Life with Mom
—-This is a story of a shared life with Mom after her diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease.—
June 3, 2013
Mom had a follow-up visit today at the Alzheimer’s Clinic with our Nurse Practitioner, Alice. This was just a routine visit to retest cognitive functioning, review medications, and to just see how things are going. We were at this particular clinic once before — in March, and recognized it as soon as we walked in, but getting there was an unexpected challenge.
I couldn’t remember exactly where it was, so as I was pulling out of the driveway, I asked Mom to direct me to the place. She told me last time we were there that she had been to this medical complex a few years ago and had recognized it. So I figured she knew how to get there better than I did.
This was her answer: “I don’t know how to get there, I’ve never been there before.” She was serious. We laughed. I told her I would get us there – promise. We arrived 1 minute early.
The visit went pretty well, except for her weight. No matter how much she thinks she has increased her eating, she actually lost a pound. I know it’s not much, but it’s in the wrong direction. We would have been happier if she gained a pound. Alice reminded her to drink protein shakes, like Boost. Mom told Alice that she has a 6 pack in the fridge, but forgets about them. This is where I come in. My memory isn’t the best either, hopefully for different reasons. So when I got home, I set up a dry erase board and wrote Boost on it. This will help me to remind her to drink them.
Mom did very well on the cognitive tests. She scored a 30/30 on the Mini Mental Exam, which is an increase from about 24/30 last time.
Why has she improved? Probably for a number of reasons:
- We’ve all had time to settle down here with her. She’s not alone any more, and feels better about daily life.
- Because we’re here with her, coupled with the timing of one of her medications, she hasn’t had to take a certain medication for anxiety for several weeks that causes memory loss.
- She continues to be active. She plays cards every week with her friends, and has not withdrawn from daily routines that promote independence. This gives clarity to one’s thoughts and well-being.
- She remains physically active (not so great for gaining weight, though), which promotes oxygenation and reduces memory loss.
- Last time she was tested, one of the tests required her to draw a 3-D object, like a box. She remembered that and told me on the way to the appointment that she practiced drawing a box this morning. She’s a riot. She’s pretty sure she passed that test too.
She did so well today that Alice said she didn’t have to come back for 6 months. We left with a spring in our steps. There’s no denying that her memory is mildly impaired, and some higher lever cognitive functions are affected, but she’s not worried at this point, so neither am I.