Happiness in the End Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. Is that Possible?

Happiness in the End Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. 

Is that Possible?


I ran across this picture when visiting my Mother the other day at her nursing home.  Now some may say the outfit is disrespectful for her age…. and will go on and on about what they perceive as negative.  But I encourage you to look closely at the picture and tell me what you think the answer to the question below. 

What do you think?     Is she happy?

Mom Dec 2010




This is a picture of my Mother, who is 83 years old and in her end stages of the Alzheimer’s disease.  She rarely talks and if she says something much of the time you are not sure what she is talking about although she is trying to participate in a conversation.  Mom needs to have her total needs taken care of by others: medications, feeding her, toileting, bathing, dressing…  She is wheelchair bound and spends much of her time resting with her eyes shut in her chair when she is not sleeping in bed.    She is unable to raise her arms or reach out to hug me anymore.  For those of you that think the dress up outfit is disrespectful, I ask you this… Did you like to dress up when you were young?  My belief is that my Mother in her end stages is now in a child like state.  One with no ego or judgement, just room for love and authentic connections.  Being able to visit Mom in her world is an amazingly blessed place to be.  I can leave my world which is very judgemental.  Mom just loves and accepts me for who I am.  I know longer have to try to fit into a model I feel others expect of me.  That is a such a peaceful place to go.

Here’s a little inside info for you:

The RED outfit Mom is dressed in is totally perfect for her.  Red is Mom’s favorite color.  In fact when she was in mid stages of the disease she would only wear red and pink clothing… nothing else!  And the music, well Mom always loved music.  At this stage of the disease she will still moves her arms, fingers, or shoulders at times even though not with much control, to the sound of music and will try to sing. She remembers few words at this point, but the familiarity and beat of the music get her attention and bring her JOY!  That is all that matters.

Please don’t give up on your loved ones and those you care for.  They are still in those bodies that trap them.  Please give them the opportunity to have joyful moments, I promise making them happy will bring you more joy then you ever thought possible.

Mom looks like she is dressed up to be a Klondike Kate.  That is one of our Minnesota Traditions with our Winter Carnival. Contestants are judged on musical performance, song choice, costumes, vocal ability, crowd appeal and authenticity in portraying the Klondike Kate character.  Klondike Kate’s are typically big women with tremendous voices that really can put on a fun show.  Here’s a video of the real Klondike Kate’s from Jan 2011.



10 Replies to “Happiness in the End Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. Is that Possible?”

  1. Yes, I would say that happiness is definately possible in Alzheimers. BUT family support and constant attention from many, many concientious carers who really are worth far more than they are paid, is absolutely vital. It’s an all consuming job and my grateful thanks go out to them.

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  3. Hi Lori,

    How are you? I was lurking around and saw this beautiful picture of your mother. You ask how “is she happy?”. YES, SHE IS…and I love the red. That is my favorite color too. Continue to treasure those moments.

    Take care dear friend.


    1. Hey Sheri

      Happy Valentines Day! It’s so nice to hear from you. Yes, I love that picture of Mom too. She is so happy when I look at the picture it’s hard to beleive she is in her end stages and rarely interacts or reacts… as she sure is enjoying herself in that moment. Hope you and the hubby have time for a nice romantic dinner! Have to run I’m just catching up on emailes and the blog… I’ve been on the rode all day…

      Love ya! Take Care


  4. Happiness is the best treatment for any disease and for Alzheimer’s disease they need to be kept happy in their last stage coz we know that there is no definitive evidence to support that any particular measure is effective in preventing Alzheimer’s disease

  5. I admire your commitment it is important to stimulate them and keep them active your mom enjoys music and her dress shows off her personalaity and your mom is happy the memories are yours to keep for ever. Your mom is so happy in her own little world well done you.

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