I am originally from Ohio (a big family of 9 children!) but have lived in Atlanta over 20 years. My dad and mom taught me about caring for others and enjoying life every day. I work for Smith & Howard Wealth Management, an investment and financial planning firm. Community service is one of the cornerstones of our culture.
Dr. Lisa Hasty is a dear friend who asked me to consider joining the Dancing with Stars Atlanta for 2019. Lisa is an amazing person and I was very excited and honored when she mentioned the opportunity to me. Several of my girlfriends have a parent that have been diagnosed in the past few years and the firm I work for has clients whose family members have been diagnosed, as well. I am participating in this event in honor of them.
Alzheimer’s changes the lives of everyone touched by it – the patient, family and friends – no one knows what’s next.
I learned this first-hand while visiting a client, who I’ve known for 18 years. I saw how extreme Alzheimer’s has affected him, his life and his wife who is his caregiver in just two short years. He had a tear in his eye, and looking into my eyes he said, “Lisa, I can’t even remember how to sign my name. I am losing my mind.” I was heartbroken. Thankfully, he has a very caring wife who stands by his side through it day and night. As a caregiver, she bears a difficult burden as well; her life is changed forever. She can’t leave him with anyone overnight because he might be scared and perhaps not recognize someone he has known for years. He can’t drive because there is a chance of him getting lost and forgetting how to get back home.
His wife recently told me that he started going to a community daycare center a couple of days a week to interact with other people suffering from Alzheimer's. It has been very good for him, but also for her. She has some free time to do things she enjoys, for instance, something as simple as getting her hair or nails done. The firm I work for has also helped her by taking steps to review their estate documents to make sure their financial and estate plans are in order, which has provided her with comfort and confidence as she begins to navigate this area of her life without her husband.
I recently began reading more at www.alz.org to learn how to work with Alzheimer’s patients and understand how they see the world. I learned that each of us can help by understanding and making them as comfortable as possible in how we react or respond to them. They might not remember 10 minutes or a day later what they spoke to you about. So, it is very important to have patience and be a good listener.
I am very passionate about serving clients and serving my community. And friends and family can confirm I am passionate about dancing, so this is something I am looking forward to very much in helping raise awareness.
Deep in my heart, I am very hopeful that someday the dedicated researchers will help us understand what is causing this devastating disease and find ways of prevention and a cure. God bless all the caregivers and families that live with this daily.
If you think this page contains objectionable content, please inform the system administrator.