A few weeks ago, I developed a cough. I went to the doctor, they checked everything out and sent me home. But I wasn’t getting better. I started to worry when the cough got really bad and I was having a hard time breathing.
I called my son, who told me if it didn’t get better, to go to the emergency room. By three in the afternoon, I was still having trouble breathing, so I took a cab from my home in a retirement community to the emergency room.
As with most emergency rooms, the waiting room was pretty full. I checked in, waited my turn and was finally called in. Continue reading ““You don’t look like you have Alzheimer’s disease”” »
Cynthia, Alzheimer’s Association Champion
On my 63rd Birthday, I was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. As a nurse, I was willing to face this disease. However, the support and love of my family really enabled me to get the proper medical and financial help as I moved ahead in my treatment. In fact, my family has continued to help me deal with my needs. The following letter from my son shows that support: Mom, I don’t want you to worry or be afraid. Let’s enjoy every single day and not think too much about whether you can remember as well as you could in the past. I will watch over you and won’t let anything bad happen to you. If the time comes when we need to do more for you, I will make sure you have everything you need to have a great quality of life, I wish I could change things. I wish I could take you illness for you but I can’t. All I can do is be there for you and love you. Continue reading “Dear Researchers: A message from Cynthia” »
When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease there will almost certainly be issues relating to family relationships. First, normal roles change. A son suddenly becomes his mother’s caregiver, reversing their lifelong roles. Over time, a couple’s relationship changes as caregiving becomes the priority. Life plans, retirement plans, all the things you put off for the future, those things change and may in fact disappear completely. Roles of the caregiver change within their own family as well; a caregiver’s children may feel infringed upon when Grampa needs mom’s constant attention and focus. Continue reading “Family Dynamics – Facing a New Normal, Together” »
About a year ago, Cynthia got lost on the way to her favorite ice cream place – one she had been to time and time again. When she finally found it, ordered herself a treat and got on the road home, she was alarmed to realize she couldn’t figure out how to drive across the street, becoming disoriented with the number of bright headlights and speed and number of the cars. In the weeks that followed this incident, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Cynthia and her son on Mother’s Day
Cynthia, 64, has become a passionate advocate for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and their families, attending advocacy meetings, support groups and speaking at events. She recently moved to a retirement community in Napa, Calif., to be close to her son, who is her primary caregiver. She shared with us a letter her son wrote to her about the present and the future.
I don’t want you to worry or be afraid. Let’s enjoy every single day and not think too much about whether you can remember as well as you could in the past.
I will watch over you and won’t let anything bad happen to you. If the time comes when we need to do more for you, I will make sure you have everything you need to have a great quality of life.
I wish I could change things. I wish I could take your illness for you but I can’t. All I can do is be there for you and love you.