About eight years ago, one of my uncles was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and passed away two years later. I saw how this disease had changed him from a happy and joyful person to a confused and irritable one. Instead of flowers, I made a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association in his memory and asked my family to do the same. That was my first contact with the Alzheimer’s Association.
Shortly after my uncle’s death, during a trip together, I noticed that my dad was more forgetful than usual and behaving quite oddly. Upon our return, I took him to his doctor, who had no idea how to treat him. I then took my dad to the VA hospital in New York City, where he was treated by a gerontologist, a neurologist and a psychiatrist. Thankfully, a therapist at the VA met with me and gave me lots of information on dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Reviewing the information shed light on what my dad was going through and what to expect as the symptoms progressed. My dad was treated with two memory meds, one (donepezil) that did not agree with him.
Being a part-time caregiver and having some knowledge allowed me to make better decisions on behalf of my dad. Although he went through some rough and tough phases of this terrible disease, I am extremely happy that he always recognized my sister and me and recalled our names and that he passed away peacefully in his home.
Seeing my dad “fade away” was quite difficult for me. After my first donation to the Alzheimer’s Association, I received updates and information that helped keep me abreast of current happenings. I created a tribute page in memory of my dad along with other donors to the Alzheimer’s Association.
One of my goals was to help the Alzheimer’s Association any way I could, putting an end to this disease by advocating to legislators, spreading awareness and raising support. I am happy to be accomplishing what I set out do to via various initiatives and programs.