a good job, a home and even beloved dogs when his world came crashing down around him. At the age of 55 he was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s.