Alzheimer’s A Grandparents Biggest Fear

This post was written by Valerie on January 10, 2012
Posted Under: Grandma Quotes

Me with my little ones

So many children and so little time for them to get to know me. I come from the maternal side of my family where everyone, my mother, Grandmother, Aunt all had and died from Alzheimer’s. At 64, I am now at an age when my Mother was in full onset Alzheimer’s. My Mother’s disease presented itself slowly when she was around 58. I would call her and she would answer the phone and then say, “I will be right back.” and never did. I could not get through to her because her phone was still busy. I had to call the operator and have the line interrupted as I feared something may have happened to her.

Growing up I lived next door to my Aunt Jessie, my Grandmother’s sister. I absolutely loved my Aunt. She loved me. She had a large yard and it had many sheds, a green house, a guest house and it was all located near the San Diego Bay. It sounds lovely but the truth was the bay was long taken over from when my Aunt and Grandmother grew up in that house and it was located (at the time of my  exposure to it) in National City wh right in the heart of the barrio and the Navy took over the bay front. My Aunt Jessie did not “work” out but she sure worked hard and physically was always in the best shape.

About the time I was in my final year of Jr. High (National City Jr. High-which I created the mascot the King’s man Kat that is still used today). My mother and her new husband bought a house in Bay Park and I was allowed to finish out my last year with my Aunt. Years later when on a visit, I started noticing some of the signs my Aunt’s disease was in full bloom and she passed away when I was pregnant.

My sister in later years took care of my mother when she moved to Oregon. She would seem fine when I would visit but I recognized the same signals of the onset of Alzheimer’s that were similar to my Aunt and my Grandmother. My mother finally died nine days before what would have been her 80th birthday. My mother played tennis almost daily from her 30’s to her 60’s and played bridge.

So from my experience exercise both mentally and physically would not have changed the course for Aunt Jessie, my Grandmother Esther and my mother. All of these woman worked hard, were intelligent and smart and worked at keeping healthy.

I remember visiting my Grandmother and later my Grandfather in the same rest home as both of my Mother’s parents ended up having the same disease. On one visit to my Grandmother, I asked her if she knew who I was and she said, “Well, you aren’t Santa Claus!” We all laughed but I know I wished so hard and prayed that she would remember me but she didn’t.

My daughter and I went to visit my Mother in a beautiful home care setting in Oregon. My Mother looked so thin and small. She did not know us but later she said something to me that let me know she did know I was her Valerie. She did not remember my daughter only to say,”You are the runner in the sky.” Then she asked us both for a kiss. When we left we were so sad.

Alzheimer’s also ran in my first husband’s family. My father did not have Alzheimer’s so that gives me a 50/50 chance of not getting it.

But if I do get Alzheimer’s I want my children and grandchildren to know how mush they mean to me. I have written each one a letter and it is time to write another and I have that with my will.

Salk Institute in San Diego is working hard to find a cure for Alzheimer’s and a new drug that shows promise J147. But for now there is no cure.

So those of you who might get it or have it (note simple memory slip ups like, “Where did I put my glasses?”  is not a sign.) and be prepared and prepare your family.

I let my family know that they can just put me on a bus and waive bye bye and don’t have any regrets. Afterall–I don’t know those people. Tee-hee.

Seriously, check with your doctor and if confirmed let your family be aware of your diagnosis. It is the hardest thing I ever had to do was tell my mother when she called mad at my sister for saying that my mom had Alzheimer’s and for me to confirm that yes she did.

However, I get visits in my dreams where they are all fine and we have a great time and the dreams are so real when I wake up I have to remind myself that they are gone. In my dreams they don’t have Alzheimer’s but sometimes I say to them, “Hey, your are ok now and no Alzheimers!”.

So I tell my children that you may see me in  your dreams. But in the mean time I am still working my mind and exercising like crazy because I love my children and grand children too much for them not to know me and for me to loose those memories I cherish.


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