My dad Jimmy has suffered from dementia for over seven years now and was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2015. It has without a doubt turned my world upside down. Where I had reason, there is insanity. Where I had a confidant, there is a blank stare. Where I had a parent, there is a child. But my struggles are minor compared to the dismay and confusion he must feel every day. My heart breaks for him. And now I watch him fade away even more... slowly day by day.
It has now been over 6 years since I made the cross-country move to settle in Reno, NV and care for my dad. I could not have predicted the challenges (and comic relief) that I would face in caring for my dad. Every day is an adventure and I never know what's in store for me, but I am forever grateful to have the opportunity to spend this time with my dad and help him along this journey.
Earlier this year, my dad got COVID from exposure at senior daycare. After spending a few weeks with him in quarantine, I realized how much his dementia had really progressed and how much I was living in a daily "fight or flight" mode trying to care for him by myself. After many sleepless nights, I made the difficult decision to place my dad in a Memory Care unit for Veterans where a dedicated, robust staff of professionals could take over his care and I could step back into the role of being his daughter. I'm still a caregiver and his legal guardian, overseeing his care and visiting him regularly. Honestly, the transition has been harder on me than him. This disease takes so much out of us all and I have now experienced so many stages of caregiving - caring remotely from across the country, caring from across town, living with him and caring for him 24/7 for over 3 years, and now caring as his daughter while he resides in a Veterans home. I don't know what the future holds, but every day I just pray that I am doing right by him and that he enjoys his moments to the fullest.
Now more than ever we need your help to fight this disease. Alzheimer's affects millions of people in the US and that number is expected to grow rapidly. 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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