Kathy from Colorado

My family originally held my father’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s from me. Originally, I thought it was part of his depression over losing my mother. When my family did tell me, it was to ask me to convince him to take medication that would make him easier to “deal with”. Having exhausted finances while my mother was still alive for their joint bills and our own household’s, I moved Dad to Colorado to care for him.

Several trips to the VA did not get us the Alzheimer’s medication we needed. It was considered experimental. Without the help of the Ft Collins Alzheimer’s association I don’t know what I’d have done. They talked me through the move out here and the behavioral changes I could expect. Working full time, it was difficult for me to meet with them. A few days before I suffered a cardiac vasospasm from the chronic stress of trying to be a caregiver, mother, wife and dental hygienist – I was in tears. It had become overwhelming without family support and I spent the next few days in the cardiac ward.

I wasn’t prepared for the pulling away of family after diagnosis. It was so unexpected. A cancer diagnosis followed after Dad’s move into assisted living and then memory care and hospice. There are several things I would have done differently, but the quality of life he enjoyed here and the time spent with him before his passing made me feel honored he entrusted me with this part of his life.