Knoxville woman talks about mother's Alzheimer's

Knoxville woman talks about mother's Alzheimer's

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By JILL MCNEAL
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Several families in East Tennessee who have been affected by an Alzheimer's diagnosis are speaking out about what they've been going through.

Mary Lou McLean, 88, is in the final stages of Alzheimer's.

"She sleeps a great deal of the time," said her daughter Leigh Loveday. "She's not eating very much at all. We still visit everyday. I do a lot of the talking."

Loveday said it's been a slow and steady decline since the diagnosis five years ago.

"At first it's just the forgetting and the not being able to find your way places," Loveday said. 

McLean stayed at her home in Atlanta for a few more years, as things got worse.

"One time she was at a restaurant with her caregiver and she's very strong-willed and so she decided to get a ride home because she didn't want to stay there any more and so she rode home with a stranger. I've never even told anybody that," Loveday said.

She moved her mother to the Courtyards assisted living facility in Knoxville last year. They were both there Tuesday afternoon when the news broke about Pat Summit's diagnosis.

"I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach because we're the same age and she's awesome," Loveday said. "You know there can't be anybody who's done better than she in terms of eating right, staying active, just being social."

Loveday has this advice for anyone facing dementia.

"Talk to as many people as you can. I'm not shy about seeking out information," she said.

She recommends people contact Alzheimer's Tennessee. The non-profit serves 26 counties with a helpline, support groups and adult day services.

Their phone number is 865-544-6288.

 

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