Some change in memory is normal as we grow older, but the symptoms of dementia are more than simple lapses in memory.
People with dementia experience difficulties completing the routine tasks of their day-to-day lives. Communicating, learning, thinking, and reasoning are often affected.
With information and guidance, some people with dementia can continue to live safely at home. Research continues to bring us a better understanding of dementia related diseases, more accurate diagnoses, and more effective treatments. It is critical for people with dementia and their families to receive information, care, and support as early as possible.
If you suspect signs or symptoms of dementia in yourself or a loved one, we recommend consulting a physician. Early diagnosis is an important step to getting appropriate help.
About a year ago, I noticed that my mother was using different stores for shopping and a different salon for her haircuts. Mother lived alone and had always been independent, even though she was 88 years old. When I asked her about this change, she told me she had gotten lost coming home several times and just wanted to stay in the neighborhood.
As time went on, her memory kept getting worse. She began losing her keys and forgetting to eat. Mom has asthma. I found she was stockpiling her medication because she kept forgetting to take it. Finally, about six months ago, my husband convinced Mom that it was not safe for her to drive. She reluctantly gave up her car and agreed to move in with us.
Mom had become very weak from not eating right, and she experienced difficulty breathing. This made it hard for her to leave the house. Mom's primary doctor made a house call, and he diagnosed Mom with Alzheimer's Dementia. He made changes to her medication and ordered a visiting nurse to come to our house.
When the Holy Redeemer visiting nurse came to the house to see Mom that week, she asked a lot of questions. She helped us think about Mom's disease and how Mom could remain as independent as possible, for as long as possible.
One day, while letting the doctor know about Mom's medical condition, the nurse asked if Holy Redeemer could send out therapists trained in physical, occupational, and speech therapies to help us with Mom's care. These professionals were able to provide us with information and recommendations on how to modify our home to increase Mom's safety and independence. The speech therapist made feeding and swallowing recommendations to help with her nutritional needs.
Discovering Mom has dementia and living with it every day has been a tremendous emotional and physical stress for all of us.
Holy Redeemer HomeCare has helped us cope with some of the challenges and changes. We've been able to develop solutions to help us meet our many responsibilities and adjust to our new and changing roles.