I am dedicating this website to my wonderful mother, Leah Wheat. Noone loved me or cared for me like my mom. She was and always will be the greatest positive influence in my life. I was her only daughter. We were "best" friends. This photograph of my mom is my favorite because it shows her bright eyes and her beautiful smile, which were always there until her death. My mother had Alzheimer's disease. I took care of her in my home during the last four years of her life as she took care of my grandmother, her mother-in-law, until her death.
Although my mom lost most of her memory and the ability to care for herself, she maintained her sense of humor and quick wit, her feisty and independent spirit, and her determination and concern for others until the end. She also never forgot who I was, and her eyes and facial expression told me she loved me with all of her heart.
My mother was a hard worker. She taught me to strive for excellence and passed on to me an enduring work ethic. I remember her picking cotton, milking cows and picking up pecans in the coldest weather. Mom was a wonderful cook, a Sunday school teacher, a PTA president, a school bus driver, a seamstress, a hunter's assistant meaning my father killed and caught and my mother cleaned, skinned, scaled and cooked. Mom was a gardner planting, hoeing, gathering, preparing, canning and freezing. She loved animals, especially cats. She named every animal on our farm - John and Kate, our mules; Dolly, our cow. Mom was an excellent swimmer who loved to float. She liked to sing and hum and listen to music, especially hymns. My mother had an unwavering faith in God that sustained her through the many difficult times in her life.
Thank you mother for all the things you did for me throughout my life. You gave me joy, wise advice and unconditional, unwavering love. I am so grateful to God for allowing me the privilege and the honor of taking care of you as you took such good care of me. The greatest gift that you gave to me was your example of making the best of every situation, regardless. You definitely were tested throughout your life. Against all odds, you prevailed. You were a courageous, graceous and strong Southern lady. You are my mom and my "best" friend.
Please, let me leave you with this very fond memory of Leah. One day, not long before she died, I ask my mom, "How do you spell happy?" She answered, "M E, me!"
Life is precious and short regardless of how long we live.
My mother's message to you would be,
"Love, be kind to each other, and be Happy!"
Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually even the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older people. Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning—thinking, remembering, and reasoning—to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities. Estimates vary, but experts suggest that as many as 5.1 million Americans may have Alzheimer’s.
Although Alzheimer's disease is irreversible, the care your loved one receives determines their quality of life. Loving and patient consistency is the key meaning a closely adhered to schedule of bathing (every day showering, if possible), eating healthy food at the same times every day, getting up and going to bed at the same time every day, sunshine as often as possible, fresh clean ironed sheets, flowers, music, laughter, lots of hugs and kisses and touching, talking about any and everything and listening regardless of whether the words of your loved one make sense. One of the most important factors in my mother's quality of life was that she took no medication. This may not be best for your loved one. But, it worked wonders for my mom.
You may not be able to do all of the aforementioned, but you always can treat your loved one with loving dignity, kindness and respect. They know! My mom knew. All experiences in life are lined with blessings, regardless - that is, if we look for them.