My name is Elizabeth Watson, and I walk for my Mom, Christine.
My Mom was a sweet, loving, intelligent, independent woman. My parents divorced when I was 11. Mom worked full time and retired from the federal government after a long career of loyal service. She was an avid reader and exercised daily and she loved music and children, and this carried through her journey with Alzheimer’s.
I began to notice changes in my Mom around 2003, years before she was diagnosed. In retrospect, I realize now that there were little nuances prior to that time that I now can attribute to the beginning of the disease. She began to have trouble with tasks that previously came naturally to her and asked me for help.
Mom and I were always close, but I began to spend even more time with her and would stay overnight quite often, as I came to realize that she had a fear of being alone at night. Eventually, I moved in with her and I was her caregiver for many years. I worked full-time, so I couldn’t be with her in the day.
Eventually, I became more concerned about her being alone all day and took her to an assisted living facility a couple of days a week so she would be safe and be involved in social activities.
After greater decline, I moved her into the assisted living facility and she was a resident for about a year when she became very ill and was hospitalized.
As is often the case with people with Alzheimer’s, Mom experienced a rapid decline after the hospitalization.
I lost my Mom in March 2010.
I Walk not only in her memory, but in memory of my grandmother, Flora Belle, and my Aunt Joyce, both of whom I lost to Alzheimer’s before my Mom.
It was difficult to watch my Grandma and Aunt decline, but I did not truly understand how devastating the disease was until I became my Mom’s caregiver. I don’t believe you can have a true understanding of how cruel the disease is and how it slowly steals the person you love bit by bit unless you experience it day and night caring for someone with Alzheimer’s.
I was involved with the Walk while my Mom was still alive and I have continued to Walk since her passing, and have served on the Walk Committee for the past several years.
I also Walk to spread awareness that Alzheimer’s is not just a disease of the elderly and is not part of the normal aging process.
I Walk to erase the unwarranted stigma associated with Alzheimer’s Disease.
I Walk so that others will understand that Alzheimer’s disease is not a laughing matter, although a good sense of humor helps get you through the tough times, jokes made about the disease are no more funny than they would be about cancer, heart disease, or any other disease.
I Walk for the caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s, whether they be family members, or those angels who walk among us who chose caregiving as their profession.
I Walk to support the Alzheimer’s Association and all the wonderful people who work there who have supported me and so many other caregivers.
Register for one of our Central Virginia Walks:
Tri-Cities: October 18th
Register/donate at http://bit.ly/ALZ_Walk_TriCities
Richmond: October 18th
Register/donate at http://bit.ly/ALZ_Walk_GRVA
Northern Neck – Middle Peninsula: This Walk was held on September 20th, but you can still donate at http://bit.ly/ALZ_Walk_NorthernNeck
Fredericksburg: This Walk was held on September 27th, but you can still donate at http://bit.ly/ALZ_Walk_Fredericksburg