At first, it was small changes. My mother was losing things and getting on the wrong bus. But then I began to notice more unsettling changes. She wasn’t taking care of herself, slept a lot during the day and was becoming even more confused.
I knew something was wrong. I took her to her doctor. We got the always shocking, but ultimately expected news. She had dementia.
I felt mixed emotions. But knowing the source of my mother’s difficulties was a relief. And with that diagnosis came my resolution to help my mother remain active for as long as possible. Because I knew that if she didn’t use the abilities she had left, she would lose them quickly.
As a first step, I got her on medication to help with her dementia. But I wanted more, so I began sending her to a local day program every day. And then I got help for myself, with a personal support worker provided by my local Community Care Access Centre and by sending my mother to respite care to give myself much-needed breaks.
And what a difference this has made for both of us. The doctors are amazed at how well she is doing. My mom is happy. She has a great time at the day program where she eats well and gets mental and physical stimulation. She even regularly sleeps through the night, something that any caregiver knows is a blessing.
I have advice for anyone who thinks they or their family member might have dementia: see your doctor. The sooner you know, the sooner you can act. It made all the difference for my mother.
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