The smallest things matter

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Every so often in the midst of the struggles of caring for a dementia patient, a fully-lit spectrum of joy illuminates a moment.

None so brightly as Barbara Brewer Cooper of Fayetteville recalled recently. Cooper relocated from California to Georgia to provide assistance to her parents, Glenn and Jeanne Brewer.

Both of Cooper’s parents are experiencing the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. While talking about the aha moments, the lessons learned, and a myriad of caregiver related topics, Cooper joyfully recalled one recent event.

“My sister had joined my mom, dad, and me for dinner. We began talking about activities to keep the mind sharp. My sister began to talk about the latest trend of coloring books targeted to adults. While my mom was enjoying her glass of wine, she started laughing and remarked: ‘Imagine this, (directed to my dad) here we are in our old age and our children are bringing us coloring books!’”

Cooper said this moment of chuckles and laughs were signs that all is not doom and gloom for families who provide care to the Alzheimer’s patient.  As a matter of fact, Cooper continues, “There have been many [glowing moments]! ”

Barbara Brewer Cooper shared her story during the Southern Crescent Walk to End Alzheimer’s kickoff breakfast sponsored by the Dogwood Forest Assisted Living Community. Her presentation highlighted her dad’s courage both on the battlefield of war and his new battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Glenn Brewer is 88 years old, a veteran of the Korean War. Brewer along with his wife are in the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease.  

Yet on one special morning, Glenn, with his daughter Barbara’s encouragement, decided to join other early stage Alzheimer’s patients in a support group sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association. In doing so, it meant he would need to share his Alzheimer’s experiences. As it turns out, it was a good thing.

Barbara believes the support group is working. Her dad even looks forward to chatting and sharing experiences with other group members. The experience has been so successful that Cooper’s mother, Jeanne Brewer also 88, has joined.

For some, Alzheimer’s Disease can be viewed as a disease that takes you backward. Yet for the Brewers, it appears they are also moving forward. The experiences of Alzheimer’s patients and their care providers can be life-changing.

The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 1, in Peachtree City. Register for a great day of activities. Children, teens, and dogs are all welcome. Donate now. Walk later. Sign up at www.alz.org/walk. It may change your life.

The 2016 Walk to End Alzheimer’s is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Peachtree City, Piedmont-Fayette Hospital, Peachtree Jazz Edition, Ashley Glen Senior Living and Memory Care, The Neuropsychology Center, Coweta/Fayette EMC Operation Round-Up, and Panasonic. Sponsors are welcome.