Many victims of dememtia

Published 9:12 am Friday, June 19, 2015

It’s always heart-breaking to watch as a family member sinks into the depths of dementia.

As much as you want to help them, you know there is absolutely nothing you can do. It does take a toll on the particular caregiver and immediate family members.

In the early stages, you sometimes feel like shaking them as hard as you can to try and help them snap out of it. But you know that would not help matters at all.

All you can do is tend to their needs as best as you can and hope tomorrow is a better day if at all possible.

My grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s. She knew everybody but my mother, who was the one who cared for her. My grandmother was lucid enough that she could carry on a normal conversation with anyone. But the strange thing was she always asked me was who that woman was my father brought into the home and what happened to June, my mother.

I’d try and explain over and over that my father didn’t bring home another woman. But she wouldn’t listen and insisted another woman was living there. My grandmother’s life was centered on church, and she attended whenever the doors were open. I often wondered how her mind made sense of what she thought was going on.

My grandmother passed away at 89, outliving my mother by 25 years. My mom took care of my grandmother, even when my mom was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. We all helped out, but a person suffering from a form of dementia is a full-time job. My mom had the best attitude about it through it all and never complained. I wonder how many people could do that.

Even during her three-year battle with cancer, I never heard my mom say a cross word or complain about her condition, and she still tried to do as much as she could. The chemo definitely took its toll and stole what strength she had.

There simply was not — and still is not — enough known about dementia. But various groups are starting to put on events in an attempt to bring awareness to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

The Memory Walkers host the Longest Day event on Saturday at the Washington Parish Fairgrounds in Franklinton. The purpose is to raise funds for research into the debilitating disease.

The Longest Day will include arts and crafts, live music, children’s games, Once Upon a Time children’s characters by Robyn, a 5K run at 8:30 a.m., and a car/bike show at 3 p.m. Vicksburg’s River City Hit Squad takes the stage for a free show at 6:30 p.m. I heard River City when they played in Franklinton before, and they put on a good show. I thought it was some really good music. Memory Walkers President Krieg Todd should be commended for his work in bringing awareness to Alzheimer’s.

Saturday is a good day for fun and relaxation, but finding a cure for the scourge of Alzheimer’s is the ultimate goal. Too many families have suffered from Alzheimer’s and its effects on loved ones.

Randy Hammons is a Daily News staff writer. He can be reached at 985-732-2565 or email at