As this disease progresses, Mom becomes the center of attention more and more often when we go out. Partly because she looks different now. She's very thin and cannot move quickly. And I find this sad. Just a few years ago she would have said, "I don't think that physically I act my age. I don't act old." But, mostly, people notice her because she speaks to random people about irrational things.
When she notices a group of people, or even an individual, she will frantically gesture to get their attention and then yell to them. "NO! Don't go that way! Come back here! NO!" Or, "There they are! Come here!" The last time she did this, I quietly suggested that she shouldn't yell at people. She then yelled at me, "Why not? They're getting away!" When I told her that we didn't even know them, several people in the area laughed. Yes, people notice Mom.
If it is a particularly embarrassing situation, I will smile and apologize for Mom's comments, sometimes explaining the reasons for her behavior. Some people give a pitying look. Some glare at me for being firm, or what they probably consider harsh. Some smile with understanding and mention someone they know who has the disease.
But, more frequently, when people find out that this is my mother, I receive the comment, "Well, at least you still have your mother." I express my genuine condolences for their loss. But, I have the need for them to recognize that I am grieving too! I lost my mother several years ago. Everyday, I am watching a disease decimate the person who used to be my mother. And when my mother is finally at peace and whole again, condolences will be too late.