Here's what the Alzheimer's Association says about this warning sign: Confusion with time or place
One of the signs of my parents developing Alzheimer's that I didn't take into account was their growing difficulty with keeping appointments. Mom and Dad weren't really social people and never went to the doctors, so there weren't a lot of things to keep track of in their daily lives. Maybe it's more obvious in a family who have lots of doctors appointments, family gatherings, social activities, etc.
What I did begin to notice first over the years was their getting ready to go somewhere really early. I mean REALLY early. When I'd visit and they would pick me up at the airport, I'd discover that they had been in the lobby for well over an hour waiting for my plane to arrive on time. When it came time to take me back to the airport, they were taking me earlier and earlier so that I had up to a couple hours wait for my flight.
At the time, I took it as them being either excited to see me (yeah!) or excited to get rid of me (not so yeah!). However, looking back and talking with friends, there was a pattern of them being out of whack with the day and time.
|Wish I'd had one of these for Mom and Dad!|
In their later years, they developed a habit of attending church services on Sundays. Mom enjoyed the fellowship and I think Dad found it comforting to some degree. In the year or so prior to the "big Alzheimer's reveal", I'd be talking with them on the phone and ask about church and there would be some funny story about them getting ready and going on a wrong day of the week, or if it was on a Sunday that I spoke with them, Mom would say, "Oh gosh, is it really Sunday already? Well, I guess we missed it."
Birthdays rolled around without notice. For the final two years they lived alone, I sent them handmade calendars for their wall noting all family birthdays. The first calendar I sent, when I visited them I could see them crossing out the days as they passed. Then, in subsequent visits, the crossing out stopped and finally, the calendar would be a month or two off.
SO, WHAT IF YOU NOTICE THESE THINGS IN YOUR LOVED ONES?
Look for the warning signs. Don't be overeager to find things wrong - we can all suffer from confusion and lapses of memory, but be honest with yourself and your parent if you see any of the signs. You'll be a step ahead of the disease if you do and not just waiting to be bowled over by it like we were.