In 1998 my maternal grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I am an only child and both my mother and grandmother had passed away in 1993. My mother was also an only child, so that left me to care for my grandfather, who was alone, except for a few nephews and nieces.
I am 46 years old, female, and live in Alabama. My family, on my mother's side, is very scattered out and I'm not close to very many people on that side. I am also married and the mother of a son with Asperger's Syndrome, who was only two years old when my grandfather was diagnosed. Needless to say, I had a very full plate for a number of years.My grandfather lived by himself in a trailer on property owned by one of his nephews. He started showing signs of dementia several months before the diagnosis. He would forget something you said to him moments before, and started getting up in the middle of the night and wandering around the yard.
I lived about 15 miles away from him, so didn't see him on a daily basis at that point. Once the Alzheimer's diagnosis was made, it was evident that he needed more care than we could provide him ourselves. We had to make a definite and speedy decision after he got into his car one morning and was gone for 10 hours. He did come back, but we had no idea where he had been at that point. He said he went out to "look for a job". At that time, my grandfather was in his 80's and had been retired for 20 years. Something had to be done for his safety.