El Paso, TX

Virtual Community Forum - Alzheimer's Association West Texas Chapter - El Paso

Euri Giles | Clareifi

A virtual community-based event for the El Paso and West Texas area.

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As a caregiver to aging parents, one of whom is living with Alzheimer’s, I understand firsthand the impact Alzheimer’s and all dementia has on families across America. The COVID-19 pandemic threatens the health of millions in this country and around the world but also presents additional challenges for more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s, their caregivers, the research community, and the nonprofits who serve these vulnerable populations, including those right here in El Paso.

I wish that someone would have told me what it was going to be like to see my dad suffer from Alzheimer’s.

The fact of the matter is that some of the "ugliness" that the disease brings is not as openly shared as the "facts and figures" are. I've learned through my family's experience the reason for that.

It's the same reason that it's referred to as "the ugly truth".

All I knew about Alzheimer's before my dad's diagnosis back in 2012, is that it made people forget. Gradually more and more memories would be lost. They'd forget how to eat, how to walk. I understood it to mean that eventually, their mind would no longer be able to tell their body what to do. When "the long goodbye" was finally said and done, they would go to their final resting place. After my dad's diagnosis, and becoming at first a part-time caregiver before taking on more responsibilities I understand that my original thoughts about Alzheimer's were a drastic oversimplification.

Recently, I've accepted a volunteer position as an Alzheimer’s Ambassador in the State of Texas working to encourage support of the Alzheimer’s Association’s public policy goals with State legislators.

As such I will be presenting the "facts and figures" as a panelist during an upcoming Virtual Community Forum - to Texas State Rep. Moody

The Alzheimer's Association - West Texas Chapter which is headquartered in El Paso, TX will be hosting a Community Forum with State Representative Joe Moody, a member of the Texas House of Representatives for District 78 and serves as the Speaker Pro Tempore.

They'll be sharing information about Alzheimer's, dementia, and memory loss in a brief community-focused listening session. We'll be reviewing the basics of these conditions, the services of the Alzheimer's Association, and how we can expand the reach of local programs and services.

This will be a virtual event although community-based for the El Paso and West Texas area. The virtual community forum will be held on April 1, 2021, at noon (MST). For additional details, including information on how to join please visit:

Alzheimer's Association West Texas Chapter - El Paso

As for the "ugly truths".

I wish that someone would have told me what it was going to be like to see my dad suffer from Alzheimer’s.

I wish that I would have known that I would one day have to bathe my dad.

I wish that I would have known that the day would come that I had to put a diaper on him.

I wish that I would have known about the possibility of seizures in the later stages of Alzheimer's which my dad is in now.

Being a caregiver is most definitely one of the hardest jobs that I have ever had. It's also the most rewarding.

My dad no longer recognizes me as his son. To him, I'm "the brother man" or his buddy. I wish that someone would have told me that I would be struggling with depression. I didn't know that I needed information on adult guardianship and medical power of attorney. I didn't realize the financial burden of becoming a caregiver.

But in the end, when he looks at me and flashes a smile of an acknowledgment as someone who loves him and treats him with compassion and respect. It's all worth it.

#EndAlz #CaregiverSupport

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Euri Giles covers lifestyle content, politics, and news near you in Texas.

El Paso, TX
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