Children Of Parents With Alzheimer's Disease Reveal Early Warning Signs and How The Disease Has Changed Their Life
It's honestly one of the worst things in the world to watch a parent go through an illness.
Something like Alzheimer's, where they lose their grip on reality, is especially taxing for the children of those parents to go through. The parents may not remember who the children are; they may not recognize those children. They may travel back in time in their minds to when they were young.
The changes that come with facing the disease are difficult in nature and sweeping in scope.
Here were some of those answers.
This is a good question. I care for my grandmother who has dementia and it's been 7 years. First thing I noticed was her becoming testy. She started to not be the sweet grandma anymore. She also started calling me a liar because she couldn't remember things. I was getting puzzled as to why she couldn't remember things.
Then it started to dawn on me. Got her diagnosed and started on medication.
Now, seven years later, she can't remember anything from a minute ago. Yet, she can tell you anything from 50 years ago like it just happened. Crazy how this disease works.
A Farm In My Mind
My great-grandmother died of Alzheimer's. It is truly a troubling ride. At first, it was short term memory, simple things. However, the biggest red flag was - get this - she would see chickens all over the place. She would try to chase these imaginary chickens around the living room, or would kick her feet as if to get them to f*ck off. She would also clean imaginary spider-webs.
I was once told that often Alzheimer's patients will relive old memories - my great-grandmother grew up in 1920's El Salvador - likely lived on a farm with chickens.
When Time Makes No Sense To You
We were visiting my great aunt. At this point she lived in her own house (no kids, never married). My mother comments that she liked a vase she had in her living room. My great aunt said "thanks, it was Mother's. I'll have to ask her where she got it."
This was about 2004-2005ish. Her mother had been dead since 1955. It wasn't long before it became more obvious.
Just as an aside, as a nurse who works with dementia patients, it breaks my heart when they ask me about their parents, as if they were still alive (or their deceased spouse for that matter).
I was away at school when Mama first, first started. but it was things like not obeying driving rules, not listening when we told her something, not following the plot of simple movies and... over reacting to them? like I was watching the old animated Cinderella movie, and she couldn't understand why the step mom was being so mean. or why the animals were talking. she also got super religious (she's always been, but it got intense for a year or so) and lost any sense of... tact? like trying to convert a widow to her religion at the memorial service. That happened. It was yikes.
it's been two years since the official diagnosis. She's... bad. She no longer understands concepts like time (1 am and 1 pm are the same to her, she can't differentiate between today/tomorrow) or safety or not waking people up constantly... she no longer recognizes anyone aside from her mother (gran is 93 and mentally fine), my father, me, and my brother. Doesn't know our cat. Doesn't know her brothers, doesn't know friends she'd been close to for 40+ years...
My life changed a lot. I have no energy because any time spent out of work is keeping an eye on her. she's like a toddler, she isn't capable of logic or understanding orders, much less following them... it's hell. i hate the person I am around her. I want to move away. My mother is dead, her body just hasn't realized it yet.
It Goes To The Shadows Quickly
Not my parents, but my grandma. She was 92 by the time dementia began to creep in, but it consumed her completely within 3 years.
First, it was little things -but very noticeable-, such as words. A few months later, it was people; she would confuse people from her past and the present. Then, she started hallucinating and making up stories about people that didn't exist doing things with her she couldn't have possibly done (like go to places that no longer existed in my hometown or visiting friends that were dead). Next, she completely forgot about my grandpa (who'd been dead for ten years at this point, and to whom she'd been married for over 50), and after that she also forgot about her firstborn son, who had died 8 years before.
A year after that, she no longer recognized any of our relatives, except for my father, who took care of her until her last moments. However, she never forgot about me. I was her first granddaughter and named after her mother (whom she'd also forgotten about), and my dad told me all the time that she would spend days without saying a word, then suddenly ask about me, or light up when he said my name.
It was very painful to watch her turn into a shadow of the amazing woman she'd always been.
