I was fortunate as a kid to be close to my grandma, who lived to be 99 and died the Scrabble champion in our family. Her mind was sharp and witty right to the end.
My dad, however, wasn’t as fortunate. My years in the healthcare field did little good in helping us cope with the changes in his brain that eventually took him away from us. There were many subtle and not-so-nice personality changes we dismissed as “grumpy old man behaviour” and “old age.”
This is Alzheimer’s disease and knowing what I know now, I wish we’d done things differently for my dad. I wish I had more memories of time spent with him before he became someone I didn’t know, someone that didn’t know me. I wish I’d… I wish, I wish…
One in three Canadians, or 36 per cent, know someone with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. Not surprising when one in 11 Canadians over the age of 65 has some form of dementia. Recent research tells us not only of the impact of dementia on families but of the economic impact this will have on our country as the baby boomer population ages.
I could go on and on, but statistics are only numbers until it affects someone you love. The Alzheimer Society website at www.alzheimerbc.org is an excellent place for education and support. Take a browse and then join us during Alzheimer’s Awareness Month for the Investor’s Group Walk for Memories.
The annual walk, Jan. 27 at Wesbild Centre, is an opportunity to make memories with family and friends, whether in honour of someone you knew, know, or for loved ones not yet afflicted. Walk for the caregivers, who often decline more quickly than their afflicted loved one. Walk because exercise is one of the best things you can do for your brain. Walk because it’s cold and slippery outside. Walk because you don’t have skates.
The Investors Group Walk for Memories raises funds to help ensure people in the community whose lives have been impacted by Alzheimer’s and other dementias connect to a provincial network of information, services and support. Funds raised also go towards research for the causes and the cure.
Register online at www.walkformemories.com or on the day of the walk starting at 8:30 a.m. The walk runs from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Wesbild Centre, 3445-43rd Ave., Vernon. For more information, call 1-800-667-3742 or 250-503-3030.
— Mechal Corbett runs Nurse Next Door (with Cathy Bilton) in Vernon.