Dec 062013
 
When My World Became All Things Alzheimer's

“In all likelihood, you have mild cognitive impairment that will eventually lead to younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease, especially with your family’s history.” With that brief pronouncement, my world, my husband’s world and our children’s world changed forever. My husband Jim was 48 when we heard those words. I was 40. Our daughter was 9 and our son was 6. I wasn’t exactly sure what it all meant. The more reading and research I did, the more depressed I became. [...]

Nov 252013
 
Five Tips to Help Caregivers Get Their Zzzs

When it comes to caring for a parent, spouse or other loved one, sleep is not for beauty. It is essential to maintain health and the energy needed to be a caregiver. Uninterrupted, restorative sleep (7 to 9 hours) is recommended by most experts. But for many of the nation’s 65 million family caregivers, sleep is an elusive luxury.  In fact, a National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) study on caregiver health risks found 87 percent of those [...]

Sep 242013
 
There Are Many Reasons I Walk to End Alzheimer's

The first change I noticed in my dad was his inability to write out checks.  I stopped by his office one day, and he was sitting at his desk with the checkbook open.  Several balled-up checks were scattered on his desk. He was slow to speak, but finally admitted that he could not write out the check correctly. On one check, he had transposed the numbers for the amount to be paid.  On another check, [...]

Aug 302013
 
Why I Walk to End Alzheimer’s

Why do I Walk to End Alzheimer’s? Good question. I don’t do it for me. I walk because I have a husband who has younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease. I walk because my husband’s brother passed away from younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease. I walk because their Mom passed away from younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease —and possibly their Grandmother and Uncle. My husband is 51. His brother was 52. I walk because I have two children, a 9-year-old son and [...]

Aug 232013
 
Alzheimer’s, Nana and Me

I was 9 when I saw my mom and my Da crying, and I thought my Nana must be sick.  When I asked no one would tell me anything. Then one weekend, when Nana and I were going to watch movies all night and eat popcorn, I asked her if she was sick.  She explained to me that her body was not sick, but her brain was. It was the first time I had ever [...]

Jun 242013
 
300 Miles to Remember

When my friend Kim and I first heard about The Longest Day last year, we immediately knew what activity we wanted to do: Run! We both had been running and participating in road races for several years and the event seemed like a perfect opportunity to use our hobby to raise funds for an important cause.  For the second year in a row, we ran during the entire 16 hours of daylight as a two-person [...]

Jun 212013
 
With Hope and Strength for Margie

My wife of 32 years, Margie, started showing symptoms of Alzheimer’s at age 50. Three years later, we met with her primary care physician who ran down the list of warning signs. He was sure it wasn’t Alzheimer’s because “she was way too young for that.” He was wrong. Now at age 57, Margie is in the late stages of younger-onset Alzheimer’s. Margie’s mother died of Alzheimer’s in 2010 and her sister, now in her [...]

Jun 212013
 
For the Love of LuLu on The Longest Day

My mom, whom we lovingly call LuLu, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2008. We have been through quite the journey ever since.  There have been challenging and scary times when we didn’t know what might lie ahead, and there have also been incredibly inspiring times, when we’ve been touched by others who readily jump in to help based on their own experiences with Alzheimer’s.  When I heard about The Longest Day, a 16-hour Alzheimer’s Association [...]

Jun 212013
 
Raising Awareness About Dementia With Every Step

More than 3,000 days have passed since I noticed something was wrong with my mom. At first, I didn’t believe the subtle changes could be dementia-related; after all, she was only in her mid-60s and had recently retired. I thought,  “Retirement is a huge adjustment. This will pass. It has to pass.” Besides, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias affect other people, other families. Not mine. That was in 2004; I was 27 years old. Turns [...]

Jun 212013
 
Dancing to Keep the Memories of My Father Alive

My father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s back in 2006. I remember looking into my father’s eyes and realizing he doesn’t know who I am. I never really understood heart break until that day. Two years later, on April 4, 2008, my father passed away, 13 days before his 75th birthday. Now I hold onto the memories that I have of my Father – and I celebrate what he loved – MUSIC! Throughout his journey with [...]

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