Double Whammy on our street from Alzheimer’s this week

I felt like I was hit twice by surprise with Alzheimer’s in the past week.  First my neighbor called me to tell me that Sara, a neighbor from across the street had passed away this past week.  She saw Sara’s obituary in the newspaper and it said she had Alzheimer’s disease and named the hospice that had cared for her.

I really didn’t know Sara or her husband at all.  My neighbor had brought over cookies last Christmas and met Sara’s husband and seen Sara though she was just staring into space and didn’t say anything.  Her husband introduced her and said she had advanced Alzheimer’s disease., and my neighbor shared this information with me.  One of the things that hit me so hard when I read Sara’s obituary was the fact that she was only 67 years old.  I know younger people can get Alzheimer’s but still tend to think of it as an old person’s disease.  I think I especially feel this way because my dad is so much older.

In any case, Sara’s funeral was today. I saw her family, including  young grandsons, dressed up to go to the funeral.  Just shortly after that I saw a U-Haul truck come just 2 houses away.  At first I thought they were packing up and moving out the same day as the funeral and that struck me as very odd.

Then I realized the U-Haul truck was 2 doors down.  I talked to my other neighbors out front as we took in some sunshine and shared neighborhood news.  It turns out that Carla, another older neighbor, was moving to assisted living today.

Carla had fallen about a year ago and broke her hip.  She never fully recovered from that and still used a walker to barely get around.  In fact, she looked so frail that her next door neighbor started bringing in her mail so that she wouldn’t fall while outside getting it for herself.

As the neighbors talked, they reviewed how Carla stopped going out at all and stopped attending community activities.  She often didn’t even get dressed and just sat on her sofa all day.  Soon her sons realized she had Alzheimer’s disease and began to push her to move to assisted living.

Carla resisted moving until this month.  Her oldest son stopped by to visit with us as we talked out front.  He said this time he didn’t give his mother a choice.  He just told her she would have to move her to assisted living.  Carla has several sons and they all came to help her move.  (I was jealous to see that after I had to move mom and dad with only my son to help.  My brother and sister were both AWOL from that difficult job!)

Looking back over the past year I can see that Carla’s sons really had no other choice.   Carla was deteriorating month by month.  Her nearest neighbors tried to visit regularly and check up on her but there wasn’t much they could do to help.  She really needed daily care.  Her sons had arranged some in-home care, but it wasn’t enough to guarantee her safety when she was alone especially overnight.

So here we are today on our street, feeling sad for our neighbors, both of whom were hit hard by Alzheimer’s disease.  While I deal with this awful disease daily in my care and concern for dad, others run into it regularly in the neighborhood as well.  If only we could come up with a method of prevention or cure for this disease!


About letstalkaboutfamily

I am a retired and was the primary caregiver for both my parents before they passed. I have children and grandchildren. This blog is an attempt to connect with other caregivers and share ideas and experiences. I hope you will let me know what worked for you if you had an experience similar to mine. The main issues I am going to talk about are elder care, death and dying, assisted living, family relationships and hoarders and hoarding. Other topics will come up as I address the issues and my relationship with other family members.
This entry was posted in Alzheimer's Disease, Assisted Living Facility, Caregiving, Elder Care, Eldercare and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Double Whammy on our street from Alzheimer’s this week

  1. terry1954 says:

    that is so sad, and that brings the topic up again in my mind about our neighbors. when i moved here to where i am i went to the neighbors on either side of me and got to know them. and i know a little like u do about other neighbors close by. i am busy with Al and you are busy with dad, but there are so many that need a hand. I wish i could do more but I never seem to find the time, and then I read about how the lady sat on the couch and stared. it is so sad. we can’t do it all, but i sure wish i could do more…………

    • It is sad. And yet several of the women who knew her quite well were unable to convince her to come out to our dinners or even meet for a cup of coffee or tea. Her Alzheimer’s was really interfering with her ability to communicate and enjoy her neighbors. She deteriorated fairly fast from fully functioning to hardly making it on her own. My dad, on the other hand, changed very slowly over many years. It is just a difficult disease for individuals and their families.

  2. SwittersB says:

    A dear friend of my Aunt, two doors down, is in the hospital and not expected to make it. She really had no one to check on her. Alone, and slipping. It makes one’s mind turn away…but, like courageous you…one can’t. As always prayers and best wishes for you and your Dad.


    • Thanks, Gary. It is difficult for people to be alone. I learned today that the lady who passed away had only been in that townhouse for a year which may be one reason most of us didn,t know her. They moved here in mid-winter and I guess her husband decided this was a good place for her to live out her life. We have no stairs here and it is easy to get around. I hate to think of neighbors being alone. Most of my neighbors know everyone on the street as the majority moved here at the same time when the development first opened. As some have left, newer ones like myself moved in. It is good to know people generally check on each other, but they can’t take the family’s place in daily care Take care. You inspire me with the progress you are making!

  3. Terre Mirsch says:

    It seems that Alzheimer’s Dementia and other progressive neurological illnesses will continue to challenge our society and each of us as caregivers as we search for ways to ensure safe and dignified care throughout the disease process. These illnesses can create a great burden for the person suffering from it as well as for the caregiver. I am glad to hear that Sara and her family had the support of hospice. Too many people do not realize that those with advanced dementia are eligible to receive this type of care. Thank you for bring this important issue to our attention.

    • Thanks, Terre. I, too, am glad to see more people get hospice help earlier. I had such a hard time getting hospice for mom, I will be ready to ask for it right away next time. I think one key is to have a geriatric physician as the regular doctor. Mom’s regular doctor was too gang ho for a cure and unwilling to talk about hospice until it was almost too late.

  4. boomer98053 says:

    It’s amazing to me that Alzheimer’s is the only cause of death among the top 10 causes of death in America without a way to prevent, cure, or even slow its progression. The neighborhood stories that you present are eye-openers to be sure.

  5. I’m once again reminded the end of life can be long and painful. I know it’s difficult to watch.

    • Yes, no matter the cause, a slow end is difficult on the patient and the family. I do think, though, that Hospice can make things easier on both patient and family. Having watched doctors try to heal mom through multiple procedures in her last month when just telling us to consult hospice would have made her last days easier on us all. At a certain point depending on age and general health, it is time to look towards comfort care rather than a miracle cure.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s