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 sky started rumbling. A storm was coming in from the north. There was wind, thunder and lightening. I hoped it would rain. But it never rains anymore. Then I thought about my mom. I wondered if God was coming for her and this was his grand entrance. As I stood over my kitchen sink washing baby bottles, …

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I’m still coming to terms with the idea that my mom is dying. It hardly seems possible. I mean, I knew, eventually, she would die. But death felt faraway. It still feels far away. If she is dying, it’ll take time. My mom was in OK shape, physically, before her sudden decline; she was decently hydrated, …

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It was 7:30p.m. last Thursday when I called my mom’s doctor. “I think she’s dying,” she said. I was sort of stunned. I’ve been waiting to hear these words for a very long time. I don’t remember exactly what came out of my mouth. At that point, my mom hadn’t eaten for three days. She had …

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Dealing with my mom was especially difficult, mostly because of the lack of help. Unfortunately, due to of her type of dementia — frontotemporal dementia — it was almost impossible to ask for help because of her behaviors. In hindsight, I suppose, there were small things that could have been done to help lighten the load. The thing …

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Another Mother’s Day has come and gone. It’ll be two weeks this Sunday. I think. OK, so I’m totally late to the game here. I wanted to write about it; but for me, the day was just another day. Sort of. It was my first Mother’s Day. It was my Mother’s 37th Mother’s Day. She …

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Kathy Ritchie’s mother is living, yet she is mourned for her loss of self. She suffers from dementia. Ritchie, founder of the blog My Demented Mom, visited HuffPost Live to discuss the disease affecting five million Americans and her personal struggles with her own mom’s diagnosis. “It is painful, it is a trauma,” she told host Nancy Redd of the crippling …

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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 …

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I have a message for my mother’s friends, family and acquaintances: She’s still alive. My mother’s heart still beats. Though she might not be able to talk to you, walk with you, or share a laugh with you, she’s still here. She’s still alive. If you spend any amount of time with her, you’ll quickly …

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1. Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. 2. More than 5 million Americans are living with the disease (I’m guessing this figure does not include Americans living with other types of dementias like FTD). 3. 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. 4. In 2012, 15.4 million caregivers provided …

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1. Diminish distractions. 2. Converse one-on-one. 3. Keep things simple. 4. Avoid arguments (this should be number 1). 5. Just keep talking. I would also like to add: 6. Walk in their shoes. 7. Step into their world and speak their “language” (even if it makes no sense………………… my mom was only able to articulate …

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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 …

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Five Survival Tips for Caregivers

February 13, 2013

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 …

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