I have become a caretaker for both my parents who have dementia of different types and levels. Dementia is actually a broad term, not a specific condition, unlike Alzheimer's. My mother forgets things all the time. The good news is she has adapted to me caring for her and recognizes that she forgets. She laughs about it. My Dad struggles a lot because he really wants to be self-sufficient and prove it, but keeps struggling. I have to let him do projects and take some responsibility for things because it keeps him going, even though often he makes more problems that way. He has a lot of trouble with words and frequently gets irritated with Mom and I when he can't communicate. He also has hearing problems.
I was angry about it for maybe a year. I kind of accepted the role, but I also resented it and kind of let people know that I wasn't living the life I wanted to live. (obviously I could walk away, but my parents have been very good and supportive to me most my life). Then I hit a point where I accepted it. I stopped pushing them to consider going into a home and figured this is just what I am doing right now. In some sense I feel pretty good that they are having a better quality of life than they could without me. Since I came to that realization I have mostly felt good and also done more things for myself.
There Is No Good Ending
My dad started getting lost driving to/from short errands he'd done hundreds of times. Then he'd start saying things that just seemed 'off'. Then he started forgetting to take his insulin, so his 'wife' would end up calling him an ambulance once a month or so.
None of us kids lived in the same town, so it took longer than it should have to get him help. By that time, he was trying to eat the wooden decorative fruit.
His 'wife' (together 20 years but never married) has it even worse, and they are both in care homes now. Sadly, they aren't married, and he's in one home that the state will cover, while she's in another one that's covered by her long term care insurance. Separating them nearly killed us.
My sister moved to his town to be closer to him. Some days he holds decent short conversations, but often gets confused and changes the subject to whatever is directly in his line of sight (water bottle, fork, whatever.) We had to sell everything he owned (house, motor home, etc.) to pay for his care, then once those funds ran out, the state took over. He doesn't know this, and plans to live in his motor home when he 'gets better.'
It Changes Your Personality
My father was vigorously anti-racist all his life. So when he started blurting our racist and anti-Semitic comments in his early 80's, I told him I was shocked and bawled him out.
"Why?" he said. "I didn't say anything."
I'd argue with him a bit but finally gave up when confronted with his irrational nonsense.
He died at the age of 84. One of the causes of death was Alzheimer's.
Why didn't I see it?
Gone Too Soon
My grandmother first kept forgetting the grandkids names, or simply called them by a different grandkids name. Usually my cousin since she helped raise him and "that ornery rascal was her favorite". Then she didn't realize where she was in the evening (sundowners). The day she passed she was so lucid and calm. She looked at my mother in her last moments and said "I know the last few months have been hard on you. I love you with everything I have and was." Her big blue eyes went wide one last time and she leaned forward and embraced my mother and died in her arms. It was one of the most beautiful moments I have ever experienced. Thank you for asking so I could remember her today.
Love Beyond Time
I didn't see my parents go through this. At least not yet. Hopefully that doesn't happen.
But I did see my grandma go through this. It was tough on the entire family, especially my grandpa. But he definitely taught me something about love in regards to this. They've both passed and I love them both immensely.
I am reluctant to even say this because it makes it more real, but... I do see some things that my dad does that reminds me of what my grandma went through. Once we learned that my Grandma had Alzheimer's and learned more about the symptoms, it made sense. There were things over a decade (or maybe more) that could have been signs.
For my dad, it's more memory things. And a little anger about things at times. I've talked to my sister about it (we're both in our 30s). At this point it's one of those things that it could just be aging, or it could be early signs. I think we are both overly sensitive because of my grandma. But that's not a bad thing.
Oh the 90's. What a decade.
Who knew we were in the time of revolution?!
So much happened, yet so much stayed the same.
And not decades later, so much has changed.
Who doesn't love to look back upon a decade and discuss the things that were a common part of life and are now basically obsolete?
You never know in real time.
Redditor Apart-Scalewanted to reminisce about the glory days.
"What was normal in the 1990s but rare or non existent now?"
For me... it's Madonna having a #1 song. It can still happen, but highly unlikely.
