Arnold K. - My sweet mother Emily
I am the sole family caregiver for my 94-year old mother who has lived with Alzheimer's disease for over five years. At this point, her disease is mid-stage and is characterized by memory loss, confusion, high anxiety repetitive statements and questioning, and declining verbal skills. At times, she does not recognize me. She is no longer unable to perform activities of daily living such as dressing herself, bathing, preparing meals, and doing housework. She requires 24-hour care which I pay for. The cost of her care is staggering and I worry whether she will outlive our available savings.
My mother's illness has also taken a hugh emotional toll on me. I experience anxiety and stress as I confront the seemingly never-ending list of things I must do. I suffer from intermittent bouts of depression and anticipatory grief as I bear witness to mom's inexorable decline. Her illness breaks my heart and I cry often. I am frustrated by my inability slow, halt, or reverse mom's disease. I worry about the future. As a single man and only child, I have no family to help with mom's care or to provide emotional support. So, I see a therapist regularly concerning my emotional distress. I also attend support group meetings. But in the end, I am in this alone and am scared and lonely.
I believe that research is the key solving the mystery that is Alzheimer's. I have urged my congressional representatives to support increased funding for Alzheimer's research. While they are on board, approved funding increases have been disappointing.
We need to cure Alzheimer's soon or else it will overrun our economy as we live longer. And no family should have to live with this horrible disease or experience its heartbreak. I would love to see a world free of Alzheimer's in my lifetime.