It makes me laugh when she denies something happened, or doesn't believe us when we tell her. For instance, she'll eat a banana and then a few minutes later go to eat another, and we'll tell her she just had one and most times, if she's forgot, she'll say Noooooo. And it's funny - we ask, "why would we lie to you about eating a banana?! It's ok!" She and my grandpa are still living in their house for the time being. My dad and aunt make food trays (fresh) for them and do their laundry, but try to let them be on their own as much as they can - they've always been very a independent couple.
Sunday was my grandpa's 82nd birthday, so I went over to hang out with them. I brought groceries over (plenty of bananas) and a sugar-free pumpkin pie for the birthday cake. My grandma made the comment that we have to be sure to bring the bananas when they leave to go home. I asked her where she was now, and she said not home. I had her look out to the ocean and told her this was her home, and it had been her home since they moved in almost 50 years ago (their 60th wedding anniversary is next month!). She acted like she remembered, but I don't know for how long. I miss her. She's still here, and she's still happy, but it's so different.
Monday my grandpa called us at work to say he didn't know where my grandma was. He took a nap around 1pm, awoke about an hour later and she wasn't there. We figured she had gone for a walk on the beach, but nearly 3 hours had passed. We finally called the police, told her about her alzheimers and they sent a patrol out to find her. She was on the beach, about 3 miles south of home, just walking like normal. She had a plastic shovel for sand in her pocket, no doubt something she found on the beach and wanted to bring home so the 'kids' could play with it. They used to have nice families come down for the summers and she loved playing with their kids in the sand. Kids haven't been down for over 5 years now, they've all grown up or have changed vacation spots to somewhere more kid friendly. Anyway, the officer asked if she was Cecile, and she said yes, they brought her home. She said she was on her way back, but the officers said she was walking in the wrong direction. Of course she was friendly with the officers, inviting them to come stay with her at the beach. A few minutes later, she forgot she had been brought home. She said she walked home after a nice walk on the beach.
We've got to get some type of ID for her. The medical bracelets are big and bulky, and there's no question she'd take it off. I checked the local pharmacies, that's the only type they have. The local hospital isn't allowed to give out their ID wristbands, but we may have found some online. It's the plastic type that you can have info printed on and it's hard to take off.
I was glad to hear the President talk about funding research for Parkinson's and Alzheimer's in last night's address - 2 diseases that affect my grandparents. Every 70 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's disease, according to a report Tuesday from the Alzheimer's Association that estimates 5.1 million Americans over 65 now have the disease and says the number is creeping higher year after year, according to the Chicago Sun Times. Scientists are still trying to determine what causes it, but they do know it is characterized by a build-up of proteins in the brain. Scientists are still studying how plaques and tangles are related to Alzheimer’s disease. One theory is that they block nerve cells’ ability to communicate with each other, making it difficult for the cells to survive.
Evidence is also mounting for the promotion of exercise and a healthy diet to reduce Alzheimer’s risk. Avoiding tobacco, limiting alcohol consumption, staying socially active, and engaging in intellectually stimulating activities have also been shown to have a protective effect against Alzheimer’s disease.
Cherish every minute you have with your loved ones.