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A Message About The Walk To End Alzheimer's

From Kathy Pfister, PHIP President:

I know you’ve seen the notices about Parrot Heads in Paradise and our Silver Level Sponsorship (promise to collectively donate at least $100,000) for the Walk To End Alzheimer’s. I’d like to beg your indulgence to read the following story that shows how important this cause is.

I had a colleague whose Mom was suffering from Alzheimer’s. It progressed from absentmindedness, forgetting to eat to actually being a danger to herself. He lives here in Phoenix and she was 2,000 miles away so his only recourse was to put her in a nursing home. This was after he made multiple trips back home and used much of his vacation time to try to get her on track in person.

As the disease progressed, she became paranoid and both verbally and physically abusive and he was asked several times to find her a new place due to her treatment of the staff at each place as her behavior was more than they were equipped to deal with. Eventually, she was in what was effectively a psychiatric lockdown facility.

Also as time went on, her anger and paranoia with him progressed. While still in her home, she called the police department when he was visiting and told them he was abusing her when he was just trying to get her to eat and drink because she was dangerously dehydrated. She didn’t forgive him for selling her home (which she wasn’t cleaning and was just throwing her garbage in the wash out back). She certainly didn’t understand why she had to be in a nursing home. He tried to call her every week but was rewarded with abusive rants each time so he started to just call the nurses’ station to check on her. At the same time, his brother, who wasn’t really helping out, would call and their Mom would be extremely pleasant to him. You can imagine how much that hurt.

He and I would periodically speak to each other as my family went through a similar situation with my Grandma. The last time we spoke on the subject, I asked how his Mom was doing and he told me she had passed away.

We exchanged looks which explained without words how we felt. My look said, “I want to be sorry she’s gone but I can’t since she was miserable and I know what a toll it was taking on your family.” His look said, “I want to be sorry but I can’t because the relief is so overwhelming and her suffering is over.”

He did say out loud, “She wasn’t my Mom anymore.”

That’s what this disease does. It takes our loved ones away from us before they’re actually gone.

From Karen Lyons, AZPHC President:

AZPHC has a team walking in Phoenix on November 2nd. Please consider donating to the team and/or walking with us that morning. To join the team or donate, click HERE

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