My grandma, Angelina, has a special place in my heart. She’s always been there to support, love and guide me ever since I was born. I love her very much.

7 years ago, my grandma, Angelina, started to show signs of Alzheimer’s. At first, I wasn’t too sure about what it was. I knew that it had something to do with memory issues and old age, but didn’t exactly know too much about it. I did my research about Alzheimer’s Disease to familiarize myself with symptoms, medications and other important details about this disease so that I can help my family in taking care of my grandma. From then on, I promised myself that I will be doing everything I can to help families who are taking care of loved ones with Alzheimer’s. I interviewed doctors and families to help me get a better understanding of Alzheimer’s Disease.

I visited my grandma last year during the holidays so I can spend time with her. Oh how I missed her! She still looks the same, pretty as always! She loves fixing her hair, dressing up and always excited to tell tons of stories about her childhood years! Oh and by the way, she is the best cook! She makes delicious meals and desserts, which I definitely miss.

“It’s so nice to see you, grandma! I missed you so much!” I told her as I hugged her really tight. She smiles at me and hugs me really tight too. “I miss you so much, Kate,” she says. “I haven’t seen you for a long time.”  It’s been three years since I last saw her, since I live really far away now (but I always make it a point to call her to check on her).

I noticed that she gained weight, (but not that much). According to my dad, who lives close by and sees her almost everyday, my grandma has been eating too much. She always tells my dad that the caregiver does not feed her on time, that’s why she’s always hungry. This is actually, not true, because the caregiver has been preparing her meals and snacks and she eats all of it. According to experts, weight change is pretty common in Alzheimer’s patients. This is due to the fact that they might have forgotten when they last ate, change in the type of food they crave, which gives them the tendency to snack on sweets or could also be due to boredom. When seniors are bored, they are inclined to snacking.

We walk to the living room so we can sit comfortably while we exchange stories. She asked me, “How are your daughters? Are they still mischievous?”  Then she starts laughing. She wanted to hear stories about my daughters, Alyssa, now 9 years old and Kiera 7 years old. She tells me that she loves listening to stories about my daughters as it reminds her of the times when she used to babysit me. After tons of laughter, giggling and reminiscing, we decided to go to the mall to walk around and grab lunch.

I accompanied her to her room so she can grab her bag and her jacket. I noticed that her room still looks the same, but this time with a lot more things around her dresser and bed. “Grandma,” I said, “You have a lot of things, maybe you should give away the things the you no longer use.” “No, I want to keep everything, because they all have sentimental value,” she says. 

On our way out, I see my dad, who was also in grandma’s house visiting her. So I told him that I will take grandma to the mall so we can walk around and have lunch. I also whispered to him that maybe, we should start getting rid of things that grandma does not use anymore.

“This is my niece, and she is visiting me” my grandmother tells her caregiver on our way out. The caregiver smiles at me as she knows I’m the granddaughter. I’ve been noticing lately that my grandma’s memory is really declining as she sometimes refers to me as her niece. It definitely makes me sad, but what makes my day is spending time with her and seeing her smile.