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Posts Tagged ‘Alzheimer’s’

What does Alzheimer’s have to do with my memory quilt project? Memory quilts are usually designed for remembering and celebrating the past, some even give hope for the future (wedding quilts for example). We can also use memory quilts to help others remember the past along with the present – and not just for those with Alzheimer’s. There are people who suffer from other memory problems, too. Many times, old memories may come to the forefront while recent ones seem to vanish almost in an instant. I know what this is like. No amount of prodding or coaxing is going to bring those memories back at every command. Using photos of family including recent photos (updating as time passes) with individuals’ names marked clearly have been known to help in recalling people, but there will come a time when nothing will help keep those memories alive. However, helping a loved one, family member, or friend to hold on to those memories for as long as possibe could be the greatest gift one can give.

There are products on the market that will help you transfer photos to fabric in order give a progression of one’s life-be sure to label with names and dates. An updated photo of the family or group with the individual included may help the individual remember-be sure to label names and keep the photos available so the loved one can see it. Here’s where my little project comes in… Making a fabric photo frame on the bottom corner of the memory quilt will allow the person to see it daily-so long as the memory quilt can be hung near the person. An example is shown below. You may use a type of ‘plastic,’ to protect the photo-just be sure it is archival safe-the ‘plastic’ and photo can be removed for storage. 

Fabric frame that can be added to memory quilt

Sewing lines

This is just an example-use your imagination and own creativeness. I used two layers of fabric. I recommend adding interfacing especially to thinner fabrics. The yellow lines denote where the frame was sewn to the quilt top and the orange ones are where I sewed the two fabrics together. I finished the opening edge before I sewed it to the quilt (important). I suggest not making the frame very small because you can always add a piece of card stock to hold the photo like what you see here. I used an old piece of painting acetate I had around the house, but you really need an archival-safe product. You can even put a design under the frame so that a photo is not always needed to enjoy the quilt.

My husband’s friend who died last month had Alzheimer’s. Something odd – the friend would recognize my husband and know his name every time he visited though the judge could not recall his family. We watched as his family slowly lost a man who had been so full of life; a man who never had one bad word to say about another deteriorated into almost nothing. His wife for more than 60 years was always at his side-they were never apart except for his time in the service. It broke my heart to see this knowing what lay ahead and seeing her say her last goodbye.

This is happening all around us, and many younger people are developing Alzheimer’s and other memory loss illnesses, too. As we age, most of us will suffer some type of memory loss-not necessarily from Alzheimer’s. We need to do all we can for others. Maybe there is someone in your life you can help. If not, I encourage you to visit the Alzheimer’s link here and the quilting one of the side of the page. I encourage us all to get involved in helping others.

Happy Gardening and may all of your memories be special!

Note:  Sorry for the delay of this posting. Maybe this will spark some creative minds out there.

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Sad news came again today. My husband’s friend who has been in the nursing home just recently because of his advanced stages of Alzheimer’s died this morning. It’s been another wild week-things don’t happen that you expect and things happen that you don’t expect. Part of the memory quilt postings (some that I have yet to post) have to do with this friend. Death is never easy to ‘digest’ even when we know it is coming, but we must celebrate the memories of the past, his life, and realize that he is not in pain anymore.

This friend was a judge. He was still active at over 80 years of age, and his wife was at his side until the very last. My husband would pick him up and take him to the jail to do hearings and then take him back home—that was before the judge retired not long ago. Other judges made the city transport the inmates to the courthouse and back rather than they visit the jail, but that’s another story. The two grew close – almost a dad and son relationship, so this is difficult. If you are a spiritual person, I ask for a prayer for the judge’s family. Even to the last, this friend recognized my husband when he didn’t recognize his family. We knew this was coming, but it hurts just the same.

On a happier note, we are the proud owners of a kitty. We didn’t get him until this morning, but he is adjusting nicely. Everyone liked this one the best, so he is our newest member of our family. Photos will be posted at a later date.

Happy Gardening and please tell your friends and family how much they mean to you. Thank you!

