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 [...]

Jun 212013
 
Honoring Henry After The Longest Goodbye

My daughter and I experienced the longest goodbye during my husband’s decade-long struggle with Alzheimer’s dementia. Henry died in March of this year. Henry taught me to play bridge more than 30 years ago when we were courting. My daughter, as a little girl, learned how to play the game while sitting on his knee.  Playing bridge became a tradition with my family as we played weekly with friends, and whenever we went to California to [...]

Jun 212013
 
Fighting to Remember for My Dad With Early-Onset Alzheimer's

Today is all about motion.  There has already been hiking – and there will be boating, golfing and biking.  Together with my sister and two wonderful friends, I am participating in Alzheimer’s Association The Longest Day, which involves 16-hours of activity to honor those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. My father was diagnosed with early-onset (also called younger-onset) Alzheimer’s late last year. There is a hereditary mutated gene that runs in our family that has [...]

Jun 212013
 
For Alzheimer's. For Theatre. For my Mom.

I’m an actor from San Francisco who came home for Christmas and stayed.  My Mom is in Stage 4 of Alzheimer’s. My Dad is in denial, but he is getting better. I went to the Alzheimer’s Association and they gave me lots of support, ideas and the skills to move ahead.  They also asked me to do The Longest Day, a 16-hour event to raise funds for Alzheimer’s support, care and research. I chose theatre.  What [...]

Jun 202013
 
Climbing to Mt. Kilimanjaro’s Summit to Stop Alzheimer’s

The porters pack my tent and soon there is a line of headlamps ahead, trailing the lead guide. It will be an extraordinarily long night.  One that I am embarking upon as part of The Longest Day, an Alzheimer’s Association event that involves thousands of participants throughout the world who are passionate about finding a cure for Alzheimer’s and providing assistance to all those who have this illness. Family heartbreak inspires action As a boy, [...]

Jun 132013
 
A Recipe to Remember: A Daughter Honors Her Father's Memory

It was a perfect summer evening.  The sun was just starting to go down and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.  I was home from college on a visit to introduce my parents to my new boyfriend (my now husband).  We sat on our patio, enjoying our evening together. My father, Giovanni, summoned me into the kitchen through the window overlooking the patio.  I excused myself, assuming he wanted some help in preparing the [...]

Jun 072013
 
Ending Alzheimer's One Step at a Time

Research into the causes and potential treatments for Alzheimer’s disease has been as complicated as the disease itself.  Patti Davis borrowed the phrase “The Long Goodbye” in describing the decline of her presidential father, and for good reason:  This horrible affliction robs families of their dearest members with agonizing progression and frustration.  And for researchers, it has for over a century hidden behind a shroud of mystery that is due partly to the complex nature [...]

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