Originally Published: August 6, 2016 6:01 a.m.
Dear Annie: My grandfather had severe Alzheimer’s disease. Unfortunately, it lasted for a while.
He was fine before he hit 75. Occasionally, he would forget things, but it was not a big deal. As he aged, his memory got worse and his ability to forget things increased. By 80, he was bad. He didn’t know who some of his kids were, and talking to him was painful at best. By 85, he was completely gone. He sang songs like a child. He knew nothing about his own life or his family. Mercifully, he died at 85.
His daughter, my mom, is now 65, and I’m worried she is showing signs of the disease.
Though my mom knows the name of the utensil you “stab food with” (how my grandfather described a fork at one point), she forgets things. She repeats herself. I find myself sitting and listening to the same stories.
I first detected a problem when we were having a Fourth of July barbecue and we sent my mom out to pick up burgers and buns and she came back with ice cream. We were all stunned and concerned. That’s when I knew she needs help.
What makes things worse is that when I tell her she’s told me a particular story before, she gets defensive. She has real trouble facing her own mortality. I know that she is relatively young and that there isn’t a lot I can do, but I care and worry about her. Any thoughts on how I should handle this? – Forgotten Daughter
Dear Forgotten: You’re wise to be proactive about this. Encourage your mom to set up a doctor’s appointment today. The sooner you seek professional help the sooner the problem can be diagnosed. If she does in fact have Alzheimer’s, early detection will allow you and your family more time to plan for the future. Additionally, there are some treatments that can temporarily lessen the symptoms. Visit the Alzheimer’s Association website, at http://www.alz.org, for more information.
Dear Annie: In October 2013, our daughter was married. We gave her a nice wedding, and there were approximately 300 guests. She received many, many nice gifts.
She has yet to send out thank-you notes. I have offered on two different occasions to help her, and her response was, “I’ll do them.”
I have had guests ask me whether my daughter ever received their gift. I don’t know what to say.
What are your suggestions? Is it too late for my daughter to send out thank-you notes now, almost three years later? Should I just drop it and not let it bother me anymore? Thank you for your response. – Mother
Dear Mother: Sadly, I doubt you’re the only mom who’s been in this position. Social niceties are going the way of the dodo and landline telephone these days.
Talk to your daughter and her spouse (who is just as much to blame, by the way) about the importance of making this right. Encourage them to set aside an entire day to get the thank-yous done. They may be putting off sending them out at this point because they’re embarrassed about how much time has passed. But it’s better late than never. A nice handwritten thank-you note means a lot in this age of emojis and instant gratification.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Frustrated Grandma,” who constantly gets stuck baby-sitting the grandkids with little appreciation from her son. Brian and Amanda need to take Grandma on the cruise with them or send Grandma on a cruise with Grandpa or a friend to thank her for all that she does each year. – Jackie in Florida
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