Growing Health Problems

To return to us in Andover: Gradually, it became necessary for me to do all the shopping, for Peg's arthritis made it hard for her to get into the car. As she continued to work in her shop, she began to become forgetful. It got to the point that she did not keep the usual records and as a result was sometimes confused as to which violin belonged to which customer. She was also finding it harder to do the delicate work involved. Gradually, she came to do less and less of it, and finally it got so she had to apologize to customers whose violins lay neglected or in one or two cases couldn't even be located. With some persuasion, she gave up the business.

Her forgetfulness increased, and if she was told something she might say, a half hour later when the subject came up again, "Nobody told me that." She began to complain that someone had stolen a number of her violins. We would try to persuade her that the violins were still there, or in some cases located elsewhere that we knew about, but she continued worrying about the stolen violins.

It was at this time that our family physician told me quite firmly that Peg had Alzheimer's disease. We had begun to have a young woman student come in and help, and eventually she was able to move into a spare bedroom. Though a full time student, she was able to help with some of the meals, with shopping, and other things such as laundry, the latter increasing because of Peg's losing control of her bladder. After a year or more, the woman left, feeling that she could not do all the things that constantly needed doing and keep up with her studies as well.

It became more and more difficult for Peg to navigate the stair lift which we had installed two or three years back. Her bedroom was upstairs, and although we pondered whether and how it could be moved downstairs, the possibility seemed practically limited. On one occasion we moved a movable bed down into the living room, much the same as when she had been recuperating from her operations. But she became extremely upset and also delusional. We were unable to get her to understand that it was because of her difficulty with the stair lift. So we had to return to the difficult process of getting her upstairs and in bed. We were still able to find another young woman to live in and help, but it gradually got to place a great strain on my ability to maintain the house and grounds, mow lawns or plow out driveways, do shopping, cooking, laundering, and take care of Peg physically.

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