Several years ago, my family learned that my father was suffering with dementia. I say several years because dementia is not readily apparent. The disease could have started 10 years ago, 15 years ago, even 20 years ago. Dementia is not something you can see on the person like you can a cut or a bruise. Dementia, being a disease of the mind, makes it seem like the person is just suffering with a bad memory. I always thought dad kept telling me the same stories over and over because he was just getting older. Eventually the disease became more apparent, and it seems like it was just happened overnight that he was unable to socialize or care for himself.
Dementia is a terrible disease and it is difficult to see my father going through it. The man who used to tell funny stories about the past (especially about my Grandpa Richardson) and know the correct answer to every question on Jeopardy now does not even have the mindset to be able to feed himself or take himself to the bathroom. He is now completely reliant on my mother to change him, feed him, and bathe him. My dad was/is a very prideful man, so although he cannot verbally express how he feels about being unable to care for himself, I know feels frustrated, defeated, and humiliated.Because I have seen how devastating dementia can be on the individual and their family, I've decided to lead the way to Alzheimer's first survivor by participating in the Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer's®. Currently, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's and that number is expected to grow to as many as 16 million by 2050. Our future is at risk unless we can find a way to change the course of this disease.
Together, we can end Alzheimer's disease. Please make a donation to advance the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer's Association.
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