One day over 15 years ago, I was told that Angelo had Alzheimer's Dementia. As his wife and caretaker I soon learned just how devastating this disease is. It's more than someone being forgetful or having a 'senior moment'. Alzheimer's robs the person of their dignity as the mind begins to forget how to do things that we take for granted: walking, dressing, bathing, eating.
I didn't tell Angelo that he had Alzheimer's but he knew that there was something wrong. Then one night, while watching a TV special where celebrities talked about their family members who had Alzheimer's, he turned to me and said 'that's what I have' and I said 'Yes'.
I made him two promises. The first was that I would not leave him but that I would be there to support and care for him. I kept that promise and was there when he took his last breath. The second promise was that I would continue to do whatever I could to help find a cure for this disease. I have been keeping that promise ever since.
The years after his diagnosis were not easy. I had to learn about the disease and try to understand what was happening as well as what to expect. And although there are symptoms and expected changes and progression of the disease - I had to be prepared for the unexpected. The mood swings, temper tantrums, bouts of being afraid and fear of the unknown.
I tried to handle this on my own - I really wish I had known about the Caregiver support that the Alzheimer's Association provides. The funds raised will not only go towards medical research, but also continue to fund the other programs available - especially Caregiver support and the Association's 24/7 hotline.
Recently, there has been more awareness of the increase in dementia cases, in particular Alzheimer's and the affect it is having on health costs. As we continue to live longer, the numbers continue to grow. AND THERE IS NO CURE. Currently, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's and that number is expected to grow to as many as 16 million by 2050. We need to change the course of this disease.
These are some of the reasons why I participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer's, why I am a planning committee member and why I am askng for your help. I am asking you to join my team, raise funds and walk on Saturday, November 4th. If you can't walk, please consider making a donation here on my team page or by mail. By participating in the Alzheimer's Association 2018 Walk to End Alzheimer's, I'm committed to raising awareness and funds for Alzheimer's research, care and support.
The end of Alzheimer's disease starts here. And that's a PROMISE I intend to keep!
Thank you for helping us advance Alzheimer's support, care and research!
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