Mar 272012
 

But she does a pretty good job of making me feel like she does. I believe she knows there is a connection. She keeps it very simple when she talks to me. Partly I think because she knows that she can’t quite remember but is still witty enough to know that she doesn’t want to make it any more confusing than it already is for her.

I think she is past the most scary part— realizing she is “losing her mind.” She knew something was happening. And at first I thought it was just my mom being dramatic. But looking back a few years, her behavior was strange. And soon it was clear that she was slipping away. That mostly showed up in her feeling scared and not wanting to be alone.

I remember in the fall of 2008, she said something very profound and sadly poetic. She said, “me and the night don’t get along.” I thought that was quite a lyric. My mother was as witty as they come. She wrote tons of poems and parodies of songs. Mostly for co-workers leaving for another job or for cast-mates at the end of a show she was in. Or for my sisters’ bosses or workmates. She would whip something up in an evening. She could do it all. Of course she had and raised nine kids — that says it all.

I don’t want to keep saying WAS because she still IS. She still has her one-liners. She is still sweet and very interested in what you are saying.

When I saw her last December at my sister Carol’s Christmas show at the fabled Footlight Club, she was so into the show. I enjoyed watching her as much as the show. If you didn’t know she had Alzheimer’s, you wouldn’t think it. She was very in the moment — happy to see my father introduce my sister, but also zinging him saying to herself, “he’s awful.” She watched each song— liking some and loving others. But then a few minutes after, I asked if she liked the show, and she answered, “what show, dear?” That kind of sums up where she is right now.

I am no expert and I am 3,000 miles away, but she is doing ok for someone at her stage of this disease. My mother was a force and could do so many things. Now, she is very slow. But through all this there is a bitter sweetness. I hear stories from my siblings about how sweet she is and the simple loving words she says to them. There is still a person in there. And she is alive and still working it out.

I think she still knows that she has some kind of disease, but she has moments of peace. Hopefully, with more funding and the hard work of all involved, we can find a cure so that Alzheimer’s will not affect generations to come. This disease affects the whole family. My mother is so fortunate to have the care she has, but so many are not as lucky.

I will be running the Hollywood Half Marathon on April 7, 2012, in her honor — and in honor of all those affected by Alzheimer’s — and to raise awareness and funds for the Alzheimer’s Association. If you can, please donate to my page at http://www.crowdrise.com/JoeyMcIntyre

Thank you for always supporting me in anyway you can— in your thoughts and prayers and deeds.

Joey McIntyre is a singer/songwriter who rose to fame as a member of New Kids on the Block selling over 80 million albums and countless sold-out shows worldwide. He continues to push boundaries with his music as a solo artist and has vast theatre and screen experience including appearing in Wicked on Broadway and as a season regular on Boston Public. Recently, Joey declared himself an Alzheimer’s Association Champion and is fighting to end Alzheimer’s on behalf of his mother who is living with the disease. 

  21 Responses to “Joey McIntyre’s Story: My Mom May Not Know Who I Am…”

  1. Thank you Joey, this sounds so much like my own mother!! It is very heartbreaking to watch her lash out and be upset and feeling useless or unnecessary, because she can't do the things she used to do. But every once in awhile, a bit of her old self pops out and what a joy it is to see that for a little while. Nights seem to be especially difficult for her also. It is definitely a heartbreaking journey the Alzheimer's sufferers go through. We must do all we can to find a cure for this dreadful disease.

  2. BLESS U I,AM a former Activity Director i worked with hundreds of seniors that had Alzeimer,s. There are several stages they go thru. And as sad as this disease is when the mind does become settle to this disease it become easier for them and the caregiver less stress on the person as there memory fade. i congrad you on your spirit to be as much help as u can for your mom and others. cont to stay strong in faith and pray always for cont strenght.

  3. I know how you feel and what it’s like to see someone you care about affected by this horrible disease .I lost my grandma this past February to it.I to will be doing the Alzheimer’s walk this October in Kansas City,Mo. In honor of my grandma. I wil keep your mom and family in my prayers .

