Before my dad’s diagnosis, my parent’s marriage was falling apart, and they couldn’t understand why. My dad would do things that were completely out of character. He had personality and mood changes; he was suddenly argumentative and reactive. He would get upset over things that would never upset him in the past.
When he was diagnosed with dementia, it was overwhelming and devastating for our family. We didn’t know how to support him. We didn’t know how to support ourselves.
United Way funds Alzheimer Society Calgary, specifically around learning and support. What that means for my family is that we were able to access educational and support programs to help us understand dad’s disease. The support team helped us navigate the health care system and gave us tools to deal with the grieving process. The programs were transformational – for how we viewed the disease, how we viewed my dad, and how we communicated with him. And it was because of these supports, we were able to reconnect with him.
What people don’t realize is that their donation is life-changing. They helped my family stay together. When you are faced with a disease like dementia, it can be terribly destructive to the fabric of family relationships. It is a disease that impacts everyone – the kids, the grandkids, the spouses. Accessing supports allowed us to rebuild trust and re-establish some of our family dynamics. It changed our lives.
We are all Calgary.
Together, we are all stronger. Meet a few of the 178,700 people like Jill and her family who are helped each year.