Why I Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Melissa Smith

Nana with Melissa's father and sons
Nana with Melissa’s father and sons

I?????walk in honor of Marcee Wallace (Nana), my lovely step-mom, who has early onset Alzheimer’s disease. This disease has changed not only my Nana’s life but has altered all of our lives, especially my father’s, who is her loving and patient primary caregiver. Nana goes through many struggles daily…things that we take for granted. Nathan, my 9 year old, calls Alzheimer’s the forgetting disease. You begin to forget whether you’ve eaten, why you got dressed (for what occasion), to do simple hygiene, and daily tasks that require focus such as reading or writing simply are not possible. Even following a plot on TV becomes impossible.

Through the years I’ve watched how my Nana transitioned from running a household, decorating with a designer’s eye for details, and cooking gourmet meals, to simply following instructions like a 4 or 5 year old – asking child-like questions and then asking them again, because her brain cannot recall the answer just given.

It is a disease that is incomprehensible until you are face to face with it and even then, it’s horrifying at first and sobering at the least. I pray that you or your loved ones never know this disease.

It’s a disease that affects 15 million caregivers. My dad is one of them. He single-handedly takes care of my Nana, his wife of 25 years. Feeding her smoothies with veggies & fruit for breakfast, when she cannot remember to eat. He gently reminds her that yes, she has already fed the cat today when she asks for the umpteenth time in one morning. He gives her little tasks to keep her mind active and then has to stand next to her and remind her where the silverware is located.

5.4 million people have Alzheimer’s disease. It is an incurable disease, but with the hope of research and education, there are things we can do to increase awareness and take steps to delay the onset or even prevent it.????? Sign up for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s today.



AlzTex Admin

The Alzheimer's Association Chapters all across Texas (www.alz.org) consists of families, caregivers, scientists, health professionals, and concerned citizens who are committed to finding a cure for Alzheimer's Disease and to easing the burden of Alzheimer's Disease and related disorders on patients and their families and loved ones.