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Alzheimer’s is changing my grandmother, but I’ll always love her

Kidsday reporter Riley Olson with her grandmother Maria

Kidsday reporter Riley Olson with her grandmother Maria Martins. Credit: Olson family photo

Two years ago my family’s life changed forever. My Avo (that means “grandma” in Portuguese, but her real name is Maria Martins) was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. When I heard this from my mom, I didn’t know what it meant. My mom explained to me that my Avo would slowly stop remembering a lot of things. She would soon not remember where the things she put away were, and she would not remember how to cook or clean.

This is a thing I never thought would happen to someone I loved. Sometimes you don’t expect what’s coming, and trust me, I did not expect this at all.

When I told my friends about my Avo, they didn’t understand what Alzheimer’s is. I explained that Alzheimer’s is kind of like Pac-Man eating my Avo’s brain cells. Sometimes I wanted to create a ghost so that Pac-Man would die in my Avo’s head.

My Avo and I have a very close relationship. When I was about 4 years old I used to read with my Avo, and I used to cook and bake with her. Now sometimes I walk with her outside. To see her like this is very sad. Avo is 78 and still lives at her own home with my grandfather.

Since the diagnosis, we have seen some changes in my Avo. She stopped cooking, and all she really does is sit and watch TV. Alzheimer’s has forced my Avo to change in many ways. But one thing that will always stay the same is that I will always love her.

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