As many of our Alzheimer’s community is aware, caregiving is incredibly stressful – especially when giving care at home without little outside help. Today we have a blog by Sam, who struggled for years as a primary caregiver for his mother, who passed away with Alzheimer’s disease this past June. Remember to add a tribute to the caregiver in your life at www.alz.org/nadam.
We first realized something was seriously wrong with our mom when she got lost going to my sister’s house. She had gotten off of the bus at the right stop, but could not remember which house my sister and her family lived in. She wasn’t usually very late, so my sister finally went outside to look for her. That’s when we realized she had been wandering in the neighborhood for a long time, perhaps two to three hours.
A few months later, she went out grocery shopping and went missing overnight. The police found her wandering miles away with no recollection of how she had gotten there. She was still carrying the chicken she bought from the store, but it had spoiled because she had kept it with her from the previous day. That was in 2005. Continue reading “National Caregivers Month: Sam struggled with feelings of resentment towards his mother with Alzheimer’s” »
Two articles released by the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) report on a newly identified risk gene for Alzheimer’s disease.
Genetic mutations that are confirmed as Alzheimer’s risk genes tell us more about the disease – often that Alzheimer’s is somehow connected to the regular function of the gene. They can also become targets for therapies or point us to new targets for therapies.
The first Alzheimer’s risk gene identified was APOE-e4. Everyone inherits a copy of some form of APOE from each parent. Those who inherit one copy of APOE-e4 have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Those who inherit two copies have an even higher risk, but not a certainty. In addition to raising risk, APOE-e4 may tend to make symptoms appear at a younger age than usual. Scientists estimate that APOE-e4 is implicated in about 20 percent to 25 percent of Alzheimer’s cases.
The article authors say the gene mutation confers a relatively large additional risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, comparing it to ApoE. At the same time, the mutation seems to be quite rare – occurring in less than one-half of one percent of the study participants. The gene mutation is related to reduced control of inflammatory factors that may lead to inflammation and microglial activation, both long-suspected contributors to Alzheimer’s disease pathology. Continue reading “Have Scientists Discovered a New Alzheimer’s Gene?” »
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Today we’re celebrating Kat, a caregiver who lost her mother in August of this year. Remember to add a tribute to the caregiver in your life at www.alz.org/nadam.
My mother passed away on Wednesday, August 24 in the arms of my 91-year-old father on their 65th wedding anniversary. She had been battling Alzheimer’s for many years, and when she was sent to hospice with little hope of survival, I raced down as quickly as I could to hold the hand that had caressed my forehead for so many years. August 16th, we all gathered around her bedside, including her great grandchildren. We told her stories of our lives with her. We played the song she had requested, Ave Maria.
I also read the words from, “Like My Mother Does” and reminded her of the days when I picked mustard flowers for her walking home from school. She always smiled that big beautiful smile, gave me a big huge and told me how beautiful they were. She would put them in a vase on our simple dining room table that was rich with laughter and good times. A little girl saw me one day and told me, “you are picking weeds for your mom!” I ran home crying and into her arms. I sobbed how sorry I was and that I didn’t know they were weeds, I thought they were pretty flowers. She smiled that beautiful knowing smile, ran her hand through my hair and said, “God created them and I think they are beautiful, especially because they are from you”. She picked up the mustard flowers that fell limply from my hands and placed them lovingly in a vase and put them on the dining room table. I saw some mustard flowers on the day she passed away… they will always be beautiful to me. Continue reading “National Caregivers Month: Kat’s mom leaves her with lessons of love that last a lifetime” »
Laura, her mom and sister
Thank you everyone for so many words of encouragement for our family caregivers! We continue honoring caregivers during National Caregivers Month with Laura’s story. She and her younger sister are living the lives of young 20-somethings, while trying to give their dad a break from caring full time for their mom. Remember, you can post a tribute to the caregiver in your life at www.alz.org/nadam.
I officially found out about two years ago (November of 2010) that my mother had Alzheimer’s disease. She was 56. I was 24. Of course, by that point the changes were drastic enough that my suspicions were already quite high and, more than anything, I was relieved to have a solid explanation.
It was about 2-3 years prior, during my last year of college, that I had first started noticing that my mom seemed to be forgetting large chunks of our regular telephone conversations. She had always been deeply involved in my life, so the fact that she seemed to be disregarding the things I talked to her about was completely out of character for her. Being a worrier, my first horrified thought was that she was developing Alzheimer’s disease, but the friends I confided in were quick to assure me that she was too young and that there was a myriad different explanations for her minor memory lapses. Continue reading “National Caregivers Month: At 26, Laura is too young for “Yomamma Care”” »
Molly and her dad
As we continue honoring Alzheimer’s Caregivers during National Caregivers Month, remember you can add your own tribute to a caregiver at www.alz.org/nadam. Today, we’re highlighting another young woman who is dealing with the Alzheimer’s diagnosis in a parent. Molly is only 29, but she has already experienced the tragic stresses of caregiving.
I have watched this disease develop in my dad for the past 6 years. It still amazes me to think about how much he has changed since his diagnosis. Every time I look at his innocent face and wandering eyes I am left speechless, wondering why this disease picked him. Since his diagnosis, I have been faced with an uphill battle. Every day he slips further away from knowing who I am, his little girl! Continue reading “National Caregivers Month: Molly misses being Daddy’s little girl” »