My mom was diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s two and half years ago. She hosted Christmas Eve every year since as long as I can recall. My family along with my two brothers gather at my folks house each year. Including our kids and their spouses we total over 20! She does all the preparing. Being of Italian decent that includes a variety of pasta and seafood dishes. 2007 Christmas Eve preparation became increasingly difficult as she just couldn’t keep up with all that was required. She became very frustrated and depressed. That is when we took her for tests and she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. She went from an incredibly smart and independent senior to one that has difficultly in doing and recalling the simplest day to day activities. She was an avid member of America Online until the age of 80 emailing her 9 grandchildren who were off at college daily. She would check the results of my NYRR’s races online and before I made it home would call me on my cell to congratulate me on my time!
It has been especially difficult for my Dad who is 88 since she literally did everything for him from “soup to nuts”: the check book, the savings accounts, the birthday gifts, retirement planning, cooking, housecleaning , you name it she did it. Now he has been taken to do all she has in the past. He is doing a great job but it hasn’t been easy.
Anyway she continues to amaze me with her incredible positive attitude and sense of humor. I have yet to see her down at any point during this process. I believe the medication she is on has helped. While there is no cure it has slowed the process.
I just hope it continues to help. That is why I’m involved with the R2R Team because I can see firsthand the benefits that research has provided and that with additional funding it can only speed of the process of finding a cure.
Since my writing last year my Mom's primary caretaker, my dad passed away last month. It seems his passing has accelerated her illness as myself and my brothers now have first hand knowledge of her difficulties. We are fortunate in that we were able to find a caretaker Mon – Fri while we all pitch in on weekends as she can not be left at home alone. We have already taken advantage of some of the wonderful services offered by Alz as we registered her to the "Safe Return" program. The recent developments in my family only reinforces my resolve to do as much as I can possibly do to help others who are in similar or worse off situations then us .
For me it's an honor to again be part of a very special Team "R2R" supported by an amazing group of coaches and support staff!