Mar 112014
 
"You Don't Look Like You Have Alzheimer's"

A few weeks ago, I developed a cough. I went to the doctor, they checked everything out and sent me home. But I wasn’t getting better. I started to worry when the cough got really bad and I was having a hard time breathing. I called my son, who told me that if it didn’t get better, I should go to the emergency room. By three in the afternoon, I was still having trouble breathing, [...]

Jan 222014
 
Making Plans for the Future After an Alzheimer's Diagnosis

Two years ago, at the age of 69, I was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Shortly after receiving the diagnosis, I began to think a lot about the future. The more I thought about the future, the more I realized that I needed to implement plans for the inevitable progression of the disease while I had the ability to do so. This also seemed much more proactive than just sitting around worrying about having Alzheimer’s. Prior [...]

Nov 142013
 
A Tribute to My Care Partner

Next month, Mary Margaret and I will have been together 50 years. She is a very positive gal, extremely caring and inclusive with her friends. I am not always a social animal. Mary, however, is very outgoing and makes new friends easily. These days, we are attached at the hip… but it wasn’t always this way. In 2009, I was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. After I received the diagnosis our lives changed. At the time, Mary [...]

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 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 [...]

Apr 242013
 
Hope and Resolve on Capitol Hill: The Voice of an Alzheimer's Advocate

Alzheimer’s disease has been the greatest heartbreak of my life.  I lost my mother to Alzheimer’s disease. And then, my father. I tell their story, because they can’t.  I tell their story in hopes that future generations will not have the same story to tell. Today, I am surrounded by fellow advocates at the 25th annual Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum – my thirteenth. We are the voice of many, with one message:  The time to [...]

Apr 172013
 
This Is Our Life – And Alzheimer's Isn't Keeping Us From Living It

“This Is Our Life” is the final line of a production entitled “Resurrection” that my husband Steve and I have been a part of with our church singing group for the past 17 years. During the last song, everyone in the congregation holds a candle that is lit from a single candle that stands alone on the altar. As each candle is lit, we watch the church go from dark to light. The first year we performed, a small group of us got together and pitched in—sewing costumes, rehearsing and doing whatever [...]

Jan 182013
 
Dear Abby A Voice For People Facing Alzheimer's Long Before Own Diagnosis

Pauline Phillips, the woman you probably all know as Dear Abby and who wrote under the name Abigail Van Buren, was never afraid to bring tough topics into public discussion. Alzheimer’s disease was no exception. In 1980, long before her own diagnosis with this devastating disease, she brought dementia into the spotlight when she published a letter from a woman who had recently learned her 60-year-old husband had Alzheimer’s. The woman, who signed her letter [...]

Dec 172012
 
Embracing the Holiday Season with Alzheimer’s

Ah, it’s that most wonderful time of the year. The store shelves are groaning gentle reader, from the weight of merchandise placed on those shelves and the skinny arms which hold them up. Stores are crowded with more racks of clothing and the people, ah yes the people, loaded down with stuff over-flowing from their carts, picking out things for those who are naughty and nice. After all it is the season for forgiveness.   [...]

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