“It is what it is,” said Maryann Huth, trying in vain to comfort her 83 year-old father, Leo. Leo is deeply saddened by the plight of his two sisters, Rosie and Sally, whose lives were both changed dramatically by Alzheimer’s disease.
“It’s just too big a disease to try to wrap your head around sometimes,” said Maryann, who has fond memories of two very vital aunts who once took long walks, played golf and bowled, and loved to travel and attend family reunions. But then life changed.
“Rosie started getting lost on her walks,” said Maryann. “She also took some falls, and eventually had to be placed in a memory home. When she went to the memory home she stopped walking and talking all together. She died there.”
Maryann describes her Aunt Sally as an independent, hard-working and well-respected business woman who loved women’s sports, especially Marquette Women’s Basketball. “She started losing her way,” recalls Maryann. Sally was aware that ‘things’ were changing so she made the decision herself to move from a condo to a retirement community. However, inside of 2 months, Sally was ‘sun-downing’ and required a 24/7 companion in order to stay in the community. Before a year had passed the family was told she would need to find other living arrangements. “We moved her into a memory facility,” said Maryann. “It’s been a year now since the move and she’s adjusted to a life that’s safe, protected and comfortable. She shuffles, speaks slowly and quietly. The disease is progressing, slowly and quietly.”
Maryann’s family has been hit harder by Alzheimer’s disease than most. That’s why she has joined MPTC Walkers to raise money in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Fond du Lac County on October 6. “Supporting the Alzheimer’s mission means everything to all of us in terms of research and development,” she said. “My father remembers his father who became forgetful, argumentative and wandered up a freeway ramp in winter. He now wonders how he’s been so fortunate not to be afflicted by Alzheimer’s. I wonder if I’ll be as lucky.”