Family Medical History
This #ALSIceBucketChallenge has been going viral. ALS stands for Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis, or has been known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.” So why is this blog titled with Alzheimer’s. It is personal. I do not have a family member with the ALS disease, but I did have a very close grandmother who passed away with Alzheimer’s.
When we have family members with a tragic disease, we may take the time to learn about it. When we do not know anyone with ALS, we are less likely to learn about it and prepare ourselves or other family members who may get this disease. This is the point and what I have learned from the #IceBucketChallenge and #ALS.
At first, I thought all these people on social media were just being funny by having buckets of ice water dumped on their heads. Then so many people did it, and my husband got nominated to do it, so it encouraged you to learn more about what this disease was about. On any other regular day, I would never had just picked up information at a library, or even if I was handed a pamphlet, I never would have read it and learned. The Ice Bucket Challenge is different. It captures and demands your attention to learn. I learned a lot about what ALS is. It made me wonder about anyone in our family who had it in the past.
Write down your Family Medical History
So I called my parents, and asked them time capsule type questions, to find out more about our medical background. This is important to do for you and your family. I challenge you to write down all of your family’s past medical history, so you have it for the future. Educate yourself. Pass it on to future generations. Education is priceless. We as a company, wanted you to get to know us a little more and learn some of our passions as owners of The Original Time Capsule Company, so I wrote this blog and my husband and I educated ourselves, then Mark (my husband) did the very, very, cold ALS challenge.
Awareness is what this challenge is all about. Help spread the word, long after the challenge is over and social media dies down. The disease lives on, just because the social media about it does not. Even if no one in your family has ALS, you may know someone else who has it. Or, you may have a family member who has struggled with another similar disease, like Alzheimer’s, like me.
So What is the #ALSIceBucketChallenge all About?
What is it all about? Some people complain that they keep seeing these crazy people dumping a bucket of ice water on their heads all over social media. It is taking up space on a lot of social media pages. Some people complain that they can’t even mow their lawn, so why are people wasting the water on their heads? Others are questioning whether or not this really cures ALS. You know there are many different views on this advertising means for raising money for the ALS research.
Coming from someone who was very close to her grandmother who had Alzheimer’s, I for one do not have any problem with people doing whatever it takes to help bring attention to a terrible disease. If you live with someone with ALS or know someone with any other debilitating disease, you may understand. Sadly, sometimes it takes celebrities to help motivate people to care more and learn more about such diseases like this in the world.
How to Help Alzheimer’s Patients Remember
My parents always taught me to practice empathy. Practice walking a mile in another person’s shoes. I am sure this is what influenced me to pursue my psychology and social work degrees. This is what taught me to educate myself about ALS too, and learn how it applies to my family, if at all.
She could not remember our names when we walked in the room, or she confused us with some other cousin. It was all I could do to not cry and wonder what was going on in her mind. It was heart retching to say the least.
My Grandmother’s Alzheimer’s Story (by the way, she also had Parkinson’s Disease)
• She struggled with easy things she one did on a daily basis
• She dropped her food on her fork, more times than she had the energy to put it in her mouth, from her hand shaking so much.
• Many times she would have a major change in personality, from dramatic mood shifts. Later throughout the years, she would just sit in a recliner with the tv on, but I do not think she was watching at all. She never changed the channel. She just kept looking forward, like she was looking in space. She did not seem to have much of a life at all. It was hard to connect with her, especially in her later stages of Alzheimer’s. You can’t tell, but I am misspelling so many words right now as I am having a hard time typing up these memories of her. I miss her dearly.
• Daily, my aunt helped her get dressed, brush her teeth, take her to doctors, hair cut appointments, etc.
• She made some of the best Texas recipes in your younger days, but as she struggled with Alzheimer’s, she lost her memory of the steps of how to cook her good southern ham, beans, and cornbread.
Tips to help Alzheimer’s Patients Remember
It was difficult to see my grandmother like this, however we as a family worked hard to help her remember as much great memories of her life, as possible before she moved into the later stages of ALS. We were willing to try anything to help, like photo albums, music, favorite recipes, etc. We wanted our old grandma back.
This is why we do what we do as a company. We sell decorative Baby and Wedding Time Capsules. We as a family were trying to use reminiscence therapy with my grandmother to help her ALS. We put together a memory album or life story book to help her remember people, places, and past events in her life. It actually did help her some to a point, and we all had a few laughs and shed some tears as we each expanded on the memories.
We encouraged my grandmother to talk about the photos she saw, hoping it would exercise her memory bank. We pulled out old heirloom items in her house. We played games that she played in the past. We cooked her favorite holiday meals and ate together, and sometimes she looked at us with a big smile as if to remember or recognize some of us. It was warming to our hearts.
This is what a family does. A family passes on traditions, helps each other out, and keeps memories alive, especially for those who are losing them the most. This is what we want to do as a company too. We want you to, remember to educate yourselves about ALS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or any other debilitating disease that may run in your family, or just to learn about to pass on potentially life-saving information to friends too. It is never to late, and you are never to old, to learn. Be a family and help each other out, by making a donation yourselves to the ALS research at http://www.alsa.org/donate.
We want to help your family become closer, educate themselves (with your family medical history written out and passed on in your time capsule, and reminisce over the nostalgic items and sentimental photos preserved for years. This is also why we want to support the cause of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, by doing it ourselves with one of our decorative Baby Time Capsules as the bucket.
So my husband and I wanted to help contribute to the ruckus on social media and add to the numbers drawing attention to ALS disease. My husband accepted the challenge from his own sister, on behalf of our company. My husband and I have worked with teenagers since we were in youth group ourselves. I have always been close to my family. I have worked with young adults and children for years in my past counseling private practice job. We have both met different people, working together in the real estate world for years. People are important to us. People matter. That is why this cause matters even more to us as a company, because it affects people. I do not want anyone to go through the same problems my grandmother, or anyone with ALS struggled with, if research can help.
On a funny note, watch our video of the ALS #IceBucketChallenge. Using the Baby Time Capsule as the bucket, this gives new meaning to “my water broke.” Ha Ha.
What could you do to help those with ALS? Comment below.
Making Milestone Moments Count,
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