Posted on: September 22, 2014 | 0 Comments |
Note: In 2007, Jamie Wilson Headley (founder and CEO of Dementia Services Group) began the complicated process of helping her once-independent mother adjust to life with dementia.
These are the challenges that one woman faced, but although Jamie’s Journey is deeply personal, it is also universal. We hope that her trials and triumphs will shed light on the emotional and logistical issues that come with caring someone with dementia.
Being 800 miles away while all this was going on was a bit stressful. Of course, I was flying into Chicago regularly and my sister and our friend Karen were handling things locally – but my Mom and I had always been best friends and it killed me to not be there daily. We have always been each other’s life line. We had always talked daily and shared everything.
As fate would have it, our jobs afforded us the opportunity to move. Luckily both my fiancée and I wanted to return to the Midwest. One night over diner we decided that Indianapolis would be a good place to focus our interest. The very next day Scott got a call and was told there was a perfect job for him if we were willing to relocate to Indianapolis. Coincidence? I don’t believe so. Divine intervention? That worked for me!
Anyhow, Scott got the job and we packed up and moved to Indy. By the time we got settled in our corporate apartment Mom was having daily meltdowns. She just wanted to be with me and for this all to stop. I felt the same way, so we decided to move her to Indy as soon as I could find the right place for her. So, Scott began his new job and I began the joy of looking for a job, looking for a house, looking for assisted living for my Mom and coordinating her move.
I was in contact with her latest geriatrician and filled her in on what our plan was. At that time she used the term Alzheimer’s disease and I remember getting nauseous and then going a bit numb. Alzheimer’s Disease? That has the word “disease” at the end of it! Diseases kill people! That is the disease where people don’t remember their own kids! I shouldn’t have been surprised – but I was. Denial is a powerful and wonderful thing. Truly, it protects us when we aren’t ready to deal with reality. The term had been spoken, and I couldn’t dismiss it, but I wasn’t quite ready to leave that river in Egypt.
Let myself fall into a very big funk (depression) over a matter of weeks. It was so painful last night I surrendered and started working on it this morn and writing this evening. Will probably discern the reason as I move along. So painful this morn I gave up, asked for help, muttled around all day and got out the notebook and pen this evening. All I can remember (AICR). Others knew I was (or had lost it). Made rounds of the doctors for general check ups the kids and I felt I needed. No mention of depression by me, as far as I know. Can’t be sure of anything. Aware of memory loss but considered it normal but it kept getting worse. Quitting eating. Not aware of probably many things I was doing. Just recognized a little more memory loss. Kids made several MD appts. I was happy to be with them! Knew I was getting much more tired than usual. Never thought of any problems just getting older. More tired but OK, more forgetful but normal for my age bracket. Excerpt from Mom’s journal