MusicNew Music Football GIF by Black PrezGiphy
"A disc man plugged into a cassette tape with a wire to play music in your car."
"Hotlines for the weather report, current time, and movie show times."
"The time and temperature phone number for my small hometown still exists to this day. Same Pre recorded voice and everything. It still advertises caller-id as an add on feature for land lines. Know who’s calling you. It’s easy and convenient with caller id. The time is x. Temperature y."
"Talking to your friends mom to see if they were home."
"I've always thought that having to go through the parents to talk to your friends made things more controlled and respectful. Now kids can just blast each other with every thought that pops in their heads 24/7, that must make things more toxic."
"When picking someone up from the airport, you could wait for them at their gate."
"When I have flights going through cities with people I know I will intentionally schedule a couple hour layover so I can go hand lunch with them and then just go through security again and board the next flight."
I'm OutBye Bye Goodbye GIF by Mickey MouseGiphy
"I still do this to this day. I'll go on vacation for a week and just turn the phone off, or be far enough out in the boonies that there is no cell signal whatsoever."
I wish I could put my phone down. Who knew we'd never be without them?
Let's FandangoMovie Theater Popcorn GIF by filmeditorGiphy
"Calling the movie theater or looking in the paper for movie times."
"Keeping a binder full of CDs in your car."
"I once left the door on my car unlocked and came back to find my car stereo gone but not my full 100 disc binder. The stereo had completely died 2 weeks prior and I just hadn't gotten around to swapping it out yet. I just laughed."
"My car CDs were stolen in 1998. I’m still pissed."
"Pressing play and record at the same time."
"I don't know why but this one made me feel the saddest. I guess it just snapped me back to a moment when I was bored and had no where I had to be, no where I planned to go. My life's todo list completely empty. Just me and the weird 90's dust that seemed to float around in front of sunny windows."
"Putting tape over the security tab/square so you could record over any tape you had in your collection."
"I had to check for the phone booth that I used the most as a teenager (not in NYC, in the beach town where I spent my summers) and it was still there in the most recent Street View! I'll have to see if it's there now when I go by tomorrow. This was where I checked in with my parents and friends circa 1990 to see what was going on. The arcade was just down the street."
And the White?yellow pages GIFGiphy
"I got a phone book in my mailbox the other day. First one in years. It was about the size of a Goosebumps book."
Well those were the days. Weren't they?
Texas is HUGE!
Literally, it's massive. That might be why the tagline is about everything being big. Oh the metaphors of life.
Next to size is heat. Lord is it hot there.
Those are just a few of the regular Texas deets that often come to mind.
What else do others think of?
Redditor Common-Transition973 wanted to compare notes on everyone's thoughts about the Lonestar state.
"Non Texans , what are your thoughts when you hear 'Texas?'"
I've been to Texas once. Austin. It was cute.
"Literally just the shape of the state itself as seen from a map or something."
All Love Baby
"I’ve been through Texas a few times and the thing that stood out to me was how much people in Texas love talking about how much they love Texas. I had a beer at the Dallas airport when I was waiting for a friends plane and it was a Budweiser bottle but instead of Budweiser the label said Texas on it."
"Diners would serve Texas shaped pancakes. Every gas station had a section for Texas swag- everything from tee shirts to shot glasses to hats to magnets and other Knick knacks."Giphy
"I’ve always found New Yorkers to be obnoxious with how much they talk about how much better they are than everyone else, but Texas is actually on another level. So, I guess when I think of Texas, I think of a bunch of people yelling 'I f**kin' love Texas'."
"Barbecue, don’t get me wrong we’ve got it here in the UK but it’s nothing like what I’ve seen from across the pond. Burnt ends, beef ribs, smoked brisket. I’ve only ever seen it on YouTube and I envy those of you who have tasted it."
"Honestly when I went to Texas and tried the bbq, at both that big well known place and a 'mom and pop' place that my airbnb hosts said was the best in the city. It was... Good. Like it was tasty and all, but just they way people talk about it like its some kind of religious experience or that it's just so different and unlike bbq in other countries, but it wasn't. Its still just meat + dry rub + sauce and I've had comparable bbq in London."
