Alzheimer’s and the Vicious Circle of Slow Death

Alzheimer’s makes patients want to walk. Then it makes them fall. But you can’t restrain them. All that caregivers can do is watch helplessly as their loved ones get up and crash, over and over.

12 thoughts on “Alzheimer’s and the Vicious Circle of Slow Death

  1. My wife and I remember the daylong search when my mobile mother took an unannounced walk and was gone for about 10 excruciating hours.

    The uncertainty really takes it out of you.

  2. A friend of mine who is quite on in years (92, I believe) insists on riding an electric bicycle, and, having somewhat slower or less accurate reactions than she did in her younger days, often gets knocked off or just falls off. (Balance problems, but not Alzheimer’s, seemingly.) Her solution was to obtain a curious cyclist’s suit of plastic armor which makes it much harder to damage yourself falling off a bicycle (or off your feet, etc.) It looks kind of silly, but it could probably be stripped down for low-impact use. As for wandering, if you have two cell phones I believe there are apps that will enable one to tell where the other is.

  3. Ted,
    As with previous updates you’ve posted on your mother, I think the dearth of responses is because everything seems so hopelessly inadequate as a response. We can share stories of our own sufferings and of similar cases but that’s the closest we can come. Hallmark doesn’t have cards for relatives in terminal conditions, at least not cards I can read without wanting to set the aisle on fire at the drug store. This kind of thing is bespoke. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is desperately trying to come up with some way to put it into words. The mostly silence isn’t from indifference; it’s because it is very difficult to find the words.
    I am so sorry. For you and for your mother.

    • All I have to offer is commiseration.

      Sincerely sorry about your ordeal Ted, and sorry again about the meager offerings of solace I’m capable of.

      When my wife was very sick I wouldn’t tell anyone.

      The last thing I wanted were the inevitable series of endless inquiries that would have to be answered again and again and again.

      It wasn’t like I could call a daily update meeting to tell everyone everything at once so I could then occupy my thoughts with other pressing matters.

      Do what works for you. I’m sure decent people will understand.

      Life goes on.

      • Thank you, Glenn, commiseration does count. Although that’s not really the point of this cartoon series. The point is to reach out to other people going to the same thing to let them know that they’re not alone and that we have a major societal problem that needs to be addressed. My mother, I am positive, would wholeheartedly approve.

      • As we come up with new ways to live we often forget to cover that for which the old ways provided.

        i.e. – we no longer live in a big house with an extended family. In The Olden Days, grandmom & grandpop would live with the kids, who had lots of kids themselves, and mom would be home full time and there was always a pair of hands available to help.

        Now we have smaller families, children move out as soon as they are able, and we’re simultaneously capable of prolonging life.

        My father was a strong supporter of Death with Dignity. Yeah, I’d rather check out on my own terms.

    • Thanks, Alex, I appreciate what you are saying about the Alzheimer’s series. If I were a reader rather than a writer of these things, and I often am about other topics, I would have the same exact reaction. I would think to myself “oh God, that sucks so bad” and move on to something else. And that’s fine.

  4. Of all the things to have to become an expert in – we had two parents (now passed), one with dementia and one with Alzheimers. Amazing amazingly different and horrible ways for the body to betray…you’ll get through it and someday remember only the pleasant memories.

    Good luck until then. Good luck to us all.

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