Here is my story. When I was 8 or 9 years old my grandpa Riedel was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. I didn't know what it was but knew he was changing. Somehow in my short 9 years we had a role reversal. He went from taking care of me every day after school to me taking care of him when my mom would take my granny for groceries or out shopping. It was heartbreaking as a kid to have someone you were with every day fade away. Eventually he couldn't be taken care of and was placed in the VA Hospital in Tomah, WI. I went with my mom and granny EVERY Sunday to visit him. We would always stop and get him his favorite ice cream, strawberry. My grandpa was diagnosed at the age of 58 years old. 58!! We said goodbye to him at the age of 76.
My granny Riedel was next to start losing her memory. At first it was really slow but then it seem to speed up. Our entire family would have never been ready to lose this lady to dementia. She was the most sweet loving and caring person set on this earth. When you can have 7 children and 18 grandchildren and make them all feel like you were their best friend, you're doing something right. Granny walked in honor and then in memory of her husband every year. And when she couldn't walk it anymore, we pushed her in a wheelchair. The most wonderful thing my family did for granny was to keep her at home where she was comfortable and familiar with her surroundings. She didn't know any of our names but the love in her eyes never left her. It literally took the entire family to pull together to achieve this, but something we all treasure doing. We lost granny at the age of 87.
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 16 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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