Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Alzheimer's Awareness Month-thinking of my momma

September is Alzheimer's awareness month.  This is something very personal to me.  My Momma is 69 and has severe dementia (Alzheimer's is a form of dementia).  When she was in her late 50's she started having symptoms-not remembering recipes that she'd made for years, forgetting her way home from my house, etc.  At first, I refused to accept it.  I just thought there had to be something else wrong that we could fix.  My dad took her from doctor to doctor, sometimes travelling hours to an appointment.  They all came to the same conclusion-dementia.

Things have progressed quicker than we would have ever expected.  Just to give you a glimpse, now she requires 24 hour supervision.  She can't bathe herself or dress herself.  She's totally incontinent.  She walks and walks until she is totally exhausted then starts leaning and will eventually fall if not caught when she goes to sleep.  To get her to eat, you have to keep one foot on her chair to hold her still.  

This is not my Momma.  She always had her hair fixed and her nails done.  Her clothes were ironed and neat.  Her house was spotless!  She was always welcoming and always had home-cooked meals on the stove.  The 2 of us talked on the phone multiple times a day.  Every Saturday we went shopping together.  

Dementia is awful.  I've lost my Momma, yet she's still here and I have to see her all of the time. I'd like to think she still knows me.  There seems to be a glimmer of recognition in her eyes when she sees me.  She never says my name, yet she will hug me back when I hug her.  

A few years ago, I felt this was more I could handle.  Then I was reminded of 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  That's when I reevaluated.  What a blessing to still have my Momma, despite her condition.  I just needed to love her where she is and help in whatever way I can.

My girls and I go over weekly to clean for my dad.  He doesn't ask us too, it's just a way I feel I can help.    As I said before, Momma liked a clean house.  This is a way I feel I can honor her.  I scrub and bleach and sweep.  My girls help without complaining.  We hug on her as she walks by.  We bake for her (to try to help her gain weight) and pick flowers to place on the table because I think she might enjoy their beauty.  

Just recently my dad was shown a fidget quilt or busy quilt and he asked me if I could make one for Momma.  Of course I could!  I love to sew and I would do anything that might help her.  The whole idea with this is to give her something to keep her hands busy.  I had everything I needed to make it right here in my home.  I used bright colors, because they are her favorites.  

First of all, I included some sentimental items.  My Granny (who I adored) loved to make yoyo's.  I thought maybe these would jog Momma's memory a bit and maybe give her a happy feeling.   The chenille would add another texture that would maybe stimulate her.  

After much research on Pinterest, I added several other squares that I thought might stimulate her and help with all of her nervous energy. 

I sewed a pocket with some keys.  This was actually the first thing she went for!

Then I knew she must have beads.  Momma loved jewelry.  This is actually the second thing she played with.  

I also included some lacing.  Being sure to sew the laces down securely so they wouldn't get lost.  

Last was a book that shuts with velcro and a zipper (off to the left).  Not pictured is a square with lace to move around, 2 satin hearts with ribbon tails to add even more texture and a bath pouf!  Just because it was pretty and feels good.  
I quilted around each square then added stippling on the boarder.  This was an act of love for me and also therapy.  I'm so hoping  Momma will get pleasure from this little quilt.  On the other hand, it helped me feel proactive with this awful disease.  I've felt so helpless, yet now this may bring a bit of happiness.  

This walk with dementia has taught me how to love my momma where she is (and others where they are).  Also to find joy in the moment and never, ever take anything for granted.  I'm so thankful for my momma.  I know too that God has allowed me to go through this for a reason.  It's a growing time.  



  1. Oh my goodness, Tammy! That's not only a labor of love, but truly a work- of-art.