I watched while my mother tried to navigate her horrific journey with Alzheimer’s. This disease reared its ugly head by stopping her brain from remembering where she had left things. Most would have just said “oh that happens to all of us, it’s just part of getting older”. She soon forgot how to balance her checkbook, what day it was, hiding things and becoming angrier and angrier due to her increasing paranoia.
I will NEVER forget;
When my mother called to tell me that she was at her friend’s house and that she was going to spend the night there. She told me that I could come and get her tomorrow and take her home. That friend lived on the 5th floor of the apartment building in which my mother lived below her friend on the fourth floor.
When she forgot how to bathe.
When she forgot how to comb her hair.
When she forgot how to pick out her own clothing.
When she forgot my name.
When she no longer knew how to eat.
Since losing my mother in 2015, I have now lost my mother’s sister, Louise and her brother, John. My 69-year-old brother, Joe has now been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and finds himself navigating his own horrific journey with this crippling disease.
Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease. It robs people of precious memories and abilities. It challenges caregivers and loved ones to find strength and resilience they never knew existed.
Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death and a growing epidemic that kills more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. In Michigan alone, 190,000 residents are living with Alzheimer’s — a number that is expected to grow by 15.8 percent in the next five years.
Help is needed now, but not just by those who are currently impacted. More individuals are being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and other dementia. More family and friends are serving as caregivers. Death rates continue to climb. And the costs are unsustainable.
Participation in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is one way to make a difference. The Walk raises funds for dementia research, care and support, here in Michigan and beyond.
My family started walking in 2015, after my mother lost her fight with this horrible disease. I joined the walk committee the very next year. In 2017 I became the Mission Chair for the Genesee County Walk. We walk in memory and honor of our loved ones. We walk for our future and the future of our children and their children. We walk for all caregivers. We walk so that one day other families won’t have to experience this devastating journey.
Only through continued research, awareness, support and a continued commitment will we one day live in a world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementia.
Please join us in the fight. Register for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s at alz.org/walk today. — Mitzi Forrest, Grand Blanc