Walk to End Alzheimer’s
More Walks to End Alzheimer’s are scheduled for the upcoming weekends. Walk. Donate what you can.
You already know someone with this disease—a family member; a friend; it might even be you, though you don’t know it. When you forget something, do you wonder? It doesn’t mean you have this disease, but we all have heard about it, most of know someone who clearly has it, but the fact is that many of us will get it and many may already have it.
There are tremendous personal, physical, and financial costs to this disease. Many victims have no one to care for them. Many must rely on family members who are already in difficult circumstances while trying to recover from job loss or business losses. And the disease affects those who have it in different ways, and the disease brings about changes over time.
Marie was my mother-in-law. Yesterday was her 94th birthday. She died in March 2014 after 15 years of Alzheimer’s. She was as nice, as smart, as loving, as caring, as anyone could be. And she was fortunate to have a husband who was able to care for her in their home right up to the end. When she died, I like to think that her memories came back to her. I wrote this poem in her honor. I put it on a photo of her taken by my daughters several years ago. They were showing their Nana how to use an Ipod. Thus the ear plugs. She loved teaching my daughters and learning from them too. Special memories for my daughters, and I like to think that Marie now now remembers those special moments too—all of them.
This disease is coming home to many of us. And there is no cure, yet. Even more, there are things that caregivers need to learn about how to care for those with the disease.
But sadly, there are many people who have no one to help them or care for them. They may have no medical care, or no way to get there. They have little or no dental care. They may have no money. They may have no idea they are ill. Call or write your elected representatives. There are things that simply require government to be involved. Research must be done, both on the causes of the disease and on cures. Care must be available, not just for those with the disease, but also for those who care for them, because the mental and physical strain of caring for them can be enormous. Education about the disease, and about what to expect and what to do, must be available for caregivers.