Written By: Gayle Horton
After writing many blogs to help families and caregivers searching for information about Alzheimer’s disease, I feel compelled to share with you why this is important to me.
When I was two years old my parents were asked to move into a farm house to care for an elderly uncle who had become mentally unstable. As a child I liked spending time together because he enjoyed coloring with me for hours and dressing my dolls on demand. I was unaware of my parent’s difficulty in managing his behaviors, of not bathing, hiding food in his dresser, or setting the electric coffee pot on the stove. Looking back now I am convinced that he had Alzheimer’s and no one understood how to help him in the 1950’s. My uncle lived with us for twelve years and only spent the last year of his life in a nursing home because of medical problems.
My dear grandmother also played a significant role in my life and I had the privilege of growing up near her. I learned the importance of respecting our elders as well as learning how much they have to share with us.
During my childhood I talked about being a nurse and my interest never changed. I worked as nurse’s aid at the local hospital while I was in high school and during summer vacations. I have many fond memories of the “old days” when we had time to give special care to older patients.
After going to nursing school, getting married, raising two children, and moving around the country following my husband’s career, I was able to stay involved in health care focusing on the older adult population.
After thirty years I felt the need to leave health care for many reasons, but I knew that I had to work with older adults. In 1997, I opened Solutions for Seniors and began consulting with families about aging issues. The Alzheimer’s Association told people at that time to get their affairs together and not tell anyone about their symptoms of memory loss. During this same year Aricept was released as the first drug to help with memory impairment.
Today, I believe the earliest evaluation and treatment can make all of the difference to help manage the early symptoms of dementia and maintain quality of life.
In 2010, The Journey Remembered DVDs were tested and developed to help families and caregivers provide appropriate entertainment for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia. The internet offers a fascinating opportunity to share information, and now I have many friends who have “liked” my blogs. I thank you for sharing my blog’s and posts with your friend’s and family.