Jann Arden is getting candid about her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s and how she’s coping.
“I remember sitting at the kitchen table and I just felt sick,” the “Good Mother” singer says, opening up to ET Canada’s Sangita Patel. “I thought, ‘There’s something wrong’ and I had all these alarms going off. And I was scared that day. And to be honest I’ve been kind of scared ever since.”
Arden is detailing her family struggle in a new memoir, Feeding My Mother. In it, she reveals her mother, Joan, was given the diagnosis only two days after the death of Arden’s father.
“That whole thing is a blur to me. I remember leaving the hospital,” she says, recalling the emotional memory. “He died on mom’s birthday. And I’m thinking ,’Oh that’s so typical of you, because you don’t want us to forget you. You know, you want to make sure we know what day you left the planet.’ But you know my mom absolutely started deteriorating. It was almost immediate. Within hours. I think when people have been married close to 60 years, they have a dance they do.”
The loss of her partner started Arden’s mother to “fall apart” and led the singer to experience moments of caregiver’s guilt.
“She couldn’t be alone anymore. I couldn’t leave her alone in the house anymore. And I’m trying to work. I’m still on the road 200 plus days a year,” she says. “I was guilt-ridden of what to do and how to go forward but it’s… unfolding.”
Today, Arden’s mother is doing as well as can be and on days of clarity, reassures her daughter that not only is she okay, but that Arden, too, will be okay.
“There’s those moments where she rises to the surface for me and tells me that it’s okay. And that I’m going to be okay. That I can do this. And that, you know, she’s doing the best she can,” she says. Going through the experience of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s has given Arden a new perspective.
“I think I’ve learned more about humility, and tolerance, and understanding, and empathy,” she says, adding, “It’s taught me a lot. I’m a much better version of myself than I was two years ago.”