Posts Tagged ‘Maplewodd care Center’

Alzheimer’s Disease – Like The Heart Of An Onion

Alzheimer’s Disease – Like The Heart Of An Onion

onionBy Lori La Bey found of Alzheimer’s Speaks

This is a story I wrote about a visit with my Mother with Alzheimer’s years ago.

She is now passed and I do miss her so.

mom pic in the heart of the onionI went to visit my Mother today at Maplewood Care Center, her nursing home.  It’s hard to believe she has been there since 2001, and that she asked to move into the nursing home.  Who would have thought?  Surely not me, Mom was always going to live with us. Nine years in the nursing home has been an incredible journey of friendship, love, and awakening.    Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined my Mother’s path would change my career and my way of life, but it did and I can’t thank her enough for what she has taught me through her illness.

mcdonalds hot fudge sundaeToday when I went to visit Mom it was just prior to supper time.  I decided to pick up a Hot Fudge Sundae from Mc Donald’s for her anyways.  She loves her Sundaes from McDonald’s chipped teeth and all.  As I scooped the ice cream with the black plastic spoon that came with the sundae, I was anticipating Mom’s smile once her lips felt the cold.  Instead, Mom’s lips popped open and closed around the spoon.  I gently pulled the spoon out from the lips that trapped it as the ice cream melted in her mouth.  My wrist soon turned to scoop another serving of hot fudge, and I saw Mom winkle her face like crisp dollar bill being scrunched in a powerful hand.   Today It was evident the cold was causing her pain, yet she wanted more.  I guess the fudge out weighted the pain, for today anyways.

After dessert was gone we went onto the main course.  Chow mien, peas and carrots, a whipped fruit salad, all per aide.  The baby food texture does nothing for my pallet, but it works well for Mom and she doesn’t seem to mine.  Who am I to complain anyways, especially when I know she can’t chew with her dilapidated teeth.  As I chatted with Mom and the staff I noticed one of my favorite people was missing from the dining room.

“Where’s  Lillian?” I asked.

“Oh she passed about two weeks ago.” One of the staff said in a soft compassionate voice.  My heart sunk to my toes.  I hadn’t seen Lillian in the past month between being out of town and visiting Mom later at night when she was in her room.  I felt horrible I hadn’t looked for Lillian when I was there.  My mind raced knowing there was no way of going back in time. I will miss Lillian, she made my heart smile.let_my_heart_smile_through_my_eyes_quoteLillian had befriended my Mother, watching and checking up on her throughout the years.  When I would come to visit Mom, Lillian would scurry over, grab my hand, look deep into my eyes, and share stories with me. Her soft loving smile positioned on her aged and wrinkled face was one of my favorite things to see.  Some days Lillian would sit and visit with Mom and me, other times she thought I was her daughter.  On these occasions she would grab my hand, lead me off to a private setting where we could sit next to each other holding hands and sharing stories uninterrupted.  Lillian’s crystal blue eyes could calm a tornado and her soft smile framed a strong and amazing woman who was a gift to know.  It was just in the last year Lillian started to fail physically losing her balance; needing a walker; which many times she would forget was hers.  Lillian was the elder, the wise one on the floor loving and caring for those around her until the day she died. If I’m not mistaken, she recently turned 104 years old.  I would have loved to have met her family, but it’s not likely now.  I will miss her beautiful crystal blues eyes, her soft fail hands that would reach for mine, and her compassionate voice like that of an angel.

Losing Lillian has made me realize, Mom could go any time.  Mentally, I’ve known this, but the loss of Lillian made the thought sink into every pour of my being.  One day, there may be no reason to go to the nursing home.  Mom will not be waiting for me.  She will not surprise me with subtle facial expressions, or a goofy comment, or a little giggle that lightens my spirit.  What in the world will I do when the time comes for Mom to pass?

I know many think I should be relieved as I am released from this “Caregiver Role.”  They view this journey I’ve been on with my Mother as a burden.  But truth be told, I will deeply miss her.  I will miss that shell of a body that is all many people see.  For me there is so much more to Mom than her shell.  I guess I see Alzheimer’s disease like peeling an onion.  There are many layers and like the heart of the onion the soul of a person is always in the middle and never dies first.

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The 12 Days of Christmas Care Partnering Song

To All Caregivers…

Happy Holidays

Below are the Lyrics to:

The 12 Days of Christmas Care Partnering Song©

of Lori La Bey of Alzheimer’s Speak Dec 2011


We encourage you to make you own version and send it to us.  Let’s see how many versions we can collect while raising awareness at the same time!


The 12 Days of Christmas Care Partnering Song©


On the 1st day of Christmas my Angel Gave to me

(And) a mind set to embrace change

On the 2nd day of Christmas the Angel Gave to me

Grace to let go

On the 3rd day of Christmas the Angel Gave to me

Coping skills

On the 4th day of Christmas the Angel Said to me

Look for the joy

On the 5th day of Christmas the Angel Gave to me

Great Insights

On the 6th day of Christmas the Angel Gave to me

Gratitude and love

On the 7th day of Christmas the Angle Said to me

Savor each moment

On the 8th day of Christmas the Angle Gave to me

Hope and compassion

On the 9th day of Christmas the Angel Said to me

Live to be playful

On the 10th day of Christmas the Angel Said to me

Self care is (cares) important

On the 11th day of Christmas the Angel Said to me

Perfect doesn’t matter

On the 12th day of Christmas the Angel Saw in me

My sanity is back!


The Care Partners Choir:

Deb Nygaard, Eric Olson, Barb Meyer, Charlie Meyerson Representing:

ACR Healthcare Group


Arthur’s white Pines Residential Care


ACR At Home Health Care


ACR Homes


J. Arthur’s Coffee Shop


J. Arthur’s Memory Café


Anita Jader Representing:

Anita Jader Photography


Christine Pulkrabek Representing:

Regions Hospital Foundation


Alzheimer’s Research Center


Health Partners Center for Dementia & Alzheimer’s Care


Minnesota Memory Project


J. Arthur’s Memory Café


 Danielle La Bey Representing:

Volunteers of America The Homestead


and Maplewood Care Center who will be opening a Memory Café in 2012


 Dr. Dale Anderson Representing:

Act Happy


Annie Anderson Representing:



 Greg Pederson Representing:

J. Arthur’s Memory Café


Judy McCabe Representing:

Realty Associates


Lori La Bey Representing:

Alzheimer’s Speaks Resource Website


Alzheimer’s Speaks Blog


Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio


Alzheimer’s Speaks Youtube


J. Arthur’s Memory Café


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