I always knew I wanted to be a social worker, and I wanted to work in an agency with a strong community-based mission. Luckily, in my second year of graduate school I was placed with the Alzheimer's Association as an intern. During the internship, I had the opportunity to work with the Memories in the Making© art program, a watercolor program for individuals with Alzheimer's Disease and related dementias. Thus began a fascination with the human brain and deep admiration for the strength and beauty of the human spirit.
By the time I earned my degree, I was working for the Association.Over time my skills and responsibilities increased, and I saw more and more the impact of education and support on families struggling to navigate the disease. I thought back to my own parents, who experienced the personality and behavioral changes of both stroke for my mother, and what was then called "hardening of the arteries" in Dad. It was a confusing and heartbreaking time in my life.
Now, on a daily basis, I try to be the person for others that my younger self needed when my parents, the people I knew best and loved most in the world, began to change in ways I could not understand. I can see the positive impact that knowledge and support can have on families struggling to cope. I continue to be very proud to be working in the community alongside my dedicated and energetic colleagues. We are united in our mission, and I know we won't quit fighting until Alzheimer's disease becomes a thing of the past.