Ginger’s Blog: Walking For Alzheimer’s

Written by on September 14, 2019

Recently, Dr. Oz came out to say his mother has Alzheimer’s disease. He also stated he feels guilty for missing many of the early signs of Alzheimer’s. I watched his Today Show interview and was shaking my head at everything he was saying. His mother became even more obstinate than her usual self. She found herself searching for words or making up words to describe an object or situation. She stopped understanding the relationship family members had to her.
I was shaking my head because my father also has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. And I understand how easy it is to miss the signs. Or, to not want to believe the signs, brushing them off as just getting old. My own mother was in denial as well. She is his primary care giver and it’s been so very hard on her. But even she would brush off behaviors and symptoms; not really wanting to believe that the person she has been married to for almost sixty years was deteriorating into somebody she doesn’t really know anymore.
Alzheimer’s is such a cruel disease because a person can live with it for a very long time with symptoms that will only get worse. There is no cure. There are only medications that can ease symptoms or slow symptoms.  My dad is on those medications. But my brother, mother and I all know it’s only a matter of time until he won’t recognize any of us.
I’m not ashamed or embarrassed to tell you that my dad has sundowners and it causes him a lot of confusion. He becomes agitated. He doesn’t recognize my mom at times. He has become violent. The medications have helped. I’m not embarrassed to tell you that I actually feel more sympathy and compassion for my mom dealing with his disease than I do for my father who actually has the disease. I’m afraid my mom may have a heart attack from the stress of having to take care of him. My brother and I help as much as we can. It’s important to give care givers much needed relief.
I could tell you more stories of how this disease has completely changed who my dad was. I still love him every bit as much now and I will always remember him as the sweet and patience, kind and loving dad he was. But it’s still hard. Everything about Alzheimer’s is very, very hard.
I will tell you that if you think you or a loved one have symptoms of the disease do not hesitate to get a diagnosis. It may be frightening to everyone to find out the truth but the more you know about the disease the better able you are to be prepared for each stage as it comes. I’ve included a link to the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s to help you, here.
This year I will be participating in the Madison area Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Sunday, October 6. One day there will be a cure. If you would like to join in the walk you can sign up right here.
And if you or a loved one are dealing with ALZ and you just need to share a story or want to ask me questions feel free to email me anytime.

Hear Ginger Martin weekdays from 9-noon. Read more of her blogs here.

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