On a sunny spring day in May of last year those near and dear to my mom, Molly Gray, came together at the Chateau Marmont Hotel to celebrate her life and legacy. It was an informal gathering on the lawn where anyone who wanted to share a memory could take the mic and pay tribute to a life so brilliantly lived.
We were pleasantly surprised by the arrival of a guest that no one knew; a stranger to us, but not to Molly. David was striking: 6'4", his hair pulled back, wearing a black suit with no shirt. Awesome! I chatted with him before we began and learned that he helped care for someone else at the memory care community where mom lived and had met her there less than a year ago. What he told me, and later shared with everyone, was that he had been introduced to Molly in a unique way: one afternoon she was aggravated that he was in her way and punched him in the back! But more poignantly, he told us that she was so helpful, thoughtful, and caring of the other residents that he thought at first that she was one of the caregiving staff. Hearing this was a great gift to our family because over the last year of her life she became very confused and agitated when we visited, so we rarely got to see much of the real Molly we knew and loved. David told us that he almost didn't come because he hadn't known mom very long and didn't know our family. But, as he beautifully put it, "she was a person you didn't need to know long to feel like an old friend". Without knowing it at the time he had become a member of Molly's clan.
Having a loved one with Alzheimer's taught me a lot about the value of memories, and their fleeting nature. We're building The Memory Kit to bring people together in an entirely new way, so that the richest possible remembrance of a lifetime can be captured. So many people have memories to share, and we know you'll want to hear them all; from your family and friends, co-workers and colleagues, and, yes, maybe even a stranger or two. #yourmemoriesmatter
I created this graphic to illustrate what all too often happens to primary caregivers as their loved one's disease progresses. As the stresses increase, your social connections drop off, to the point where you are almost completely isolated. With no support system to help you cope, the stresses start to take their toll, both physically and emotionally. Taking steps to maintain connections is vital to your health, and your ability to care for the one you love. Have you experienced this, or are you going through it now? What are you doing to keep yourself healthy?
Care card Blog
If you have a loved one receiving long term care The Care Card can help ensure that their needs and preferences are always met.