What is Alzheimers ? Alzheimer's is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. That's the basic definition of Alzheimers. I call it the Great and Terrible Thief. My Dad has Alzheimers, he was diagnosed 4 years ago and has been living (along with my Mom) with my husband and I for 3 years now so we can help Mom with Dad's care. He can't be left alone for any period of time. He's to that point where he obviously is not allowed to drive a car and his memory has completely disintegrated with the exception of long term memories from his twenties and earlier. Dad has a younger brother and older sister that have already passed. To give you an idea of how a day with Dad goes... out of nowhere the other day he says to my Mom, " we haven't seen Joan in awhile have we?", Mom says, "No honey we haven't," before she gets to say anything else Daddy looks at her with tears running down his face and says, " she's dead isn't she?", Mom explains to Dad that yes indeed his sister has passed away about 5 years ago and yes they did go to her funeral. Dads lost his sister all over again and sits quietly mourning his sister again. The same scenario has happened several times with his brother as well. He makes mom promise they'll go visit the grave the next week, the next week comes and Dad had long forgotten his desire to visit the grave and the fact that two of his siblings are gone. Daddy can no longer dress himself as far as picking out his own clothes. He'll pick out Tuxedo pants for church and gets VERY frustrated and flustered when we tell him those aren't to be worn for church, how about he try this suit. He doesn't understand, and then he feels he's being picked on. He complains a lot about how he can't do anything right, but that's soon replaced with the total lack of memory that it even happened at all. The only blessing in this horrid life stealing disease is that for him, it takes all his memory, the memory of what was his life but more importantly the memory that he has this disease and is so sick. He hasn't become belligerent yet or hard to deal with, I think that's because he still knows who the people in this house are. He isn't so clear on some other people. You know, I saw on Dr Oz a brain of an Alzheimers patient. The disease literally eats away the brain, there was barely anything left compared to a healthy brain without the disease. So as the disease progresses it literally is taking away your essence in your brain. They say when you've met one Alzheimers patient you've met one Alzheimers patient because it's so different for each person. No two patients will have the same experience. What I do know is it's hereditary and I work hard to keep my brain engaged so that I'm exercising my brain and trying to keep it as healthy as I can. That actually can he helpful to stave off the Alzheimers in the early stages. I debate over being tested to see if I have indeed inherited the gene. But as long as I have Dad and Mom to take care of I think that's enough information for me to take in right now. Maybe someday I'll get checked. I am well aware of the 10 danger signs of the disease and keep up on what's going on in the medical world for Alzheimers. I have a link on my blog for Alzheimers that you can go to and check out information on the disease. All I know is the man I care for right now, has my Daddy's body and voice, and sometimes I see a glimmer of my daddy...but the Dad I knew, he's quickly leaving us and there's nothing I can do about it.. nothing anyone can do about it. I watch that movie "The Notebook" and wish desperately Dad, had had a Notebook... This is a disease that is actually harder on the caretakers than the patient, since the patient doesn't know.... that they don't know..it's the challenge that's been given to us to overcome and that's what we'll do and we'll make Daddy as comfortable and feel as safe as humanly possible as long as the disease will let us. Then there will come a time that we will no longer be able to make that difference. But I don't live dreading that day or dwelling on Alzheimers... I spend my days dwelling on the fact that for now.... I have my Dad to love and be with. I'm building my memories of the tender love my Dad shows and of a time that I could do for him... to show my respect for the man who raised me and loved me all of my life, Alzheimers...won't take that away from me as well. If I ever wonder what my purpose in life is... all I have to do is look at my parents... and I know what I am meant to do.. and I thank God he's given me the ability to care for my parents and pray he will continue to bless me in this ability. Here's my handsome Dad and Mom about 5 years before Dad was diagnosed with Alzheimers.. A better time in life ....They've been married 56 years, I love this photo ... there's so much life in Daddy's eyes.. where now that glint has faded.. Alzheimers, the Great and Terrible Thief!!!!