My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease almost 3 years ago. Before coming to the UCLA CADC my family believed that there was nothing to be done to stop her deterioration. We watched our energetic mother become passive, no longer calling or initiating family activities. Instead of waking up at 7:00, my mother would sleep until 10:00. Once up, my mother refused to leave the house, content to watch television, something she had never done. She began to gain weight. In addition, my mother could not be trusted to take her medication.
I took my mother to UCLA almost a year after her initial diagnosis. The UCLA doctors immediately gave us hope. They told us about new medicines and explained the disease in simple terms so my mother and I could understand what was happening to her. She enrolled in a clinical trial at UCLA and has been a participant for the last 18 months. The doctor also added a medication to her prescribed regimen.
While I would love to tell you that the process has been reversed I cannot do that, however, during the last year my mom’s condition has remained fairly stable, there has not been a continuing deterioration of her physical or mental state. I am confident that the treatment and care she has received at UCLA has been responsible for this stable condition. Alzheimer’s robs a person of being the person that they are, their memory, their dignity. The toll it takes on the patient and the family is enormous, it is a disease that should have the same focus and effort to find a cure as heart disease or cancer.