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."

The other day, my friend Gary posted an NPR “All Things Considered” interview with a woman named Deirdre Sullivan to his Facebook wall. The gist of the interview was the importance of going to the funeral — a lesson that was imparted to Sullivan by her father. Sullivan says this: I believe in always going to the funeral. My father […]

It was around 8pm last night when I started watching some of the videos I had taken of my mom. In the more recent ones, she is yelling — a lot. That’s all she can do. She can’t talk. I take these videos because, I feel like people don’t believe me when I say, ‘I […]

My mom isn’t yelling much. This is a new development. It wasn’t long ago that she would howl when I would walk into her room. “Shhhhh. It’s OK. Shhhhh. I’m here. Shhhhh.”  She’d turn her head, look at me with this terribly anguished, almost twisted face, and yell. “Shhhhhhh. I love you. Shhhhhhhh.” I would […]

If you’re reading this blog because you have a parent dying from Frontotemporal dementia, I have bad news: things are going to get worse. That is a fact. No point in sugar coating the truth, right? There is no happy ending, no light at the end of the tunnel (unless you accept death as light), […]

An article, which appeared in The New York Times, about a wife and her husband who has Frontotemporal dementia really hit home with me……. I wish this article came out five or six years ago…… For me, reading this, well, I felt some comfort………… like when they talked about shoplifting …………… knowing that it wasn’t my […]

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 […]

Keeping mom at home is becoming increasingly difficult and stressful. I’ve found a home that I think will be a good fit — as good as they get. It has a solid reputation both locally and nationally. Still, it’s a home. Or more accurately, a floor. A floor filled with people who sit in wheelchairs […]

Good news. I discovered something new about myself. Poop makes me gag. I’m OK with cat poop and I’ve never really experienced baby poop—although, I imagine that mothers have some built-in mechanism to prevent them from vomiting all over their off-spring—but my mother’s poop makes me gag. In the last month or so, I’ve dealt […]

I can usually tell when mom is a little more hyper than usual…… her energy to me feels scattered, like tiny shiny molecules all jumbled up. This vibe makes me anxious. We arrived. She sat. I read. 5 minutes before Mass started, the hyper-crazy took hold and my mom started to bolt—her two framed pictures […]

Mom and dad popped by the house the other day to pick me up and take me to the airport. Nothing unusual. Opened the door, the ‘rents walked in, hugged dad and prepared for my mom’s usual, OVER THE TOP, HUGS AND KISSES… “I luf you! I luf you! You’re my husband! You came out […]

When my dad told me he was going to retire last October, I didn’t fully understand how he felt. You see, my mom—sweet as she may be—is a handful. She’s still very headstrong and there’s this part of her brain tells her she’s normal. Perfectly normal. Normal enough to drive. Normal enough to serve Communion. […]

I love my mom. Might be hard to understand the range of emotions that go along with this disease—love, hate, contempt, resentment, humor, respect, disgust, horror, sadness, grief, sympathy, compassion—a roller coaster to say the least. That’s why I blog. I write so I can hopefully look back one day and make some sense of […]

Mother’s Day has come and gone. It wasn’t really that big a deal. The only thing that bugs me now is when people insist on wishing—and repeating over and over—her a Happy Mother’s Day. People: She does not know it’s Mother’s Day. She doesn’t care. I don’t care anymore. She does not understand you. She […]

The key to coping with a demented parent is to make life as easy as possible……. for YOU. By doing this, you’ll  make their life easier, and maybe avoid those occasional moments of humiliation in say Target or the Catholic Church — of course, they don’t seem to be too bothered by such moments, at […]


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