My name is Frank S.P. Yacino and I was the primary caregiver of my wife, Barbara, who became afflicted with dementia/Alzheimer's in 1997, although we believe it started in 1992 when she was 57 years old.
It started to "go downhill" sometime in 2002. We went through a lengthy period of no vocalization at all, and being bed-ridden for the last eight months of her life. We used a Sara-lift to maneuver her from the bed to the commode for that time period. During the day, aides were here to help out, along with aides to get her out of bed in the morning and into bed at night. The aides came to us from the Summit Elder Care Program that we belonged to. For a little over seven years, until September 2012, Barbara went to Day Care at Summit twice a week until she could no longer ride in the van. Since then, all of her care was at home.
In 2013, we'd been married fifty-six years, and my vow then was to care for Barbara, "in sickness and in health, until death do us part", and I did the best I could to fulfill that vow. It certainly was a struggle of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's. I say to you, you are a special person and you should be proud of what you do on a daily basis for your loved one. Keep up the good work. Your reward will be great in the hereafter.
On August 28, 2013, Barbara passed away in her bed at home, after a twenty-one year battle, from early on-set to her death with this very dreadful disease.
After Barbara passed away, I wrote a book about our journey with Alzheimer's disease called, The Long Good-Bye. It's geared to help caregivers understand what their journey may be like. We know, however, that no two patients are the same, although there will be many similarities. This is Barbara's story. I sell the books at support groups that I speak at, and a portion of the cost is donated to the Alzheimer's Walk each year. This is my way of keeping Barbara's memory and spirit alive, and to let other caregivers know they are not alone and that there is help out there for them. Each dollar raised for the walk will help the cause to find a cure for Alzheimer's. I plan to do my part for as long as I am able to do so.
Thank you for helping us advance Alzheimer's support, care and research!
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