(Scroll down after video to see WHY WE WALK!)
To DONATE or Join our TEAM click here or copy and paste the link:
Where does my donation go?
The "Chicago Honey Bear Dancers" are helping raise money to benefit Alzheimer’s disease. Your donation will help fund vital research, build awareness and provide much-needed programs and services to the more than 5 million people living with Alzheimer’s in the United States and their families.
This disease hits close to home with the "Chicago Honey Bears". Greg Schwartz, the producer & director of the Honey Bears mother battled this disease. Some of the Honey Bears also have experienced this disease with close family members.
Here's why we WALK!
In 2008 my husband & I started noticing signs that my Mother-in-law was not the same. As time passed, she continued to do things that made us well aware that something was seriously wrong. Things we noticed were: difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, Confusion, New problems with words, Misplacing things ($100 bill is still no where to be found to this day) & Severe Changes in mood and personality.
We got married in Feb. of 2009 & then decided that we would move in with her to take care of her. We did not want to move her out of her familiar surroundings (she got very scared and was paranoid we would leave her or put her in a home) so we kept her in her own home and left our house vacant for 3 yrs. This was our "Newlywed Phase" and supposed to be "Our Time" but realized this was the best decision & wouldn't have changed it for the world. Mom took care of her Mother who also had AD and we just could not put her in a home. For some families a home is a wonderful choice & the only choice but not for us.
Taking care of an Alzheimer's Patient is one of the most Challenging & Emotional roller coaster rides someone can experience. To see your loved one slowly slip away and to struggle with that inside frustration & confusion is awful. For those of you that are unaware or have been told "They don't know what's going on", well that is not true. My mother-in-law absolutely knew that she was not the same. This is where all that anxiety came from. Her severe mood swings came from that frustration of just wanting to be a Woman & make her own decisions. It was humiliating that she needed someone else to help her bathe & go to the bathroom, have someone cook for her & cut her food up, lock her in her own home so she didn't wander outside (she would try to pick the lock with a coat hanger), have her sit in the back seat of the car with the child lock so she didn't try to get out of the car WHILE I WAS DRIVING (we would have to fill the front seat with stuff so she wouldn't fight to sit in the front), getting up at 3am and demanding we go to the movies right then and there, asking 1000 times a day "Is Greg coming home" (when I say 1000 times a day I am NOT exaggerating. I counted for one hour how many times she asked that same question and the total was 220 x's), having no filter in public (calling people fat & stupid), having to hold mine or Greg's hand when walking through parking lots/stores/etc..(although we all loved that), hitting the Nurse's and picking up the scale and throwing it at the Dr's office, and the list goes on......
We did have a lot of fun memories as well. We would spend our days dancing in the living room, going at least twice a week to her favorite buffet, seeing EVERY MOVIE that hit the theaters, bowling, dancing at all my shows (she would get all the attention & everyone wanted to dance with her), mini golf, Ravinia & bonfires & dinners with friends/family. We would laugh A LOT and play jokes on Greg. Play with Molly (her dog) & watch all of our favorite TV Programs together including her fav's Ellen, George Lopez (sitcom), My Wife & Kids & not to forget Howie Mandel & Donny Osmond (her crushes...lol).
Mom was extremely mobile (she could kick her leg pretty high) & energetic up until a week before she passed. Besides the disease, she lived a beautiful life touching many people with her fun, silly & energetic Spirit. She ended up passing away in her own home early morning after Mother's Day 2012 with her dog Molly laying in bed by her side and Greg & I holding her tightly. She now is in Heaven with her love & life long best friend Fran (husband) dancing laughing & disease free.
All Alzheimer's Patients are different and have their own unique story with similar qualities. Some AP's are easy going & then there's the extreme. Unfortunately, our case was the extreme, however we dealt and made it work. My husband & I worked together as a team and would lean on each other for support. We grew even closer as Husband & Wife and know together as a couple we can conquer anything. These challenges tested our creativity & patience for sure! Needless to say....I think we are ready for kids.
We had wonderful support from my mom, brother, Best Friends, family & a sweet Angel of a neighbor!
Before our experience with mom we were not educated with this disease & completely went into this blind sided. We all need to continue to create awareness and continue efforts to find a cure. Please take the time to share our story or research Alzheimer's Disease. There is a chance that you or someone you love will get this. Thanks for taking the time to read this.
I created a support group for Caregivers on Facebook. Please feel free to join or share this link:
Alzheimer's is a disease that attacks the brain. Alzheimer's is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.
Alzheimer and dementia basics
•Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer's disease accounts for 50 to 80 percent of dementia cases.
•Alzheimer's is not a normal part of aging, although the greatest known risk factor is increasing age, and the majority of people with Alzheimer's are 65 and older. But Alzheimer's is not just a disease of old age. Up to 5 percent of people with the disease have early-onset Alzheimer's (also known as younger-onset), which often appears when someone is in their 40s or 50s.
•Alzheimer's worsens over time. Alzheimer's is a progressive disease, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer's, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment. Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Those with Alzheimer's live an average of eight years after their symptoms become noticeable to others, but survival can range from four to 20 years, depending on age and other health conditions.
•Alzheimer's has no current cure, but treatments for symptoms are available and research continues. Although current Alzheimer treatments cannot stop Alzheimer's from progressing, they can temporarily slow the worsening of dementia symptoms and improve quality of life for those with Alzheimer's and their caregivers. Today, there is a worldwide effort under way to find better ways to treat the disease, delay its onset, and prevent it from developing.
Help is available
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's or a related dementia, you are not alone. The Alzheimer's Association is the trusted resource for reliable information, education, referral and support to millions of people affected by the disease.
Let's work together to find a cure for this disease!
THANK YOU FOR YOUR DONATION!