When I first started taking care of my mother I was asked constantly, how long do you think you will doing this? I answered, a year or two.
By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room
After a year or two, I started answering another year, or two.
After a few years, I started answering until I can't do it effectively. Until I reach the point where I am doing more bad than good.
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Six and a half years later, someone just asked me how much longer? I answered one day at a time.
For years I asked myself, how long before Dotty won't know me? Many many times I thought, it won't be long. There were so many times when I thought Dotty was going over the edge that I can't remember all of them.
How much longer can a person that will be 94 years old in June last?
I do remember telling my friends when my mother was in her 70s that she was going to live to be a 100 years old. I believed it when I said it. Dotty is made of steel. Well most of her anyway.
Back then I read a book about aging. I can't lay my hands on it right now, it is in storage in New York. In the book it told the real story on aging. Not the insurance actuarial table version about how long you can expect to live if you are a man or a woman.
If you make it to 65 years old as a woman you can expect to live until you are about 84 years old.
What if you are a healthy 65 year old woman. Never smoked, never had a major operation, never had a major illness. About a third of you will live to be 100 years old.
The number of people over 85 years of age is expected to grow by about 38 percent in the future.
How long before Dotty ends up bed ridden? How long before she no longer knows me? How long before she can no longer eat?
The words "how long" take on a very different meaning for an Alzheimer's caregiver.
How long is usually a lot longer then you think when Alzheimer's strikes.
Just so you know, I believe I am going to live to be 120 years old. I really believe it. I'll be a lot smarter in the second half of my life then I was in the first half. By the time I reach 120 years old, I will have eaten more chocolate then any person that ever lived.
I hope they perfect the brain transplant along the way. I wonder if they will have Cialis for women?
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Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The ARR knowledge base contains more than 3,811 articles with more than 306,100 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.
Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room