"My Texas is essentially one of those m&m characters. I picture him with those big oval eyes and white limbs. The color of this Texas-shaped m&m is 'American flag.' He’s got a cowboy hat, a piece of wheat sticking out of his mouth, and a perfectly groomed mustache. He’s just walking around in his cowboy boots with his Ak-47 in tow. He vehemently hates the skittles."
"In my native Norwegian the term 'complete Texas' means chaos or out of control."
Algorithmix9Panic Omg GIFGiphy
Texas means so much in so many ways.
"Cadillacs with giant horns on the front driven by old men in white suits with big white cowboy hats and superbly trimmed mustaches."
Spare-Cap-3152season 6 welcome to austin GIF by PortlandiaGiphy
"In my company (in a country on the opposite side of the planet from Texas), 'gone Texas' is a term used to describe a software program that has frozen up to the point where even Task Manager can't abort it. Otherwise we don't think about it very much, except perhaps with mild horror."
"Heavyset white people with guns and large cowboy hats yelling 'DON'T MESS WITH TEXAS!'"
"My favorite part of 'Don’t mess with Texas’ is that comes across as this slogan about how tough and bada** Texans are, but in reality it was an effective anti-littering campaign from the department of transportation."
"Man, as a Muslim in a secular country, is always a ride seeing posts about republicans go on about something something shariah law, something something freedom, something Obama... And then two posts later, there's a r/nottheonion post about Texas basically being white Taliban."
"I think of Gilead but with cowboy hats."
Trips89Handmaids Tale No GIF by VideolandGiphy
Well there is still a lot of good in Texas. You just have to dig deep.
Insects play a vital role in Earth's ecosystem.
Without insects, some plants would die and some animals would starve creating a domino effect of global famine.
That being said, June Bugs can crawl back into the pits of Hell from whence they came.
I know I'm not alone in that opinion.
Redditor aconnor105 asked:
"What insect can go straight to Hell?"
"Horseflies. One of those f'kers chased my car for an hour and a half."
"Ah yes, the sadistic combination of a mosquito's diet and gluttony and a fly's energy and speed."
"Their mouthparts are literally two knives with the blades facing outwards, when a horsefly (or deer fly, or moose fly) bites you, they’re literally ripping a hole in your skin and lapping up the blood."
"They are such a**holes. A thrown shoe when they land is surprisingly effective at taking them out."
"Deploy La Chancla!"
"Bed bugs. If you're anything like me just the mention of them makes your skin crawl."
"The bites are bad but the paranoia is worse. Once you get them you will never trust a bed ever again."
"Every unexplained itch will make you think 'F'k, are they back?'."
Japanese Murder Hornets
"Those killer hornet things from Japan."
"Mosquitoes. Every single one."
"Only few select, totally expendable species of mosquitoes feed on humans. We need to just completely exterminate those f**kers!"
"Kill em all, let their mosquito god sort em out."
Vindicated! I'm not the only one who hates these things.
"June Bugs. I hate them so much. They fly right at you and are so loud! And I get embarrassed for screaming my a** off."
- Skeebou and Cupacakezzz
"1000% this. They make sitting outside in the summer in Texas after 8:00pm (when it’s actually cool enough to sit outside) completely unbearable."
"Cockroaches. I want to invent a laser to kill just these f'kers only. They all need to burn to ash."
"In South China we had drain cockroaches that would panic when they got caught in flash torrential rain. They make a beeline for the nearest high ground, which includes you."
"I didn't really believe it at first."
"'Hah, that cockroach looks like he's sprinting towards me. Look, he even changed direction with me. Whoa, hold on a minute mate'."
"He got to my upper chest before I managed to throw him off."
"About 2,000 of them panicked after a minor earthquake, flooding out of the drains and into the nearby shops. Yelps and colourful language followed as shop staff pelted them into the air and onto bikes/cars/pedestrians with brooms."
