January 15, 2020 In the 1990's, when my Grandma Tatum was in her 70's, she became very "senile." As did at least two of her sisters. No one mentioned "Alzheimer's Disease." Dementia was a "normal" part of aging, right? Two years ago, my mom's cousin Martha lost her battle with Early Onset Alzheimer's. My mother, Beverly Mitchell, was officially diagnosed 10 years ago with Early Onset, when she was 70 years old, but we had known for years that something was desperately wrong.
Our Alzheimer's journey continues, and today my mom doesn't know who I am, but that's okay because I know who she is. I do believe that some part of her recognizes my sister and me. I think somewhere inside of heart, she knows we belong to her.
Mother needs help with all of her self care, including feeding herself. On some days, she does better than others, but she definitely needs help getting her utensils to her mouth. (It takes about an hour to feed her because she has always been a very slow eater!) Other than having a debilitating brain disease, she's very healthy. Her skin looks amazing and because she doesn't have facial expressions, she has very few wrinkles!
She doesn't communicate with us, and I miss that the most. When we ask her questions, she might respond, "I don't know," and that's the clearest words she speaks. When I tell her what my children and grandchildren are doing, she just stares blankly. If she says any other words, they are unintelligible. Sometimes she will smile and on a good day, she will wave. Her caregivers play her CD, filled with the songs she wrote and recorded, but she doesn't sing along, or even recognize them as being hers.
I am now about the age my mother was when we started noticing odd little things about her. Her personality started changing; she had trouble driving; and she became very disorganized. It took us years to finally put all of the pieces together, and then to get a diagnosis. I walk to honor my wonderful mom. The mother who raised me, loved me and always supported me. I walk in the hope that soon treatment and ultimately, a cure will be found. I walk because I do not want this disease, and I don't want my children and grandchildren to live in fear of it. This is such an important cause to me, and I sincerely appreciate your help.
March 4, 2018
Although my mom, Beverly Mitchell, was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's when she was 68 years old, I had noticed personality changes and memory issues well before that. She turns 77 on May 7th and she resembles nothing of the vibrant, energetic, passionate person she was before Alzheimer's.
She lives contentedly in a licensed residential care home where she is cared for 24 hours a day. She slowly walks around the house at times, but she has lost the ability to understand language and communicate. Her personality is gone. She usually recognizes me and sister, but that's as far as it goes. She has trouble feeding herself and all of her self-care is performed by her loving caretakers.
I take comfort in that she is safe, peaceful, content, and lovingly cared for. I love her and will forever miss the wonderful mother and grandmother I knew.
I walk in honor of her and in the hope that an effective treatment and a cure will be found.
Thank you for helping us advance Alzheimer's support, care and research!
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