Alzheimer's Gavin Read

My great grandma had Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's is a slow, progressive disease that destroys memory and cognition, and eventually the ability to perform simple tasks. She was diagnosed at age 64, and she died in January 2012 at 77 years old.

She was the first one in our family to be diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. In 1999 she showed the first signs of this disease, such as being fearful because she thought she saw things (hallucinations), and in 2000 she started developing short term memory loss. She would repeat herself over and over again, and if her and my great grandpa were going on a trip, she would pack his clothes but forget to pack any of hers. In 2001 she was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

Family picture in 2006

She took medication for several years, but eventually stopped after 4 or 5 years as they were no longer helping. She received some rehabilitation through games such as bingo, identifying objects, dancing, and throwing and catching balls, but again, she had to stop as the disease progressed to the point where she couldn't participate.

Taken on Christmas, 2009

Sadly, the disease overtook her many attempts at treatment and rehab. The next two years she was unable to community intelligently. However, during her last month she loved to have visitors of the familiar faces. She would always have the biggest smile when my dad walked in the room. During her last Christmas in 2011 she sang and hummed Silent Night with him. Alzheimer's finally won, and she passed away in January 2012.

Her 50th wedding anniversary.

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