I share the above incidents because I don't want you to think that our path has been atypically uneventful or to imply that because of our faith in God everything's been easy. But over these ten years of time my fear of the disease has decreased as I've seen my mom coping well in the moment she's in because she consults God about every little thing. And because I figure I can learn to do the same, I believe that I have the best insurance possible against an Alzheimer's diagnosis of my own. If worse comes to worse, God will be with me as He has been with my mother before me. (But Lord, I would ask to be excused from dementia if at all possible, AMEN!).
My mother writes constantly, filling page upon page of spiral notebook after spiral notebook, and I believe this is one reason she's done as well as she has for as long as she has. Sometimes the lined sheets are filled with nonsensical or illegible words, but very often her thoughts are coherent and uplifting. It is encouraging to me that although Alzheimer's patients have lost memory of the immediate past, they may, far into the disease process, retain the ability to enjoy life in the present moment. Also, it is interesting that Mom can list our names and relationships accurately as she writes but when she speaks with us often asks questions such as this: "Now, who are you? Who are you married to? Where do you live?" For my mother, the act of writing seems to help her link to memory.
Caveat: You probably can't teach an old Azheimer patient a new trick, such as journaling. But there is some evidence that a habit of journaling pre-Alzheimer's is helpful after the diagnosis.
Here are some excerpts from Mom's journal--the January 1 entry is a typical section when she is a little more lucid, the January 2 entry illustrates her more garbled entries:
January 1, 2015 Thursday afternoon--Anna Ruth Williamson, 88 years of age (she's actually 90) is blessed to be allowed to live in this very nice apartment attached to the farmhouse.
There is a large 3 way window looking out on the winter world.
I feel so blessed to have this apartment in which to reside. My L.R. furnished with divan and 2 big chairs--one very comfortable for me. I do appreciate. Thank you Lord, Linda and John.
John Edgar in to visit awhile on his way to different chores...good.
My personal Christmas tree pleases me so beautiful and thinks me of early Christmases in past. Now! Old and Senile.
Friday, Jan. 2, 2015 (She is apparently interacting with the Christmas music that's playing in the background. BRB is her code for "bathroom break," and AR is her abbreviation of her own name.)
Come let us adore him - repeat - Jesus our Lord - We listen - guidance all I can get - O come let us adore him repeat Jesus our God - Orchestra (illegible portion) I wait: orchestra listen! Christmas Day.
Need help assistance as possible ---orchestra races Tidings of peace & joy -- we listen--sleep. warmth--thank you! comfort & Joy (she must have dozed off here, she often does)!
Hold! Orchestra plays on -- we listen--Information please! Wait! Help--orchestra--nice on & on! Need BRB. Why not moving? Lazy...
Back from BRB...
...In silent adoration!! I'm home!!! Praise!!!! How great thou art!!!!!!
A.R. smiles and enjoys what is...Well, there you have it. Anna Ruth smiles, and enjoys what is!