Daughter Shares Heartbreaking Photo Of Progression Of Alzheimer's
Cailyn Finkel 3/22/2018
Sadly, Alzheimer's disease is a condition that not only affects the patient, but their friends and loved ones as well. Instead of being able to treat it, these bystanders are forced to watch the patient's condition deteriorate to the point of no return.
In addition to memory loss, Alzheimer's patients often suffer from violent outbursts, movement problems and deep confusion. These symptoms are something one redditor from Camden, New Jersey knows all too well.
Doctors diagnosed her mother with Alzheimer's 12 years ago and now she is in the final stages of the disease. While she's able to recount the changes in her mother, she discovered a physical representation of her mother's condition recently and decided to share it with the world...
The woman shared an image of her mother's crochet patches online. Over the course of two years, the crochets became less detailed and more basic - the very last piece was a small collection of yarn that barely resembled a cohesive design.
"These squares represent her progression over the course of a year or two fairly early on in the disease (she suffers from early onset and was diagnosed at age 54; I was 22). I don't remember exactly when she stopped being able to crochet for good--she made squares for a while, then the circles, then the little pieces of crochet, until she got to the point where she just carried around the needles and yarn in her purse (which was otherwise empty since she couldn't really hold on to valuables anymore).
To the amazement of many, including her doctors, she has now lived 12 years since her initial diagnosis (they credit the level of at-home care she's been receiving by my family--especially her caretaker and my dad, who is truly a saint).
At this point she is completely non-verbal and unable to care for herself in any way (eating, bathing, dressing, walking unsupervised, etc.), but physically she is still relatively healthy, beyond issues resulting from her mental deterioration -- e.g., she grinds her teeth incessantly, which has caused significant dental issues).
She has been on hospice since the summer, but the doctors say that it could be months or even years before she passes. It has been a few years since she was able to speak and several since she was able to identify who I am."
Instead of facing backlash for her heartbreaking images, support poured in from all over the world. While most people thanked the woman for her candid photo, others shared how scared they were of this disease striking their family.
One user wrote:
"This is seriously one of the most frightening things I could possibly think about. Everything that makes you a person simply fades away. Alzheimer's runs in my family too.
Very sorry for you indeed, [Original Poster]. I know what it feels like. Hope you're coping ok."
When it comes to conditions like Alzheimer's, doctors can throw around facts and statistics faster than we comprehend. It's helpful and heartbreaking to see the progression of the disease in such a relatable manner.
If you know someone who is showing signs of the disease or are having problems coping with the progression of a loved one's diagnosis, please contact the Alzheimer's Association Helpline at 1-800-272-3900.
We wish the redditor and their family nothing but the best during this trying time.
Learn more about the different stages of Alzheimer's disease in the helpful video below.