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Part 1

For the most part, memory quilts serve as reminders of the past, but for those of us with memory problems or for someone in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, memory quilts can help to do much more. Alzheimer’s, a disease that is not completely understood, is devastating to family and friends but it especially hard on the individual. Imagine losing treasured memories including recognition of loved ones and the simplest of activities having only shadows of the past fading in and out until they are not even a distant memory. As part of my ongoing blog about my memory quilt project I want to draw attention to this dreaded disease and give you some links to a growing initiative. I am new to these efforts, but I feel they are worthwhile. Just because our bodies may be able to live longer doesn’t mean that our minds are disease-free. Please check out the Alzheimer’s Association at http://www.alz.org/index.asp. There is a lot of information about the disease, how to deal with the disease like how to better care for someone after they have been diagnosed, when to see a doctor, and so many other things. I urge you to check out the website even or especially if you and everyone in your family are extremely healthy and seemingly Alzheimer’s-free.

There is a project that is in the works called the Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI)    http://www.alzquilts.org    which is all about raising awareness while helping to fund research through art (link is also in the sidebar). Small quilts are made and donated to be sold; some are auctioned off. For a quilter, this may seem easy enough, but for each quilt made there needs to be a buyer. The whole idea is to raise money for research and to draw more attention to this dreaded disease. I encourage you to get friends and family involved by purchasing some of these special quilts. They are small, but they mean so much. Then spread the word and get others involved in making some of these memorable quilts. If you do not know someone with Alzheimer’s now, I bet you know someone who knows someone. Here is a blog with more information:  http://aaqiupdate.wordpress.com   Part 2 of this post includes an idea for a memory quilt wall hanging.

Take care and Happy Gardening!

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Ok, I am paving a new road for my crafting ideas. Yes, I know I gave a list of what is was planned, but I am now starting down a different path – an unexplored road in a way. I admit that the memory quilt project has really changed the way I look at things. I feel that I am at another crossroads in life, but I’m not sure that I moved out of the intersection last year :).  We all need purpose in our lives, and we need to share our purpose and fruits with others. Anyway, I stopped sewing just before Christmas and could not find the motivation to get going again. During the time away, I have been working on some family genealogy things – it is really hard to juggle too many things. Creating things (sewing, quilting, and other arts and craft things) defines me – genealogy or family history helps me to understand who I am or at least from whom I came. I’m not one of those people who has to have a family tree chart that shows I am connected to a million people. I search to know the individual, his/her obstacles, and his/her successes and triumphs. I have been doing this for more than several years, more than a decade or so, actually. I not only want to remember the past but I want to tie it together with the present and the future. Does that make any sense? I think that is why the memory quilting project has endeared me so. 

New ideas for my sewing projects are being hammered out. This is a change from what I was planning even a week ago. I do not need more material – repeat after me, “I do not need more material!” I can recite this all day, but I broke down and had to make a visit to the cloth store – everyone knew that was coming, right? I spent my profits from my mini quilts (that I will not receive until the end of the month). Eeeeek! Why? Why do I feel that I need more material other than there was a sale? I have a new vision. I do not do a lot of appliqué work – in fact I do very little – almost none at all, but I just designed a quilt block using a purple crocus for a model. I love flowers, so I have picked out some material that I REALLY need (?) and am ready to go. I just hope this turns out like I see it in my head. I plan to post pics of the work as I go. Here are some of the colors and materials I will be using: 

I am also sketching blocks for a birdhouse quilt…and a Sunbonnet Sue quilt…, but they are being pushed to the side for awhile. Then there is an Alzheimer’s memory quilt design I have started. I will blog more about this in later postings, but for those of you who know me, you know that I suffer from a disability that has some of the same effects as Alzheimer’s. In some ways, my disability is worse and in some ways it is not as bad, if that makes any sense. I am not comfortable discussing it openly but have been “afflicted” (such an awful sounding word!) since I was young with more manifestations (not a great word either) in recent years. Whatever ailment that can eat away at the mind is detrimental to one’s very being. Other people do not understand what they cannot see especially if they have never experienced a loved one suffering from such diseases and disabilities. This is really hard on the person who is suffering. I could blog just on diseases like this alone, but I want to draw attention to the people – who they are – not names and faces per se, but their importance in life as individuals. Everyone deserves to be honored and remembered; well that’s the way I see it.

Unless you walk in the shoes of others you will never know what they face.

This is true no matter what struggles one faces, and we all have struggles of one kind or another. So, in short, I am on a new journey, one that is not definitive. It is a little scary, but I need this. It’s time. 

Happy Gardening and may we all take time to walk in the shoes of others so that we may understand each other better!

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