My mother has it and so do some of yours. Alzheimer's disease is a tireless thief. It steals memories, family connections and energy. Visits to my mom at her specialized living center can be so drab I leave with my head hanging low and end up with my face in a pint of Ben and Jerrys.
But to my own surprise it is my own invention that has brightened our days. Using Thumball even the ones originally intended for 'early learners" have given Mom and I a place to focus. Asking her to name the animal, shape or letter under her thumb can be fun. Just when I think she has lost all her skills she comes alive and says "Oh that's a cat, we had a cat named Snowball but he ran away." She needs prompts and cues but she is doing something and we are sharing a memory and learning together.
I tell her my own stories, show her how the shape of things is all around her and name words which begin with b or m or p. Mom likes it and so do I. I leave now with more hope and look at her with a comforting Thumball in her hand and think, today I can drive past the market because I don't really need the ice cream I just needed my mom.