It has been a long hard road for everyone, since my mother fell and broke her hip in November of 2007. (see various posts in aging parents and alzheimer's folders) It has been really the hardest on her, as she is the one who is going through the scary changes of knowing that her mind is not working as it used to. I can see her searching for the next word as she speaks.
Her fall was accidental, but it was the beginning of all of this. It was going to happen eventually as she has been somewhat forgetful for the last year or so, but nothing really so bad that it seemed like it would for sure lead to Alzheimer disease. We did ask her doctor about her memory and what could be done earlier in 2007 and he started her on Aricept. She did seem to get better after the fall in November and healed physically and was mentally pretty stable in Feb 2008. It got to the point where we all felt she could try to live on her own again, as she had a really nice, new apartment in a retirement residence where she has many friends. She was doing well. We had her stay over at my house on some weekends.
It was last weekend, on March 5th, that she fell again, in her apartment. She was taken to the hospital and luckily, nothing was broken, but she did get some bad bruises. But in the span of about 3 days, her mind seemed to completely spin into a later stage of Alzheimer's... she is pretty much out of it now. She has bouts of knowing our names and then she doesn't and she just rambles into and out of the many memories that are stored in her mind. She has just been approved for Medicaid, which was to enter into an adult daycare program called Community Life and now this happened. It is probably good that we went through the approval for medicaid as it will probably enable her permanent stay in the nursing home she is in now. It is really a good nursing home as far as the staff being caring and the facility is very clean. It is however, very depressing to me to see the hundreds of seniors in this home as they are all needing 24 hour care and they are just in this state of waiting for their end of life. It left my wife and myself in a sad state of mind when we left. We went from the nursing home to her apartment to start cleaning out her things to close out her lease. That was even sadder!!!
My dad was 74 when he died and that was 18 years ago. This made me realize that he went the better way. He was healthy and just went down with a massive heart attack. He did not have to get old and go through all the pains and fears that my mother has gone through. He would also have not handled it as well as my mother can. This final phase of my mother not being able to take care of herself and have to live in a nursing home has... sort of felt like someone flipped a light switch in my life also. I feel different from the day before I visited my mother in the nursing home where she will most likely spend the rest of her life... the day before, I guess I felt hope or that she will get over this.. or something that made me think it will get better if we all try to do whatever we can.. show her more family love and caring and help her use her mind more... I guess the nursing home visit made me feel some cold hit of reality and of feeling OLD! Now I feel a sense of what all of us Baby Boomers are actually going to go through. We are going to face the issues that we are seeing our parents go through now, only there will be many millions more of us. What will that do to our country? How will our government be able to handle all of this and more so... what can we start doing now to prepare for the future in order to not be a burden on our children. I feel much older......