Even in the End Stages of Alzheimer’s disease – Beautiful Surprises

Even in the End Stages of Alzheimer’s disease – Beautiful Surprises 

By Lori La Bey of Senior Lifestyle Trends

Yesterday I went to go visit my Mother.  It was around 4pm and she was having dinner in the dining room at the nursing home.  Mom wasn’t too talkative today so I just stood next to her and massaged her head.  Normally I would sit down and feed her, but she is almost done and staff was doing just fine getting her to eat.  Mom seemed content so there was no reason to change things around. 

The table where my Mother sits has a couple of my favorite residents.  I will not say their real names.  Betty, who is old and frail, is one I adore the most.  Betty is thin with grey hair.  Her skin is somewhat opaque and you can see her veins, skeletal, and muscular structure through it.  She has a comfortable padded wheel chair with a table top which sits over her lap like a high chair.  The table top I believe is so Betty can tap. She loves to tap in patterns.  Her hand is usually beating to the rhythm of her voice.  Betty speaks is repetitive phrases constantly.  Her eyes are crystal blue and make me want to melt when I look into them.  Betty always put a smile on my face.   

Jane is another sweet woman who usually has a baby in her arms as she motors around in her wheel chair by her feet.  She does not speak but yet her communication skills are strong through her non-verbal signs.  Jane has this innocent and inquisitive look on her face at most times.  Her smile too can make you melt.    Her eyes always connect directly with yours and there is this loving calmness that flows from her, and when she smiles.  I can’t even put into words how she makes me fees.  Some days it makes me want to cry.  In her smile she shares this pure joy which just beams from her presence.  It is awesome to say the least.

Both of these women are gifts to me when I go visit my Mother.  Today I saw something I’ve never seen my Mother do in the stage she is in now, her end stage of Alzheimer’s disease.  As I stood next to Mom rubbing her scalp and talking gently to her, she spoke out.  I don’t remember exactly what she said as it was so foreign for her to say this and the way she said it shocked me, but it went something like this,”  Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Dah, Dah, Dah, Dah, Yada, Yada, Yada, Yada,”  and then she smiled and giggled briefly. 

Mom was mimicking Betty.  She was looking directly at her and had been taking in everything Betty had been saying.  She was teasing her.  When my Mother stated these words in a rhythmic pattern, Betty lifted her head up and looked directly back at Mom.  There was silence for a moment as the two women connected.  The staff and I watched in amazement at this unusual interaction.  It was quite beautiful although brief it once again showed me the powers that lie within each of us when we chose to grab a hold of them and reach out.  Even in the end stages of Alzheimer’s disease when communication is minimal, there are surprises to be had if we watch for them.

28 Replies to “Even in the End Stages of Alzheimer’s disease – Beautiful Surprises”

  1. What a great story! Your mom sounds like she has a sense of humor that is still going strong.

    Personally, I believe it’s never too late… congratulations for recognizing the gift that your mom and her friends gave to you.

    1. Hi Sue

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. You are right, my Mom always had and still does have a great sense of humor! She is such a source of joy for me.

      Hope you are having a wonderful day!


  2. I think one of Alzheimer’s Disease greatest gifts is that it forces us to look for the little, simple things that can bring joy to all of our lives. In spite of the many difficult trials and losses a patient and their loved ones endure with this disease, it simultaneously has the ability to make us slow down and appreciate the smallest of moments for what they are and what they have to teach us about life and ourselves.

    Your blog is simply wonderful and a lovely way to revere your mom! I’m so glad I found it! 🙂

    1. Hi Elder Mentor,

      I too am glad you found our site here. I am going to see if I can find your website as it would be something most likely I would want to post on my resource website http://www.AlzheimersSpeaks.com

      If you haven’t checked out the resource website please do and let me know your thoughts and if you would be interested in being listed.

      Thanks for your kinds words. I look forward to chatting in the near future.


  3. Beautiful! I giggled when I read this. So nice to know you recognize and continue to appreciate that your mom is “still a person” while not the same one you knew for many years, she is still alive and shows her own personality. I think unfortunately too many times people “write-off” those who have Alz. because they are different than they used to be. You do such a wonderful job of showing that no matter what condition one may be in they still have value in life. Life is a journey.

    1. Hi Beth

      You are so right. Many people do write Alzheimer’s patients off, because they don’t know any different. They haven’t been taught anything different. It’s my mission to put a dent in that philosophy and show people a new and beautiful path.

      Thank you for being such a loyal participant here at Alzheimer’s Speaks. Your comments and thoughts are so important to all of us!


      1. Hi Lori…

        Your mom is something else…lol. She even makes me laugh and smile.

        Hope you are well. Tell your mother I said Hi and enjoy your weekend 🙂


    1. HI ALta

      It’s so nice to hear from you. I often wonder how you are doing. It sounds like things are going well for you and your Mom. I have found I look forward to the goofy surprises withmy Mom. She still keeps me on my toes!