"Earwigs. Creepy a** bugs with those big a** pincers on their butt."
"And they always come out at night, get in water glasses, mailboxes...nasty things."
\u201cThe hidden, origami-like wings of the common earwig unfold to ten times their folded size, transforming the mostly ground-dwelling insect into a super-efficient flyer [read more: https://t.co/9vtGk5Hr52] [how they served as models: https://t.co/58nfe8WhYQ]\u201d— Massimo (@Massimo) 1658138400
"Fleas. Literally any parasitic insect."
"This is the answer, literally just any parasite. Some actually DO have a reason to exist, but others seem like they were created for the PURPOSE of spreading diseases and pain."
"The Emerald Ash Borer. Has killed three massive trees on my property, and is working its way to killing every ash tree in my part of the country."
- CoffeeAndBrassleafless tree on green grass field under white skyPhoto by Arun Clarke on Unsplash
"Yellow jackets. All that buzzin and no honey..."
There are insects we mostly love—like honeybees, ladybugs or butterflies...Giphy
...but there seem to be a lot more we mostly hate.
Did your insect nemesis make the list?
For the life of me, I can't understand how anyone could still watch The Walking Dead. I just checked and the damn thing has had 11 seasons. 11 seasons!
Can you imagine?
People enjoy watching characters follow a set of train tracks for an entire season I guess. (For context, I made it to the beginning of the seventh season before I threw in the towel, and it was really testing my patience well before then.)
But there's so much more out there that's equally overrated. Television is the least of our problems.
People shared their thoughts with us after Redditor PieinHorse asked the online community,
"What is very overrated?"
"The perceived security..."
"The perceived security of most jobs."
Replace jobs with locks or doors or windows and it's still true.
"Influencers. I'm not sure what's more ridiculous, the fact someone believes they are an "influencer" or those who actually follow them and are influenced by said influencer."
I scarcely think about them. Out of sight, out of mind.
"Designer brands and bags. After owning an item from each brand, it’s really the most big waste of money people can put their money on."
You do get what you pay for up to a certain point.
"The extra leg room..."
"First Class Airline tickets!"
"We lucked up on our last flight that we had no choice but to get first class and our company paid for it, but I can 100% say that it was NOT worth the extra $700."
"The extra leg room was nice, as I'm 6'7", but the "free cocktails" and additional food? Nah homie, I'm good."
Was this domestic? For those short flights First Class is pretty much not worth it, but for international long haul? A lie-down bed for a 13 hour flight is worth the 2x or more price, plus the other perks.
"Casual sex. I prefer competitive sex."
Evolutionarily speaking, life is about competitive sex...
"Being famous must suck big time. Imagine not being able to go shopping, taking a chill walk in the park, go to the beach, supermartket, etc... without people engaging with you."
Say goodbye to any privacy whatsoever. No thank you.
"Spent my prime years..."
"Alcohol. Spent my prime years drinking at college and all that, still say it’s the most overrated thing in history. So many better drugs that could have prevented long and short term health issues, made things more peaceful, more efficient, more successful, and so on. The fact that it’s globally advertised every millisecond proves it’s overrated."
There's nothing wrong with deciding to stop drinking (or never drinking at all) and people should not be shamed for it.
"Huge weddings. Why? Spend the money on something important or on a trip."
Some people want their best day ever to be a big party with all the people they care about. But there is a crazy level of stress involved in planning a party that size.
"Being an adult."
"Being an adult. What BS is this, and why the hell did we want to be adults when we were kids?"
Nah, being an adult is awesome. I wouldn't change it for the world. Freedom!
"Half of the time."
"Hot weather. Half of the time it is just horrible and you’re sweating in your clothes and the other half you’re at the beach burning alive."
Sorry, I'd rather it be hot than be freezing, but I'm one of those people who can never get warm.
Hey, it could be worse. We could be talking about how much Game of Thrones disappointed us (again) and how it is impossible to watch it now, a total slog, knowing where it ends up. Disappointing and overrated indeed.
Have some suggestions of your own? Tell us more in the comments below!