Gwen Richards remembers her mother, Helen, who had Alzheimer’s.
Gwen Richards: My mother was the glue to our family, as I think mothers are. Everybody would come to visit Mama. My brothers, everybody, we all would come to see Mama. But my mom had Alzheimer’s and we realized what was going on when she started getting lost. I remember the day she went across the street to see Ms. Redner and then she left to come home. But instead she headed in the opposite direction. By this time Mama had a bracelet, I had gotten her a bracelet with her address and stuff on it. Well, a lady found her and gave her a ride home. And…when she knocked at the door, it’s like, “Mama! Mama!”
She didn’t remember any of what had happened but, you know, it’s just with this disease, even though she was physically there…we lost her. And that bothered me. It still bothers me. It’s also affected our family because now I have it as well. And um, because I had seen it before, I tried to tell my doctors, they didn’t believe me. “Oh, you look fine. How are you doing at work?” ‘Fine.’ “What’s your relationship like with your husband?” ‘Fine.’
If people weren’t looking for it, they won’t see it. And the first test strongly suggested it; the second test confirmed it as much as can be because it cannot be totally diagnosed until you pass away. So the thing, which is hard for me to say, the thing that’s um.. most concerns me are my children… and them having to go through what I went through with my mother. And also the fact that my children could get it and the grandchildren that I’ll never see, possibly.
Those are the things that concern me the most. Not necessarily that I won’t be here… but the family.