During medical school, my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. Prior to her diagnosis and while I was in college, my mom began missing bill payments and forgetting events such as hair appointments. Initially my family and I attributed this due to stress- it's not easy being the mother to 5 kids! However, as I learned about AD and other dementias in my medical training, I realized that my mom's symptoms checked many boxes concerning for the disease. When I came home, I administered a "Mini-Cognitive" test to my mom which she unfortunately did poorly on. AD can be easy to miss early on, especially in people who develop the disease at a younger age. The Alzheimer's Association does a ton of work to spread awareness of the disease including signs that people should watch for.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been uniquely challenging for those with Alzheimer's Disease. As a resident physician, I saw the disproportionate impact on mortality of the disease on patients with AD and other types of dementias. Furthermore, the inability for family members to visit their loved ones during the quarantine, negatively impacting overall care and recovery. Because of my hospital work, I practiced strict social distancing from my family including my mother. The lack of routine and extra support made caring for my mom difficult. What was even worse was her sadness and anger that she was not able to see her kids, especially on her birthday last April.
There are many unknowns in caring for loved ones with AD, and COVID-19 has added an additional dimension of uncertainty and fear. The Alzheimer's Association provides resources to patients and families to help navigate through the management and progression of the disease, including a 24/7 caregiver hotline. They have added additional resources including online memory cafes and video chats to assist during the pandemic. They also continue to advocate for increased access to resources and funding towards ultimately finding a cure.
While the 2020 Walk to End Alzheimer's will be virtual in nature, the love and generosity will certainly be tangible through the work of the Alzheimer's Association. I hope you consider making a donation to help those today and to create a world without Alzheimer's in the future. On behalf of my mom, my family and myself: thank you for joining our fight.
Thank you for helping us advance Alzheimer's support, care and research!
I have raised
Elite Grand Champion