Imagine being surrounded by your family in your own home except you have no idea who these people are and where you are. They keep calling out to you yet you cannot remember who they are or why they would know you. You feel confused, lost, scared, and alone. Suddenly, you become agitated and want these people gone. Are they going to harm you? Why do they keep trying to get your attention? Where are you? In an instant, you recall who you are, where you are, and who these people are that keep calling out to you. Your family appears to be a mix of fearful, sad, relieved, and confused. They want to help you but sadly, even their best efforts may not be enough.
That scenario is what I imagine a person suffering from Alzheimer’s struggles with as the disease slowly takes over their life. Fortunately, I have never had a loved one suffer from Alzheimer’s and I cannot fathom what their family and caregivers go through on a daily basis. I am one of the lucky ones. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, over 5.4 million Americans have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. It has become the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. and the only one in the top 10 causes of death that cannot be prevented or slowed down. While it is more common in people over 60 with family history, Alzheimer’s can affect anyone.
Participation in events such as Blondes vs. Brunettes is a fun way to raise awareness and money to help in the fight against Alzheimer’s. While there are some treatments to make life for people with Alzheimer’s less difficult, there are no treatments to slow down the progression of the disease or prevent it. Currently, advances are being made daily in Alzheimer’s research to better understand causes and discover better treatment methods.
There is still time to sign up to play, coach, or join a committee. Also, stop by Around the Corner in Lakewood on April 18 from 6-8 for happy hour. Finally, if you know someone with Alzheimer’s and need a little extra support, there is a 24/7 helpline: 1-800-272-3900. Please pass this number on to anyone who may need it.
Until next time…follow your heart, fulfill your hunger.
**Disclaimer: I have been asked to blog about my experiences as a player for the Alzheimer's Association Cleveland Chapter's Blondes vs. Brunettes Powderpuff Football game on June 16. I am required to attend practices and reach a fundraising goal. All opinions are 100% my own**