Memory Care Gift Ideas for Loved One with Alzheimer’s
Today’s blog post is going to steer away from my regular blog topic of being a bereaved mom to that of having a loved one with Alzheimer’s.
My paternal grandmother, the one that was an integral part of teaching me how to sew and be a crafty soul, who ended up with Alzheimer’s. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are three stages of Alzheimer’s; mild, moderate, and severe.
I remember the first signs of Alzheimer’s in my grandmother was when she would buy cat food thinking it was tuna fish for human consumption. About that same time, she began displaying unusual acts such as stealing silverware from restaurants and carrying them in her purse, and stealing pictures of unrelated people and saying they were pictures of her boyfriend. As you can imagine this caused some family turmoil and heartache. I remember watching her go ‘downhill’ quickly and feeling like I was watching a slow death happen right in front of me, or at least what I compare to slow death. You have to give me grace because I was a young and this happened in the mid-1990’s when there was no internet, not television commercials and definitely very little education.
When thou passest through the waters,
I will be with thee;
and through the rivers,
they shall not overflow thee:
when thou walkest through the fire,
thou shalt not be burned;
neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. ~ Isaiah 43:2
For a short while, she lived with my family until one day she decided she was “going home”. She proceeded to put on her winter coat and boots (it was 90 degree’s outside) and leave. Our house was on a very busy road that was connected to a major highway, needless to say, I followed her and carefully got her back to the house unharmed. It was at that time we knew there had to be some help, we just didn’t know where to look. I’m so thankful that there are memory care facilities that specialize in the hands-on care that those living with Alzheimer’s can live safely, other than nursing homes.
While my grandmother lived in the nursing home almost an hour away from our house, we would make a visit to her every week. During her few years there and as she progressively grew worse, we would make sure she had some items familiar to her. The moment she lost her ability to speak was the most traumatic for me, personally, because I knew that I would never be able to hear her voice again. I could see her smile, hold her hand, hug her and feed her and though those are all the ways we communicate, there was just something so heartbreaking knowing I would never hear her voice again.
We made sure to bring memory care gifts to my grandmother on a regular basis once we learned that other residents would walk off with her gifts. I believe that the memory care facilities that are available these days have a better system in place to be sure that each resident has the ability to keep their personal items within their own rooms.
Here are a few memory care gifts that we brought to her:
- Pictures – we made copies of pictures that she has in her house, being sure to keep the originals in a safe place. Scrapbooking was not popular or readily available as it is now, so a scrapbook would be perfect and more durable.
- Clothing – she loved the color mauve so we did what we could to find mauve colored clothing.
- Toys– she loved cats and we noticed how she perked up when we bought her a replicated a real cat. Oh, how she loved that toy!
Now that I provide memory care gift sewing services, I know how sentimental her favorite, handmade dresses and blouses mean. I do not have a way to get those pieces of clothing back, but if I could, I would have made memory bears for all of her grandchildren. I think that thing that drives me to create one of a kind memory bears for families is because
Stephanie Grams, Christian Blogger Mom on topics of lifestyle, bereavement, child loss and healing, and how to give gifts of encouragement during life’s storms. Stephanie is available for podcast and video interviews, public speaking, and guest blogging. Did you get your free pdf journal? It’s free when you join my newsletter! #mysewingneedle