My mom was diagnosed seven years ago with Precursor Mild Cognitive Impairment. She tested positive for the gene that contains the disease, which we assume was passed to her by her mother who also suffered from Alzheimer's. Three years ago was a big transition year for us. December of 2018 was the last "normal" Christmas we would spend together, as a family. She made her last visit to our home in 2018. In February 2019, my Mom was placed into a Memory Care Unit where she socialized with others who also suffer from this disease.
In March of 2020, her facility was placed on lock-down, only allowing staff into the building. My Dad was able to schedule a special window visit for their 57th wedding anniversary on June 2. That was the first time he was able to see her in nearly 3 months. I was scheduled to visit in July, and was hoping to be able to see my Mom, in person, however the trip did not materialize.
The pandemic definitely put a strain on families of Alzheimer's patients, not allowing visitations. Many Alzheimer's patients, including my Mom, are not technologically sound, so Face-timing is not a viable way to communicate and provide the necessary physical aspects of a relationship. Now, more than ever, the mayors, governors, and state representatives need to hear our voices to allow for visitation to the elderly who are confined to homes. They, as well as their family caretakers, need the physical interaction to feel loved. Without it, many elderly are dying of broken hearts, allowing ailments to riddle their body and break it down.
In October 2020, there was a COVID-19 breakout within the facility. They created a quarantine wing, but more residents were impacted, so a decision was made to find other facilities to transfer COVID patients. Mom was diagnosed with COVID-19, and walked out of her memory care facility, into an ambulance, where she was transported to another facility. That was the last time any of us saw her walk again.
Three long weeks later, my Dad was finally able to have a visitation with Mom. He found her bed ridden with large sores on the heels of her feet. I was able to see her in November, my last physical contact with her. She appeared to mouth the words to songs as we listened to Beatles music. We looked at older photos of our family, I fed her Culver’s custard, and spent time just holding her hand. It broke my heart when the visit was over and they wheeled her inside. The look on her face was confusion and disbelief that she was being separated from us. I truly believe she knew who I was and didn’t want our time spent together to end.
We lost her on January 26, 2021. She was a wonderful Nana to my son, always looking to have fun by playing games, miniature golf, or enjoying amusement parks. The last time they spent time together, they created a game of volleyball with a balloon and a partition wall, giggling as the balloon would sometimes pop each other in the face. I miss her terribly, her smile, her laugh, her hugs.
Please join and or donate to our team, Nana's MOB, for the Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer's, the nation's largest event to raise awareness and funds to fight Alzheimer's disease. Together, we can advance research to treat and prevent Alzheimer's, and provide programs and support to improve the lives of millions of affected Americans. I'm encouraging all of my friends in Knoxville to walk with me on October 2rd at Zoo Knoxville. Click to donate or even better, to walk with me in memory of my Mom.
Thank you for helping advance Alzheimer's support, care and research.
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