TEMPLE, Texas —
The latest numbers from the Alzheimer’s Association show that 5.7 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. It’s a baffling, often frustrating condition, and can be incredibly hard to cope with for caregivers and those who suffer from the disease.
At Luvida Memory Care, there are good days and bad. More often than not Alzheimer's, and dementia robs these residents of more of their memories by the day.
This story is about the moments even the most powerful of diseases can never touch.
Chris Green is a man of faith, it's in his genes. His father, a pastor and former missionary, Jim Green, lives at Luvida, his Alzheimer's disease has progressed quickly.
"It's pretty full-blown," Chris said.
His dad’s days as a pastor and a missionary are behind him now. Alzheimer’s has taken most of his memories.
On Saturday morning’s, during bible study, the pastor who forgets more than he remembers gets up to preach the word of God as clear as day.
"Even in the midst of Alzheimer's, and all that it does for you, he still has that deep love for God's word," Chris said.
So much about the disease remains unknown, but what doctors do know is that our most powerful memories are a part of us that even Alzheimer's has a hard time taking.
"Memories that are attached to emotional memory, or to very significant events in your life tend to be coded or stored in a way in which they are easier to recall," said Dr. Alan Stevens, director at the center for applied health research at Baylor Scott & White. "That means as someone with dementia has less and less cognitive abilities, memories that are stored more solidly or with a lot of emotion attached to them, means that our ability to recall those memories are definitely stronger."
For a couple minutes on a Saturday, Pastor Jim speaks the word of God coherently and powerfully.
It’s a lesson in faith that his son said he needs now more than ever.
"It's the faith that we learned from him, that is sustaining us now as we go through this," Green said.
That's because even when memories begin to fade and thoughts are harder to come by, there are some things that time nor disease can ever touch.
If you would like to know more about the disease, Dr. Alan Stevens will be hosting "Walk with a Doc" at 9:00 a.m. this Saturday at Miller Park in Temple.
For more information or to participate in the 2019 Walk to End Alzheimer's in Bell County click here.
What is Alzheimer's?
Alzheimer's is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, according to the Alzheimer's Association.
10 symptoms of Alzheimer's?
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life
- Challenges in planning or solving problems
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure
- Confusion with time or place
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
- New problems with words in speaking or writing
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
- Decreased or poor judgment
- Withdrawal from work or social activities
- Changes in mood and personality