Up Close and Personal

May 11, 2011 - Trish Vradenburg

Every week, we'll feature the personal story of someone who has a firsthand experience with Alzheimer's, or who simply wants to find a cure for this unforgiving disease. If you want to share your own story, CLICK HERE.

This is Maureen's story.

My beautiful mother, who worked her whole life, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's at the age of 68. She had just buried my Dad a year prior and her sister in 2003. She watched both of them suffer and was there at their side every day in the hospital praying and caring for them.

I don't know if loosing both of them a year apart was too much for her but she started showing signs of Alzheimer's right after her sister died. She was not able to handle the paperwork and financial burden that comes from loosing a family member. She had loved to travel and was able to take a couple more trips with my Dad's sister who was her travel companion for years. Then it got to be too much and we had to take her car away from her. As the disease progressed, my oldest brother had lost his job and volunteered to take care of Mom. She's been able to stay in her own home, which is her safe haven, and Tom takes great care of her. We all know the time will come when it will be too hard to keep her home but we hope to do it as long as possible.

Mom is the grandmother of 14 grandchildren. My two oldest girls who are now 20 and 18 miss the old grandma who used to babysit them and take the out. They had a great relationship with her. My youngest was born in 2003 the year Mom was diagnosed and she doesn't know the real grandma. The grandma she knows forgets how to talk and wears a diaper and can hardly walk sometimes. It is so sad to see Mom this way. She was a beautiful, kind woman who would do anything for anyone. We know she is only going to get worse, so we treasure every moment that she is with us. I don't want my girls to have to take care of me like that and I don't want this to happen to them either. We need to find a cure or a way to stop this horrible disease that is taking all of our loved ones from us.


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