My name is Emily Caldwell. I started this blog in January 2009 with the plan to remain anonymous for my mom’s sake, for my sake, and for the sake of anyone who might be uncomfortable by what I write from time to time. Eventually, though, I began to post pictures of Mom and use her name (Bonnie), and my name, and other family names. I want readers to feel they know Mom, if possible. Or, if they know her, I want them to have access to images of her everyday life.

Bonnie, August 2009.

Bonnie, August 2009.

And I realized there is nothing to hide, because there should be no shame associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Sometimes, Mom’s behavior is upsetting. And emotions under these circumstances can run high. But there’s also lots of humor. And mostly, the unexpected is the norm. And all of that is just the way it is.

This is an online journal of one daughter’s experience as a caregiver for her mother, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in November 2005.

Edited to add: Mom died on Oct. 27, 2015.

Send e-mail to: bbrainblog@gmail.com

15 comments so far

  1. Esther on

    I can’t wait for the humor, one thing I’ve not been especially good at when writing about the disease.

  2. Edie Dykeman on

    I appreciate your desire to remain anonymous. When I first started blogging about family related issues, I used a pseudonym. Also, I have found humor helps me beyond belief. I know my sense of humor can seem pretty quirky to others, and sometimes it may be out of place, but it helps me through the tough times. And for that, I don’t apologize.

  3. Lauren on

    My unofficial 3rd step-grandmother developed Alzheimer’s but kept it from everyone except my grandfather who refused to believe it. When she wandered onto a runway at Heathrow en route to visit her only daughter, the daughter found her a complete care facility in Cornwall where she remains still, eight years later, and four years after my grandfather’s death. It was heartbreaking to hear him finally reveal her behavior in the year leading up to her trip. Reading your blog, I am so very relieved that she had that runway breakdown and never went back to him; I think watching her further descent into the disease would’ve killed him. This blog you have is beautiful and should be required reading for all of us “adult children”.

  4. albamaria30 on

    Came here from Uncle Crappy’s. I will be interested to read this and I will probably share it with my mom. She’s been a co-caregiver (with her brother) of her mother, who has dementia (probably vascular in origin) but not Alzheimer’s. At this point my grandmother is in full-time assisted care (i.e. a nursing home), and seeing her breaks my heart. I don’t know how my mother does it several times a week.

    Looking forward to reading more. Thanks for starting this blog!


  5. Surgeon In My Dreams on

    I didn’t see an email address for you, so I hope a little personal note is okay here.

    I think your blog touches me because of my mother and me and our non-relationship.

    Our family was definitely not the Brady Bunch. Home when I was growing up was not a safe place for a kid to be. I have scars to prove it.

    I don’t really blame my mother for her actions – I figure she did the best she knew how to do at that time. What does kill me though, is how now she admonishes me (to my face and to others) for not visiting her, or calling her, or whatever. I tried to have a relationship with her until I was about 38, then I gave up.

    Now, after all the abuse and neglect and the childhood years of raising myself, she has the nerve to be offended that I don’t visit her.

    I write her. Visits are too hard for me. She is still very harsh and hurtful and I don’t like the way I feel after being around her so I don’t go.

    She is not like your mom though, not yet. She is still working and living alone in her own home at 74. I’m not sure how I will react if she gets to the point in life your mom is. I just don’t know. I hope I will have your level of love for her.

  6. Esther on

    Hi mom’s brain

    good to hear from you. thanks for sending me an announcement of your blog. esther

  7. margaret massey on


    I really have been enjoying your blog!

    I just linked it to mine, which is also a caregiver blog about dementia. If you have a change to look at it, and if you enjoy it, I’d be grateful if you’d add it to your blog list.

    Here’s the info:
    The Dopamine Diaries (caregiving for Mom)

    Thank you!

  8. Betsy Bowen on

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I understand that there are days of great sorrow…I told one of my Father’s caregivers yesterday that I wish they would have had the chance to know him…what a great man. Now it is my turn to take care of him, as he has always been my biggest fan! I am lucky that he is only about a mile from my home in Columbus. I have made photo books and narrated dvds for him, as well as dvds with his favorite music and photos…always hoping that they will bring back some memories. Again, thank you for sharing. Betsy

  9. Sandra Stimson Executive Director on

    It is NCCDP Alzheimer’s and Dementia Staff Education Week Feb 14-21. You can download free staff in-services beginning now till March 1st at http://www.nccdp.org National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners
    nationalccdp@aol.com This includes the power point, handouts pre test and post tests.

  10. Pearl Kennedy on

    Every 69 seconds someone develops Alzheimer’s disease. Please share this video and one thing that you never want to forget to help end Alzheimer’s. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeHTTonG6co&feature=player_embedded

  11. Barry Wheeler on

    I’m trying to reach out to the Alzheimer’s community and build a readership for my blog / website (Alzheimer’s Disease Support Canada) and was wondering if it would be possible for you to link back to my site.

    I spend many hours research / reading on this terrible disease, and try to publish some of the great research taking place.

    This is a hobby for me, and while I do not have a loved one that suffers from this disease, I am a long time community advocate for seniors living, healthy living etc.

    My blog is at http://www.alzheimers-disease.net

    Any assistance you can give would be greatly appreciated.

    I guess as I watch my mom grow older, and see friends struggling with their parents who suffer from Alzheimer’s, it makes me realize just how vulnerable we are to this terrible disease. If you have any blogs, or sites you can link from, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Barry Wheeler
    Corner Brook, NL

  12. HelenH on

    Thank you for sharing. Your stories are interesting, and your thoughts and feelings are helpful.

  13. April Holthaus on

    Thank you for this blog. For those, like me, whose parents have memory issues your comments are so helpful to know that we are in a unique “club” and have support even if it’s only emotional and on line.
    My mom is gone now and there are many more things I wish I’d done to help her through those difficult years. But I was learning too just like you. Today I am trying to help others understand this situation by some articles I write and information I glean to pass on to our company’s caregivers.

  14. myimportantinformation on

    I am interested in the challenges of seniors living alone, especially if they have a memory impairment. Please visit my blog at http://myimportantinformation.wordpress.com/. I’m working on a new post for adult children who support memory impaired parents, and would appreciate any suggestions, comments, and ideas. Thank you.

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