My Mother Had Alzheimer’s…

“C’mon!” My girlfriend pleaded with the car in front of her. Then she noticed it was an elderly couple. “My friend at work calls them Q-Tips,” she said with a laugh. “Little white heads sticking up barely over the seat. “They shouldn’t be driving.”

I didn’t chuckle, agree, or disagree. All I could do is recall the incident that returned my mother to Massachusetts after living in Florida for twenty years. Fourteen of those years she lived without my dad, who died in 1999. She was never the same after that, and was in a pretty steady decline since. Then there was the infamous day she found herself sitting on a median on a Florida road, disoriented, her car all smashed up. She took a wrong turn somewhere, and kept backing into a tree trying to right herself. Her friend called 911 when she didn’t get the ritual ‘I made it home’ call. The helicopter found her sitting on the median. She lost her independence. She flew back home.

I tell this story because many of us women Over50 are touched by Alzheimer’s/Dementia. How do we thrive here? The definition of thrive according to Merriam-Webster is to grow or develop successfully: to flourish or succeed. I found the most important thing in dealing with my mom’s situation was to enjoy her presence and treat her with honor and respect. So what if she told the same story over and over. I laughed every time. So what if she was temperamental. I was her teen-age daughter once. The most important thing we can do in these situations is to get support, and that will look different for each of us. However, none of us thrive in isolation. We need each other. You need to hear other people’s stories and they need to hear yours. You need people to laugh with and cry with. I am posting the phone number for the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (866-232-8484) in case you need direction. Please feel free to dialogue here in the comments section also.



  1. My grandmother had Alzheimer’s. She decline to the point that she didn’t know anyone anymore and it was so hard to see her that way. She ended up passing from Colon Cancer but it was still hard to see what was happening to her. Take care of your mom and remember all the good times. I pray that my own mother doesn’t get it but you never know. So far so good. Thanks for sharing this!

    • Thanks for coming by Kelly, and for commenting too! Sorry about your grandmother. It is so difficult to watch your loved ones go through things which are totally out of their control and out of yours. It’s a helpless kind of feeling. I’ll pray for your mom too! Blessings, Robin

  2. Hi Robin
    This was a quite a personal story to share so thank you for your bravery. I have been quite fortunate that i have not seen firsthand the effects of alzheimer’s disease. I hear stories from my mother that her grandmother got it very late in her age (late 80s) and was calling all her grand children after her own children because he had forgotten that her own children had grown up and were now in their 60’s. I pray that i do not see this happen to anyone I love. As a nutritionist i hear that a lot of omega 3 slows the progress of alzheimer’s disease. I hope they find a cure in the some what near future.

    • Robin

      Thank you for commenting Kyle. I hope you never see it happen either. I certainly have done some study in this area as it puts a little fear in you when it’s your mom, you know? But I think you’re right. Diet does affect your well-being in many areas. They are doing a lot of research on AD, and diet is certainly an area of study. It’s your specialty I see! Oh…Mr and Mrs Nutritionist! I just looked at your site a couple of hours ago! Loved it, your wife, how you met etc., and intend on visiting more. Thanks again for stopping by Kyle.

  3. Kiefer

    Thank you for sharing this touching story. My grandfather and my wife’s grandfather each had alzheimers, and it could be really tough to handle. On the one hand I don’t know what to do when interacting with them, and on the other I just feel sad.

    I agree that reasons like these make it improper to criticize the elderly without knowing their situations. For all we know they’re going through something that us younger folk cannot begin to imagine.

    • Robin

      Your emotions are very normal. People have a hard time knowing how to “be” while encountering a person with Alzheimer’s; and yes, we typically feel sad – it is a sad situation. I think one of the best things we can do is share our stories with one another; empathize, laugh, cry, encourage, and support one another. We give respect to the afflicted, knowing that most things are now out of their control. Thanks so much for commenting Kiefer.

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