A Son Mourns his Mother

A Son Mourns His Mother

Dementia and Alzheimer's affect the lives of millions of people worldwide. They are progressive diseases that steal memories and cognitive abilities. Presently, there is no cure.

Over the past several years, I watched helplessly as my own mother plunged into the abyss of dementia. For her, her most obvious symptom was paranoia. She imagined everyone was out to get her constantly, including me, her only child. For weeks at a time, she wouldn't speak to me or my family, even though we lived only two houses apart. Then, she'd wake up one day and forget that it ever happened. For a couple days she was mostly her old self. And then she'd disappear again into her terrible and isolating world of fear. The last six months was hell. Finally, after exhausting every avenue to help her, she was admitted first to a hospital's senior mental health unit where doctors diagnosed her with severe cognitive disorder, and after almost month, she was released to a nursing home where she will most likely spend the rest of her days.

For family member who experience a loved one's decline into dementia or Alzheimer's, it can feel like grieving for someone who has died. In many ways, the feeling is the same--the person you love is no longer there. These families will grieve again when their family member passes away.

John Smelcer's Blog

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