I decided to write my book Being My Mom's Mom because I felt so helpless when my Mom was diagnosed in 2006 at the age of 77. I was stunned that at such a young age she became the first female in our family to be diagnosed with dementia, especially given the longevity of my grandparents and particularly my great grandmother who lived to be 106 with both her quick wit and her memory intact.
I had no preparations in place for my Mom because she had no health problems at all. I thought she’d live alone until she was 100 like my great grandmother. I had no written wishes about where Mom wanted to live (aside from not wanting to live with her kids). I didn’t even know where to seek help though I live less than 3 miles from my county’s Department of Aging. I wanted the book to help other adult children prepare earlier for conversations with their parents about their wishes for long-term and end of life care.
They’ve also given me hope. The notes and emails from those who have heard me speak have kept me going even on the darkest days, like when my Mom didn’t remember me for the first time on my 55th birthday.
Though I’ve spoken to very large crowds, I’d much rather meet people in small groups where we can really talk and share our stories. The book has taken me to large cities, to small towns, and even to a few farms, because no matter who you are, or how much money you have, no one is immune from this disease. Alzheimer’s disease unites us all in this fight.