My Demented Mom

5 million Americans suffer from Dementia. My mom is one of them. A site for young adult caregivers struggling and coping with "the long goodbye."

I was sitting at lunch with a colleague when I got the call. “I need to talk to you about your mom. She’s not fitting in.” Of course she’s not fitting in. She has dementia. Our exchange was brief. I asked her why, and then I got angry: You met her at the psychiatric hospital, you […]

When I walked into the front door of my mother’s home, a little over two weeks had past since my last visit. Because of the influenza epidemic that turned Arizona bright red on the “flu view” map of the U.S., the home issued an edict banning practically all visits until it subsided. They told me that […]

The days are finally cooling off following a blistering summer, and now it’s time to get mom ready for the chillier a.m. temps. Another blanket…. it’ll probably get lost, like they always do…….. still, I label — like an obsessed madwoman, I label everything, leaving little room for mix-ups, even though mix-ups occur and often. […]

Dear hospice and nursing home (names of providers removed because I have enough problems, frankly), Thank you for making late/end stage dementia even more awful by not coordinating your care of my mom, by failing to communicate with me, by making me feel like I’m making poor decisions on her behalf, by one day telling […]

I got the call while I was on assignment in Tucson with a colleague. “I need to talk to you about your mom. She’s not fitting in.” Of course she’s not. She has Frontotemporal dementia. She yells. You knew this. You accepted her knowing she would yell. I hate you. I returned to our table. […]

Media often plays it soft when it comes to the portrayal of Alzhemier’s disease on TV shows, in the news or in movies………..… that is, they skirt around the complexities surrounding the disease, the emotions, the financial implications, the long-term toll…………. Sure, some works are more adept than others at portraying the effects of dementia………. […]

I had so many noble ideas for this week’s post….. I was feeling good. I started thinking about how this — life — was some sort of test, a means of proving one’s ability to persevere and not succumb to the easy-outs; because by staying the course, we’ll somehow achieve spiritual bonus points. I was arrogant, I suppose…….. […]

Almost anyone dying from dementia suffers from behaviors. Behaviors are simply part of the game when it comes to this disease… BUT, there are “behaviors” and then there are “behaviors….” something no one can clearly define. Here is my personal definition (and opinion because I’m a writer, not a doctor): Bad behavior – throwing your […]

Life with my demented mom was proceeding rather smoothly in recent days………………. by smoothly, I mean mostly bumpy, lots of twists and turns, blind spots and a few “watch for falling rocks” signs dotting the road………….. And then she drank dish soap. The trauma of vomiting and ingesting something that should never ever be ingested […]

I’m feeling lonely again. I hate this feeling. It’s a feeling usually mixed with sadness and hurt. Potent combo. Can leave you in a funk for days…. A little context………………… my dad and I are once again talking about nursing homes…. mom is just getting to that point where caregiving is difficult. She’s having more […]

My mom pooped her pants. Actually, it was a tiny accident. She can control her bowels (and her bladder too)…………….. you just have to get her to a bathroom when she has to go—cause let’s face it: When you gots to go, you gots to go. I tried. There was a line. I rushed her […]

Ten other nations have Alzheimer plans. More than half of our states are working on plans. But the federal government has no plan at all. Taken from an article that appeared in the Huffington Post By Harry Johns, President and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association A new report released this week by the Alzheimer’s Association […]

I suspect not. My time with mom, no matter how brief (or how long), is a time for me to think about my role as her daughter — successes, failures, unmitigated disasters and the like. This past Sunday, as she yelled at the two women in the pew to move because she is Margarita Ritchie […]

My mom is currently residing at a geriatric psychiatric unit. She is wearing diapers. She is pleading with everyone to get out, and she is running for every open door. What led to her “commitment” (it’s a temporary deal until her meds are properly adjusted) at the psych ward was a series of disturbing events […]

Not really. Not for my family. Not for me. Not for her. Not for my dad. Our Mother’s Day sucked. Instead of brunch with mom at her favorite restaurant or an afternoon at home filled with laughter and love and pink carnations, we took my mom to her new home: A nursing home. Happy Mother’s […]


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