My dad forgot things. It didn’t seem like anything new.
Spring 2011,my family moved into a new house, and my parents were visiting. My dad walked outside to get the mail, and then tried to walk into our neighbors’ house. I could tell it really bothered him, but we didn’t make a big deal of it.
In Fall 2012, my father was officially diagnosed with dementia, Alzheimer's Disease. By this time, he was suffering from middle-stage (moderate or stage 5) Alzheimer’s Disease. Because my parents live in Canada, I would fly home for most appointments with his geriatric doctor so I could also understand what was happening to him and help determine if medication should be an option. During this time, I leaned on the Alzheimer’s Association website to learn about this horrible disease. I wanted to understand what was happening to my dad.
Dad became completely dependent on my mother. Eventually things became concerning, and we feared he might hurt himself or others. He had flooded their kitchen multiple times, was not sleeping during the night, and was starting to wander outside. He also showed signs of anger toward people, mainly men. Early in 2017, we made one of the hardest decisions in my life and father was admitted into a memory care facility.
In early 2018, I made it a personal goal to help educate others and raise money for Alzheimer’s Disease; and with this, I reached out to volunteer. Through my time as an Alzheimer’s Association volunteer, I have been able to raise over $15,000. I have also connected a Monsanto family network group (Sandwich Generation) to help provide many learning sessions on Alzheimer’s Disease.
In the fall of 2018, we were finally able to convince my mother to move to a retirement home. Throughout the years dealing with Dad, she had normal forgetfulness. After all, she was over 80. Then in March 2020, as you know all too well, COVID-19 hit, and everything went into full lockdown. My mother was restricted to her two-room apartment for around three and a half months. While she was in this solitary state, my family and I talked to her multiple times a day through phone and FaceTime. However, she had no human-to-human contact or exercise.
In July 2020, it was clear there was something wrong with her memory. My brother and his wife started looking for an assisted living facility (up in Canada) for my mom to move to closer to him.
In October 2020, after one year without seeing my parents, I was able to travel across the border to Canada. I spent two weeks in self-isolation. I then brought Mum to stay with me before we moved her into her new apartment. We were able to get her on some medications to help stabilize her memory. But, with the pandemic ,it would take months until we could get her into a neurologist and geriatric doctor. We had peace of mind knowing that she was fully cared for and had someone administering her medicines.
In March 2021, my mother was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. It does not seem fair that we must watch this horrible disease run its course, twice, through both of my parents, but I fear it is our fate.
In 2018, I ran a half marathon to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association. In 2019, my daughter and I ran another half marathon to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association. In 2020 I rode 100 miles on my bicycle (in one day) to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association. I am not sure what I will do this year, but I do know I will continue to raise money to fight this terrible disease.
Thank you for helping advance Alzheimer's support, care and research.
I have raised