Monday, November 23, 2009

National Alzheimer's Disease Month

National Alzheimer's Disease Month is celebrated from November 1-30 to increase awareness of Alzheimer's disease and what is being done to advance research and help patients, their families and their caregivers.
-The Teacher's Calendar, 2008-2009

I'm sitting here, typing up this post, nearly in tears. Alzheimer's disease hits home here... my mother and I have been tirelessly caring for my 83-year old grandmother who is suffering from the disease. From a caregiver's standpoint, it's painful to watch. As a grandchild, it's emotionally exhausting. Past circumstances beyond my control led me to living nearly 1/4 of my life without contact with her. As she's suffering today and unable to communicate effectively, I so wish I had the coping mechanisms available to me that are provided in both of the following reviews - some way to hold on to past memories to make sure they will live on for generations to come. However, that isn't the case for me... I'm not that fortunate. Take it for what it's worth, make the time to be sure your children are fortunate enough to be graced with these memories by hanging on to them in any way possible! Prepare yourselves (and your child(ren)) for the time when their grandparent's are no long able to share those memories!

Altman, Linda Jacobs.
Singing with Momma Lou.
Lee & Low Books.

Summary from Barnes & Noble:

Nine-year-old Tamika Jordan dreads visiting her grandmother at the nursing home. Momma Lou has Alzheimer's and always forgets who Tamika is. But when Tamika's father shows her Momma Lou's scrapbooks, the young girl gets the idea of jogging Momma Lou's memory. During each visit, she shows her grandmother memorabilia from the scrapbook: Momma Lou dressing Tamika like an angel for a Christmas pageant, marching in a civil rights demonstration, and singing "We Shall Overcome" with other jailed protesters. One day Momma Lou recognizes a newspaper clipping and leads everybody in a celebration of song.

This book is perfect for encouraging children to share memories with loved ones suffering from Alzheimer's Disease or Dementia. While little Tamika is discouraged that her grandmother doesn't remember, she quickly realizes that with a little creativity on her own part, she will be able to help her grandmother momentarily bring back some memories of their shared times. This is a very moving story and will certainly help children cope with an Alzheimer's diagnosis in their family.

Bahr, Mary.
The Memory Box.
Albert Whitman & Company.

Summary from Barnes & Noble:

Zach is excited---three weeks of fishing Gramp's lake and eating Gram's cooking. Their first day together is so good, Gramps calls it a 'Memory Box' day. But Zach isn't prepared for the story about the memory box. It's a box to save the memories forever; and it's especially for Gramps because he has Alzheimer's disease. The three of them spend their days together filling the box, with new memories and old. And all three support each other, building strength to handle whatever comes.

As young Zach comes to terms with discovering his Grandfather's Alzheimer's disease, a simple "memory box" helps him cope. I think the entire concept of a memory box is extremely important and I can only wish now that I had had the opportunity to do such a project, to ensure that the memories will last for generations to come. I didn't have this opportunity though, and for those of you who still have the chance - take it from me, you never know where life is going to lead you. Get a box (it doesn't have to be anything special) and alongside your children and parents, create a memory box of your own, so that if the day does come when you family is facing dealing with Alzheimer's disease, you're prepared and don't feel cheated out of forgotten memories.

If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to


style='clear: both;' Debbie said...

Thank you for this insightful post. We are preparing to spend Thanksgiving with my Uncle and his family. My Uncle has Early onset Alzheimers so we try to spend as much time as we can with him.

My grandmother, his mom also suffered from Alzheimers and I still remember the pain I seen in her eyes when she could no longer remember who I was.