By JANE GROSS
In mid-January, Bob DeMarco, 61, left his 96-year-old mother’s side for the first time in eight years to go to a conference about Alzheimer’s disease just a few hours from the home they share in Delray Beach, Fla. He made elaborate plans for his time away, arranging for his mother, Dotty, who has advanced Alzheimer’s, to stay with nearby friends; getting his first cellphone lest there be an emergency; and bit by bit, day after day, “reminding” her of his coming departure.
In his popular blog the Alzheimer’s Reading Room, Mr. DeMarco rhetorically asked his 7,600 subscribers and 50,000 unique monthly users: “Can Dotty make it for two days without me? Can I make it for two days without her?” The answer to both questions is clearly “yes,’’ though my hunch is it was much harder for Mr. DeMarco, who called six times to check up on her; his mother showed flashes of anger at his return and then quickly settled back into the life that he has meticulously set up for them.