Alzheimer'S Personal Essay

There was always a big Italian dinner with our cousins, all girls on both sides of the family.

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She couldn’t be alone, yet she wasn’t ready (our family wasn’t ready) to put her in a nursing home.

It took a while to find home aides who clicked with Grandma, so in between college and part-time jobs, each of the seven granddaughters took a day with Grandma.

Looking at photos of her as a girl can be haunting, as if I am staring at myself from decades past.

My grandmother no longer knows my name, but when she sees me on a good day, she smiles because she knows I belong to her. The van door stood wide open and the driver was waiting nearby.

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The driver had picked up my grandmother at the senior center she attends each weekday, as usual, but when the van arrived at her house she refused to get off.

The home care aide waiting for her couldn’t persuade her to come inside, either.

My grandmother Mary, 83, was getting agitated, and so were the other elderly passengers.

My grandmother is one of more than five million Americans who have Alzheimer’s disease.

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