My wife is my inspiration:

A letter from an Alzheimer's care partner

My wife of 41 years, Joan, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease last year at the age of 62. Even though her mother had Alzheimer's, the diagnosis was shocking. Like most people, we thought Alzheimer's only affected the elderly.

Without a doubt, we've been on an emotional roller coaster ride, but one that we have not had to go through alone because of the services of the Alzheimer's Association. By joining their support groups, we have connected with others who are dealing with this disease and truly understand the impact of its life-changing diagnosis. Their educational programs have helped us plan for the future, which is especially important for families dealing with younger-onset diagnosis. And their investment in research gives us hope that future generations will not know Alzheimer's as we have.

If I could give advice to anyone facing a similar situation, I would say get all the support you can get. Love your spouse or partner. Ask for help. Take advantage of the programs from the Alzheimer's Association. They are fighting to make a difference and provide services to caregivers and families like mine.

On behalf of my wife and family, thank you for your generosity.

Al Uronis, care partner and Alzheimer's advocate
Hudson, Ohio

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