Alzheimer`s Disease/thank you for everything


Dear Mary, I wrote you a mail about ten days ago-It's the first time in 3 years that I haven't received a reply instantly-perhaps it was meant to be.  Our mother passed away on the 8th evening, she was diagnosed 5 and half years ago. In the last three years we have relied on your replies and support almost as much as we have relied on family, friends and her doctors.
In the last few days she had become extremely weak, was eating very little ensure and drinking very little water-but was still okay. On the 8th morning she looked extremely weak and for the first time in  five and a half years, we didn't take her to the bathroom or bathe her, and she stayed in bed and ate very little.. but by afternoon she looked like she would be okay soon. However post dinner, after sitting up for 45 minutes she lay down and within minutes had stopped breathing. We did everything we could, and the doctor we called came and certified that she had passed on. The doctor though it was a cardiac arrest, we think she probably aspirated her food, though she didn't cough or choke visibly. she was breathing one minute and the next she was not. My brother and I were both with her when it happened.Even though she had been ill for so long, and we knew this was inevitable, it was a big shock and it's taking a lot of getting used to.. just not having her around is difficult, even though she hasn't spoken in more than 2 years.  We miss her presence terribly.. but realise that she's probably in a better place. Both my brother and I want to thank you for all your help and support during this period, though we can never thank you enough for what you've done. To spare time and make an effort and reach out to people at the other end of the planet must take something, and we were very blessed that you were there for us.  God bless you for all your help and may you be able to reach out to all the people that need your help.
In Gratitude and with love
Nimi and Vinod

Oh Nimi, I am so very sorry, both for not responding and for the very sad loss of your mother. I think your prior question must have gone astray (perhaps accidentally into the "junk" mail file) as I didn't get it, and normally if I don't respond quickly, this page sends me a reminder.

My heart really breaks for you. You have worked so hard to make your mother comfortable and content. You and your family must have loved and respected her very much.  She could not have asked for more compassionate and loving care and attentive care.

The blessing is that her passing was so quick, so you know she didn't suffer at all. It would have been terrible to see her ill or have her linger. Perhaps that is the kindest of all - I think it was her time, and it was gentle.

As you know, the natural end of dementia can be very, very hard on everyone. No one would wish a very long slow death for a loved one. When my mother in law passed away, she had been bedridden for a very long time, and was not really aware of where she was or who she was with. Verbal communications had long since ended and she slept all the time and didn't really respond to anyone. It was dreadful, because we knew she would never have wanted to survive so long with such poor quality of life. In the end, they are so very frail and thin, they are frightening, because no matter what you do, they lose weight and waste away.  For many months, it was as though her spirit had left her body, but her body had lived on without its owner. We felt so much grief, because although her body was alive, she was not, and there was nothing to be done but wait for the natural end, and the closure of her funeral. Both your family and your dear mother have been saved that awful time.

I know she is at rest and at peace, and you can find comfort in that. I know if you had been able to cure her, you would have done anything.  She knew how much you cared, and wherever she is, she is so proud of her children, and she is free of all her pain and suffering.

Be very kind to yourself. It is very shocking when you have been a 24/7 caregiver that takes up so much of your time and energy, and the person you are caring for passes on. Your life has probably shrunk around her, as you focussed yourself on looking after your mother, and gave up so much else. I don't doubt that you spent very little time on yourself, your interests, or on other family and friends. It will take a little while for your life to rebound and to feel able to return to all the "normal" activities you had before she was ill.  You have also been under a great deal of stress, so give yourself some time to adjust and recover.

You did the best you could for her, and you can look back at this and know that and be at peace with it. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. You have my deepest sympathy and sincere apologies for not responding to your earlier query.  

Alzheimer`s Disease

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Mary Gordon


Several years direct experience as caregiver for family member who died of end stage AD. Did lots of research and dealt with a lot of health care professionals and caregivers over the 7 years from diagnosis to the end. Used various care options from community based resources to increasing levels of institutional. Mother of three, two born during our loved one's decline, so I know what it is to be the ham in the sandwich, taking care of the older generation and the younger at the same time and trying to balance everyone`s needs. Ask me, I`ve probably been there, done that. We made lost of mistakes and learned everything the hard way - but you don`t have to! If I can`t answer your question, I`ll steer you to a place or person who can.


Currently a program manager for a large utility company. My Alzheimers experience comes from having the illness in our family. Out of necessity, we did a lot of research in order to understand the disease, plan for what might come next, and make the right decisions to help and support our loved one. Please note, I am a Canadian living in Toronto, and therefore am not the best person to ask about US regulations and insurance rules!

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