Adventures with
Mum and Aunty Norrie

My sister-in-law Helen is a very special caring lady. She tended to notice that Mum was not her usual self before the rest of the family recognized signs. I put Mum’s memory lapses down to her lifestyle at the time.

My brother, Graeme, is a very special person. He is generous and kind and sensitive. He has a great deal of difficulty dealing with and accepting Mum and Aunty Norrie’s different personalities since the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

I can’t say he is alone in this, but my sister Cathy and I know we have to get on with life and adjust accordingly as Mum and Norrie regress.

Graeme visited Norrie as he said he would. About 10 minutes into his visit, he left my sister-in-law, Helen, with Norrie and went outside the hospital and called me from his mobile.

His actual words were – and I’ll never forget them – “Pam, there’s something wrong with Aunty Norrie. She is talking funnily.”

I ask knowingly “Why, what is she saying?”

“Well for a start, she thinks that her hospital room is her new unit. That it is her new home and she’s pointing out her new bathroom and that the nurses are her neighbours.”

Graeme, welcome to the world of Aunty Norrie.

“Graeme,” I say, “that’s how Aunty Norrie is now. Cathy and I have been telling you for over a year the things that she believes and does.”

Poor Graeme was shocked and shattered. He had seen Aunty Norrie over the past year, but only in family situations, usually with Cathy or me looking after her and Mum. He had never really been alone with her or Mum long enough to discover the changes in their personalities.

Go to Adventure 16

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to Adventure 14

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