An older woman with Alzheimer’s looking out a window waving at a fire truck that drives by and has been decorated with happy signs and festive flags.

Honoring Mom During Alzheimer's And Brain Awareness Month

My Mom, Jewel, was a loving wife, mother, and grandmother. She was the heart of our family. Mom was an active volunteer for the Meals on Wheels Program who delivered meals to shut-in community members for over 25 years. She inspired my whole family to always find some way to give back to the community and to help others whenever we could.

I have so many good memories of helping my mom and her friend Ruth pick up both hot and cold meals from the church to deliver to their weekly list of people they visited. I got to help them during school vacations and it was heartwarming to see how happy the people were for the friendly visit as well as the meals they were delivering. Some days the weather would be bad; maybe pouring rain, a snowstorm, or high heat. But Mom would make the best of it and still get all the meals delivered to her community members. She taught us to keep trying during these difficult times.

The Longest Day

Sadly, we lost Mom to Alzheimer’s in the spring of 2019. To honor her and to keep her memory alive, I am fighting Alzheimer’s so one day, no one else has to lose a loved one to this disease as we did.

During Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month is when the Alzheimer’s Association holds one of their biggest events of the year. It is called The Longest Day and it is held on the summer solstice every year, which is June 20th this year (2020). On this day people from all around the world hold events and participate in activities to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s and to raise funds to help fight Alzheimer’s. People can find an activity they love to do, invite their family and friends to participate with them, and have a fun day together all while raising funds to help fight Alzheimer’s disease!

Our team is called Jewels Hope

We call our team Jewels Hope after my Mom, Jewel. Every year since we first started participating in this awesome event we have gathered our family and friends together to spread cheer throughout the nearby nursing home, where my mom recuperated after numerous hospital stays.

Prior to the big day, we have the children hand make cards for the residents, letting them know they are not forgotten. We also make cards on the computer and print them up for the residents to make sure everyone can have one when we visit. We also make cards for the nursing staff to thank them for all their hard work taking care of our precious loved ones. We pick a time to meet at the home and then all spread out to socialize and visit with as many residents as we can! We usually take our two dogs with us, they bring a big smile to many faces as they pet the dogs or they jump up on their bed to say hello! We play games like table bowling and sing some songs together!

This year we are unable to visit in-person with our favorite residents and staff. But we want to still show them that they are not forgotten on The Longest Day so we are making some fun changes! We will place the cards for the residents and staff in a big basket and leave them outside for the staff to distribute. We will bring the staff water bottles, coffees, and snacks in a big basket to thank them for working so hard to care for our loved ones during this very difficult time. Our town firemen will meet us in a firetruck and lead a train of cars around the front of their building and parking lot so we can wave to our friends inside! A lot has changed this year, but the love and support don’t end!

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