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Dad’s Garden | Giant Sunflowers | Alzheimer’s Story Part IV

Giant Sunflowers

It’s been a while since I gave you guys an update on my Mom’s Alzheimer’s Disease. I first wrote about my mom and her diagnosis in November of 2014.

Sunflowers in my Dad's garden Petticoat Junktion Alzheimers story part IV

Giant Sunflowers in Dad’s Garden

 I don’t share a lot of deeply personal things here. This blog is about home décor, paint, crafts, and general DIY. My mom is always on my mind and I just felt like sharing a little about her and my family that day back in 2014. After the first post on my Arkansas family you really responded and I realized some of you are dealing with the same things we are, or know someone who is. The JTS and I visited my parents a month ago and everyday since I start to write this post….then move on to something else. The DIY is easy to write about….personal stuff, not so much.

Dad and Ray in Arkansas June 2016

My Dad and Ray (aka, hubby or The JTS)

My dad got pretty sick in June. I think he was run down from taking care of my mom and he picked up a bug of some kind. His doctor treated him for bronchitis and Dad slowly got better.

Dad talked with us (his kids) and said he just couldn’t do everything anymore. Hospice was coming in two half days a week but my dad was still helping mom bathe every morning, cooking her meals, and generally taking care of everything. My dad is no Spring chicken. He turned 86 in May. We tried to tell him back in 2014 that taking care of mom was too much, but he tends to be a little hard headed.

Family photo

Family photo from 2006…..left to right… Stacey (sister), Mom, Dad, Bill (brother), Ray, Me

We tossed around ideas and Dad decided he would hire someone to sit with mom three half days a week and also do a little cooking and light chores. Well, you guys probably know how hard it is to get good help.

Dad hired a housekeeper to come in one day a week when mom came home from the hospital in 2014. The housekeeper was great. About a year ago she stopped working to have surgery and Dad hired someone to take her place (we wont go there). When the prior (first)  housekeeper heard Dad was looking for help she said she was available. Thank Goodness. My Dad really likes her. She’s dependable and good help. So right now everything is going okay.

Row of Sunflowers in my dad's garden Petticoat Junktion

Mom is about the same. She doesn’t know who anyone is and she talks very little…only when spoken to. She isn’t violent and does whatever she is told to do. She watches tv when she isn’t napping. Judge Judy and Andy Griffith are her favorites. She used to laugh a lot when watching Andy but she doesn’t do that any more. If questioned about something you can see that lost look in her eyes and the wheels turning in her head. I really hate for anyone to ask her a question.

My Dad's Garden

Dad’s Garden

Dad worked at International Paper until retirement. The Owen family have always been farmers. Dad loves the land and his farm.



I’m glad he has more help now so he can go out to the garden or drive over his land when he wants to. I think just knowing there is someone else there is a big load off his mind. My sister and brother live very close to my parents and they help out a lot too.


Scarecrow down!

I never liked working in the garden, canning and freezing stuff, or anything else that went with farm life. I know, I’m bad.



We didn’t just have a small garden when I was growing up. What we had a was a large, large garden with all kinds of vegetables AND we raised tomatoes by the acre. We picked, graded, packed, and took those tomatoes to the market for auction. My grandparents and aunts and uncles did the same. We all worked together and it was hard work. I’m not whining…just stating a fact. The season started with the tomatoes in a cold frame in February and usually ended by the first part of July. It wasn’t a year long thing. My dad worked his full time job (shift work) and then worked the farm too. We don’t appreciate all of that until we are older.



Now he just has a small vegetable garden but it would be considered a large garden by some standards.

garden tomatoes


My sister cans and freezes things from the garden. She doesn’t mind doing it and she hates for Dad to go to the trouble of planting the garden and the food going to waste.



Dad loves his flowers and has a long row of sunflowers.


Farm Fresh Tomatoes……Vine Ripened

He sent a bunch of tomatoes home with us. Sad to say….I don’t like tomatoes….except a thin slice on a BLT.

I hope I didn’t bore you guys with this long post. I feel like I rambled. I’m usually not this wordy.

See you tomorrow for Themed Furniture Makeovers. Have a great day!

