Alzheimer’s Disease is Unforgettable

This is a story about a wonderful 98 year old woman, who is my grandma. She’s in good physical health. She enjoys an active social life at her extended care facility. She helps staff when other residents need care. She loves making crafts and never passes up a good game of scrabble. She likes scrabble because she says it keeps the mind sharp. Unfortunately, when you play a game of scrabble with her, she says it keep her mind sharp over and over again. My grandma has Alzheimer’s disease.

Dementia started in her 80’s and worsened into Alzheimer’s disease. She loves to talk, but the conversation goes in circles. When I visit her, I tell her who I am and she sometimes remembers me, although, she doesn’t remember anything about my life from the past 15 years. She asks if I have kids. I tell her I do. I tell her their names and how old they are, then she asks me if I have kids, again, a couple minutes later. The truth is, I don’t bring my kids to see her. They find it uncomfortable that she doesn’t know them and that she asks many of the same questions over and over again.

The hardest conversation is when she asks why she is living there. It hurts to have to tell her over and over again that her husband died, and she can’t live alone because she has dementia. It saddens me because she still believes she is the sharp-minded woman she once was. When she realizes she’s not, it troubles her.  

To me, she will always be a smart, quick-witted woman who cared for a family of five, a home and a farm.  I will never forget her, even if she forgets me.

Alzheimer’s affects families, not just individuals. You might know someone, or be that someone down the road that suffers from Alzheimer’s. It will change your life and can affect your income and wellness. But one thing is for sure, when it affects you and your family – it’s unforgettable.

United Way supports agencies such as The Family Centre and 211 that offer family counseling and resource services to families affected by diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Thanks to these agencies, families are able to get the information and support they need to live with the unforgettable impact Alzheimer’s leaves on their lives.  For more information about the disease, itself, you can contact the Alzheimer’s Society at