My Mother-In-Law Has Alzheimers

My husband Dale and I are celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary this year and one thing I keep reflecting on, beyond our own journey, is our family and how everyone else’s lives have gone over these three decades. In this podcast, the first for the new year, Dale and I collaborate to share a part of our life adventure and that’s helping Dale’s mother, Leonie navigate the mysterious and unknown world of Alzheimers.

Click play to listen to the podcast

Dale and I in front of our first apartment, from 30 years ago.



If you could’ve told me that Leonie would encounter Alzheimers before it became a reality, I never would’ve believed it. For as long as I’ve known her, she’s been fiercely independent. She raised four kids as a single mother. She was a teacher who taught computers before we even really knew what computers were. In a roundabout way, it was because of Leonie that I even met Dale. because she got him involved in a Rotary Exchange Student Program which allowed him to live in America for a year. This was a big deal adventure for a 17 year old boy from Tasmania, the equivalent at the time of living at the other end of the earth. That experience gave Dale a taste for adventure and a love for the States and on a follow-up trip a few years later, we met across a crowded room and fell in love that night.



My Mother In Law, Leonie

My Mother In Law, Leonie




Dale, me and Leonie - this is an old photo, well before Leonie was diagnosed.

Dale, me and Leonie – this is an old photo, well before Leonie was diagnosed.


Leonie,and her husband of about 25ish years Kelvin, have their up and down days but I have to say, I get such inspiration from their attitude and outlook. They are devoted to each other and take on each challenge with courage and sensibility


Cupboards are marked so Leonie can find things in her kitchen



We are all kind of in  a “take it as it comes” mode mixed with a “try and prepare for the future” and this is not only for Leonie’s sake but for Kelvin’s. At this stage it seems like there are resources for both of them, it’s just a matter of navigating the system and a bit of trial and error. Because so many of us at midlife are finding ourselves with the reality of helping our parents in their stage of life, it’s really important to both Dale and I that we share what we’re going through. We’ll be talking about it more down the track and if this episode resonates with you, I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Kelvin and Leonie


If you have a family member who has Alzheimer’s here are some resources to check out:

Alzheimer’s Australia 

Alzheimer’s Speaks

Music used in this episode

What The World Needs Now Is Love

Walk On By

Anyone Who Had A Heart 




2 thoughts on “My Mother-In-Law Has Alzheimers

  1. Thank you all for such a beautiful podcast. Leonie sounds like a special star. My grandmother suffered alzheimers for the last 5- 10 years of her life. The last 2-3 years were spent in full time care. It was horrible for both her and us. The last few years she didn’t seem to recognise any of us, and she couldn’t speak to us at all, but like Leoinie, she could say bits of poems and songs only. A few days before she died, I visited her, and I was crying, because it was so awful to see her angry and lost. She reached out with her 93 year old hand and wiped the tears off my cheeks. She couldn’t speak, but this nonverbal communication was so tender, and yet so powerful.
    Thank you Dale, for talking so openly about, and with your mum, and thanks for inviting us to share in your mother and mother in law’s journey. Best Wishes for Leonie, Kelvin, and all her family.

    • Hey Rosie

      I hope all is good in your world today…

      Ahhh, thank you for such a beautiful comment. You know, it’s such a reminder that we have to remember that regardless of what happens with our minds, we’re still there. This memory of your grandmother says it all. And 93, wow…..

      I’ve passed your message on to Dale and will bring this note down to Leonie and Kelvin when we see them again soon. It means so much.

      Love from me xx


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