My father was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s and passed away in 2013 at the age of 61. My father was active. After retiring from UPS as a manager he worked on putting together his own travel agency (pre 9-11) and worked at Home Depot. He was able to work on cars, do general repairs around the house, volunteer at church as part of the Knights of Columbus and boil a mean pot of crawfish.
It was hard to watch him begin to deteriorate. Unfortunately I live far away from my family so I only saw them a couple of times a year. For me it was obvious to see how different he was becoming each time I saw him. For my family that lived with him it was a slow, painful decline. It really hits you when they forget your name and every memory you’ve shared together. I feel blessed that my mom, sisters, niece and nephew were determined to take care of my father. I can’t imagine the monetary toll that takes on someone who has to send their loved one to a facility, but I did witness the emotional toll it took on my family who cared for him day after day. Their lives became all about caring for my father. I know they would do it all over again as I believe he could feel how much love was surrounding him until the end.
My hope with this walk is to raise more awareness about Alzheimer’s. We only think about the memory loss of the loved one but often times forget about the toll it takes on everyone left behind. This can be financially devastating and mentally taxing. I’m lucky to have a family that could take care of my father. Not everyone is that lucky.
I'm helping reclaim the future for millions 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 16 million by 2050. Our future is at risk unless we can find a way to change the course of this disease.
The end of Alzheimer's disease starts with you. Please make a donation to help the Alzheimer's Association advance research into methods of treatment, prevention and, ultimately, a cure.
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Thank you for helping advance Alzheimer's support, care and research.
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