We were shocked. She was 65 then. Our usually hardworking and cheerful Mom had become less energetic and spontaneous. The changes in my Mom's behavior had gone unnoticed and we thought she was imagining things. Every one of us was busy with work and things to do, she was alone and waiting for our company most of the time.
At first Mom was still able to perform tasks independently (using the bathroom and eating her meals), but needs assistance with more complicated activities like handling money. It affected her memory, attention, language and problem solving. She could still recognise us but took a longer time to remember our names.
She requires constant supervision. We employed a full-time maid to take care of her. She lives with my first younger brother. My brother does often complain about how difficult my Mom has become.
Two months ago, Mom lost whatever's left of her memory. She couldn't recognise us. She has frequent outbursts of violence. Our gentle and beautiful Mom turned into someone we couldn't recognise. I was devastated. I have lost my Mom. Physically she's here but she's an empty shell. She's like a baby. She cries and throw tantrums to get her way.
She couldn't understand a thing we said. She does weird things. We have to keep a constant eye on her. The maid we hired to take care of her went back for Hari Raya last month and didn't return. I offered to take care of Mom while waiting for a new maid.
It was a stressful and heartwrenching 2 weeks for me. I served her a meal and she would ask for it again and again because she has forgotten she had already eaten. You can show her where the toilet is for 10 times and she would still need your help to bring her to it again. I had to drag her to the bathroom to wash up. Every day, it was war. Every day I was crying. I kept telling her,"Mummy, it's me!" She stares back blankly and then continues her antics.
Her doctor said as the disease progresses to the late stage, she will not be able to perform even simple tasks independently. She becomes incontinent of bladder and then incontinent of bowel. She will eventually lose the ability to walk and eat without assistance. Language becomes severely disorganized, and then is lost altogether. She may eventually lose the ability to swallow food and fluid, and this can ultimately lead to death.
Every day we are watching our Mom waste away. Some one we love very, very much. And we feel so helpless. There is no cure.
Lonely individuals may be twice as likely to develop the type of dementia linked to Alzheimer’s disease in late life as those who are not lonely. For those who are single, go get a partner to spend the rest of your lives together. Even if you are yelling at each other daily. Exercise regularly, eat healthily. Live an active life, both mentally and physically. And spend more time with your elderly parents. For us, it's too late........