  4. That is how it was with my grannie.Every time I would leave she would say if you need anything just let Kandy know she can do anything.She has been gone for 4 years now and miss her every day.

  5. thank you, Joey, for all you are doing…my brothers and I lost our mother to Alz May, 2011

  6. Thank you Joey for sharing. My grandma suffered from Alzheimer's and lost her battle 12/24/09. It's not easy to watch someone you love fade away. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  7. Thanks for bringing more awareness to this disease. My mom also has Alzheimers and is declining quickly. I think so many people don't realize the person who has Alzheimers does realize what is happening and even worse what is to come. Thinking of you, your mom and your family as you face this horrible disease, and thank you for being an Alzheimer's Association Champion!

  8. Keep speaking up….Keep on educating…..Keep on Keeping On!

  9. thank you for all that you do to bring more awareness to this terrible disease. My mother also has alzheimers. and their are times that she to is very witty. and those are the times that I choose to remember.. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. and thanks again for doing all do to awareness to this devasting disease.

  10. my father has alzheimer's and it is so confusing to have to "bury" the person you once knew and adapt to an ever changing new person who is slipping away so quickly.. that's the most horrible thing about this disease.

    • my dad has alzheimers and he doesnt even know his wife or children and it hit him so fast and he is so violence and was told he had to have 24 care because he was a danger to hisself .its so hard to see a strong man not knowing his children/one year to the day my mom was diagonsed with alzheimers/it its a horrible thing to see your parents both have this disease and wondering why my parents.my parents have been married for 62 yrs /its so hard to see them like that .and been so mconfused and not really understand why

  11. Listen to this song from a caregiver's point of view. http://youtu.be/WuY2_8DWqtA

    • I know what you mean by living alone. Based on what I have read Alzheimer’s is hetedirary and short term memory loss is nothing to worry about. I think our culture has a lot to do with our memory problems. There is only so much information the brain can absorb without overloading . Plus eating more non processed foods and taking fish oil tablets could help our memory.

  12. my mommy is in the hosspital for ten days now and yet has not been diagnosed but all the symptoms you guys r talking about are the ones i see

  13. I'm sorry to hear that. We miss seeing your mom around the Club. I haven't seen her in a year or two but see Carol and Jean periodically and like to get updates on how she's doing.

  14. Joey, I share in what you are going through. My Mom just passed, and as Dad and I say she went home. I miss her so very much and she is in my heart every day. She was sweet and loving and I do believe scared at times as she would tell me 'it is awful'. She also knew what a toll it was taking on Dad caring for her. I believe that God was merciful to just take her home but it is not easy. I do hope you spend as much time with your Mom that you can and cherish that time. Our mothers are so precious as is all our families.. God bless you.

  15. Extremely well written, well thought out article.

  16. Reading this was like reading about my Dad.He always maintained his sense of humor and he was a true gentleman to the end.It was sad when he didn’t know us anymore. But he always enjoyed our visits and had plenty of stories to tell.My daughter is running the Chicago Marathon in his memory,this year,to benefit alzheimers research.

  17. Reading what Joey has to say sounds excatley like my Grandfather, which turned into Dementia. Unfortunatley we lost him the end of this May He was a wonderful loving man. He gave every women he met a hug & a kiss, shook every man's hand. He loved his 4 daughters, 4 son-in-laws, 8 grandchildren, & 8+ great-grandchildren. It hurt to see this disease take over his mind, but I always did my best to see the Pop I knew growing up. My thoughts & prayers go out to Joey & his family as well as everyone else out there going through this

  18. hello joe I just heard about your mom I support with all my heart. you your family and your mom.

  19. Thanks for this post. Our situations sound very similar; I live far away from my mother, who is suffering from dementia. It’s sad to see that as she goes, all the stories from her past go, too. I’m grateful that years ago, I spent about a week interviewing my parents all about their early lives, and the notes that I kept are my last connections to my mom’s history now. A post that I wrote on my mother’s condition is on my blog, at http://queasywriter.blogspot.com/.

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