‘Alzheimer’s Stole Her’: Changing Our Narrative About Dementia

My grandmother lived with Alzheimer’s disease for years. And for years, my family and I would say things like: “Alzheimer’s stole her from us.” “She’s not herself now.” “She’s a shell of who she was.” That’s our cultural narrative about Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia — that it’s the aggressor. It has power over us, we say. It can take away our loved ones right before our eyes. If we’re lucky, we might catch a glimpse of them …

Here Is Why You Should Share Family Stories

In 1902, 16 years old and alone, my grandmother set sail from Cork, Ireland, to a new life in America. She landed in New York and found work as a maid with a wealthy family whose physician suggested she train as a nurse. She didn’t have a high school diploma but talked her way into nursing school. After graduating, she joined the Red Cross and was deployed to French hospitals near the front lines of World War I. Terrified by …