      Take care


  4. Hi Lori

    Thank you for the kind thoughts,yes things are good here,changed her meds a little and she is much calmer,there still are a few hours a day when she cries or screams but not as bad as before.The new issue is she spits out her meds half the time other then that life is good too 🙂

    Hope all is good at your end and remains so


  5. Lori,

    I have been following your blog off and on. I have been caring for my Mother for the last 6 years and feel truly blessed for this time. She is in the end stages of Alzhemiers and I can really relate to what you are experiencing with your Mother. Thank you for taking the time to write, it is very inspiring and helpful.

    1. Hi Julie

      I am so glad to hear you find the site helpful. I think it is important for all of us to learn from one another. Lord knows there is A LOT to learn! For me being able to appreciate these small little moments in life has added some much more meaning to my own life. It truly has been an amazing journey.

      Please feel free to share with us any of your own stories as well, or if you ever have a question, concern, or just need to vent we are all here for you!

      Hope you have a wonderful day and thanks for taking the time to write.


  6. Hi Lori,

    Hoping all is well with you and your mom.

    I have been reflecting a lot this past week about my mother, literally going over every detail of the events leading up to her passing. Little things that are happening with my son and his baby…just wish I could share with her. I miss the phone calls…I would call her 4-5 daily, just to talking about nothing. She always had the best advice ever…and was such a wise woman. I miss that sooo much. I look at others thinking they are so blessed to have their mothers in their lives, and wishing it were me.

    My mom never made a big deal out of Mother’s Day, for some reason she never wanted to celebrate the day. We always made sure my mom had flowers every Friday, at least from one of us and we always took her out to dinner or shopping. That is what she enjoyed the most, just being with her children. We always got together on Friday evening just to sit around and talk, sometimes bring food, my mother was not much of a cooker, always worrying about her weight…lol. But she enjoyed us being there and my mom is what kept our family together, even after my dear dad passed away 17 years ago.

    Since I was the comic of the family I enjoyed always saying silly things to make my mom laugh. I think I missed my calling…lol. Oh boy, what I would give to have those days again. Miss her so much.

    Lori, thanks again for listening. Kiss your mother for me, tell her I said hello and you both enjoy a beautiful weekend together 🙂

    1. HI Michelle,

      I so know the feeling with loss of my Father, but I also have to admit I have those same feelings with Mom at times now in her end stages. Not being able to have a conversation like we used to. But what I have learned over the years are three things:

      1) Life is truly about meaningful connections, and that doesn’t always take place in conversational form.

      2) Is that for me anyway, if I fill myself with gratitude for things I had and have in my life I don’t feel near as empty. The gift of being able to embrace the true and powerful moments of connection with another soul are so precious and rare. So overlooked these days. When I focus on the gifts of gratitude, I realize how lucky I’ve have been and am for having these moments at all. I try hard to look for those moments in my life, remember them, and then be grateful for them.

      3) Is that the power of connection never truly leaves even when a loved passes. I know not everyone will agree with me here, but from my personal experience with many that have passed on it has been true. I also think one has to be open to believing this for it to happen at all.

      Many times I have felt my Dad in the room, heard his voice, found something moved in my house and it immediately makes me smile and triggers a strong sense that he is with me. At those times, I have a brief conversation with him in my head, yet I know we are actually communicating through our hearts and souls. The connection of love never dies in my opinion; it just takes on new form.

      I will admit there are times when I struggle with this belief, but each time I know why. It comes down to my ego wanting to control these connections, and wanting more of them. I also feel that when I get in this state of wanting more, it is not out of the betterment of the greater good, but it is totally self absorbed as I am searching for ways to reduce my grief and loss. It is totally about my needs and desires and not considering what is best for my loved one. Plus there is no way for me to know what it is like to be gone from this world and what is out there for a soul to experience.

      I can say for me anyways, I’m sure God and the universe have much more to offer my loved one then I do and I would want them to experience all the beauty and love they have to offer them. So with that thought I try to let go and let God and the universe, do their thing, and watch over both of us. And from there, I return to being grateful for believing in a higher power.

      I hope this helps you in times you are feeling lost and lonely. I know it does me. Thanks for checking in. I so love our conversations and this conversation to is one I will share in a posting as some many of us are dealing with the same issues. It will be interesting to see what others have to say as well! Thank you for your time and gift of connection with me personally and to all those in our community here at Alzheimer’s Speaks. You have added so much to our sharing and learning from one another.

      Take care


  7. Thank you so much, that was powerful! Its amazing what we can do when we are so close to a different part of life. God Bless you both 🙂

  8. My mother is at end stage of Alzheimers and she is a love. She cannot verbalize but does enjoy being part of others conversations. I set up weekly massages for her and even though she is in a wheel chair, she truly enjoys the massage and the attention. After one of her massages, the therapist said goodbye and left the room. My mother looked up at me and said “that was great!”. I emailed the therapist and she said it made her day. Tears of joy on that day!

  9. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter
    to be actually something that I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complex and very broad for me.
    I am looking forward for your next post, I will try to
    get the hang of it!

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