The Walk for Memories is coming up on January 28, 2017. It is a way to honour and remember the people who have lived with dementia, and raise funds to end Alzheimer’s disease. We are sharing stories from our supporters as we prepare for the Walk; share this story or send us your own using the hashtag #WhyIWalk. This is Rosanne’s story.
How do you honour someone who has lived with you most of your life? From someone who has had a hand in raising you reduced to someone who barely remembers to swallow her food, watching my Oma Trien, who was the matriarch of our family, slowly being overtaken by Alzheimer’s & dementia was a heartbreaking and painful experience for all of us. This is why I walk.
You get trapped in the notion of “it’s because of old age” but, in truth, it isn’t. Dementia is not a natural progression of life. It was a terrible experience to see my Oma suffer from dementia. To see someone who was so strong, so vibrant, and who took care of you become someone who needed to be literally spoon-fed and saw you as a stranger was truly heartbreaking.
Dementia is sneaky and not obviously detected. I’ll never forget that time Oma first wandered away. We looked for her around the house to find that she had disappeared. If she needed to go somewhere, she’d tell someone before she left, but not this time. Knowing that, many years ago, she would sometimes take public transit, we went from bus stop to bus stop along a route familiar to her and, thankfully, found her standing by a stop about 3 km away.
I’m participating once again in the Walk for Memories because I want to honour my Oma Trien in the best way that I can. I want to raise awareness on how cruel Alzheimer’s & dementia can be in robbing a person of their being. I want people to know that education is key in the safety and care of a sufferer. We all need to learn about the warning signs and how to deal with them. With our donations, we can allow the Alzheimer’s Society to continue being an active organization in raising funds for programs, education and research on a disease that affects so many people.