Alzheimer's has been devasting to my family. My mom and my grandmother fought long battles with the disease and my dad is currently fighting it. If you don’t want to read further my life advice would be "don’t wait for tomorrow" and I would love your support in the year's Walk to End Alzheimer's.
I am not quite sure when my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I was a kid and just observed the transition… She moved from Ohio to Massachusetts to be close to us, into assisted care, into an in-law suite that my parents added on to our home and eventually into a nursing home. I remember trying to talk with her and getting glimpses of stories from her life but then watching her get lost somewhere in it. She was a strong lady, mentally and physically and unfortunately the disease worked slowly taking her away too soon but leaving her body here for too long.
Little did we know that while my grandmother was living with us my mom's Early Onset Alzheimer's was quietly starting to show signs. She was not diagnosed until I graduated from college and she did not want me to know. My dad cared for her in their home (with support) until the end. He brought her flowers, helped her continue exercising as long as possible and brought as much joy as possible into her life every day. Fitness and health were a passion of hers my whole life. She had done everything right with her life. She was kind and thoughtful. She worked out daily, sometime twice a day. She ate healthy foods, barely drank and never smoked. How unfair. She passed away just after my 3rd child was born. I viewed it as a blessing as her quality of life was so diminished. In the end that was not the person, mom or grandmother she wanted to be.
We were looking forward to my Dad living a more independent life. He had been a care taker for so long. But life does not always work that way. He had told me he would get Alzheimer's and he did. I am sure he does not want you to know. This year the disease has progressed. He is no longer able to live independently but his spirit remains. He loves his family, friends and dogs. He loves helping people. He loves helicopters, planes and cars. He would actually like to get a job working at Bell Helicopter or go back into the army :). He is smart (and stubborn). He will be walking with me, my family and some friends on September 14th.
The worst part of this story is that treatment for Alzheimer's has not changed one bit since my grandmother was diagnosed. The medicine is the same. It is supposed to slow down the progression but the pace of progression is different from person to person so who knows… Please support me in helping to end Alzheimer's.
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