Sleepless in Sun City: Chapter 15


Did you know that high blood pressure as well as high cholesterol have been directly linked to Alzheimer’s and Dementia? At least that’s what all my research is leading to. Studies have shown that these common health issues have some type of correlation to the brain deterioration that occurs with Alzheimer’s. Now, I don’t claim to be any specialist but my mother’s physician seems to agree that her having had high blood pressure for the better part of the last twenty years is a contributor to her current state.

As it turns out, there is something about the way high blood pressure affects the nerve cells and blood vessels over time that can increase the risks of diseases like Alzheimer’s and Dementia. It’s a scary thought because even my husband suffers from high blood pressure. The point here is, the decline of my mother and along with the life we all once knew can strike anyone at any time. This can send a person into utter madness! I can only imagine the suffering my parents are enduring. My mother, knowing that her mind is going and things are changing yet, she has absolutely no control. My father, watching her suffer. He, too, has his own hurdles. And now he must sit idly by watching the confusion, the mood swings and the departure of the life he once knew.

On the subject of confusion, I recently went over and did some labeling in my parents’ home. The caregiver that works for my mom suggested labeling when she noticed increased agitation in my mother when looking for things.

I found these fancy, custom label templates on Amazon that don’t clash with the home’s decor. Anyone that knows Ruby Whitmore knows that nothing irks her more than decor that is not fluid. Anyhow, I labeled all the cabinets in the kitchen so that she can easily navigate on the random and seldom occasion she wants to cook. I did not tell her the reason for it and I actually just labelled one day when she was at the hairdresser.

Not only did she not noticed when I put the labels up, it almost seemed as though she attributed the labeling to her own good sense. As if it would assist my dad or visitors. You know what I say… score! The caregiver was right. Having the cabinets labeled made being in the kitchen less frustrating for mom. We also put labels on pictures as well and that’s helping her to keep her memory on who is who. Although it is rare that she forgets family members, like the one time that she forgot who my son was, it’s a good thing. In my continued education on this disease, I’ve learned forgetting faces is inevitable.

Having the names on the pictures was a fun activity that the caregiver was able to do with mom.  She wisely asked Mom to teach her the names of all of our family, giving her a history lesson of sorts, which doubled as a brain exercise activity for mom.

At this point we’ve faced that this is our new normal and all we can do now is try to slow down the progression. My mom is on medication. We did have to adjust it a couple of times due to increased agitation and some other little quirks. But I think we have a winning regimen for the moment. My dad is sad often, understandably. However, we all go over more now than ever because we do not want them to lose hope. Although I ask myself sometimes…how do I not lose hope.

Until next time,


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