On November 29, 2017, Sara Wuillermin posted a photo on Reddit of her mom’s crochet projects.
But it wasn’t to show off her mom’s skill.
Rather, it was a progression of her mom’s Alzheimer’s disease and the effect the condition had on her hobby.
“This shows the progression of her disease from the beginning of diagnosis until about 2 years into the disease’s progress,” Sara told LittleThings. “At this point, we were already aware that she had the disease–she was trying to crochet more to help keep her mind active, on a recommendation from her doctor, so all of these squares were done after diagnosis of the disease.”
The haunting photo is a frightening visual of how Alzheimer’s disease can wreak havoc on the brain. “She made squares for a while, then the circles, then the little pieces of crochet, until she got to the point where she just carried around the needles and yarn in her purse,” she wrote.
Her mom was diagnosed at 54 years old and has lived over a decade since her diagnosis. “To the amazement of many, including her doctors, she has now lived 12 years since her initial diagnosis (they credit the level of at-home care she’s been receiving by my family — especially her caretaker and my dad, who is truly a saint),” she explained.
Keep scrolling to see the photo.
After posting the photo to her Facebook page in March, Sara took to Reddit to share a photo of the effects of Alzheimer’s on her mom’s crocheting. It immediately resonated with users on the site and has received over four thousand comments.
Sara found her mom’s crochet squares and decided to take a photo of the deterioration of her mom’s work due to her Alzheimer’s disease.
“I first took this photo after re-finding the bag of all the odds and ends she had crocheted after she got sick,” she wrote. “I was compelled to lay them out in a way that tracked the progression and take the photo.”
As you can see, the projects get worse at the bottom showing how she’s forgotten how to crochet.
Her mom has always enjoyed crocheting, but her illness has made it impossible to continue her hobby.
I don’t remember exactly when she stopped being able to crochet for good — she made squares for a while, then the circles, then the little pieces of crochet, until she got to the point where she just carried around the needles and yarn in her purse (which was otherwise empty since she couldn’t really hold on to valuables anymore).
Sara’s dad has been taking care of her mom and she knows if it wasn’t for her family, her mom may not have lived this long.
“My father truly has been such an inspiration and has taught me what it means to love unconditionally,” she told LittleThings.
One stranger wrote that it was a “crazy visual” and that they are sorry for what her family is going through.
Sara’s family has created a hashtag #stillrene, which is part of an Alzheimer’s Association campaign for her mom. If you would like to donate to Rene’s team, please click here.
“I really hope this post allows people to better understand Alz, its effect on others, and to remember that there is still a person behind this disease,” Sara told LittleThings. “I think there is a lot of information that people aren’t privy to unless they experience it firsthand.”
Usually, Alzheimer’s disease affects people over the age of 65, but her mom was diagnosed at the age of 54.
“She has been cared for at home during the duration of her disease, with the help of my immediate family (my father has acted as primary caretaker and is a true hero for his selflessness), my extended family, her dedicated caretaker (Carol Capelli), and more recently (this past July) hospice support,” Sara explained to LittleThings.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Approximately 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 have younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease.”
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life.”
It’s also a progressive disease that worsens over time.
Sara does say that there is a bit of silver lining in her mom’s disease. “Seeing her go through all this has taught me to really embrace living,” she wrote. “There are a lot of big changes and leaps I’ve made that I most likely would not have if I hadn’t lost her so early on in my life.”
Sara explained that she now calls her mom “Nay Nay” to “help provide a distinction between who Mom was and who she is now.”
No matter what, Sara will remember her mom as an upbeat, active woman. She hopes that the attention her post has received will help educate others about Alzheimer’s as well as bring recognition to those who care for people with the disease.
“My mother was a fun, beautiful, vibrant person who rented Saturday Night Fever to teach me dance moves before my first school dance and blared Queen on the way to my soccer games to properly get me pumped,” she told LittleThings. “She is a person who deserves to be remembered, and I hope that with this growing in popularity on the internet, I can keep her memory alive a little more.”