For those of you who don't know me, my name is Jessica. I have been affected by Alzheimer's twice in my lifetime. The first was my paternal grandmother. She was diagnosed late in life with Alzheimer's, slowly changing her personality and behaviors to that of a child. In 2007 I lost both my grandfather and 4 months later my grandmother. During this time my father was also diagnosed (at age 52) with Early-Onset Alzheimer's. It wasn't obvious at first that he had dementia but things started to make more sense after the diagnosis. Slowly over the next 6 years his mental health declined and became unable to work. He was cared for at home by our family to make sure he was living comfortably. With the help of the State of Michigan Department of Aging, we were able to care for him and stay working to support our family. There were hard times during the couple of years that we had people coming in to assist us, from workers falling asleep or leaving the house without telling any of us to stealing food and items from our house. This made things more difficult for us and we were forced to consider taking shifts to make sure a family member was there to provide proper care. During this time he got progressively more forgetful, needed constant observation because he loved to wander, and showed more aggression. In 2015 after a health scare and the increased aggression, we were forced to put him into an Alzheimer's care center nearby. This was the hardest decision we've made because nobody wants to ever see their loved ones go into a home where they are not in constant oversight of their loved ones. On January 31, 2017 (4 days before his birthday) I lost my father to Alzheimer's .
My hope is that eventually researchers will find treatments to slow or reverse this disease's progression, along with possible options for testing to prevent the disease for those who are at risk. This disease doesn't just destroy someone's mental capacity but also affects their loved ones for prolonged time periods. Alzheimer's and dementia does not discriminate based on age/sex/race/lifestyle, it can affect anyone of us at any time in life. Unfortunately it is becoming more common to see people showing signs of the disease sooner in life now, including a high population of baby boomers. So please, donate and help researchers with funding for trials so that we can get this disease under control. Also spread the word to others about this disease, you may not think you know people affected by this disease but it is not as obvious as you would think it is. I also want to make sure that there is some kind of training that employees of companies should be required to have to work with people suffering with Alzheimer's. No one should have to worry that their loved one isn't being taken care of properly by those "trained" staff members who take care of them while you go to work.
Thank you for helping advance Alzheimer's support, care and research.
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