Alzheimer’s is a debilitating and devastating disease. Not only does it rob a person of their memories and their ability to do daily tasks and take care of themselves, it robs their loved ones of the person they once were.
When 77-year-old Setsuko Harmon was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease eight years ago, it was very difficult for her family. Her husband, Bob, became her full-time caretaker, a job that requires him to be with her 24/7.
The couple’s daughter, Christine Stone, knows how much of a toll taking care of her mother has been, so on the weekends she gives her dad a break and looks after her mom.
“Her short term memory is affected so she forgets she just ate and where the bathroom is which is really hard on Dad,” Christine said. “She can remember things that happened a long time ago but will ask the same question over and over. It is very sad, but she mostly has a positive attitude.”
When Christine found out she was pregnant she was excited to tell her mom the good news, but it also made her sad knowing that Setsuko wouldn’t remember it.
Instead of getting upset about it, though, Christine decided to make the best of the situation and surprise her mom with the good news every day.
She filmed her mom’s reactions each time she told her about the baby, and the video has since gone viral.
One of the sad things about dementia is that the sufferer often has to relive bad news, like the death of a loved one, on a daily basis. In this case, though, Setsuko gets to learn the exciting news that she is going to be a grandmother every day.
While it is still heartbreaking to watch her mother go through this, Christine is learning to find joy in the midst of hardship.
“I enjoy telling mom because every time she reacts like a kid at Christmas,” she said. “I can tell her I’m pregnant two minutes after I just told her and she is still surprised.”
She said she can’t wait to show her daughter the video when she grows up.
“My daughter will appreciate this video when she grows up and know my mom was excited for her arrival and was loved,” she said.
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