Sunday, September 09, 2007

Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative


Ever since I first heard about Ami Simms and her "Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative", I have wanted to be an active participant. I have watched as many members of my extended family and many of my closest friends' families, have been affected by this invasive and relentless disorder. And I have witnessed the tremendous strain and stress that loving someone with Alzheimer's creates, and watching them battle and suffer so many kinds of different losses, over and over themselves.

I know that if we live long enough, the majority of us will face it or similar versions of memory affecting disorders. Whether we use the overall umbrella terminology of dementia or one of its outreaching lines such as Alzheimer's...the conclusion is the same. Each of us ages, each of suffers losses both physical and mental, and each of us must decide how we deal with these losses, whether they are our own..... or another's.

The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative is an opportunity for those of us who sew, quilt or do fabric postcards, to contribute our time, energy, and artistic creativity for a good cause. It allows us a creative outlet to do something positive towards raising money for research in an effort to slow the disease down, if not perhaps....someday.....totally eradicate it.

All forms of severe memory loss involves some kind of cellular level change within the brain itself. As cells break down or alter, as neuron pathways no longer line up, or tangled cellular growths are created that form jumbled up 'cloverleaf' intersections in the freeways of our communication highway, the effect is still one of not being able to make connections.

As we lose our processing skills, or skip through time and space with associations or lack of associations, there are times when each of us cannot think of a word, or remember a name or memory. And as we age, as this increases, there comes in a physical component that makes it seemingly impossible to connect with time, or space, or people or places.

All we can do is slow this process down...alternatively with a host of herbal remedies, vitamins or minerals, or a variety of energetic healing modalities such as Reiki, Healing or Therapeutic Touch, Chiropractic or Naturopathy, and medically with drugs such as Aricept and Numenda.

We can also, just as importantly, provide emotionally by providing support and social interactions or spiritually, by letting the loved know that no matter what, they are a part of us, of our hearts and our souls and we will do everything we possibly can for them, no matter how things might change or how challenging they might get.

So, today, I begin my own contribution. I am beginning a long process of not only helping my own mother battle this dreaded disease, but I will be making art 'quiltlets', fabric postcards and other creative projects to be sent to Ami Simm's project headquarters.

I will do what I can, in all the ways that I can to keep my mother, and all of your own mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles,cousins and friends from having to go through this alone.

Day by day, inch by inch...we can all make a difference. For additional information, check out Ami Simm's site: "Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts"
my other links:

6 comments:

  1. Thank you for this post and thank you for what you are doing. It is a difficult subject, one we would like to not think about. Ageing is difficult enough without the prospect of some form of dementia. My mother had dementia. My mother-in-law has severe dementia. So did her sister. Must sound ominous to my children with all those gene lines pulsing in their veins!
    Sending a hug for your Mother. One for you, too.
    Linda

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  2. I have known about the priority quilts for over six months and need to do one for my family and friends with Alzheimer's.

    Thanks so much for the reminder to get my act together and make a quilt.

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  3. No words -- ((((((HUG))))))

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  4. Michele - hope you're having a blast in Alaska. Our guild supports the Initiative - our just past president [Kate Laucomer] has one of her quilts in the book. The whole thing is awesome and tear-jerking!

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  5. This looks like a great project - I have been meaning to do one too. It's very sweet of you to make these - I look forward to seeing it / them.

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  6. As always, beautifully said. Hugs to you and your family.

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Michele Bilyeu blogs "With Heart and Hands" as she journeys between Douglas, Alaska and Salem, Oregon.