Alzheimer's Daughter

The Story

Alzheimer’s Daughter introduces the reader to my healthy parents, Ed and Ibby, years before their diagnosis, then recounts painful details as our roles reversed and I became my parents’ parent.

Their disease started as translucent, confused thoughts and ended in a locked memory care unit after a near decade of descent into the opaque world of Alzheimer's.

I began writing Alzheimer’s Daughter one week after my mother's death––when I was stunned, realizing Dad had no memory of her or their 66-year marriage.

I write to pay tribute to the undying spirit at Ed and Ibby's core, and with the hope that the story of their parallel decline might be helpful to others.

Chapter 10- Assisted Living

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March 15, 1944

My Dearest Wife,

Honey, in your letter you ask about the food. You know I don’t complain about food, but dear, it’s not so good. Still, I don’t go out to eat very often. I don’t deprive myself of anything, but I do like to think I can do without some of the horsing around I used to do that cost a great deal. Instead of drinking scotch and soda, I drink beer on most occasions. You have done wonders for me, honey.
Darling, you said you were worried after my last visit. You don’t mean you thought––maybe? Darling, really, did you? It would be wonderful in a way, but honey, I hope we are able to wait until the war is over. If it’s what I’m thinking that was worrying you, there couldn’t be a prouder daddy in the world than me.
Your loving husband,
 forever and ever XXXXXX
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After Mom and Dad had lived at Lakeview Reserve for about one year, my sister and I began to pursue the move from one side of the apartment building to the other––from independent-living to assisted-living. Annette handled most of the details. She completed anything that could be done by phone. I visited a model apartment. It had two bedrooms and two bathrooms, but was slightly smaller. We hoped Mom and Dad’s confusion would be minimal if their surroundings remained familiar. We were put on a waiting list. We kept this information from Mom and Dad because we didn’t want them to obsess and worry.

The evening she arrived, I picked her up at the airport and we both went to Mom and Dad’s. We simply explained that in the morning they’d be moving down the hall to an apartment where they’d receive some extra help. Annette had planned to stay for the week, so she slept on a fold out sofa in the second bedroom to help Mom and Dad acclimate. The Nest Makers relocated Mom and Dad’s furniture to their new apartment. Annette was left to snuggle them in.

Annette spent her days with Mom and Dad, but set her alarm to wake in the middle of the night to sort and purge trash out of the prior apartment, loading bags of useable things to take to Goodwill. She tried to do all of these things while Mom and Dad were asleep, so as not to upset them...