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Melinda Thompson's tribute page:

Joyce Ann Lilley Tribute

Team Fundraising Goal: $1,000.00

Total Number of Gifts: 10
Total Value of Gifts: $1,525.00

Recent Donors

Pam Patterson

Gloria Elaine Nugent


Sue Hughes

Bob Cockrell

Carl Madsen

The Merritt Family

Mary Miller

Catherine Miller

Melinda Thompson

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My Mom was 78 years old, living on her own, She was a member of the beautification committee in her community, an active member in her church, and an election official. She was still bowling on a league, and going to Curves every morning to exercise. She would take public transportation to downtown St. Louis to go to Cardinals games-she would do this on her own if she couldn't find a friend to go with her. I had no idea that she was struggling with memory loss when I received a phone call from the police of a local municipality. They told me Mom was with them at the police station because she got out of her vehicle that she had parked in the slow lane on a major interstate during rush hour traffic to walk up and ask a police officer was giving someone else a ticket for directions. She had gotten lost on her way to my house. When I picked her up, she didn't understand what she had done wrong. I had her come stay with me that night so I could make sure she was ok.
She returned home the next day and continued with her normal activities. I started visiting more frequently and the more time I spent with her, the more I saw how much she was actually struggling. I suggested that she come stay with me but she didn't want to give up her independence. I convinced her to come stay with me for a few days just to try it out. She was still driving and one day when she returned from an outing, she came in the house and said she couldn't get the key out of the ignition. When I went out to see what the problem was, I found that the car was still in drive. (Fortunately, my driveway slopes up so the car didn't go forward into the house!) She went home again but soon received a letter indicating that her license had been revoked because of the highway incident.
She finally gave in and came to live with me.
I could never have imagined what would come next.
At first, she was struggling to find words and complete her thoughts. While this was mildly frustrating for both of us, we started to get accustomed to the new arrangement. She would go for walks several times per day, continued bowling, and going to church.
After about a year, she started to have more trouble with walking due to a softball injury where she rolled her ankle at the age of 65. She became more confused and could no longer complete tasks like writing letters or paying bills. She had a few minor falls so she stopped bowling and walking. She was having trouble with dressing herself and needed help getting to the bathroom so I hired a home health aide to come 3 days a week for 4 hours to help out.
Her condition slowly deteriorated over the next 9 months. We could no longer get her transferred to the toilet safely. Her sleeping habits changed and she woke up in the middle of the night regularly. She had another fall and this time, broke her hip. I increased the number of hours for the aide so they came 5 days a week now for 8 hours per day.
After the fall, Mom was so afraid that she began to scream every time she was transferred. She had become much more agitated and began to hit, kick and bite the helpers. Several of them quit because she was so difficult to deal with. She also started singing. She would sing for hours. Just a few notes over and over again. It was maddening!
I own a business and mostly work from home so it worked great for taking care of Mom but at this point I was overwhelmed so I started having the aides come 7 days a week for 8 hours a day.
She was usually happy to see me when I walked in the room, but now, she no longer knew who I was, other than that I am familiar. She could no longer pick up a fork and was drinking from a sippie cup. When I looked in her eyes, my Mom was no longer there.
We are now in the last few days of her life and I am feeling so guilty that I am ready for her to go but she has suffered for so long. It has been hard to watch her go from being so active and independent to this scared and confused woman. We need to stop this disease. It is a horrible way to die.

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