Sunday, January 6, 2008

Baby Boomers and Alzheimer's


Hello, My Boomer Friends!

My name is Joanie, and I am an official Baby Boomer. In fact, my passion is my new and upbeat Baby Boomer website, FIFTY IS NIFTY.net!
I would like to greet my Diva friends from The Baby Boomer Diva Hall of Fame http://www.enjoyyourmenopause.com/web_of_fame.htm, along with my dear My Space friends, http://www.myspace.com/joanwhitehead
plus, of course, my Baby Boomers buds at http://www.fiftyisnifty.net. Please see my Recommended Links below to visit my friends and associates on the worldwide web.
Having said all that, let's get on to what my blog here is all about, which is Baby Boomer's and Alzheimer's Disease. I am quite sure many of you out there have had more experience than you would like dealing with family members and friends who have been stricken with this devasting disease. I would appreciate hearing from all of you who can extend advice, information and experiences...
You see, my mom has Alzheimer's, which has started to become more advanced recently. She is 83 years old, and her husband (my stepdad), Wayne, is 90. They live in Minnesota, which is where I am from, although I have been living in Las Vegas with my husband of five years. My mom and I were always very close, but I have not been able to see her much during the past 5 years, which has been when the downward spiral has been progressing. My step-dad has been able to provide wonderful care for my mom until recently...and has totally taken care of her and the entire household of their beautiful home here in Minnesota. Wayne did it all and is still handling more than you could believe a 90-year old guy could ever do. However, he is starting to lose it, which is more than understanding, plus my mom's situation is becoming more complicated.
Living in Las Vegas, and being so far away from home, made it difficult for me to see what was really going on with my mom and Wayne, and although I have been extremely concerned for a long time now, I had no grip on the severity of the situation until I arrived here for a Christmas visit. Long story short, my return airline reservations from the Twin Cities to Las Vegas were set for January 5th, and there is no way I could leave my mom and Wayne. My husband and I have made the decision that I stay here in Minnesota to help Wayne care for my mom. She needs me, and loves me being here, and Wayne most definitely needs my help. I am certain that I am doing what I was meant to do, and my husband is behind me all the way.
Anyway, I can't believe what this darned disease can do!!! My poor mom is suffering, and is so terribly frustrated by her memory loss and imaginings. She wakes up in the morning not knowing where or who she is. In fact, she sometimes does not remember my dad, who she was married to for over 35 years, and the love of her life, who died an untimely death at 64 from Diabetes. That, of course, is understandable. But she often does not even recognize Wayne, her husband who she has been married to for 18 years, and who has been here for her every single day. Gosh, it is so tough to see what she is going through.
But I gotta tell you, it is so very gratifying to see the difference it is making since I have been home. And all that matters to me, is making each and every day as happy and comfortable as humanly possible for my mom and Wayne for the rest of their days. They deserve that.
I would love to receive any advice and support any of you out there would like to offer. Thanks in advance, and I look forward to hearing from you!!




60 comments:

The Faerie♥Kat said...

Hi Joanie

I'm glad that you have decided to stay on to help your mom and her husband. My mother was diagnosed with dementia several years ago after fighting through a septic infection. I wanted to know what the difference was between dementia and Alzheimer's and happened upon this website: http://www.alzheimerscaregiverresource.com/. I think it may be a good starting point for you.

Goddess bless you, your mother and her husband. May your remaining years together contain many gems of joy that only togetherness can create.

♥Kat

FIFTY IS NIFTY said...

Thanks SO VERY MUCH for your response, Kat...it means a whole lot to me to hear from friends and fellow-Boomers. This is a scary world for my mom, and all of us! I will check out the link you gave me, and as you say, I need a place to start from.

Thanks, Sweetie, for your good thoughts of joy and togetherness! I totally embrace my friends who understand what I am going through!

Lotsa Love...

Joanie
The Boomer Queen
http://www.fiftyisnifty.net
http://www.myspace.com/joanwhitehead
http://www.fiftiesgeneration.blogspot.com

Pop Art Diva! said...

Joan, you will never regret this time spent with your mother. Though I know it is difficult for you to see her suffer, in her moments of awareness she knows you are there for her and I'm sure that comfort carries over into her times of confusion.
I spent six years taking care of my Mom after her stroke. She passed away in 1991 and to this day I have never regretted a moment of those years I spent watching over her. I knew I was giving her just a few short years of care for the many years she had given to me.
Take comfort in knowing that the sacrifices of you and your family will bring you great peace in the future.
Your parents are blessed to have you and you are blessed to have time to spend with them when they are so much in need of it.


Terri, aka PopArtDiva

The Boomer Queen said...

Hi, Terri, my Pop Art Diva friend!

Your words of wisdom really hit home for me, and you are so right that my mom knows I am here...she truly does, and it feels so good to
know I am here for her when she needs me. And you're right, when I think of all the years of love and support that she has given me during my lifetime, this is just a "heartbeat" of love in return!!

Thank you for your inspiration...

Joanie

Eva said...

Joanie,

I see how bittersweet your extended visit back home must be as you agonize over your mom's progressive memory loss. Yet, I firmly believe the heart retains all of our loving memories and that your mom is so grateful for your presence. You are such a dear friend to me, and I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

Love,
Eva

http://www.myspace.com/evapasco

The Boomer Queen said...

Hello, Diva Eva, my Boomer friend!

Thanks for responding to my blog post, "Baby Boomers and Alzheimer's"...

Yes, you are so right by describing
my homecoming as being "bittersweet". You have such
a way of picking the perfect words! I guess that's why you're the amazing author that you are!

My mom is indeed happy that I am here with her - not only does she say so on a daily basis, but the smile on her face says it all.

