Gaspar Rosado, known by all as Gary, is 61 years old and in the later middle stages of Alzheimer’s. I have been so fortunate to call him my husband for the past 34 years. Symptoms began appearing eight years ago when he was very forgetful and misplacing items. After undergoing numerous tests with a local neurologist, Alzheimer's was ruled out and left us hanging. His cognitive abilities continued to decline for the next couple of years so we traveled to New York City, seeking another professional opinion. After two appointments and more in-depth testing, we were given the devastating diagnosis of Early Onset Alzheimer's. Gary was only 57 years old.
Gary is a proud Puerto Rican, who has a passion for dancing and loves to sing along to music from all decades. He has been an amazing father to two daughters who are the center of his world. He is a gentleman, opening the car door for me, and he is a romantic, pulling me into his arms to dance to a love song. This man was one of the most talented people you would ever want to meet. His hand crafted jewelry, Ukrainian eggs, puppets, Halloween costumes, and piñatas were just a few of his talents. His original design won a contest for the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival when he created the Wizard of Oz theme.
Gary still has the best sense of humor and is very affectionate. Every day, he makes me laugh and gives me kisses and hugs. However, he has progressed to the beginning of stage 6 of Alzheimer's. He can no longer complete tasks without repeated prompts. He needs help with simple tasks like cutting up his food, changing clothes, brushing teeth, and taking a shower. Confusion and anxiety are daily challenges. He cannot be left alone and he has lost the ability to entertain himself with his past hobbies. He is no longer my handyman who could fix anything. The circle of people he knows has become only long time friends and close family.
How has this disease impacted my life? I retired 2 years ago at the age of 55 from a job that had been fulfilling to me for 30 years. However, I want to devote my time to making special memories with Gary because time is now our enemy. I walk a fine line between treating a grown man with dignity while in reality it is more like taking care of a child. As his cognitive abilities decline, he loses more independence which places more responsibility on me. I miss my romantic partner on special days of the year. One of the hardest parts is knowing that, as this disease progresses, we will continue to face more challenges. With every joyous feeling follows sadness because we do not want the good times to end. I also manage a 24/7 team of caregivers for my mother, Rose, who is in the late stages of Alzheimer's and lives nearby.
I get through each day by trying to focus on our blessings. Gary is living at home with the help of amazing caregivers who enjoy spending time with him. They start each day with an exercise routine and then take him on scenic walks, provide him with socialization, and engage him in activities to stimulate his brain. This gives me respite to handle my responsibilities. I am so fortunate to have the support and love from friends, family, and caregivers.
Please consider a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association in honor of Gary. Your contribution will raise awareness, support local families with services like respite, and fund the research that will someday discover a cure. Additionally, please click on our daughter Gabriela Rosado’s Tik Tok link below to view the incredible videos she has made of Gary over the past 2 years. Link to Gabriela Rosado's TikTok page They will make you laugh and cry. The money made from the number of “hearts” she receives on the videos will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association. Please click on the link to my individual page, Debbie Rosado, in order to claim a thank you gift for your donation. We thank you for taking the time to read about our journey. With gratitude, Debbie and Team Gary
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