Ms. Kristy Aro had a close relationship with her mother, Joan. The two would speak several times a day, especially first thing in the morning and right before bedtime. When these calls started to dwindle, Ms. Aro knew something wasn’t right.
In January 2018, Joan had knee replacement surgery. After the surgery, she would drive to Ms. Aro’s brother’s house with Ms. Aro’s dad, Dave. Joan would knock on the door and say she was looking for her husband despite him being with her. She would also talk about speaking to her own father, who had passed away decades ago.
Shortly thereafter, Joan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease dementia. The hallucinations and delusions became more frequent, to the point that Ms. Aro and her father weren’t sure if some of these things were real, such as Joan having a boyfriend and a husband. Joan would discuss conversations she had with people who had passed away several years ago. She would also set the table for several people, stating that “other people who lived with her” needed to eat as well, when it was just her and Ms. Aro’s dad.
Ms. Aro and her father discussed the hallucinations and delusions with Joan’s primary care physician and neurologist. Ms. Aro’s goal is to raise awareness about symptoms of psychosis associated with Alzheimer’s disease dementia and offer support for caregivers like herself.