My connection to Alzheimer’s disease began 20 years ago, when I owned a small assisted living facility and cared for many of the same residents for several years. I saw the changes, the decline and the impact on not only the patients, but also their families, with the difficulties and sense of loss they often experienced.
In late 2014, I lost my dad at the age of 78 after several years of watching him struggle with symptoms of Lewy body dementia. His slow decline was accompanied by frequent and unpleasant hallucinations.
My dad, once a big, strapping fellow, had become frail and limited to a wheelchair and needing assistance with most everything. During the last six months of his life, he was completely bedridden with hospice care until he died.
I’ll be attending the Alzheimer’s Association Rally in Tally alongside 100 Floridians who have also been impacted by the disease. I will be meeting with elected officials to discuss making Alzheimer’s a top legislative priority, as well as the specific needs our legislature must address to make Florida a truly dementia-capable state.
Kelly Wilson, Royal Palm Beach