Monday Memories With My Mom

The Adventures of Caring for a Mom With Alzheimer's Disease
      As a quick follow up and update to last week's post, I am happy to say that the Oscar for Best Actress went to Julianne Moore for the movie "Still Alice".  I am happy that I can actually name a few things that have recently raised public awareness to Alzheimer's Disease.  One is the movie "Still Alice" and all of the buzz it brought on the talk show circuit when Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart and others did a press junket, two is the Oscar win, anther is Glen Campbell's recent Grammy win of the song he wrote before his Alzheimer's got worse which is "I'm Not Going to Miss You".  That song was nominated for an Oscar last night and performed by Tim McGraw since Glen Campbell is at a stage in the illness where he can no longer perform.  By the way, major tear jerker of a song, at least for me!!  I hope these videos from YouTube work.  One is performed by Glen Campbell and the other Tim McGraw.  I like them both...Glen Campbell because he wrote it and is singing this while struggling with the disease, Tim McGraw because...he's incredibly HOT!!!!

Video Credit Vevo via YouTube

Video Credit Talent Voice via YouTube

     One more recent thing was that Leeza Gibbons recently won Celebrity Apprentice where she earned a total of $390,000 for her charity Leeza's Care Connection which she started in honor of her mother. Hopefully, once Still Alice is released on DVD in the Spring there will be yet more awareness and discussion.  You have to understand that Alzheimer's is a very isolating disease that many don't want to talk about and for the most part the person struggling with the disease is literally unable to advocate for themselves.  So, I am pleased that some people who are able to bring public awareness are doing so.
     Moving on, those of you who follow me on Instagram may be aware that my kids were on Winter Break from school last week.  I took the three of them out to lunch at Panera one day and then we all headed over to visit with my mom.  She was seated near the nurse's station which is just off the elevator.  As there is no real place for five of us to visit without being in the way, the kids took Grandma down to the seating area near her room.  Grandma was pretty quiet, but seemed glad to see the kids.  Generally, I don't think it's the best idea for the whole family to visit at once as I think it's a bit overwhelming for her.  My mom was again pretty subdued.   I have not seen as much of her sense of humor in the last few visits as I would like.  Sadly, much like our Christmas visit, she was unable to recall any of my kids names, although when pressed she did think Kristin was Megan.  Close, but it does break my heart and you can see that the kids are not shocked, but a bit disappointed.  I am not completely convinced my mom still might have a day when she knows, but for the most part it saddens me to realize that even when prompted she was not able to come up with "Kristin Mary".  Kristin has her grandma's middle name and up until a couple of years ago my mom would tell anyone who would listen that her granddaughter was "Kristin Mary".  In fact, all of my kids have a part of my mom's name in their name.   So far, she always knows who I am.
     Not long after we arrived, the kids went to look for the resident cats.  They found out they are no longer there.  As of now, I am not sure what that means, whether they were moved to another floor or moved out of the building!?  Funny enough, in their search for the cats they came back to report there was a dog!!  Soon after, that cute Golden Retriever was heading our way and came to visit us and Grandma.  We learned his name was "Gunner" and he was very friendly.  I gave him lots of loving and so did the kids.  We have a Goldendoodle dog named Lucky, so we love dogs!!  My mom apparently has met Gunner several times before.  I asked her if she wanted to pet him and she said "when he settles down".  Ha!  Good luck with that!  With me and my three kids around we weren't exactly good for settling him down.  He wasn't jumping or anything, just happy to see us!!  My mom was also not thrilled when Gunner's wet nose rubbed against her hand!!  Clearly, grandma was not as interested in Gunner as we were.

     I got my mom "Muffin" from her room, and she was happy with that.  I noticed Gunner's owner was talking to the family of the new resident across from my mom's room.  I couldn't help but overhear them say that she had moved from the second floor to the third.  That is what my mom did.
     We also talked to the activities director, Linda, and she told us they were going to be doing some trivia for President's Day.  She and several others also thanked me for the Valentine's gifts I left for them the week before. 
     In the picture below, Grandma was trying to get Jacob to let her give him a kiss on the cheek!!!  I think because there were too many people around,  Jacob played hard to get and was teasing his Grandma!  He knows that once Grandma "gets him" she might not let go!

     I also managed a quick picture with the girls before we left.  I was glad to see an activity would soon be starting, and I noticed that the floor seems pretty active again with residents. 
     As a side note, I follow the Alzheimer's Association on Facebook and this past week they asked that people post a picture of their loved one to be posted in their "gallery" in honor of the Oscars and the movie "Still Alice" and using the hashtags "MyBrain" "Still_____", etc.  Well, since I had just seen the movie and posted about it last week, I figured  it was meant to be so I took part in that one.  The picture below is a glimpse of the gallery of pictures that has formed with hundreds or thousands of pictures.  I do love that part of social media that connects people like that.
     This week I will pay another visit to my mom and hope for warmer temperatures and days ahead where we can go back outside like we did on this lovely Fall day!!!


Kerri said...

Such a good picture of you and your mom! I was wondering if you had seen Celebrity Apprentice! I was so excited that Leeza won...she did such an amazing job telling her mom's story and raising awareness for alzheimers.
Sorry to hear your mom is struggling with the kids' names...can't imagine how that feels for you. Hugs!

Julia said...

You got some nice pictures of the kids with your mom. She does seem happy to have her picture taken with them.

It's so very sad that her memory is fading so rapidly and it's going to get harder to see further decline in her memory. It can happen to any of us.

I'm glad that some big names are starting to bring this terrible disease to light. Glen Campbell song is very touching. Such a great singer.

Kim said...

This isn't a particularly sad post so I'm not sure why it made me cry when I read it earlier. I think it was remembering the first time mom didn't know my name :(

yaya said...

I'm glad this disease is getting awareness and hopefully that will lead to more research and funding. Love all the pics of your kiddos with your Mom. This will continue to get harder for them as she progresses...prayers and hugs to your family and for your Mom.