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My Grandma Has Alzheimer’s

This year she will be 94 years old. She is in great health, albeit a bit thin. Amy Scroggins is the matriarch of our family. She is the only surviving child of her parent’s 11 children. She raised nine children (seven boys) with my Grandfather in southern Maryland, outliving him and two of their children. She was an avid reader and seamstress and the disciplinarian. She is the great grandmother of 14. And she has Alzheimer’s Disease.

My Grandma and my son last fall.

She was diagnosed in 2020 at the height of the pandemic and shortly after unexpectedly losing a son and granddaughter. There was a rash of erratic behavior then, but then it vanished.

There are moments when her mind slips and she is in another time, detailing the one-room school house that she attended. Or she is telling me that she had a good day except for the spanking that she got… then her mind shifts and she is quiet, trying to reconcile it all.

Grandma and Granddaddy at an event.

My mother and her siblings have a rotating schedule. They stay with her a week at a time so that she can be in her home. It has been rough on them, seeing their mother slip away. Having to help her with the basics as she once did with them. However, she remembers everyone and can walk, talk, eat, breathe and bathe on her own.

There are moments of regression, but they don’t last. Sometimes, she is far away and sad. She knows something is wrong but cannot understand or repair it. She repeats herself frequently in a conversation, but I just listen and agree as if it’s new information.

Grandma at age 20.

I love my Grandma. I am glad she can’t recall some things because she is a strong, proud woman and she would be frustrated and ashamed that she needs this level of assistance, especially from her children.

I know the disease can and will progress. Being so far away from her is my only regret for relocating. But thank goodness for technology.

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2022 in Family, Health, Reflection, women

 

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The Long Goodbye

As a member of the sandwich generation (those who may be or become a caregiver to children and parents), we have responsibilities that I never could have imagined. I have had five close friends lose their parents within the last three years and it is hard wrap my head around. One of those parents suffered from Alzheimer’s and I saw the toll it took on the family. It is important for us to pay attention to our aging parents and potential signs of this disease known as “the long goodbye.” The Alzheimer’s Association has prepared a checklist of top ten warning signs.

Know the 10 Signs

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life.
  2. Challenges in planning or solving problems.
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure.
  4. Confusion with time or place.
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.
  6. New problems with words in speaking or writing.
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.
  8. Decreased or poor judgment.
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities.
  10. Changes in mood and personality.

So this holiday season, especially those who do not see their parents/grandparents on a regular basis. Pay attention to subtle changes. Don’t get paranoid, but tune in if you’re not as much as you should be.

For resources and information, visit alz.org

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2013 in Family, Health, Reflection

 

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