2019 Our Story The REAL LIFE Symptoms of Dementia

21 Sept 2019 Today I want to share something much more important than work. If this post means that one more parent will get diagnosed earlier then It has been worth sharing my story. For those of you who know me well, will know that I have been  caring for my mum who has had dementia since I was 17 but I didn’t even know it until 3 years ago. I felt under enormous stress everytime I was with her as every time we met I was faced with a zillion things to do for her. I resented this ongoing task and I always wondered why she couldn’t look after herself and I was getting increasingly frustrated believing this was just her depression worsening with age, and the GP was agreeing with me. I had queries why she took no interest in my wedding, that she never planned or decided a day out for us (even on special occasions), that she only gave us cash and not gifts for our birthdays, christmas and birthday cards were never posted, she no longer went dancing, that she never kept much contact with old friends, that she didnt shop in big supermarkets, that I had to read all her mail and do all her bills since she was 56, that she never cooked us a meal since we were teens, or did any real housework or dumped or recycled anything, she was washing less, taking less care of personal grooming and hoarding and collecting everything yogurt containers, tissues, sticks, shells, stones. We thought ah they were just “her quirks” as she was getting on.
But yet she was living alone, driving, walking, eating, and always had a quick intelligent answer for everything. To meet her in the street you would think she is in her full health. These were not symptoms I associated with dementia. But these are exactly what dementia looks like in the mild to moderate stages. It is very sad that medically it is not been diagnosed until you stop eating or are getting incontinence. At which stage it is difficult to reverse. There are 2 drugs given for dementia, neither which work in the majority of cases because they work on 2 pathways only and from reading I now know dementia is a result of up to 40 pathways in the brain going wrong. Today we have mum with an incredible practicioner Edelle O’Doherty Nickels who is a Bredesen Practicioner who is rolling out an Alzheimer’s Reversal Programme from Dublin after training with Dr Dale Bredesen in California who has dedicated his whole lifes work to this area. We don’t expect to reverse it we would be happy to just halt the cognitive decline as she still knows us and can eat walk dress etc.  For us we are seeing improvements in her functioning. The HRT and the Herbs (none of which are recommended by the hospital) are making the MOST difference to her and to us. At this point we don’t know how much time we will be able to keep her at home. 1 year or 5 as the disease is so complex to treat in the late stages. This year I could finally handover the responsibility to a team of 13 wonderful people to take care of her in her own home at age 69 and the 20 year anxiety that I have endured at the hands of this has finally left me. I share this because it is worldalzheimersday and I am setting up a support group for young people like me in the north west of ireland who are caring for parents with dementia to share our real life experiences and support each other. Call me for details. Please share this post. Together we can get earlier diagnosis to allow our parents to grow old with their grandchildren,

Regards, Fiona Murphy 0868439979 SLIGO