Friday, February 19th is National Caregivers Day and we are honoring the…
MARTHA NESSETH AND HER FAMILY FIND THEIR WAY THROUGH THE STRUGGLES OF MEMORY LOSS AND ARE FORTUNATELY FINDING RESPITE AT ALZHEIMER’S FAMILY CENTER.
By Mona Lee Nesseth
A Beautiful Woman Inside and Out
Let me introduce you to my mother, Martha Nesseth. She was born one of eight children in 1934 in Flagstaff, Arizona. As a young girl growing up in San Juan Capistrano, she loved to dance and sing in the church choir, memories she often shared with family. As a career cosmetologist, she became well known, highly respected and worked with celebrity clients in the entertainment industry in Toluca Lake near the studios. After 40 years of togetherness, she bravely helped her husband face the struggles of his long cancer battle. I suspect her dementia and Alzheimer’s may have been triggered by this in the following years and, little by little, I began to lose the mother I know.
My Mother and Dementia
Her doctor noticed her mental decline and recommended she move closer to me, forbade her to drive and asked me to take over the financial affairs as she became unable to even recognize denominations of currency. We moved her and her beloved companion dog into a condominium close by so we could assist.
Soon it became impossible for her to live alone, manage her medications or even care for her dog. My cousin Eleanor came to the rescue and visits my Mom every morning and evening, monitoring her care and well-being, so we can properly advocate on my Mom’s behalf. As the Alzheimer’s progressed, however, Mom became more and more impatient and demanding. She needed professional care and to be more active, stimulated and engaged.
Enrolling at Alzheimer’s Family Center
Lucky for us, my friend Joanna Richardson-Jones is the CEO of Alzheimer’s Family Center, which has become our saving grace. Joanna recommended that I not only bring Mom to the center several days a week but that I enroll in AFC classes myself to learn about the health, wellness and aspects related to our loved one’s journey living with Alzheimer’s. This center has made such a big difference in our lives as well as in so many others. During the AFC social worker’s home visit, it was determined that Mom required 24/7 care.
After visiting a dozen Memory Care Assisted Living Homes, we chose a conveniently located Senior Living community noted for a professional, pro-active and caring staff. Mom now attends Fun Fridays Day Care at the Alzheimer’s Family Center and as a result is doing so much better. It’s so reassuring to see her smile and laugh again and to be “Living in the Moment” and enjoying life.
Regardless of whether she can remember or acknowledge the recurrent moments of joy and happiness, they have a cumulative effect on her well-being and on the entire family.
Mom still recognizes us, but often doesn’t know who we are or our names. Sometimes she thinks I am her sister, her mother, even her dog and sometimes she is me! But watching her interact and engage in the mental, spiritual and physical stimulation at the Alzheimer’s Family Center is so heartwarming.
I have watched Mom’s physical well-being greatly improve as a direct result of the Center. Thank you, Alzheimer’s Family Center. You are beacons of light and hope guiding and supporting those of us in need and living with the heartaches of dementia and Alzheimer’s.