The Progression Of Alzheimer's

By Sara Wuillermin • December 1, 2017

My mother was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's 12 years ago when she was 54 years old (I was 22 at the time). This shows the progression of her disease from the beginning of diagnosis until about 2 years into the disease's progress. At this point, we were already aware that she had the disease--she was trying to crochet more to help keep her mind active, on recommendation from her doctor, so all of these squares were done after diagnosis of the disease.

My mother is still alive and has been living with the disease for 12 years. She is what is considered to be stage 4, which means she is non-verbal and not able to tend to any of her basic needs (she needs help with dressing, feeding, bathing, etc.). She has been cared for at home during the duration of her disease, with the help of my immediate family (my father has acted as primary caretaker and is a true hero for his selflessness), my extended family, her dedicated caretaker, and more recently (this past July) hospice support.

I really hope this post allows people to better understand Alzheimers, its affect on others, and to remember that there is still a person behind this disease. My mother was a fun, beautiful, vibrant person who rented Saturday Night Fever to teach me dance moves before my first school dance and blared Queen on the way to my soccer games to properly get me pumped. She is a person who deserves to be remembered, and I hope I can keep her memory alive a little more.

My father truly has been such an inspiration and has taught me what it means to love unconditionally. And seeing the way the rest of my family has pulled together—from my brother and sister-in-law, my grandmother, my aunts who cook meals for my family each night, my mom's caretaker who truly loves her and sees past her disease, and those in our lives who provide love and support along the way. It really takes a village.

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