Thousands of people are sharing their experiences caring for loved ones with dementia, inspired by a simple crafting picture. It started when a Reddit user posted a photo, called “The Progression of Alzheimer’s Through My Mom’s Crocheting.”
“I first took this photo after re-finding the bag of all the odds and ends she had crocheted after she got sick,” Reddit user wuillermania explained. “It has been years since she was able to do this, and while I knew how her ability declined, it was really the first time I looked at it all together.”
Sara Wuillermin‘s mother was diagnosed 12 years ago. Wuillermin, who is now 34, said she’s working on a project about the stages of grief: “I was compelled to lay [the crocheted projects] out in a way that tracked the progression and take the photo.”
You can see the attention to detail and beauty in the first couple of items. But as the Alzheimer’s progressed, the crochet became less detailed and less coordinated. Eventually, there’s simply a ball of yarn. Take a look:
Wuillermin described feeling overwhelmed by the response, including other people who shared their own experiences of beloved family members’ journeys through dementia.
Microsoft co-founder and Reddit user Bill Gates even commented, shortly after announcing a $50 million effort to fight Alzheimer’s.
“Wow, what a clear representation of the toll Alzheimer’s takes on the brain,” thisisbillgates wrote. “Thank you for sharing. I’m so sorry you and your family are going through this.”
Another Reddit user’s father was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. “It’s been an incredibly difficult journey at times, but hearing from others like yourself reminds me that we’re not alone,” sinkorschwim wrote. “My family [is] fortunate to live in a city with lots of creative aging and memory loss programs that have made a really positive impact for my dad. He doesn’t crotchet [sic], but he does like to draw.”
Thank you to Sara Wuillermin sharing her heartwrenching example of how Alzheimer’s has impacted her family.