Join the Humboldt Senior Resource Center's Alz Steppers team for the Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer's®, the nation's largest event to raise awareness and funds to end Alzheimer's dementia. Together, we can advance research to treat and prevent Alzheimer's, and provide programs and support to improve the lives of millions of affected Americans.
With community support, we have built a state of the art Alzheimer's Resource Center and are serving individuals and families with Alzheimer's dementia and related disorders. It's now time to take on the challenge of ending Alzheimer's dementia and we can be part of the solution. Join us by contributing to the HSRC ALZ STEPPERS Team today. If you can't make a contribution, but would still like to support the cause, please register to walk the day of the event.
To better understand the impact of Alzheimer's Dementia and how your support can help change the lives of people facing this condition, we have invited two women, one a former caregiver and the other a current caregiver, from our community to share their stories below.
by Karenna Wright
I lost my husband Alan to dementia in July 2011. Ours is the story of a passionate, urgent midlife romance cut short by early-onset dementia. The day after we met, he asked me to marry him; I wondered what took him so long to ask. The wedding was a few months later.
A short nine months after the ceremony, Alan was diagnosed with dementia. I was 53, he was 61. I was his caregiver from the beginning through to the finish. Before the end of our sixth year, he was gone.
During our time together, there was a typical, progressive decline in Alan's cognitive functions, affecting his thought processes, reasoning, memory, attention, language, and problem-solving capabilities, as well as his balance and motor skills.
As his dementia accelerated, I often spent entire days and evenings helping him do what he couldn't until eventually I did it all for him. I was his memory, his cook, waitress, driver, laundress, administrative assistant, psychologist, manicurist, IT specialist, physical therapist, nurse, social director, and pack mule. I was his everything; he was my all.
Later, Alan needed a team of people to care for him and was moved to a nursing home. While it upset us both, it gave me strength to live lighter, to be better able to support him, to let our love guide us through the thorny period of losing each other.
To this day I am wildly grateful for having had Alan in my life, even if for a short time. But it still breaks my heart there was no cure or relief for him, that he had to go through the confusion, agony, and torture of this disease with no hope but death, that I lost the love of my lifetimes to an illness with no cure.
WALK TO END ALZHEIMER'S
By Dorelee Heisler
Yes, that is what we all want to do. Along with other brain related diseases. I want to tell you how I look at Alzheimer's Disease. Have you ever tried to get into a small boat off a dock? You get one foot into the boat, the other foot is still on the dock The boat starts to move away from the dock. Can you see the problem? To me the boat is Alzheimer's, we have one foot in the boat, but in order to solve Alzheimer's Disease we have to get in the boat with ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE successfully.
My husband of 56 years, Andy, has Alzheimer's Disease plus he had a frontal lobe brain bleed the size of a baseball. All this has really erased his memories. He still knows me, but does not talk much unless asked a question. I took care of him with the help of Adult Day Care of Mad River along with some help from the V.A. for respite, but it has taken its toll on me. Even with help. I spent many hours giving one step instructions just for Andy to get up and get ready for day care or any other activities of the day. Nighttime I slept with one ear open.
Andy is a snacker, so I had to hide all food items. I thought I was safe by freezing hot dogs for a dinner later, but the day I went to get them, 2 were missing. He had gotten up during the night and found them in the freezer. I don't know if he ate them frozen or took them back to his bed until that got soft. I could tell you many more stories, a lot of them funny.
In May 2015 doctors told me I couldn't do the work of 8 people. I had to place him in a long term care home that specializes in dementia. That tore my heart out. I felt I had failed. I now know better but that is what my insides felt. I was also feeling very lonely. I turned to my Old English Sheepdog for company.
Weekly I talk with Andy on the care home phone, Andy having been employed for 33 years with the telephone company, understands the phone well. Our visits on the phone are very enjoyable and satisfying to me. I visit him in person as often as I can.
My work for him has not stopped. There is all of the paperwork to be done, just for his care to continue. I know there are many families dealing with these same issues. That is why we all have to "WALK TO END ALZHEIMER'S."
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