To read the Arkansas /Alzheimer’s stories from the beginning start here…Stepping Out Of My Comfort Zone | Getting Personal


If you’ve read the stories this is the next installment….My Grandparents Home

Author: Kathy Owen
Kathy Owen is the founder of the home decor blog Petticoat Junktion where she shares tutorials on painting furniture and upcycling thrifty finds into unique home décor. Her DIY projects have been featured on the Home Depot Blog, Plaid Crafts, Behr Designer Series, and in numerous magazines. Kathy’s newest website is HappyHomeDIY.com

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  1. I just found your blog while at Eclectic Red Barn. My heart goes out to you about your Mom having Alzheimer’s. I took care of my Dad when he had Alzheimer’s. It’s not an easy road to travel. They say 1 in 3 people know someone who is living with Alzheimer’s. I’m glad your Dad and Mom have you. It makes a big difference. Not everyone living with this illness has family around to help. God bless you, your Dad and your Mom.

  2. A friend of mine sent me the link to your website. My father, a Korean Veteran, age 84 was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s two years ago. My mother, also same age, can’t care for him anymore and my sister and I now have him full-time in our homes. We also are taking care of our mother while she resides in the family to date. We’ve all cried so many tears that we could possibly have filled a bathtub full. The role of caretaker of loved ones with Alzheimer’s is a ride not understood by those that have never experienced it. My two brothers live out of state and try to come back home every three months or do to help with Dad allowing him to return to his home where he is most comfortable with. They stay one to two weeks, when they leave, my mom gives our Dad back to my sis and I. He’s pretty lucid several mornings a week but as the day wears on, he becomes disoriented, confused and agitated. I have 6 grandchildren, recently my daughter gave birth to twins and I’m riddled with guilt that I promised 10 months ago I would help her everyday, but now can’t. I love my Dad and will care for him as he cared for me until we can’t keep him safe anymore. Exhausting.

  3. My mom was recently diagnosed with dementia, maybe Alzheimers. She lives in Ohio, and I live in North Carolina. My two brothers live near her, and they have been so good for her. I appreciate them every day for all they do. Even more recently, she moved into a senior living center. The kind of care ranges from very independent to constant care. For now, she in independent, is able to go about her walks and shopping. The center where she lives provides meals, house cleaning and entertainment, like plays, music, bridge and other activities. She is absolutely thrilled with the place. She is making many friends, and meeting up with others she had known before. My brothers still do things with her, like take her to church and out to eat and socialize with other family members. My mom isn’t really ready to slow down, even though she can’t drive and has problems with her memory. We talk often, but I so wish I lived closer so I could visit more often. I’m glad you have a sister who is close to your dad and that your dad has a support system. I’m also glad your sister is willing to take care of the produce! We all have different roles in the family, and you share by doing what you can. My mom will be 80 in October, and all I can do is hope that she is well cared for in my absence.

  4. what beautiful sharing, both my parents suffered, my father like yours and my Mother or Parkensens both destroyed the people i knew. I grew up in a business family of fruits and vegies, we would drive to the farmers and pick and load the produce and then wholesale and retail them. I loved the business loved being i guess in the moment with them since that was all there was. I am sorry, i truly am. My parents suffered and i wish that on no one. Tell your Father I love his garden

  5. It is a lot! Please pray for us. Yes, I think the caregiver may suffer more than the patient.

  6. That’s funny about the watermelons and my dad would know when to pick them. Bless you for taking care of your mom for so long. Ovarian cancer is rough. My father’s sister died of Ovarian cancer in her early 50’s. Have you seen the reports about talcum powder being a cause of the cancer? I never heard that until recently.

  7. Thanks for sharing that lovely story! They put my mom on meds but I don’t know if it was too late or what but she had a bad reaction to them.

  8. Yes, He still loves his garden but I don’t know how much longer he will be able to do it. He raised cattle for years but a couple of years ago he said it was too much for him and sold them all.

  9. I enjoy reading your stories about your parents and hope you continue to share. Thoughts and prayers for your mom and dad, as well as, you and your family from an Arkansas reader.

  10. We went through that with my mother-in-law also and it is not a pleasant thing to have to do. I just hope it’s easier on them than it is on he family. Praying for you.

  11. Thank you for stepping out of your comfort zone to share with us. You never know who’s life you will touch. It was a nice post & I enjoyed reading it. God Bless you & your family 🙂

  12. Don’t mind you sharing your story at all, brings back memories of my grandparents. Alzheimer’s is so difficult to understand and watch a loved one affected by it. What a beautiful garden your Dad has and what a blessing that he is still able to plant one; I’m sure it is a needed distraction and brings him wonderful memories besides all the fresh, delicious veggies.

