We've been featuring the story of Kelly DeVos over the last few weeks. Kelly is an event chair for the Walk to End Alzheimer's in Muskegon this year which is coming up at Heritage Landing on September 21st. It's not only a great event to raise a few bucks to help those who battle this horrific disease, it's considered one of the biggest "support groups" as so many who are effected by Alzheimer's are able to get together and see that they are not alone in their struggle. It's a very taxing disease on both those who have it, and those who love them as they watch their loved ones minds wither and with no real treatment outside of trying to combat the symptoms, the helplessness is often the biggest source of anguish.
So far, we've learned a little about Kelly and her memories of her father from her younger days, and in our last conversation, we dipped into the fist signs of Alzheimer's disease, what triggered them and how her dad tried to manage day to day living on his own still. Like any progressive disease however, as time goes on, the person who's dealing with it becomes dependent on help from others. The simplest of tasks, like a quick run to a party store or even a familiar face that someone should know from a life time of memories is now a stranger and some frustrations begin to build as life gets a little harder to manage. Kelly is very much all about family, so the logical step was to have her dad move in with her and her family to return the care she was given as she grew up and before the disease began to steal her dad.
Segment 3 of our Tuesday visits with Kelly is all about her father moving in with her and her family. There are dynamics to this move that can't even be imagined by most unless they have lived them. Kelly had been a single mom for quite a while, but luckily, her husband Matt is now in the picture in her life and he too had to battle Alzheimer's with his mom ands dad. Matt became a source of strength, experience and knowledge but it sure doesn't make dealing with Alzheimer's any less painful or less of an ordeal for everyone under the roof.
Kelly is speaking from the heart. She's speaking in intimate details that you might not hear anywhere else about the true reality of life with Alzheimer's and her hope is that her story will bring some courage, strength and hope to others who are experiencing the same. There are moments of laughter, there are moments of tears, it's raw, honest and wide open about how trying it can be to manage life and take care of a parent who's mind is failing. Take a listen to part 3 or Tuesday's With Kelly on The Muskegon Channel.
It's almost unthinkable, but it's the reality for 5.8 million Americans and their families who are living with Alzheimer's Disease today. There was recently a talk in Muskegon about Alzheimer's and for every exciting promise that comes along, it seems that another complication gets in the way and it's back to the drawing board. It's mysterious, it powerful and it's utterly devastating. It's also on par to be like cancer...sooner or later, everyone of us will know someone who's been touched by Alzheimer's Disease. You can learn more about Alzheimer's at their website, linked below. You are also welcome to join Kelly and all of the folks from the Alzheimer's Association at the Walk to End Alzheimer's at Heritage Landing. Get a team together, walk as an individual or just come down to support the event.