In this picture, my Dad & I are dancing to the "Father of the Bride Dance." (April 17th, 1993). Dad had me laughing the way he was very "light on his toes" swinging me around. The song that we danced to was: "Unforgettable" the remake song by Natalie Cole, & Nat King Cole. Little did I know, that things would start to become "more forgettable" to my Dad.
My Dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer's at a young age of 61. He had to do early retirement from being Director of Social Services of 34 years. So in subsitution, I got him a "church job" at St. Louis Church with stuffing bulletins every friday. We were part of the "Friday Morning Stuffers." Although, it was a Volunteer Service, I never told Dad, and paid him in an envelope for his church service out of my own money, which he thought the church paid him. I would give him the envelope just before we would leave the building. Dad's reply would be: "Oh, good, it's payday." It was because Dad wanted to have a "job." He said he felt "useless without one." He thought $20.00, for 45 minutes was good pay for a retiree. It boost his spirits & pride. I learned to get creative & inventive with the disease process of alzheimer's. With everything that was taken away, I subsituted it with something else to keep his dignity & pride. Dad had a sense of humor, so he took on the disease in his own spirited way too. I was with my Dad every step of the way as he went thru his good days, & struggles. He amazingly had his pride & dignity til the end. My Dad especially loved spending time with the grandkids bowling, and interacting with them.
Dad ended up having this disease for a total of 10 years. He passed on Hospice at my home on December 13, 2003 @ 1:30pm.
Before his passing, he told me since I was a nurse, that I could get the word out, and help others with this disease. He also said to me when I was a kid growing up, that whenever things were tough in life: "MIND OVER MATTER."
So I have been on a mission! For awareness of Alzheimer's, and to honor my father's memory with my "MIND OVER MATTER" bike event.
You are "NOT ALONE" in dealing with this disease. LET'S END ALZHEIMER'S TOGETHER!!!