The tale I’m going to share with you is probably a little different than the one you expect to hear, because this is a real life love story. Names aren’t required. Because their story is universal.

They were high school sweethearts. He was sincere, honest and a gentleman. She was lively and daring and celebrated life. She was all he ever wanted.

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They fell in love and got married and lived a life together raising two boys and a girl that they adore deeply. Jobs changed, homes transformed, grandchildren came along and retirement was within reach, but just months before another chapter of their life was to start, subtle changes began.

Words became difficult to remember and speak; directions for her favourite oat cake recipe became jumbled in her mind and memories of people, their names, special occasions like the holidays, were forgotten. Then, a heart-breaking diagnosis: it was Alzheimer’s disease. Overtime, as she was capable of doing less and less. But he doesn’t mind, he loves her and he loves spending each day with her.

Their story is not unique. More and more Nova Scotians are facing a life with a dementia diagnosis. As the education and outreach coordinator for the Alzheimer Society in Cape Breton, I hear stories like this all the time. You need to know your gift is the reason families receive help and support from the Society.

As time is passing, he wonders what it must be like for her. He is committed to being together, “for better or for worse”. He tells her daily how much he loves her. How wonderful a mother and grandmother she is. How blessed their lives have been. He hugs her each time he sees her and tells her that her smile is brilliant. He thanks her for all she has done for him.

This is his reality. Alzheimer’s disease affects not only the individual – their personality, behaviour, memory and speech - it affects the entire family.

Thanks to the generosity of donors like you, in communities across our province, the Alzheimer Society is able to offer support and education to families like this. From Family Caregiver Education Series, to support groups, to our confidential InfoLine, the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia plays an important role in the life stories of many Nova Scotians.

I know this couple will continue their traditions like baking oat cakes together, because through attending programs at the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia, they have learned the importance of – and the strategies for – making the most of each day. They have learned this, because of donors like you.

But we can only continue to do so, with your help. You can help write the next chapter to this story – one where Nova Scotians are supported through this disease, to live the best quality of life they can.

Catherine Shepherd, Coordinator Education & Outreach, Cape Breton

Support Love this heart month. Support families facing the realities of dementia.

Last Updated: 02/15/2018