A Journey of Love, Loss, and Hope: Navigating Retirement, Family, and Alzheimer’s

Deb, a retired special education teacher shares her story on how Alzheimer’s has impacted her and her family’s life.

The past few years have been challenging due to the isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, a glimmer of joy entered my life when I finally reunited with three of my four grandchildren after almost four years. The joy of witnessing their growth and change made it one of the best days of my life. Despite my husband’s health problems, we are hopeful about resuming our travels soon.

My journey with Alzheimer’s began when my mother, Jerlean Moore, started showing symptoms at the age of 75. Confused and desperate for guidance, I sought medical advice but received a disheartening prognosis of only five years. Determined to keep my mother at home, I turned to the Alzheimer’s Association, which provided invaluable resources for in-home care.

Balancing caregiving with my job and family support, we managed to keep my mother at home until she peacefully passed away at the age of 93 in 2008. Inspired by her memory, I joined the Walk To End Alzheimer’s, involving my school community in creative fundraising efforts.

Alzheimer’s is not just a disease affecting the elderly; it impacts entire families and caregivers. The Alzheimer’s Association offered crucial support and information to navigate the challenges of caregiving. It’s essential for society, including businesses, to join the fight against this cruel disease.

My daughter, Dawn, played a pivotal role in caring for her grandmother and continues to contribute by participating in the Walk and fundraising at her workplace. Reflecting on my mother’s journey, I’ve learned to find humor in the midst of overwhelming moments, thanks to the support of individuals like Amber at the Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter.  Family members also worked together to support my mother during her illness with donations and participation in the Walk.

Sharing my story is a plea for understanding, compassion, and collective action. Whether through time, money, or advocacy, everyone can play a part in the fight against Alzheimer’s, bringing hope to those facing similar challenges.

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