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 14 million by 2050. Our future is at risk unless we can find a way to change the course of this disease.
My grandmother, Sadie, had dementia towards the end of her life. While we joked about me being "Fati-Deni-Andrea!" (mine was always the third name after my mom and aunt) I could see the memory issue began to bother her. She never forgot who we were, and could remember stories from years/decades past, but the current things were harder. Make no mistake, though, she could still wipe the table with us at card games, regardless of what name she called us! She also loved travelling and spending time with her family and would often have the best remarks and additions to conversations when we all thought she was fast asleep.
She and my mom were like Thelma and Louise. She lived at home with us and they got to spend a lot of quality time together once my mom retired. Her part-time caretaker was a blessing in disguise as I was away at grad school most of the year. Juggling her own full-time career and caring for my grandmother took a toll on my mom in some ways, and not just financially. At the same time, it gave her a common thread with the man who is now the second love of her life, my step-dad. I don't know if the two of them would have ever connected if they didn't have that common trait of being the primary caretaker for their parent.
Sadly, Sadie left us in December 2012 to join the ranks of the angels. While her smile, wit, and culinary skills live on, we all wish we could have had one more day together. She lived long enough to see my mom remarry and be happy, but not dance at my wedding like we planned. She got to know two of her great-grandchildren, but not the three that came in more recent years.
My family was very fortunate in our time with her. She was the quiet leader in a room of loud and vocal leaders, yet we always heard her. Although the names and faces may get mixed up, she always knew us and knew who we were to her. There was never any doubt that she loved us and wanted nothing but the best for us.
I walk in support of all the grandkids who are losing time with their grandparents; for all of the "next generation" who won't get to know their family members from the generations before them. I can't bring my grandmother back, but I can do my part to help others get that one more memory with their loved one.
Together, we can end Alzheimer's disease. Please make a donation to advance the care, support, and research efforts of the Alzheimer's Association.
Thank you for joining the fight against Alzheimer's!
Thank you for helping advance Alzheimer's support, care and research.
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