Daughter opens up about caring for mother with dementia

Daughter opens up about caring for mother with dementia

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Dementia impacts millions of families every year and one South Georgia working daughter and her mother know the struggle all too well.

“I work, I’m a teacher, so I work from 7:30 to 3:30. I go over to take care of her in the afternoons when I get off and I have her all weekend long with me," said Shonda Bell, who helps take care of her mother Charlie Mae Cross.

Shonda Bell
Shonda Bell (Source: wlab)

Cross is 73 and was diagnosed with dementia in May of 2016.

Bell said some of the first signs of dementia came during a dispute over paying bills.

She remembers asking her mother, “Exactly what is it that he wants you to pay?"

“Just looked at me, like a blank stare, she couldn’t tell me. At one point I even saw in her car that she had 25 cans of cleaning spray. Things she’s telling me isn’t making any sense,” explained Bell. “The biggest challenge is I guess watching the person that you knew to be your mom just decline the way that she has been.”

Bell helps her mother with household chores, cooking and paying the bills. It’s a reversal of the mother and daughter roles that she is now getting use to.

“I depended on her to help me with things that a mom helps a child with and now the roles are reversed and that’s been really hard,” said Bell.

Bell said she still shows love and respect to her mother and said a part of the mother she knows is still there.

“Somedays she doesn’t seem to be all there, there are times when she is. She still feels things, she still feels things, so basically still show them love and respect” said Bell.

You can read about the signs of dementia by clicking here.

Copyright 2019 WALB. All rights reserved.