Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease – A Whole New World

ALZWhen someone receives a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease, a whole new world opens up; for the one diagnosed and for those in their circle, everything changes. My mom died three years ago this June. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Thankfully, she didn’t lose all her capabilities. She told the same stories over and over, ones she enjoyed. Ones that made her laugh. She still had a wit about her.

She couldn’t drive or be left alone. She would forget to put her cigarettes out and dropped ashes constantly, burning holes in the carpet at her feet. My sister, the one in whose home my mom lived, allowed her to smoke in her bedroom, where she spent most of her day smoking and playing games on the computer. That was her haven, her refuge, her sanctuary. It is where she wanted to be.

I disagreed with my sister. I thought my mom would burn my sister’s house down one day. I am thankful it didn’t happen, but couldn’t understand her taking the risk. My mom died more from the smoking than the Alzheimer’s, constantly sucking on an inhaler due to her chronic bronchitis. It all gets so overwhelming. I miss my mom. I miss my sister too, as we haven’t spoken since my mom’s service nearly three years ago. Alzheimer’s Disease opened up a whole new world.


  1. Susan

    Hi Robin,

    I read your About Me story and tears welled up in my eyes. I applaud you for being so positive in life.

    My father has AD and he’s now 87. Now he can only recognize my mom and our helper who is his main caregiver (he needs someone almost 24/7 to tend to his needs). Sometimes he would ask our helper “who is that woman?” when I paid a visit. Sometimes he couldn’t be bothered at all.

    I can probably understand why your sis let your mom had her way (smoking). The same with us when it comes to our dad’s diet. He practically only eats one thing now, ie. one specific biscuits (we have to stock up!) If he does not get his way, he throws tantrum. Worst, he has violent tendency which is rather common in AD patients.

    We used to ‘fight’ with him thinking how could biscuits be his only diet? But one day my aunt pulled us aside and said that we should just let him be. He’s already this old, how long more would he have? Just let him be. His doctor said the same thing on his last visit. So now we let him do what he wants, mostly. Arguing with AD patients get us nowhere, not to mention it is mentally straining.

    Having cared for my dad myself during the period when his caregiver was on home leave, I understand that it is not an easy job at all. Personally, I think you should reconnect with your sister. Life is short.

    Take care.


    • I agree that I should reconnect with my sister. There were things that happened even before my mom came here to live, and I just couldn’t find a way to deal with my emotions regarding those issues. I tend to withdraw when I am at a loss. My mom coming here and living with my sister amplified the hurt already there. The smoking issue was not big for me. I was concerned for my sister, her home and my mom. She would drop ashes at her feet. Her robe was burned in many places and so was the carpet beneath those feet. Her worst fear was to die by fire and I think deep down she wanted to die. I wasn’t mad at my sister for allowing my mom to smoke in her room, just afraid. There was no easy answer. Anyway, thanks so much for commenting. We need each other I know. Thanks for taking time. Blessings, Robin

  2. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sorry for the loss of your mother. My great-grandmother (whom I’ve never met) had Alzheimer’s Disease too. I’ve heard stories of her forgetting that she had taken her meals.

    I can imagine it must have been tough on your sister to care for her. She provided the best possible care that she could by giving your mother a safe haven and refuge. I can also understand your concern that your mother might have caused a fire. But that is all in the past. I hope that you and sister will be able to reconcile and start anew. God bless you!

    • Robin

      Hi Yvonne. Thank you for commenting. The smoking isn’t the issue between my sister and I. My mom’s worst fear was that she would die by fire, and she seemed to have a death wish. I wasn’t angry with my sister about this, just concerned for her, her family and my mom. You are so right. It is in the past. My sister was mom’s caretaker and had very high expectations for my sister and I. They were so high, they were impossible to reach. My mom’s last years could have been so much better. But you’re right. It is in the past. I’m trying. God bless you too!

  3. I wish to say how sorry I am for your loss of your Mom. I lost my Dad a little over a year ago and I know how it hurts. I agree that smoking can be harmful. I am also so sorry about you and your sister not speaking to one another since your mother’s services. So many times death can bring more tragedy into a family. So very sorry for your loss.

    Thank you for sharing such a personal story with us.

    • Robin

      Thank you for commenting on my post Steph. I’m sorry about your dad. I’ll bet he’s so proud of you and amazed at what you’ve done! I’m sorry about my sister too. It’s a long story, a lot of pain, but I know we will heal somehow. Nice to meet you. I’m sure I’ll see you around 🙂

  4. My grandmother has Alzheimer so I know it is difficult to deal with. I am very sorry for your lost. I hope one day a cure is found to help people with this disease.


    • Robin

      Thank you William. Sorry about your grandmother 🙁 So much research is taking place and hopefully it won’t be long!

  5. That’s really rough! I can tell you that one of my biggest fears is to lose my mental faculties.

    My mind has always been my mainstay…my best asset, as well as my mightiest foe.

    The thought of losing myself in that tangled web makes me shudder in anticipatory horror.

    I think I understand both your point of view, as well as that of your sister’s. Your sister, no doubt, was thinking that she wanted your mom to be happy. No doubt you were all aware of the inevitability of the situation.

    The fact that your mother had family she could spend her final days with, and that those days were spent doing what she apparently enjoyed is a blessing.

    As a former smoker myself, I can fully understand how someone can truly enjoy a cigarette and the act of smoking. It so pervades your life that it is almost an extension of your personality.

    Regardless of who is “at fault”. I strongly urge you to take some lumps, even if you don’t feel they are justified and reunite with your sister.

    Life is too short, and the anger/hostility that manifests through trials like this can be devastatingly divisive and will slowly eat away at the one(s) that harbors that animosity…so to can they be levers used to create bonds of strength.

    Unfortunately, someone usually has to take the first step AND be willing to swallow their pride and engage their humility…perhaps that person in this situation is you?

    • Robin

      Thanks so much Jack. I agree with so much of what you said; and yes, I believe I am the person. The timing hasn’t worked out yet. Maybe pride is holding me back. I have made two attempts and have come close two other times. I know I haven’t found total peace there yet, but I am seeking and pursuing and know I will find. Thank you for taking time to write (you’re a good writer by the way!). I’ll be checking out your site! Blessings, Robin

  6. Wow, first of all, thank you so much for sharing this very personal and moving story. It couldn’t have been easy writing this and it comes through in emotion when reading it.

    My grandma hasn’t got Alzheimer’s , but dementia, so I can relate to the stories being told over and over.

    I am so sorry to hear what happened to your mum, but thank you for sharing your story to the world, hopefully it will help people heal their own difficulties with this very sensitive topic. After all, understanding that you are not alone in the world with a situation is a great comfort in itself.

    You have a beautifully constructed website, and your writing is excellent.

    I look forward to reading more in the future.


    • Robin

      Thank you Jade! My mom was in the beginning stages of AD. Sorry about your grandma. I totally agree that it is so important to talk with each other and share our stories. It is comforting, as you said. I appreciate your comment on my website and writing. I just started on Feb. 14th and have learned so much already! Hope you are enjoying the journey too! Robin

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