My aunt just died of Alzheimer’s

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TheBrain
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My aunt just died of Alzheimer’s

Postby TheBrain » Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:21 am

My dad’s sister, Rosemary, died of Alzheimer’s this week. She did well cognitively until she reached her early 80s; I believe she had a lot of cognitive reserve, which staved off the disease until then. Quickly, she dropped into advanced Alzheimer’s. She died in her mid-80s.

My aunt was always so good about keeping in touch with family members. First with my dad. After he died, then my mom. After she died, then with me. She was a kind, smart woman.

One terribly sad part of Rosemary’s story is that her husband also had Alzheimer’s. She cared for him in their home for many years. Yesterday, my cousin told me she did that for too long and should have put him in a facility much sooner than she did. Having never been an Alzheimer’s caregiver, I don’t know how one knows when the best time is to make such a change.

I attended my aunt and uncle’s 50th wedding anniversary. My uncle didn’t understand what was going on, but he had a pleasant smile on his face the entire time. He stayed glued to my aunt’s side. At that point, he mostly only recognized her and thus felt safe with her.

My dad’s mom died of vascular dementia. She suffered from that disease the last 13 years of her life.

I am concerned about my two cousins, having lost both of their parents to Alzheimer’s. About two years ago, I told my one cousin about my genetic risk for the disease. He said he didn’t want to know his genetic risk. I don’t understand his decision, but at the same time, I respect it. I did explain Dr. Bredesen’s work to him, but I suspect he doesn’t believe prevention is possible. His parents received conventional treatment (meaning no treatment), and that’s all he knows.

Anyway, I’m feeling sad today but also relieved that my aunt’s soul is now free of her ravaged brain and body. My one sister and I plan to attend her services. We’re waiting on the details.
ApoE 4/4 - When I was in 7th grade, my fellow students in history class called me "The Brain" because I had such a memory for detail. I excelled at memorization and aced tests. This childhood memory helps me cope!

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TheresaB
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Re: My aunt just died of Alzheimer’s

Postby TheresaB » Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:14 am

I'm so, so sorry about your aunt. I know what it's like to understand predispositions and strategies to prevent, well, anything, and not be listened to. It's tough. Wish I had better words to say, but they escape me, so just know I'm sending warm thoughts your way and giving you a virtual hug.
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NF52
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Re: My aunt just died of Alzheimer’s

Postby NF52 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:41 am

TheBrain wrote:My dad’s sister, Rosemary, died of Alzheimer’s this week. She did well cognitively until she reached her early 80s; I believe she had a lot of cognitive reserve, which staved off the disease until then. Quickly, she dropped into advanced Alzheimer’s. She died in her mid-80s.

My aunt was always so good about keeping in touch with family members. First with my dad. After he died, then my mom. After she died, then with me. She was a kind, smart woman....

Anyway, I’m feeling sad today but also relieved that my aunt’s soul is now free of her ravaged brain and body. My one sister and I plan to attend her services. We’re waiting on the details.
I feel like I know your aunt Rosemary from these loving words of grief. As a "kind, smart woman", Rosemary must have loved having a kind, smart niece who kept in touch. She would have been thrilled that you were at their 50th wedding anniversary to share the joy. My own mother had a very special and exceptionally close bond with an older cousin of mine from having lived with her parents for their first two years of my cousin's life. My cousin often referred to my mother (her aunt) as "my other mother", even while she had a close, loving relationship with her own mother. My cousin was one of the last people to see my mother, which was something both would have wanted.

Rosemary's gift of care for her husband may have been one she freely took on, and while exhausting, might not have hastened her own disease. Long-married couples often are there for each other in ways that enrich their final years together, and then are ready to move on when one has left.

We honor people when we feel deep sadness at the loss of them, keep their memory and spirit alive by acting in ways they would value, and share their story in words like yours. You have done all of that today.
A warm hug, Brain in a sad week.
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SusanJ
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Re: My aunt just died of Alzheimer’s

Postby SusanJ » Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:53 am

Hugs, it's never easy to lose those you love, but your description is a strong testament of what she brought to the world.

It's easy for those not doing the caregiving to say, just put them in a home. But for those of us who have done caregiving, there is also a part of deeper meaning in life to give of one's self. Your aunt sounds like one special woman!

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Re: My aunt just died of Alzheimer’s

Postby TheBrain » Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:56 am

Thank you, Theresa, NF52, and Susan. I very much appreciate your kind words of support and virtual hugs. They help a lot.
ApoE 4/4 - When I was in 7th grade, my fellow students in history class called me "The Brain" because I had such a memory for detail. I excelled at memorization and aced tests. This childhood memory helps me cope!

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Re: My aunt just died of Alzheimer’s

Postby Julie G » Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:54 pm

Sending hugs, my friend. it hurts. I can really relate to what you cousin said about regretting not putting her dad (Rosemary's husband) in a care facility sooner. It was such a tough call when we did that for my grandmother (who passed 1 year ago at almost 101), but in retrospect, we also should have done it sooner. My now 81 year old mother was her full time caregiver and it was TOO much. It's been rewarding to see my mom have a short period of blossoming (just a year) after her decades of caregiving. She's beginning to have her own health issues which I fear may lead to a slippery slope of disability, but I pray not. -xo

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Re: My aunt just died of Alzheimer’s

Postby roxanne » Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:21 pm

Brain, I'm so sorry to hear about your aunt. It always saddens me profoundly as I have a brother who was diagnosed 2 years ago with Alzheimer's disease. Although now, thankfully, after implementing Bredesen's Protocol he's reversed some of his decline and is at the stage of MCI. He's thriving and happy when I speak with him. I am hoping he will continue improving, slowly but surely. It is a shame some people are not willing to do the work, which by they way, is very hard to do, but like you I respect their decision. I am sending you virtual hugs, and know that your aunt will keep on living in your heart and in your mind.

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Re: My aunt just died of Alzheimer’s

Postby Magda » Fri Nov 08, 2019 7:07 pm

Brain,
I am sending big hugs your way!
I am very sorry for your loss.Your aunt was an extraordinary women, caring for her husband when she was not well herself! Beautiful couple, endless love. My heart goes out to your family and loved once.

Magda
Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach
IFM/Bredesen Trained, Reversing Cognitive Decline

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Re: My aunt just died of Alzheimer’s

Postby TheBrain » Sat Nov 09, 2019 6:39 am

Julie, Roxanne, and Magda, thank you for your support during this sad time. A good cry yesterday helped me sleep better last night.

Julie, I’m sorry to hear your mom is starting to have health issues. I can imagine how caregiving for decades can take a toll on one’s health. I hope her health issues are resolvable or at least manageable, so she can live many more years in good health.

Roxanne, I’m happy to hear your brother has improved to the point where is diagnosis has changed to MCI. I hope he continues to improve to the point where he doesn’t even have that diagnosis.

Magda, yes, my aunt and uncle had endless love. I talked to my cousin again last night. My aunt was experiencing cognitive decline while she was caring for him, but she tried to hide it. Not successfully, however, from her sons’ perspective. They knew.
ApoE 4/4 - When I was in 7th grade, my fellow students in history class called me "The Brain" because I had such a memory for detail. I excelled at memorization and aced tests. This childhood memory helps me cope!

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ru442
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Re: My aunt just died of Alzheimer’s

Postby ru442 » Sat Nov 09, 2019 9:30 am

Brain,

As a person who watched his father in-law slowly fade away, providing part time care giving and ultimately hospice until he passed during Thanksgiving 4 years ago, I can feel your pain. It just makes what we do here more precious.

Hugs
RU
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