It’s hard to imagine but Alzheimer’s disease has been a part of my family for over 17 years. My grandmother, Annie “Jo” Ward, was the first to be diagnosed. She was an amazing woman with many talents who loved to stay busy. My grandmother would sit for hours, at the kitchen table, working on crossword puzzles. She also loved to work in her yard. Eventually, Alzheimer’s robbed her of being able to do either of those things. She was a great mother who loved her children and grandchildren deeply. Alzheimer’s robbed her of the ability to recognize those she most loved. When she passed away a little over two years ago, she was bedridden and unable to communicate.
Sadly, a few years ago, my father-in-law was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. His decline has been quick and he is currently being cared for at an assisted living facility. It saddens me to know that our family will once again have to experience “the long goodbye”.
One of the worst aspects of dealing with Alzheimer’s is the feeling of helplessness. That’s where the Walk to End Alzheimer’s comes in for our family. There was little any of us could do for my grandmother and very little we can do for my father-in-law. But, we can WALK! We can walk in memory of those we’ve lost and in honor of those living with the disease. We can raise money to support the programs of the Alzheimer’s Association. We can walk in support of research that will one day provide treatment and a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. We can walk because it gives us hope.