My dad was my best friend, my sounding board, and my cheerleader. I miss him so much. Especially when I'm sitting right next to him.
In January 2012, my father was forced into early retirement from the career he loved as a professor at South Dakota State University. He, like his father, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease at an early age.
Over the next several years, my family did our best to adjust. My mom dealt with the night wandering, the aggression, and the anxiety that are common to Alzheimer's. My sister quit her job to care for our dad (and her two toddlers!) during the day. My brother in law became the go-to for all house issues...some real, and some imagined by dad's hallucinations. I traveled home when I could, and I tried to help as much as possible from afar - eventually becoming dad's conservator so that I could help to financially prepare my parents for their very non-traditional retirement.
The last ten years have been a roller coaster. Watching my dad's progression with the disease has been really painful:
- Forgetting how to manage the family finances
- Forgetting how to drive
- Forgetting how to play golf
- Forgetting that he has children
Throughout each painful experience, the Alzheimer's Association has been there for my family. They have provided resources, suggestions, and support. They have provided encouragement through my darkest days, and they have laughed with me through some of the more humorous moments.
As a result, I am walking this year to raise awareness for Alzheimer's disease and to raise funds for the Alzheimer's Association. These funds will be used to provide support for other families like mine, and more importantly, to fund research that will someday treat or even cure Alzheimer's disease.
Thank you for helping advance Alzheimer's support, care and research.
I have raised
Elite Grand Champion