Amy is a caregiver for her father, who has Alzheimer’s. Courtesy of the Alzheimer’s Association, here is Amy’s story:
In 2002, my dad was in a bad car accident with his uncle and two others in Florida. He ended up having eight broken ribs, and a broken collar bone. Not too long after the accident, I noticed him asking me how to do things that he had always done with ease.
I mentioned my concerns to my siblings, but they didn’t pay much heed to it. I live in Ohio and everyone else lives in Michigan, so I am sure the change was too gradual for them to see.
It took us about three years to get my dad to go to the doctor. He refused to believe there was anything wrong with him. After taking him to countless physicians for tests, he was diagnosed with stage 2 dementia caused by head trauma from the car accident.
It has been just over a year now since the diagnosis, and he is to the point where he is forgetting how to take showers, shave and even cut up his food. He is now living with my sister in Michigan until she can’t take care of him anymore.
The hardest part of Alzheimer’s is watching a person go from doing almost anything to needing help completing the simplest tasks. My dad grew up working in his dad’s garage helping fix and sell cars. He eventually took over the business along with his older brother. After my grandparents died of cancer three days apart in 1999, my dad decided to retire.
He worked hard to take care of five kids. We couldn’t have asked for a better father. He would play hide-and-seek with us, he took us on vacations to Mackinaw Island and to Florida and more. He also instilled in us the Christian values that he believed so much in.
My biggest concern is the cost of caring for someone with an illness like this. The cost of long-term care will soak a person dry. It is unfair that a person works there whole life to retire in comfort just to loose everything to an illness like this.
My dad has no health insurance, so everything he has earned his whole life will end up going to a facility to care for him in the later stages. This is something I would like to see change. There has to be a better way. The amount our government spends on needless programs (such as research to make catfish easier to catch) would be better off being spent on research to cure this heartbreaking disease, and to help those who have no insurance to pay these medical bills.