Elsie Granger, 89

Elsie Granger, 89, who was diagnosed with dementia, is cared for by her five daughters who use a group text named “Sisters”

 

Even though Elsie Granger sometimes struggles to remember her five daughters’ names, she knows “her girls” love her and take good care of her.

Granger has dementia and lives with her daughter, Londia Granger Wright, a retired pastor. 

“A few years back, she started doing things that didn’t seem normal but like short term memory loss, like getting out of her car and leaving it running in the driveway,” Wright said. “Things over the years have just gradually gotten worse.”

The other daughters live nearby and help with the caregiving. 

“I’m the primary caregiver, so that means when I want to go out of town, I send a group text to one of my sisters who lives in the St. Louis metropolitan area, so we take turns making sure she takes her medicine and gets the care she needs,” Wright said.

The sisters utilize a text group, aptly named “Sisters,” to coordinate coverage for their mom and other tasks, such as grocery shopping, meal prep, and taking her to church.

“Primary caregivers cannot continue to do this indefinitely; they need assistance from others even a home health care worker to make sure the loved ones’ needs are met,” she said. “Just because your family members are not the primary caregivers does not mean they’re supposed to allow the main person to solely carry the burden.”

“It is important that caregivers take part in self-care to show up fully for their loved one,” Wright said.

When asked about the loving bond she shares with her mother, Wright talked about how dementia has not changed how much she cares for her.

“When they say mean things, it is the dementia talking,” she said. “They need their loved ones around them to support them.”

Additionally, it can be hard to navigate the difficulties of caring for a loved one with dementia, but Wright appreciates all the help she receives from her family.

“Of course, there is a sadness that comes with this because my mother is 89 so when her cousins or friends of 50 years call, she may not remember them,” Wright said. “It is a tough job, and one caregiver alone cannot do this; I am blessed to have family nearby to not only help with our mother but to take time coordinate our schedules.”

Nearly two-thirds of the 6 million Americans living with dementia are women, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Not only are women more likely to have Alzheimer's, they're also more likely to be caregivers of those with Alzheimer's.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, over one-third of dementia caregivers are daughters.

Alzheimer's Association Support Groups, conducted by trained facilitators, are a safe place for people living with dementia and their care partners to develop a support system and exchange practical information on challenges and practical solutions.

These groups also talk through issues and ways of coping, share feelings, needs and concerns, and learn about community resources. People can get connected to Alzheimer's Association support groups by visiting alz.org/greatermissouri.

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