Matt and Kimberly Roop
Soon enough, I started high school and didn't see Nana as much since I quickly became very busy. However, my entire family did start to notice a change in her behavior and overall demeanor. She started seeing doctors and in 2016, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. I had always known what Alzheimer's was, but never understood how much it truly affects a person's life, and the lives of those around them. My family worked together to care for her, for the next few years. We had a few mishaps along the way, like the fire department visiting our house after Nana flooded the bathroom causing water to leak through the ceilings and set off the alarm. But I really didn't mind the mishaps because at least I got to spend time with her. Seeing her walk around the house pointing at the firemen saying "he's a stud!" made the process a little more enjoyable. We loved caring for my Nana but eventually it got to the point where we couldn't anymore. It sounds silly because, how hard could it be? But if you have ever cared for someone with Alzheimer's you know what I mean.
In August of 2019, Nana moved into a memory care unit at a nursing home. It was sad to see her go, but we all knew it was best for her. I like to go visit her when I can. She can't walk anymore and can't move her arms or hands very well. She can't talk either. It's hard because these things are required to show people affection. I never reallized how much a hug, saying "I love you", or even a simple hand shake or high five really impacts your connection with someone. Although Nana can't do these things, I know she recognizes me when I see her. She might not know who I am or what my name is, but she knows that I matter to her, and that's all that matters to me.
Sometimes, I imagine a world where my Nana doesn't have Alzheimer's; a world where I can walk into Nana's house at 4 o'clock and see her on the couch watching "Judge Judy"; a world where I ask her how her day was and she says something back.
I want to help people who are in my Nana's shoes, as well as their loved ones. Nobody should ever have to watch someone they love suffer from a disease like this. Imagine a world where nobody has to; a world where every grandparent can talk to their grandchildren; a world where Alzheimer's has a cure.