Dr. Mehmet Oz shared an emotional update about his mother's health in honor of Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month.
In September 2019, Oz announced that his mother Suna, 81, had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, which is an irreversible brain disorder that slowly erodes memory and thinking skills.
"I'm asked often how my mom is doing," Oz wrote, alongside a video that featured several family photos. "... I wanted to share an update. Although my mom recognizes me and can express her love, she's basically treading water. She's not getting better...but she's not getting worse either."
In the video, he added that Suna can "beautifully express her love to the people she's close to."
"We talk every day, and I remind her about items that I think are important for her to appreciate," Oz said. "But like so many caregivers, I recognize that my mom is not going to get better and be the mom I knew a couple years ago, but she's still my mom."
Oz also shared some words of support and advice for caregivers who are helping loved ones battle the degenerative disease.
"I have an important message for anyone whose loved one is fighting Alzheimer's," he said. "I've never been so overwhelmed and touched by the notes I've gotten as when I've talked about my mom's Alzheimer's. There's 16 million of us caregivers taking care of about 6 million Americans with Alzheimer's."
"One of the best tools I can share, and tips, is just build a team," he continued. "Get more people around you because you can't do it by yourself."
He also cautioned people to look out for warning signs. When Suna was first diagnosed, Oz said that he had been "overlooking" the signs that "were there all along," despite his familiarity with the disease.
"Recognize the warning signs early, like memory loss that disrupts daily life, change in judgment, difficulty completing familiar tasks, and then of course the overarching issue of being unaware that you have a problem," Oz said. "Those are the clues I wish I had personally acknowledged and been truthful about, even though I've talked about them on the show countless times. I want to remind you all of them."
Oz ended the video on an optimistic note, urging families and caretakers to have hope.
"When you do recognize (Alzheimer's) as an issue, get tested early and start the therapies as soon as you can," he said. "Have hope, because there are wonderful opportunities coming down the pike at us. I've seen some of these drug trials and I am very optimistic we will have treatments for Alzheimer's that work. In the meantime, you've got to take care of yourself so you can take care of your loved ones."