My story is probably similar to so many others who have lost someone to Alzheimer’s disease. Yet that doesn’t make it easier does it? The slow progression, the unknowing of what’s next, the heartache of seeing your loved one suffer, it’s all relatable.
My mom was the strongest person I ever knew. She was fun and super sassy. Growing up, I don’t recall her ever being sick, not even a cough. I got sick a lot and she always, ALWAYS, took good care of me. Her methods are ones I mirror today with my own daughter. Then, suddenly one day, she out of no where was just not the same. It hit very suddenly. Her behavior became peculiar and I didn’t feel like she was herself anymore. For a year, I battled internally and with her that she needed to see a doctor that something was wrong. She refused. Did I mention she was strong, well, she was also stubborn. As time went on, it became more and more clear that she needed help, help that I couldn’t give. I was pregnant and in my first trimester when I received a call from Adult Protective Services that my mom was hotlined by a neighbor concerned for her safety. For the next two weeks, in order to visit my mom, I had to leave my belongings in a locker, be patted down by security, and escorted to a secured floor of a hospital. What just happened? What’s going on with my mom? Nobody knew. I spoke to doctor after doctor who gave me the run around. Eventually, she was moved into a nursing home where her disease progressed rapidly. My speculation was due to inadequate care and untrained staff that didn’t force her to take medication. It never occurred to me to call the Alzheimer’s Association and ask for help even when I felt the most hopeless. I wanted so badly to be the person she was for me when I was sick but I couldn’t. I was paralyzed mentally by this experience. After mom died, I finally found the strength to get the therapy I needed. Today, while my mental health is better, my heart is still broken. I won’t stop fighting for her. Together, we can help fund the research needed to find a cure. Even more important, we need our voices to be heard so that we are here to help those who are struggling to understand this disease and the best ways to help their loved ones. Never should anyone in a caregiver position feel lost when they are already losing so much.
I'm leading 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 14 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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