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Shridhar's Story

      My mother: a compassionate, kindhearted, and remarkably loving woman. A woman whom I loved and will always love dearly. Every time someone used to visit our house she would always keep them company by striking up a conversation with them. If I ever had a problem with anything or anyone, she was the first person I went to and she used to always help me out no matter how busy she was. She was my hero.


The First Signs of Alzheimer's

      My mother was jubilant during my wedding ceremony and was busy with preparations. During one of these days, as she was getting ready for one of the functions she started frantically looking everywhere for her jewelry. She had thought she had lost it and was panicking about it. My sister saw her distress and decided to help her, they looked all over the house but still weren’t able to find it. Later in the day, when my sister checked my mom’s vanity drawers she found the jewelry. My mother had no recollection of placing the jewelry there. We dismissed this event as memory loss while aging, but didn’t realize that these small events were leading up to a bigger problem: an illness that wouldn’t be diagnosed until years later.


      My mother regained some of her usual charm the time when my daughter was born. She used to take her on walks, feed her and play with her. She wasn’t seeming so sad anymore as now there was someone whom she could occupy her time with. More little instances of memory loss and sign of depression kept occurring. One time, she went to the bathroom but forgot how to open the door, I had to open it from the outside to get her out. Another time, she just burst out crying and we weren’t able to find a reason why. My father gave me detailed explanations of similar events that occurred over the past few years and I finally registered that my mother had deep depression. We found a psychiatrist to help her deal and recover from depression. However, after two months or so, she was reluctant to meet with the doctor and wanted and stopped the sessions. She refused to speak to people and spent most of her time by herself.


Alzheimer's Diagnosis


       That summer my family visited my parents and I noticed a significant change in my mother. She was extremely quiet, kept mostly to herself and didn’t seem to be able to perform some simple functions.  That’s when I found out that my mother had Alzheimer's. The doctor gave us a detailed description of Alzheimer's and how there is no cure. The medicine developed at that time was meant for people whose Alzheimer's had just started, in my mom’s case she was in the middle stages. There was nothing we could do to stop it, all we could do was be there for her.

Caring, Support, Loss

      Our family life completely changed after that diagnosis. We found my mom a home caregiver who would stay with her and help her with daily functions and bought some medicine which was supposed to help slow down her mental decline. Every day we saw her condition getting worse, as one day she would remember how to open the closet and the next day she wouldn’t. Once, she fell down while she was sitting, so we had to rush her to the hospital. That was the day she was bedridden. Over time, my mother’s memory loss extended to people around her as well. She forgot who everyone was, including my father, sister, and me. The only thing she was able to recognize was the sound of my father’s voice.


       One day, I received a phone call from my dad. He was claiming that my mother had stopped breathing. We had all lost her after years of suffering due to Alzheimer’s, I am sure she is at peace now!


       A lot of factors contributed to my mother developing Alzheimer's. It didn’t just happen overnight, it was a series of events that led her to develop dementia. The main reasons behind this were family lack of knowledge, lack of a cure, and lack of her own self-awareness.

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