A recent court case got us to thinking about aging and memory. As we get older, our memories start to slip. Sometimes it is just a matter of having too much to remember: The mind just sheds information that is, generally, not critical to everyday life. Important, yes -- "A new outlet mall is opening outside of Albany?" -- just not always critical.
Sometimes it is a matter of not having paid attention. We can't remember what we don't hear or see. Sometimes, too, it is a symptom of a more serious problem, a problem that could tear a family apart, a problem that invariably involves heartbreak and, sadly, expense.
We are talking about Alzheimer's disease. Most of us know that one of the primary effects of the disease is memory loss. What some of us may not realize is that the disease can also change the patient's personality.
A friend whose mother lived in a memory care facility the last 10 years of her life said his family tried to become as knowledgeable as possible about Alzheimer's when his mother was first diagnosed. He said, though, that nothing had prepared him for what he called "the angry phase." "Believe me," he told us, "she did not go gentle into that good night."
Alzheimer's takes a terrible toll on families. Our friend spent a decade dreading his visits with his mother. He had always thought he would look after her and his dad "if anything happened," the way they had looked after their parents.
It was more than his family could handle, though. He said the decision to move her to the care facility -- to trust his mother to the care of strangers for however long she had left -- was one of the most difficult he, his siblings and his father had ever had to make.
What about the lawsuit? Where does the liability come in? We'll explain more in our next post.
Source: Huffington Post, "Legal Liability for Injuries to a Caregiver Caused by an Alzheimer's Patient," Brad Reid