Growing up, I didn’t get to see my Godmother Patty very often as she vacationed often to Hawaii, Saratoga, & other dream vacation spots. Avid runner, wine connoisseur, and powerful career woman. Christmas was our time to shine together. She hosted Cookie Day each year, in her industrial size kitchen, and always let me taste the almond moon dough before popping the cookies into the oven. She knew it drove my mother mad, but she didn’t care! We had an annual trip to the mall that I looked forward to all year. We’d laugh, shop, and she always let me try on the most glamorous outfits I could find. Patty was the epitome of FUN!
In her mid-fifties things started to get a little strange with Patty. She was still fun, but beginning to fade and not really with it. Patty was losing her purse, forgetting about family parties that she scheduled herself, forgetting how to drive to familiar locations, and couldn’t locate her car in parking lots. Unfortunately our family acted as many do…kept things in the dark, very private, and hid the fact that Patty had dementia which later was diagnosed as Alzheimer’s. With early onset, the disease develops at a VERY rapid pace. Patty was completely dependent on the care of others in only a few years. My Godmother Patty passed away at Buckingham in Glastonbury at the age of 62 where she had been for years. 62! There is such a geriatric stigma around the word “Alzheimer’s” but more recently we are finding this is not always the norm.
I believe in advocacy. As a Woman’s Champion, I stand behind the Alzheimer’s Association in unrelentingly advocating for public policy issues and critical research funding.
I believe in community and awareness. The Alzheimer’s Association is an incredible resource for families. Support, connections, education; everyone who is affected by this disease needs to know that they’re here! There is no need to face this journey alone, no need to keep it in the dark or private. We can help each other; we need each other. My involvement with young professionals is helping to bridge this gap. I’m also proud to be on the committee for my mom’s walk, AlzHike4Hope, in East Hampton. It was shocking how many stories we heard in our own community, but feel empowered in introducing them to the Alzheimer’s Association.
I believe in having a plan. The statistics are real and I believe that through proper planning we can help alleviate some of the financial burden that so many face with an extended health care event such as Alzheimer’s. My family was very fortunate to have some of their bases covered. The difficult decisions that families must make in these situations are very emotional. If we can create a plan together that protects your family from some of the “what ifs,” then we are doing a very good thing for you and your loved ones.