You may not know me but I'm sure you are familiar with the work of the Alzheimer's Association, Central Illinois Chapter. I’m writing to you, a fellow Illinois resident, because I want you to know my story and how a gift fromyou will bring new hope to your neighbors and friends who may be suffering from or caring for someone with Alzheimer’s.
In 2006, I was working as a library director when I noticed my husband, Denny, was becoming forgetful. He began referring to the grandchildren with cute tags like, “here’s Blondie” or “Oh, the baseball player is here.” I did not realize he did not know their names. Denny was retired and began calling me several times a day asking the same questions and telling me he had, “just gotten up.” In 2008, I made the decision to retire early because I knew something was terribly wrong. We visited a neurologist who put Denny on medication for Alzheimer’s disease.
In 2011, the day after my mother died, I was making funeral arrangements with my dad when my niece noticed that our car was gone. Denny was missing and by the time the police found him he had driven 30 miles on unfamiliar country roads. I knew that it was time for him to give up driving, but he did not do so willingly. Each step of his disease has been hard for us. He had to give up his keys, stop carrying cash, and accept that he needed help with daily activities. He forgot how to use the computer and his cell phone and had trouble changing the TV channels. It was heartbreaking when he insisted that our home was not his home and that I was not his wife. Little things became difficult for him to accomplish. He fought against all the help yet he needed it. He needed me 24 hours a day.
Exhausted and frightened by the changes occurring I finally contacted the Alzheimer’s Association. How I wish I had done so earlier! I found out that there are in-home care respite services that would help me care for him, and I received information on the disease and on other community support services. I read and reread the books on Alzheimer’s from their library and I began attending a support group at the Chapter office.
Denny is now in a care facility and I feel so strongly about the Central Illinois Chapter’s work that I now volunteer once a week at the office answering phones, helping with mailings, and staffing health fairs.
Thank goodness for the Alzheimer’s Association and their programs. Do not be like me. If you need the Alzheimer’s Association CONTACT THEM TODAY. They CAN and WILL help you and your family. You are not alone—this year the Chapter received over 1,700 calls from people contacting them for the very first time!
I urge you to make a donation to the Central Illinois Chapter today to help people like me.
Becky Houghton, Peoria Area
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