Sheepshead Bites would like to congratulate Jeanine Grimaldi for getting her essay, “In Grandmother’s Alzheimer’s, Another Lesson in Family,” published in the New York Times’ From Our Children special feature. Jeanine is an occasional contributor to Sheepshead Bites, penning several essays on Alzheimer’s disease including one on Alzheimer’s Awareness month and another on Brooklyn’s fight against Alzheimer’s. She also organizes an Alzheimer’s Walk to raise funds to fight the debilitating condition.
Jeanine’s new essay, which you can read by clicking here, focuses on the struggle she and her family have in dealing with her grandmother’s battle with disease. It is a touching and lovely piece that reflects on the strength of her family and the love for her grandmother, who is a Sheepshead Bay native. Here’s the first couple of paragraphs:
“I don’t live here. This is not my house!”
My grandmother clutched the insulated lunch bag with her name written in black marker and looked through the van window at the small brick house where she has lived for over 50 years in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.
It was around 7 on a Friday evening, when my family got a call from the van dispatcher. 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. Sometimes these patients experience sun-downing, a period of increased confusion and restlessness toward the end of the day, and my grandmother was having one of these episodes. It is hard to know how to handle these situations, but it is best to have family around because patients can say upsetting things or even become physical.
Great work, Jeanine. Keep up the good fight!