Mom and her girls (some of them)

Mom and her girls (some of them)
Belinda, Angie, Mom and Me (Becs)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Mom, Forget-Us-Not

This is my mom, Betty, with her only grand-daughter Angie, at Angie's college graduation two years ago.  Mom was in moderate stages of Dementia and Alzheimer's and  was living at home with my sister, Belinda, my Brother-in-law Rick, and me.  Mom still had recognition of us, still knew she was our mom and she could carry on a conversation relatively well.  However, we were to find out shortly that her memory and personality would deteriorate rather quickly after this.

This is mom with my sister, Beverly (Angie's mom) and Jerry, my brother-in-law (Angie's dad).  Mom was easy to get along with and loving to us all like her normal self.  She would get confused and ask the same questions repeatedly, but her long term memory was still intact.  She did however, begin to wander outside at times trying to go home, thinking she was a young woman living in Colorado where she grew up.  It was at this time that our lives changed drastically and quickly!  We are like most middle class people, we live pay check to pay check.  Mom relied on a small Social Security but her bills and debts were being paid for by Belinda and Rick.  I was working part-time and we found ourselves in need of some assistance.  Unfortunately, this is quite expensive.  After searching and inquiring, Rick learned of a place in our town (Porterville, California) that was a day care for Alzheimer and dementia patients.  They have a program where you can drop of your loved one and pick them up at the end of the day.  The cost was manageable.  PADS (Porterville Adult Day Services) was a blessing from GOD!!!  These women cared for and loved our mom as if she were theirs.  And in fact, she was theirs! 
These lovely ladies loved our mother! In fact, when my mother worked at a local sewing factory years ago, the two older women, Maria and Francesca (sisters) worked for my mom.  And they remembered her when she came in!  What another blessing from God!  She knew that she knew them but did not remember why.   

This picture is mom on her last day at PADS (February 2009).  The following day we placed her in a wonderful care facility strictly for Alzheimer and Dementia patients.  This whole situation was also God ordained and orchestrated.  I will save that story for another time.  Mom drastically and quickly went into advanced stages of the disease and we found ourselves in a situation that we could no longer handle.  We could not keep her safe with us anymore..  We could not get her to take her medication, to sleep, there were times that my sister and I did not sleep for days.  We could not bathe her or change her clothes.  She would hit us and spit on us.  This was not our mother.  What do you do when this happens?  We had no idea what to do.  PADS helped us tremendously with bathing and pills when they could.  We literally became prisoners in our own home because mom was terrified if any of us left the room.  I can't imagine how she must have felt not knowing who we were or where she was suddenly.

This picture is of mom and Angie on our last vacation with mom at Avila Beach, July 2008.  This was a hard time for her as she was frightened most of the time, but comfortable as long as we all stayed in the same room with her....
Since February of this year, we have gone through many tears, laughter, emotions and healing.  Our mom is happy at her new home, Golden Living Center of Shafter.  The staff love and interact with the clients and the place is ran like a home.  They are specially trained in this disease and again, are a blessing from God!

Please share stories and comments, ask questions or just talk...I want this to be a place where people can share and get help or references.  I just felt it was time to reach out to others that are going through similar circumstances in coping with not knowing who their parents, spouses, loved ones are anymore....

God Bless all of you!  Becs


  1. Hi Becs! I am so happy that you are able to get the care you need for your sweet mom. She is a very blessed woman to have such loving daughters. It is a terrible disease and painful to watch your loved one suffer. My mother in law has dimentia and alhiemers. She lost her husband 7 years ago and remarried two years later. At that time she had dimentia but was not diagnosed. We thought her forgetfulness and repeating was because of her grieving her husband.

    This was a shock for her new husband and unfortunately he is oblivious to what is going on. He thinks she is going to get better. He is caring for her, but we know that it is getting to the point that he can't anymore. She is only in her mid 60's and she is rapidly deteriorating.

    Thank you for this blog, It will be a source of hope and inspiration to many. There is strength in sharing and God called you to do this. I wish you peace and blessings : )

    Hugs ~ Nichole

  2. What a sad sad story Becky. I think alsh. is the worst illness anyone can have. It takes away who you are and its so sad. My aunt, in Missouri had it, and the last time I saw her she was in a hospital type setting, very happy with her "doll" thinking it was a real baby. Broke my heart that she did not know me, (she helped deliver and name me).She passed away two years ago and I know she is in a better place. I think this site is very helpful for people who are going through what you and your family are now. God Bless all of you.

  3. Thanks so much Nichole and Judy and Rick. It is good to know that there are others out there in simialr situations. I hope to have more info available and encourage everyone to share their stories. It all helps...God Bless all of you and thanks...Becs

  4. I am glad that Becky found a place for Mom that is so good. It has taken alot of stress of everyone in the family. I know that Mom is doing better there and is able to have more
    freedom to walk around and even go outside. She is allowed to be as independant as she is able to be. Plus she is aways around other people that she can inter act with. It is so much like a home and family feeling there. Is was the best possible thing we could have done for our Mom. She is safe and free to do
    what she wants to do when she wants to it. We are welcome to visit her anytime there and stay as long as we like. It has releived my mind most about my sisters' health being so impacted while they were caring for our Mom. They gave up their lives for 4 years caring for Mom until they could no longer do it and keep her safe at home. It's a hard decision
    for any family to make, but it was the right one for Mom.

  5. Thanks Bev! It means alot to us thave had your support in this. We all did what we could and this is the best for her....Becs

  6. Hi Becs, My Father-in-law had this aweful disease and his sister also had it, she nearly burned down her apt before anyone even knew there was something wrong (she lived in a different state). My husbands mother did not have it but my fear is that my husband will get you know what the chances are of him getting it? were there any studies done on one parent having it and one not...what the chances of the children getting it are? his father started showing signs in his early to mid 60's and after that when my husband and I were dating, his father started to show signs of anger and tried hitting my mother-in-law a few times. They decided to put him in a care facility but the day he was supposed to go for his evaluation at the hospital, he had a heart attack and passed away. We always thought he just got really upset that day because it wasn't a familiar place and his heart couldn't handle the stress. I think my mother-in-law blamed herself. It's all very sad and I just hope my husband doesn't get it, my fear is that I won't know how to care for him or I won't be able to by myself....There isn't anyone to help us since his family has all passed away(other than aunts and uncles that he has no relationship with) and he is an only child. My Brother and his family all live in a different state and I rarely see him at all. My husband has two kids but they don't have anything to do with him by their own choices...ugh! that's another story! anyway
    this disease is very sad and it's hard to watch a person you love go through it. Take care, Hugs Jennifer

  7. I just found your blog, and although i have not read much, i, I what.
    I don't even know what to say.
    My Dad has dementia.

    So far he still knows me, but gets confused about places, and who other people are.
    I know it is just the beginning, but it is hard already.

    I do not know what else to say.
    My heart goes out to anyone who has been through it.
    Even with God, it is hard.

    barbara jean


Please leave comments. I would love to hear from you and about your loved ones. Becs