Saturday, April 25, 2009

Exelon - the New Alzheimer's Drug

I've been hearing commercials for the Exelon patch on TV lately...

It's for mild to moderate Alzheimer's. My Mom's physician prescribed Aricept for Mom and that is a medication that has to be taken at very precise times.
With Mom's condition at that time, we couldn't trust that she would take any meds at a prescribed time. We employed one of the aides at the retirement community where she was living in an independent living garden home to come in at med times.

This seemed like a good solution for Mom to have the meds she needed to keep her symptoms from preventing her from living on her own.

However, Mom didn't like having someone ring her doorbell when she was sleeping...and she was sleeping more and more.

That was over three years ago...
Mom's behavior got more and more unlike her. Dishes piled up in the sink.
She wasn't going to the retirement community dining room for her nightly meals as she always had.

I took her shopping and bought some frozen dinners. I wondered why she hadn't been
eating those...only the pudding snacks and other snack foods. Mom also always loved making cappuccino from the dry mix.

I realized she had forgotten how to use the microwave oven that she had been using for many years.

I would go to visit her and find her sitting out on the little front porch in her nightgown. This is something she NEVER would have done previously.
She also wasn't taking showers... Mom ALWAYS showered and washed her hair daily before.

So we did have to move her into the care center where she could receive the care and protection she needed. This is something she had seen happen with her younger sister and Mom said never to let that happen to her. She didn't want to be sitting and sleeping and not knowing anyone or doing anything. When there is Alzheimer's in the family, it was difficult not to see herself heading on the same path.

So Mom is still in the Care Center. She moved in July 14, 2006. It's now April 25, 2009. I can't believe she has been there so long.

They placed Mom on hospice several months ago, mostly because her weight had dropped so much as a result of her Alzheimer's disease.

I'm curious how the Exelon medication would have worked.
Would she have been able to be on her own longer?

I am so grateful that there is a lot of research going on to uncover more of the mysteries of Alzheimer's. Mom spoke with pride when they built a research facility right there in Sun City, Arizona that would be researching Alzheimer's.

Mom had an amazing life. Dad died in April 1998. Mom was on her own for 8 years before needing to leave her home.

For many of those years I was very involved in getting her to doctor appointments and grocery and clothing shopping. When she was going through breast cancer, I was with her for the many appointments and surgery.

I feel as though I don't really DO all that much for her now as compared to then. Her care is done by the staff at Royal Oaks Life Care Center. I am her advocate for good care and medical decisions. I am her loving daughter who visits her and takes her for walks outside in the wheelchair.

What is huge is that overshadowing feeling of concern and sadness for Mom and the kind of life she has now.

And there something I should be doing for her?
Is there something I should have done differently?

There's anxiety before each visit, wondering if she'll speak at all that visit....whether she'll know who I am....

And sadness as I leave...
Will she know me next time?
Will this be the last time I see her alive?

Every good bye is straight from my heart.
I never know if it will be my last.

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