I’m always pleased to find that Uncle Crappy appeals to people of a wide variety of backgrounds and ages.

I joke around a bunch about being as old as I am, especially when compared with a large number of my Pittsburgh friends, who all seem to be about 10 years younger than me — at least.

If we’re talking about music, for example, that can make a huge difference; in the context of a few select life experiences, though, that’s not such a wide gap. One thing we’ll all be experiencing now or in the future? Concern about how our parents are doing as they age.

I’ve been pretty lucky; my folks are very healthy, and my Dad’s recovery from his bypass surgery has gone so well that pretty much the only reminder we still have is his scar — which he’d be happy to show you if you asked nicely — and his slightly modified diet.

My friend Ethel has had a different experience. Her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a few years ago, and she’s been living in an assisted-care apartment in the past couple years. At the beginning of the year, Ethel decided to chronicle her experiences in a blog titled Mom’s Brain, and I’m happy to say she’s kept up with it.

I’m a reader because Ethel is a very good friend of mine and I’m both curious and concerned about what she and Fred, her husband, have to cope with. You should check it out because it’s well-written, sometimes funny, often sad and an always-honest accounting of her life with her mother.

Most of all — if you’ve had or are having similar experiences, I think Mom’s Brain can be a positive thing for you. Ethel is definitely learning on the fly here, and I think her blog is where she works out some of her ideas about what’s going on. Alzheimer’s is mysterious for everyone — patients, families, caregivers and researchers alike — and the ability to exchange accounts and ideas with others can’t be anything but beneficial.

So. Check out Mom’s Brain. You may learn something that you’ll find helpful down the road.


  1. Uncle Crappy, thank you for the post! It is very true that I am learning as I go. I make no attempt to be an expert on anything beyond my own, and my mom’s, experiences. And really, I am often guessing about what is going on with Mom. I would welcome any new readers!


  2. Uncle Crappy, I am going to go check that out. Thanks for letting us know. My mom is currently the one dealing with her mom — it’s not Alzheimer’s, “only” dementia. I think it’s interesting, because I think my mom is actually worried about doing to us (her children) what her mom “is doing” to her.

    Checking out Ethel’s site, soon.



  3. Ethel: I’m happy to do it. Hope it brings some new folks your way.

    RPM: I don’t think this is quite a universal experience, but it’s common enough that almost anyone could benefit from reading about the experiences of others.

    As I said before, my folks are in great shape, and I’m so thankful for that. But one of the saddest days of my life was the last time I saw my grandmother, whose dementia effectively cut her off from the family for about the last six months she was alive. Mrs. Crappy and I visited her for about an hour; she knew who I was for maybe ten minutes. And while I was certainly sad for myself, I felt worse for her — when she finally realized that she was talking to her oldest grandchild, she said she was ashamed she didn’t realize sooner. I’m a little embarrassed to say I felt relieved when her brain pulled her back into the haze where she existed most of the time.

    This stuff can be so hard, and I give Ethel a lot of credit for addressing it as she has.


  4. Uncle Crappy, I would say no embarrassment is needed about your relief when your grandma returned to her haze. It is hard for us, but I do think it’s the single thing that makes things better for the patient. That she was ashamed she didn’t know you – that is just so sad, for her and for you. Dementia patients should have no shame. Nothing is their fault.


  5. I’ve been lurking at Mom’s Brain for about 2 months. Ethel is a great writer and her blog is insightful and very personal. Mostly I love it because she’s so honest.

    Thanks Ethel!


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