Alzheimer’s Disease

Stories and Experiences

Welcome to a space where shared experiences create shared strength. This page is a mosaic of stories from caregivers like you, each narrating their unique journey with Alzheimer’s. From heartwarming moments to challenges bravely faced, these stories offer perspective, inspiration, and a sense of community. Dive into the experiences of others who walk the same path and find comfort, motivation, and understanding in their shared narratives.

We warmly invite you to share your story with us. Your experiences can inspire, enlighten, and comfort others in their caregiving journey.

Stories and Experiences

Dancing was the connection between generations…

A caregiver  tells a beautiful story of how dancing helped to form a connection between generations. 
My grandmother, Eloise was a ballet dancer when she was younger. I’ve seen pictures of her dancing; she was so beautiful! My parents passed away when I was in college, so I’ve always been very close to Granny. When she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, there was never any question that she would go anywhere but stay with me. I wasn’t however, thinking about the future. Shortly after Granny moved in with my husband and me, we found out I was pregnant. I was so excited, but also anxious about how I would handle a baby and Granny.

It was tough, but we got through it. Granny enjoyed spending time with my daughter Penny when she was a baby. I loved watching while Granny would hold and rock her to sleep. It seemed to help Granny as much as it did Penny.  

But when Penny got a bit older and became a toddler, the trouble started. Granny no longer enjoyed spending time with a very troublesome three-year-old.

As time went on, Granny continued to decline, and Penny continued to grow. By the time Penny was six, Granny was confined to a wheelchair, as she could no longer walk. Every once in a while, she would have a good day where you could understand her, but even then, when she talked, it was just one jumbled sentence repeated over and over.

Penny got one talent from her great grandmother, a love of dancing. She was always dancing or twirling around the house. When Penny turned seven, she was finally old enough to start dance classes at the local community center. I remember her practicing for her first recital. She was in the living room showing me her dance when Granny started humming and moving her arms in time to the music. Penny was startled but kept doing her dance steps in front of Granny. 

That was the most animated and happy I had seen my grandmother in years. She had a light in her eyes and a smile on her face. When the music stopped, Granny motioned for Penny to come to her. They held hands and hugged for the first time since Penny was a baby. I just sat there with tears streaming down my face. I was overcome because music and a love of ballet had connected the generations. Music can really do this for someone suffering from Alzheimer’s. I want people to know this. From that day on, dancing, and wheelchair dancing, was a part of our everyday routine.

A Colorful Change Stopped the Drama

One caregiver shared a story of taking care of a great aunt.

My great aunt, Victoria, never married and had children. When she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, my mother and I took turns helping her. At first, ‘Aunt Vicky’ was able to stay at home and either mom or I would check on her once a day. When things got worse, we would take turns with ‘Aunt Vicky’ spending three months with my mom, then three months with me and so on.
I remember the first time she was with me. After the first day, I thought I had made the biggest mistake of my life agreeing to share caregiving arrangements. Every time Vicky had to go to the bathroom, it was an ordeal; she would always say she couldn’t find it. I would walk her to the bathroom and she would still complain it wasn’t there. I thought she was just being stubborn because she was upset about the move from mom’s house to mine.
A couple of days later, it was one of her shower days. What an ordeal! She screamed I was trying to drown her and kept swinging her arms at me. I had helped her in the shower at mom’s before, with no problem, so I did not know why she was resisting. After a couple of scratches on my face from her swinging at me, I decided she could go without a bath that day.
We tried again a few days later with pretty much the same results. At least this time, I got no more scratches, but I still couldn’t get Aunt Vicky in the shower. I was so frustrated!
After church the following day, a friend asked me about the scratches on my face. I broke down crying, telling her about my problem with Aunt Vicky. My friend was so understanding. She comforted me while I stood there and sniffled in the parking lot. She told me that her mother-in-law had Alzheimer’s, so she knew what I was going through. Then she asked me questions about the bathroom. That made no sense to me, but I told her it was the new bathroom we had just remodelled for Vicky. She asked me if the bathroom was all white. I told her it was. She then told me about a similar screaming, scratching, flailing problem she had with her mother-in-law with Alzheimer’s and told me how she fixed the problem.
She explained that on the advice of the doctor she added some brightly colored non-slip strips to the floor of the bathroom, to the bottom of the shower and even to the side of the shower and walls. She told me that doing just that stopped all the shower problems she was having. She didn’t really explain why it helped, and to be honest, I really didn’t care why as long as it might work. She told me where she got the strips and I stopped to get some on my way home.
After putting on the new colored strips, I tried to get Aunt Vicky back in the shower, since it had now been a little over a week. I wasn’t really sure it would make a difference, but we had to try it. At first, Aunt Vicky was upset when I told her it was shower time. She didn’t want to go, but I told her to just come look at the “new” shower I had set up for her.
I couldn’t believe the difference it made. Vicky didn’t fight or scream. She even let me wash her hair with little fussing or complaining. I was so relieved, and so grateful to my friend for sharing her solution. The rest of Aunt Vicky’s first stay with me was so much easier!

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