Since I am an author, I’m constantly looking into how research builds hope. Plus, “The Unraveling of Reverend G” and the rest of the books in my series deal with Alzheimers and dementia. So research is a must.
I find it easy and enjoyable to do research. I study everything I can find about caregiving, the latest meds and the possible causes for Alzheimers. Sometimes I come up with a new coping strategy.
Sometimes, my siblings already know more than I do and we chat back and forth about how the research might help Mom.
Recently, I discovered information about urinary tract infections. Apparently, older women can easily contract UTIs, yet don’t always feel the pain.
They can’t tell us how or where it hurts. Yet one of the symptoms of UTIs is frightening and realistic nightmares.
My mother has nightmares that seem so real to her, she reports them to the staff at the assisted living facility. She is certain that various family members are stealing her car, stealing her money, stealing her house, etc.
She concocts the most amazing stories, based on her dreams. My mother could have been an incredible novelist. Her stories are fascinating and believable.
More than once, the staff has called my sister to check up on one of Mom’s stories. When I told my sister about the research on UTIs, she scheduled a doctor appointment to have Mom checked.
So far, no UTIs. So Mom’s stories are probably one of the side effects of Alzheimers or maybe even some of the meds she has to take. But now we are on the alert for a possible cause for Mom’s dreams and stories.
Even though I can’t always find the answers to the questions we have, doing the research helps me feel as if I share an active part in Mom’s care. As the LDC and the researcher, I’m doing something beneficial and helping the family take care of Mom.
I’m also learning more about this disease and trying to prevent it from happening to me. I eat a Mediterranean diet, try to avoid anything cooked or stored in aluminum and I’ve completely eliminated high fructose corn syrup from my diet.
Beyond that, I plead with God every day to help my siblings as they care for Mom and keep us all from getting this horrid disease.
Then every time I forget something, I pray all over again and do more research.