I certainly appreciate your love and support, Eva. It means more to me than you'll ever know!

Thank you, Sweetie...

Joanie
The Boomer Queen
http://www.fiftyisnifty.net

Eileen Williams said...

Your post and the story of your love for your mom and step dad is both touching and inspiring. Although your parents must have suffered greatly, they are blessed to have to have a daughter with such compassion and love that she is willing to put her own life on hold to care for them.

You are truly amazing and I wish you the all the best in a very difficult situation. Please, also, find time to take care of yourself.

The Boomer Queen said...

Yeah, Eileen - you're right. My mom
and Wayne HAVE suffered greatly. But you're also right that I arrived just in time, and that they
are lucky that I did. What I did not understand is, the power of the
Lord, and how he knew just HOW MUCH the two of them needed me!!

So, I'm here, and that's a good thing. As far as me putting my life on hold to take care of them -
you cannot imagine all that they have done for me over the years!!

So, the old verbage...what comes around, goes around, is very true.
And yes, in taking care of my mommy, I AM TAKING CARE OF MYSELF!

Thank you, Eileen, for your message
of love and truth!

Your Baby Boomer Diva Friend,

Joanie
The Boomer Queen
Fifty Is Nifty.net

BeverlyM said...

Joanie,

You and I are in similar situations. My mother-in-law is in the latter stages of Alzheimers. She doesn't recognize her son and it breaks his heart. She doesn't really know me other than being a friendly face to talk to.

I believe you did the right thing by staying longer. Even though she may not be able to express it fully, I'm sure the joy she feels in her heart for you is a real comfort!

May God continue to bless your efforts.

Joanie said...

OMG, Beverly - I knew quite a while
ago that we had a LOT in common!

Isn't it amazing how life gets so much more complicated as we grow older? Thank you SO MUCH for your
support in knowing I am doing the right thing by staying here in Minnesota with my mom and her husband!!! I have been watching the beautiful emails from our fellow-Divas during the holidays and as we go forth into the new year. We are a strong bunch, no doubt, and I am EVER SO PROUD to be one of you DIVAS!!!!

I certainly wish I had more time to
talk "at you gals", and please know
that my love and my heart is with each and every one of you!

Thanks so much for your support, Beverly. You amaze me, and I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!

Joanie
The Boomer Queen
Fifty Is Nifty.net

Pop Art Diva! said...

Joanie - just stopping by to say hi and see how things are going with your Mom and how you're doing back East!
I'm busy creating new martinis and posting to my blogs and getting ready to revamp my website after a short break for my birthday.
Hope all is well!
Pop Art Diva, occasionally masquerading as The MARTINI DIVA and a foodie at The DIVA of TINY FOODS, happily doodling as The NORMAL CHALLENGED Artist, tripping down Memory Lane as The Pop Culture Diva and being DIVA at The Road to Diva-Visit Divaville

Joanie said...

Hi, You Crazy Woman, You!!

Thanks so much for stopping by, Terri! I have been so very busy with my mom and family lately that I have not followed through with all I intented to...

But let me tell ya, Girl ~ I am so very intrigued by your passion and what you do ~ you can BET I will be
back for more!!!!

Thanks again for your concern and your DIVA LOVE!!!!

Joanie
"The Boomer Queen"

Virtual Woman's Day said...

Dear Joanie,

Often the most important time spent together are someone's last days. In 1991 my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer (for the second time) and we decided she would come live with me. That was a bitter-sweet time and I am thankful we had those two years together - even though they were very difficult. I had just gone through a divorce so it was a double whammy!

You will never regret your decision. You would regret it if you didn't.

My hats off to you,

Heidi Richards Mooney, Publisher & Editor in Chief - WE Magazine for Women

Rhea said...

Hi, I'm new here. I'm adding you to my boomer blogroll.

Debra Shiveley Welch said...

Joanie, a very important message for sure. I lost my lovely mother-in-law to Alzheimer's and understand how it can devastate a family.

I'm supposed to tag six diva sisters and I think your blog really deserves more attention, so tag -- you're it.

I’ve Been Tagged by a DIVA Too!
My sister Diva, Debbie Stevens http://freesiafever.blogspot.com/ tagged me with a “meme.” I have no idea! Look it up. That’s why God created Google! I thought that was Chinese for little sister. Hey, it fits!

Any way, I have to post six unimportant things about myself and then tag six other non-suspecting bloggers to participate. Sounds confusing, but fun.

Here are the rules:

1. Link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Share six unimportant things about yourself.
4. Tag six random people at the end of your blog entry.
5. Let the tagged people know by leaving a comment on their blogs.

Six Unimportant Things About Me:

1) I love all vegetables except hominy. Love grits, just not hominy. Patooey!
2) I like to feel the satin ribbons on the edge of blankets.
3) I got kicked out of ballet and put into gymnastics to save my life (I’m clumsy)
4) I can’t breathe when I hear bagpipes.
5) I’m in the Bowling Hall of Fame for making the big four split.
6) I love to tuck a sprig of rosemary behind my ear.

So there we are, dear Joanie! Have fun. I know I am! :-)

PopArtDiva said...

Joan - where are you? I miss you!

Susan said...

My father-in-law had alzheimer's. My mother-in-law kept him at home as long as she could. We suffered him through walking out of the house half naked, peeing in the neighbor's rose bushes, putting his clothes on backwards. To say nothing of driving to the wrong stores, waiting at the wrong places, getting up in the middlel of holiday dinners and leaving, etc. This from a man who had impeccable grooming and manners before.

He came down with pneuomenia, went from the hospital and then to a rest home.

He died 6 months later, not knowing who he was or where he was.

No wonder they call is the long goodbye and the cruelest disease.

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