Thursday, October 7, 2010


"Three drugs to treat Alzheimer's disease are currently restricted by the drugs rationing body, the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to sufferers with moderate to severe symptoms. It has meant patients' symptoms had to get worse before they could receive them.

A major campaign was launched against the 'cruel' NICE guidance and now, three years on, NICE has reversed its ruling and is set to extend their use to those with mild symptoms.

The drugs cost around £2.80 per patient per day, slowing down progression of the condition, and meaning patients can continue to recognise their loved or remain independent in their own homes for longer.

There are almost half a million people with Alzheimer's disease, of which only one in ten is currently receiving medication."

Monday, April 19, 2010

The 'A' Word

The 'A' word. She said it finally, choking back tears and hugging me. 'Please pray for me', she said, 'the nurse has told me I've got Alzheimer's'. I tried not to sound too surprised but was lost what to say. 'It's OK, we're all here for you... and God is with you'. 'I know', she said, and she touched my face. She's been touching my face since the illness. I like it. But her eyes betrayed that she wasn't really that sure at all. She is filled with insecurity, fear, regrets. 'I so want to see S grow up,' she said. 'You will', I said, 'just take every day as it comes and make the most of it, none of us know what the future holds.'

God is making us strong. After my last post I was resigned to the fact that Mum would never tell me. I mean I was really resigned. It was OK. But now God has let me hear her say the words, and we have connected. She hugged me before she left and I saw in her eyes a love that doesn't want to burden me, a helplessness that can't speak, more and more regrets. But it's the love that matters. I am thankful. Thankful that although suffering is inevitable and maybe long, we have time. Time to say 'I love you'. Time to laugh. Time to be together. Time to appreciate every moment is a gift from our loving Heavenly Father, the One who holds us in His hands and where we are safe.
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Monday, March 22, 2010

Moving On

Mother's Day has come and gone and it was a good one. I have been struggling since last August with the situation that Mum doesn't want me to know about her Alzheimer's. She still wants to keep it secret. The thought of her becoming so ill that I can't talk to her about her illness has been difficult. But on Sunday I realised that in a way this doesn't matter.

As we talked alone in the kitchen Mum was high spirited and told me all about the 'medication' she was on for 'her memory'. She wanted to tell me all about her symptoms and how amazing the doctors had been. She explained all about the MRI scan she had had (quite some time ago now) and then she said how lucky she was to receive such wonderful treatment. The only thing she doesn't want to say is 'I have Alzheimers'.

And then she hugged me and wouldn't let go. She said, "it's such a terrible thing to forget your own childrens' names, please forgive me when I forget yours". I could barely compose myself and wanted to say, 'It's OK Mum, I know you've got Alzheimer's', but I didn't. It dawned on me that it didn't actually matter. She is talking to me about her life, her illness. She is living and loving. The 'A' word is irrelevant. I realised that my desparation to talk to her about all the details is more about me and less about needing to help her. I am content now to let Mum become what she will become, as long as I can stay with her, hug her and love her.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Aricept, Money & Love

After the BBC report yesterday the media was a buzz with reports and discussion. Listening to local radio I was moved by so many people ringing in with stories, either of their loved ones with Dementia or indeed sharing experiences themselves about their own disease. It seems that this is a huge and growing problem in our society. Much has been mentioned about the cost to our governments. Fortunately, Mum has been prescribed Aricept which is one of the better drugs for Alzheimer's. Apparently Mum's doctor had to be a little forceful with the specialist to get her on it, which indicates some of the financial pressures the disease bears on the NHS. We still yet have to see if this is helping Mum, but the last time I visited she seemed very upbeat and like her old self, going through all her novels and showing me her favourite authors.

One call on a phone-in programme last night that really struck me was from a man who had cared for his mother for 15 years before she died. "There's one word which has not been mentioned, he said, "love". Despite the cost, we care for our loved ones because of love. That's what it comes down to. And in the end that is all that matters.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Reduce Risk by 20%

You cannot alter your age or the genes you are born with, but there are lifestyle changes you can adopt which may reduce your chance of developing dementia by as much as 20%.
So it seems that doing crosswords is not really going to delay the onset of Alzheimer's. This BBC report advises taking lots of exercise and a good diet full of fruit and vegetables. Seems like that's the answer to everything.

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Turning Point

Today I think Mum has turned a corner in accepting her condition. She has told her pastor herself that she has Alzheimer's. This must have been difficult to actually voice, but I know it was a huge relief for Dad. This is wonderful now that she can receive solid prayer support and help from the church.

Dad says that she has begun taking medication although I'm not sure exactly what it is. So things move on, and I am still earnestly praying that she will eventually bring herself to talk about it with the rest of the family. Sometimes I feel angry with her, that she still wants to keep it from us, but it must be so hard for her to come to terms with herself, and the time will come when we can be open, I am sure.

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Memory Bridge

Video clips to bring hope.

There is hope. But I see that to keep connected with Mum is going to take hard work.