Five years ago, I embarked on a new adventure, and began working for the Alzheimer’s Association. I didn’t know much about the disease, other than it was something that happened to very old people, like my grandfather, who in his mid-80’s, was tied to his bed, while he cried out all day. I know today that Alzheimer’s is a very sad disease, and can affect people even in their 50’s. The disease is has no treatment, no cure, and the saddest part of all, is that you lose control over your life. As you progress, you can no longer make decisions for yourself, and lose those precious memories that you spent a lifetime gathering. The last five years have changed me. Today, I am more compassionate, empathetic, and I worry far less about the little things in life.
I’ve heard so many stories of families who’ve lost family members, or are on the journey; the lost eyes in their loved ones, the sundowning, the wife who lost her husband at 60, after caring for him for over 7 declining years, the 80 year old taking care of her 85 year old spouse with dementia, trying to keep them at home, and sons and daughters rearranging their whole life to care for mom or dad.
I’ve been introduced to individuals with Alzheimer’s, and learned to meet them where they are. I’ve given many people the 24/7 800# to get help. It’s not an easy disease to navigate. I’ve watched these same family member raise thousands of dollars to help find a cure, provide hope, education, and guidance. When I tell someone where I work, I can tell right away if they’ve had it in their family. Their eyes are all the same…haunted, scared for themselves and their children and determined. I’ve learned that national charities like the Alzheimer’s Association, do help lead the way through education, support, research and advocacy. I never expected all of this five years ago when I signed on to have some fun, and “run a couple of walks.” It’s been life changing and humbling. If you have someone with dementia in your family, know that the Alzheimer’s Association is here for you 24/7 with education and support, and hope for a treatment in our lifetime. Thank you to everyone who has supported me on this endeavor.
Thank you for helping advance Alzheimer's support, care and research.
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