I've had an off and on relationship with Alzheimer's disease since the mid 1970s when my husband's mother and father became afflicted. As a family, Ken and his sister, Loretta, with me as the main caregiver, nurtured them until death claimed their pitiful, tormented minds. Almost without taking a second breath, it seemed, my own mother fell victim to AD during the 80s making me the parent and her the child as she dwindled from a vibrant, intelligent woman into the little girl she once was. We stood by helplessly as some of my aunts and uncles tumbled into the pit of mental nothingness, followed by several siblings of Ken's mother. Now the next generation is slipping away as Ken and his sister, and some cousins descend into the same dark dungeon of tangled minds. While I touch on family members and friends who have had AD in my BLOG, my main focus and experience is with Ken, my husband of more than 50 years. I have watched him decline from the bright engineer I married to a dependent, frail and often angry man with severe memory loss. We have five children (two girls and three boys, grown and married) 18 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren. Both of us have been physically active all of our lives with Ken running marathons and 10ks, taking up his new hobby after he retired. Through the years we have backpacked most of the mountains in the western states, and one in Vancouver, B.C. always with family. We have not been a sedentary people. With AD rearing its ugly head within the genealogy of our two families all too often, my added concern is for our progeny. I pray with all my heart that research can shed some light, as well as a cure, on this devastating and heart-breaking disease in as short a time as possible.

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