04 February 2012

Overcoming for Christians - Aging, Illness, and Alzheimer's

Rita Gerlach week has come to an end.  We greatly enjoyed having this colonial Christian author with us. Rita shared about her father having Alzheimer's Disease at the end of his life. Her mother is in frail health now and in decline which has resulted in many decisions and changes for Rita and her extended family. From my own perspective - it is just so hard going through all that, such a heavy emotional (and sometimes physical) toll.


Rita is going through what many of us have either faced with our own parents, are going through now, or may in the future.  Some of our readers would love to have this as a concern - they lost their parents at a young age. My mother became more confused and forgetful in her last year of life but she had Type II diabetes and then had pancreatic cancer. It wasn't clear if those conditions were causing some of the memory issues, but probably so. My dear aunt is in a nursing home because of her AD, after her husband kept her at home for years (she was in good health then).  I have been blessed to get to visit with her twice in the past few years when we drove through Ohio. And I used to see my wonderful Great-Aunt Alkie, who was really more a grandmother (both of mine died long before I was born, when my parents were young). She was in nursing home care for a long time with Alzheimer's.  She always maintained her essential sweet spirit and she loved seeing my daughter, who she might have thought was me.  The hardest visit for me was the last one when she had no connection with me at all. The last thread was about to be broken. She left this earth shortly after that.


The medications for managing Alzheimer's Disease have improved in the last decade in that they seem to slow the progress early on.  It is so frustrating to see loved ones slipping further and further away from you, like a slow death. And every day seems precious. But that in and of itself is stressful because then there is no sense of normalcy in everyday activity, if you are always "on" because of your parent with AD. 


One comfort for the Christian is the knowledge that her/his parent will be perfectly healed in heaven.  As we all will be. We thank you Lord for that!


Here is Rita's link to Memory Bridge, which she recommends as an excellent site with videos about handling communication with those suffering from Alzheimer's Disease. 


Giveaway winner will be announced here on Sunday after 1:00 pm EST.   LINDA!!! You are the winner!!!

15 comments:

  1. Carrie, thank you for this touching article. I never had to go through this with my parents who are both gone now, but my heart breaks for those that do. I remember one of our author friends, who recently lost her father to Alzheimer's, saying he was there but not really there. What a sad thing to have to go through with a once vibrant parent full of life. As Carrie just said concerning those who have gone on to Heaven, Thank God they are healed now and are having a marvelous time!

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  2. I'm blessed to say that I haven't had this dreadful disease touch anyone in my family so far! I do have a dear friend who is gong through this with her husband. They are both only in their early 50's. It is heartbreaking to watch from a distance. I can't imagine how it is up close. My daughter was a short term personal care assistant to an elderly woman this past fall who has the disease and I did see how emotionally and physically draining it was on her, even for a short time.

    As the parent of an adult child who requires 24/7 care from others, I can only say how much it does my heart good to see those who would sacrifice their time for the care of my child!

    Once again, a beautiful post, so relevant to many today! I am passing it along, praying that it will bring encouragement and comfort to those going through this.

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  3. Thank you, Carrie, for this much-needed post. While not diagnosed with Alzheimers, my 97-year-old Mom lives in a care center and gets increasingly forgetful of some of the basics. I'll never forget the day I was driving her home from her hair appointment and she completely forgot that I was her youngest child. She was sure that my older brother was her last-born. Moments like that are a slow realization that you are losing a loved one bit by bit. It is painful and exhausting. But I know that I am not alone in this loss and it helps to support one another with such posts as this one. Blessings.

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  4. Thank you Carrie for sharing this with us. My mom is 85 and until June 2010 she was still at home taking care of herself then she fell and broke her pelvis. She was not allowed to go back home after that. Some days are better than others, she doesn't have Alzheimer's but she does have dementia, which I discovered was made worse by the medication (ativan) they had her own. When I insisted on stopping it she has improved. I thank God I still have her and I intend to make her last days as happy as possible.

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  5. DIANA, we agree on so many things. Suzanne Woods Fisher shared about her father, who went to be with the Lord shortly after that post. TERESA my aunt just broke her hip in a nursing home. You are so right about meds can make neurological stuff worse. It is scary. What a blessing that your mama has you!!! And you have her!!!

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  6. ANNE, I have to say that having this happen with a child is harder. We at least expect with our parents that they could need this care, but for our children - no. Praying for you today!

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  7. WOW ELAINE!!! What an amazing blessing to still have your mom at 97. Honestly, I'd be just glad if someone remembered me at all if they were that age. Our sweet neighbor is the age my dad would have been had he lived (93) and she has always known who we were until this week.

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  8. I went through the Alzheimers with my dad. Was sad to see him lose his capacity to remember. Especially when he recognized it himself. I had prayed that he would mellow out and not be forgotten in a nursing home. Both happened, so I praise the Lord! My mom just turned 90 on Dec.31. Had a great party for her, inviting her old (literally) friends. She was so thrilled. Made my day for her!

    Thanks for sharing your life with us.


    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

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  9. LINDA, that must have been so GREAT to have that party for your mom!!! And what a wonder that your prayers were answered with your dad! God is so good to us!

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  10. Thank you, Carrie, for this post. My father passed away on New Year's Eve, 2007, the anniversay of the day he and my mother met in 1940. He was a wonderful man, and I miss him so much.

    I'd like to share with those interested a website about Alzheimer's that helped me to communicate with my Dad in his last stages. Please watch the video clips. I used some of these techniques and I got through to him, and he broke through to me. The last conversation I had, yes a conversation, was amazing and still so dear to me.

    http://www.memorybridge.org/

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  11. Very nice interview..have not read your books yet, but they sound wonderful.. angadair@nwcable.net

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  12. RITA, thanks so much, I had a family member share that link with me, too. What a blessing that your Dad was able to have that beautiful last conversation with you!

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  13. ANGIE, Rita is a gifted author. She can place you in a scene and keep you there.

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  14. LINDA is the WINNER! Just did my count from random.org. CONGRATS!

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  15. I love Elizabeth's writing and am so happy to enter the drawing.

    Ann

    Ann_Lee_Miller[at]msn[dot]com

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