“Voices of Alzheimer’s Caregivers” is a series of experiences and stories of caregivers who could be professionals or family members collected by Oman Observer in coordination with Oman Alzheimer’s Society as the world marks Alzheimer’s Month. Al Sayyid Al Arqam bin Seif Al Busaidi looked on helplessly as he could not find a way to reassure and console his mother as she went through memory lapses.
We helped grandmother look for it and there it was inside the wall drop. It seems grandmother left it there and did not remember where it was.
But she refused this explanation, saying the housemaid might have returned it while insisting the housemaid should go back to her country.
The series of events that followed resulted in grandmom moving into our house. She was not pleased but, father said it is impossible that she lives alone, miles away from us. Grandmother moved into our house in Muscat, and although she had her own room and was always surrounded by grandchildren, she did not appear happy. She did not talk much, and when she did, she would repeat herself asking the same questions and telling the same stories.
She also became anxious when father and mother wanted to go out shopping or visiting others. She believed she would be left alone and that they will not come home again. When they offer to take her, she did not agree and worried they would leave her somewhere. We tried to reassure her, but nothing worked.
We also noticed she became more forgetful and confused, repeatedly asking when it was time to pray and sometimes she was praying in the wrong direction. We were very concerned, and father talked about taking her to see a doctor. But she refused again worrying she will not be allowed back in our house. Her self-care became affected. She would wear the same clothes after showering and did not know how to comb her hair.
We tried to help, but she was very embarrassed and appeared tearful at times. Her eating became less and less, and she would wake up very early in the morning around 3:00 am and ask for breakfast and became very irritable when no one answers her.
Eventually, my father managed to convince her to see a doctor who did some tests and told us she had Alzheimer’s disease. We were shocked. I had read about Alzheimer’s and how there is no cure and that people do crazy things and stop looking after themselves.
I felt sad for grandmother that she is no longer the loving and caring person we all loved. We did not know what to tell her when she asked about the doctor’s diagnosis. She argued that there might be something wrong with the doctor’s diagnosis. She couldn’t accept it. After all, how do you tell someone that they will be losing all their memories and eventually not recognise even their loved ones?