In September, as we observe World Alzheimer’s month and focus attention on how far we have come in raising awareness of the disease and research being done to find more effective treatments, I think back to when my grandmother was first diagnosed and how heart wrenching it was to watch her lose herself over the years.
When my mother was diagnosed, it was not a surprise, as I had already been witnessing those early changes and knew what was coming. Thankfully, my mother lived with me at the time, and I was able to help focus and redirect her and manage her activities and care. The enormity of the impact of this awful disease hit me full force one afternoon in October when I watched my mother, sitting in a chair in my home office, occupy herself by pulling on a dresser drawer hinge until it came apart and then trying to put it back together. She kept at it for over half an hour. She looked increasingly frustrated and perplexed and then she started to cry. She said softly, “I know I know this–I know I know this.” She used to know so much more.
My mother had been a research technician with CDC in their tropical disease division for a good part of her career, primarily focused on eradicating malaria. She was intelligent, curious, and passionate about her work, and she passed along her curiosity and love of science and research. I thank her for that. I am honored to be part of the Worldwide team and to work with people who are so passionately striving to find better treatments for the millions and their families and caregivers who live every day with Alzheimer’s and its devastating toll.
In memory of all whom we have lost, I hope you will join us in support of ongoing research and in celebration of the successes achieved in making available promising new therapies.