School of Public Health

Her Mind Went Traveling


Posted Date: January 11, 2018

AlzheimersThe North Central Texas Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association supports caregivers, families and individuals whose lives have changed due to dementia or Alzheimer’s. One caregiver, Laura, used to write poetry with her mother, and has shared her family’s journey with the Alzheimer’s Association.

Laura’s Story

My mother, Avis, is 85 years old this year. She has had signs of memory loss for a couple of years now but only minor. She was diagnosed with mild dementia in 2006, but none of us knew enough to know what was coming or recognize it when it began progressing.

She lived with my brother for the last two years, and I visited her in March for her birthday; she seemed fine. In May, she began obsessing on some things in her past and getting herself worked up over them. By June, she had become paranoid and afraid. She thought her life was in danger, and her behavior became very suspicious and odd.

She started imagining things, mixing up facts, hiding her possessions and closing the drapes in her room. One morning my brother woke up, and she had called 911 and told them that he was trying to kill her. She was truly terrified. My brother did not know how to react.

He called the doctor’s office and took her into emergency. She spent the next three weeks in a senior psych ward getting medication and treatment. She is stabilized now and doesn’t have the paranoia and fear thanks to medication. She is in middle stages of Alzheimer’s, and we are learning as a family how to cope with the loss of this bright woman. Losing her mind was the one thing she feared most.

Her mind tries constantly to deceive her
She worries why we don’t believe her.
She says things that anger and annoy us.
Her mind’s filled up with paranoia.
-From “Her Mind Went Traveling

This is just one of the heartbreaking stories on the Alzheimer’s Association’s website.

January is Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. The Alzheimer’s Association encourages the community to gain knowledge and insight about this devastating disease and get involved with their mission to help end the disease.

The number of people with Alzheimer’s has soared to nearly 5.4 million and is expected to grow to 16 million by 2050 with the increasing age of baby boomers. If you notice any of the 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s  in yourself or someone you know, don’t ignore them. With early detection, people can explore treatments that may provide some relief of symptoms, maximize benefits of treatment and help maintain a level of independence longer.

Alzheimer's diagnosis 

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s allows your loved ones the time to take part in decisions about care, transportation, living options, financial and legal matters. They can also participate in building the right care team and social support network. Care and support services available can help make it easier for you and your family to live the best life possible with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

To empower the community, the Association is hosting their 15th annual spring symposium, Dementia: Current Trends and Future Directions, Thursday, March 22 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Arlington Convention Center.

The symposium offers CMEs, CNEs and continuing education with the goal of providing timely information regarding dementia care. There is no charge for family caregivers to attend. For more info and to register for the event, please visit ce.unthsc.edu/live/2831.

Get involved this month, and help raise awareness for Alzheimer’s disease then, attend the spring symposium March 22!

January Blog

Contributors:

The Alzheimer’s Association North Central Texas Chapter

Teresa Wagner, DrPH, MS, CPH, RD/LD