  13. Enjoyed you sharing about your Mom. I am 75, my brother has Alzheimer’s and is 7 years old than me. Several on my Mom’s family had this. Just a funny thing to give you a laugh. When my brother was first diagnosed and he saw me after quite a while. He said, “You’re fat!”. Well, he only remembers me when forever I weighed 112 lbs. but after several surgeries, etc. I did gain quite a bit of weight. My sis-in-law put him on a supplemental along with his other meds and he has improved quite a bit. He still has it, but can carryon a conversation and doesn’t tell me, “you’re fat” lol He has to have someone with him at all times and I pray for my sis-in-law because it is hard. Blessings and grace to you and your family.

  14. Kathy, God bless your mom and dad. My folks would have been their age if they were still here. They’re all from that generation where you did it all on your own, you didn’t ask for help. Daddy died while mom was in the nursing home recovering from a broken femur. She came home and I took care of her for two years, when we learned she had ovarian cancer. She went back to the nursing home when I couldn’t do it anymore. It has got to be the hardest thing on earth to do….take care of a loved one. After she died, I felt blessed that I was able to be the one to do it. There was not the awareness of the support a caregiver needs back then, not like there is now. I hope you all get the help that you need. Never turn down an offer. Mom didn’t know me at the end, and that was sad for me….I cannot imagine how a family deals with the heartbreak of Alzheimers. All my best wishes for the coming days. Sure wish I had your dad’s expertise now…. I have some volunteer watermelons that have appeared in the yard and I don’t have a clue when to pick them! He’d probably know. Good thoughts and prayers are coming your way.

  15. Beautiful! I don’t know how your Dad plants that big garden still!! A lot of my creative work comes from my memories of my family, our lives, and the people we were.
    Thank You for sharing. Your mom and dad are in my thoughts and prayers. (((HUG)))

  16. Thanks for sharing a bit of your world. I think sometimes it just helps a person to actually write down what is going on in their world. Kinda cleanses the brain… 🙂
    The garden is beautiful, and I am so glad your dad is able to get out and do a little something that he enjoys. I have always said, sometimes the care giver actually wears down before the person that is so sick does.
    Take care and I will say a little prayer for your family. I know its not much, but every little one counts.
    God Bless you.

  17. Du courage et un beau partage. Ma Maman à 96 ans, vit avec ma soeur, je suis à 600kms plus loin.

    Elle est encore en forme, même si elle trouve qu’elle ne peut plus faire comme avant.

    Des gros bisous à votre Papa et à vous. Vous avez un magnifique jardin.

  18. Kathy,
    I continue to enjoy and am inspired by your crafts, redos, up cycles, etc. Thank you so much for sharing your story. My mom has battled Alzheimer’s since 2003. I see her a few times a week, sometimes more or less depending on my work. She is not very responsive, and does not seem to recognize anyone or much of anything. I miss her (a best friend to me) so much.
    It helps to know, reading your blog, that I and my family are not alone. Thanks and God bless you and family.

  19. I’m so sorry. Alzheimers is such a devastating disease. Love the farm photos, and I’m glad your dad has some reliable help! Keep the blog posts coming!

  20. My respect and thanks for your sharing. I, too, hate that lost look; breaks my heart with a friend I have right now. Love plants and all things gardening, so I enjoyed the pictures and would enjoy more than a thin slice of a tomato! 🙂 God bless!

  21. Thank you for sharing. Sometimes it helps everyone else to know we are not alone in what we are going through.

  22. Thank you for sharing your story. I have two daughters with serious health issues and I know how painful it is to see your loved ones struggle. I will be praying for you and your family.

  23. Thank you for sharing some of your personal side. Sometimes when reading all the amazing things that bloggers write about, it seems they may not deal with all the ordinary things that we readers deal with. I know that sounds crazy. We all have to deal with life! This story puts it in perspective. For some of us, we deal with the hard stuff on such a daily basis, that we don’t even realize that we are doing something special.

  24. Thank you for sharing something that must have been very difficult for you and the family. Alzheimers must be one of the worst things to go through for everyone. Sending lots of love and hugs.

  25. Thanks for this story , and it is hard to open up on personal things. My Dad cared for my Mother (with Parkinson’s Disease) until her death, and went through similar situations as your Father. I hired a housekeeper (who was a personal friend of theirs) who also did laundry/cooking, which helped……but even with that, you see how hard being a caregiver is and how much support is needed. I didn’t live near them, and couldn’t give everyday support but they had an amazing group of friends. Your Father, like mine, deserves five stars in his crown.

  26. Everyone has a story hope you feel better sharing yours.much love and respect your way and to your family .