The first person in the family to have Alzheimer's was my grandmother. My mother took her into her home because my grandmother was falling and forgetting her medicine. Her doctor finally told my mother she could not live alone.
After two years, my mother had to put my grandmother in a nursing home because her own health was being so affected by the stress. My grandmother spent about a year in one nursing home. We moved her because of the lack of good care. By the time she got to a second nursing home, she had lost 30 pounds and refused to eat. My mother and I spent alternate nights with my grandmother for the last month of her life, trying to make it as comfortable as possible.
Now my mother is helping my stepfather through Alzheimer's and his deteriorating health. This time I live with them to take some of the stress off of my mother. I tell myself that his temper is the result of his disease, but its hard on my mother just the same. Everyone I know thinks this disease affects only the mind and emotions, but living with someone who has it is like watching a person with terminal cancer.
I wish I had the faith that gives my mother her strength.