My Personal Story about Stella’s Alzheimer’s

Many of you may know that I’ve been taking care of my mother, Stella, from afar, for about twenty years and that she came to live with us about four years ago.

Stella on Thanksgiving, about 4 years ago, at 84!
Stella on Thanksgiving, about 4 years ago, at 84!

She was still doing great for most of those years. Until last fall, when she began a rapid decline from intermittent light dementia to full late phase Alzheimer’s. She will be 88 on Sunday. She had a very full life with a handsome husband, three boys, interesting work, lots of travel, and painting her art. We had an unforgettable party for her 80th birthday. I had hoped to have one more, but it is now too late. Just a cake and candles with Rick and I. Perhaps I can pulverize a piece of cake in the blender for her… I’ll leave out the candles!

I foresaw some of this and was able to renovate the lower floor of my home to accommodate a wheelchair while enlarging a half bath into a full bath with threshold-free shower. This has turned out to have been very helpful.

What I didn’t expect, was that it would be necessary for me to live with her in these rooms, about 24 hours per day. She has to be continuously attended to prevent falling out of her hospital bed, and to help stand her up and down, up and down– which she wants to do all day long. As well as bathroom help (embarrassing) and hand-feeding her.

I am not complaining, it is an honor to help her, as she did for me in my early years. And she was a marvelous woman who I enjoyed immensely.

But I just wanted to let my readers and friends know why my blogging has slowed down to less than one post a month! 

Alzheimer’s is an insidious disease, taking bits and pieces of the mind away, in fits and starts, then finally, making the muscles forget what they are supposed to do. I know many of you are going through a similar crisis with your loved ones. My heart goes out to you.

Many thanks to the researchers and doctors studying the disease, the lovely caregivers at Savannah Hospice, Lenore, Valerie, Rick and whoever gives care to loved ones in their time of need.

Wayne

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7 thoughts on “My Personal Story about Stella’s Alzheimer’s

  1. Wayne, thank you for this update…. I had no idea that she had reached this level. I know that when you two were here in Sept. ‘12, she was already in the throws of this horrible disease. However, I so enjoyed the short time I was with her, and felt the connection between us the longer we were together. She is one of the people in my past that brings me smiles…. The two of us have had some really marvelous times together, and especially when we use to sneak away to your lake/farm house miles out in the country when we all lived there in the Atlanta area. Not to mention all the adventures we shared with our 5 (combined) kids together. Of course, you and Harley were joined at the hip for many years, and Jaina and David seemed to somehow always tag along when they could. And Reggie, being the oldest, escaped many of these adventures with all of you, ah, the babysitter…. Guess one time was enough of that for him. Harley had rather go on vacation with the “Andersons” than go with us!….really, he got to do many things with your family that he otherwise would not have done. I love hearing all those old stories…….and, he loved your parents like they were his. Also, all those cookouts together, the church ones with Ira Carpenter and Mr. Hornsby doing most of the cooking. And that Luau at your beautiful home by the pool that was so much fun. Your mom was the best decorator ever…. I learned so much from her in many many ways…. We were ’buds’ for a long long time. Ironically, our families moved away around the same time, and we continued our friendship by visiting your Florida home, and your folks would visit us when they came to the Market in Atlanta….. Fun Fun Fun. I’ve just kept on and on, but your post prompted me to reminisce when I know my dear friend is in trouble. We love you all, and cherish our past times together. You and your mom being here with our family at Jaina’s death was just the best—never to be forgotten. Love my beautiful friend for me and a special kiss…. – Esta

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    1. What a wonderful letter, Esta! It was so nice to remember all of the great times our families had together. You and Stella had a beautiful friendship, she always thought so highly of you. Your beauty, starting from the inside, was unsurpassed. And your laughter would warm any room. I only wish we could have spent more time in the later years. But thank you so much for tje gifys of love you and uour kids have given mu family. I will certainly give Stella a special kiss from you. Love, Wayne

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  2. God bless you for caring for your mom. My mom just died in my home last September 22. She and daddy lived with me until daddy died in 2008. Mom lived on in our mother-in-law suite which she seemed to enjoy, for over 5 years. She was 93. It was an honor to have her with us and to care for her in her last days.
    It is hard, but you’ll never regret it.

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    1. Thanks so much for your warm caring comments. My Mother passed a month ago, day before yesterday, and now today is mother’s day. But today, I cannot do ANYTHING for her. As you can’t for your Mom today either. My heart goes out to you.
      Yes, it was hard those last months, weeks, and day… but I am so glad to have had all that time with her. I sang a love somg to her on the last night.

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      1. Why is it we feel guilt. My heart still hurts and I cry off an on today. I really miss her so much. My mommy. And I’m 68!

        I’m so sorry, Wayne. Take comfort in your love for her. And love is not a feeling. Love is what you do for those you love. An action word. You really loved you mom. God bless you with his biggest and best on this Mother’s Day.

        One more thing. Just finished reading ‘Grain Brain’ by David Perlmutter, MD.
        Amazing book with information about alzheimers. He’s a neurologist. You might find it helpful for yourself.
        Blessings to you Wayne.

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  3. I am sorry to read about your Mother’s death. We had the pleasure of eating breakfast with you’al about a year before she came to live with you. Jim and I remember that trip well. I am the genealogy “nut.” ,Brenda. Schwall.

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    1. My warmest hello to you and Jim, Brenda… thanks so much for your thoughts. I am sorry that no one contacted you for the services. I hope you are still enjoying the geneaology– let me know if you find out anything dramatic like we have a small farm in Bavaria! Take care of each other, Love, Wayne

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