HELENA – According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 20,000 Montanans over the age of 65 have been diagnosed with the disease.
They are people like Richard Arensmeyer, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease four years ago.
His daughter, Kari Yoder, shared his story with MTN.
She says as the disease has progressed, Richard has lost his mobility, the ability to do simple tasks and has become depressed.
Kari tells MTN her mother is Richard’s primary caretaker. They have been married for 50 years.
Kari helps with house work and the family’s finances.
“Was kind of a shock. You don’t ever think you’re going to hear the words, you know, that your dad has Alzheimer’s. I can remember, he was trying to put on some windshield wipers on my car, and he couldn’t get it. He got so frustrated, he just threw them down, and, so, you know it’s things you and I take for granted,” says Yoder.
Lisa Day, the Executive Director for Montana’s Alzheimer’s Association says 50,000 family members take unpaid care of a family with Alzheimer’s and often, it compromises their own care.
There are several opportunities to learn more about Alzheimer’s coming up in the Helena area.
The Lewis and Clark Public Library is hosting a seminar called “Know the 10 Signs”. The goal of this event is to help people differentiate between old age and Alzheimer’s. “Know the Signs” is on August 15th from 5:30 p.m. until 7 p.m.
A walk to raise awareness of the disease called “Walk to End Alzheimer’s” is planned for September 8th. The walk consists of a 2 mile walk and a tailgate party, followed by a Carroll College football game. You can sign up or donate online at the link here.
Reporting by Mercedies Pruneda for MTN News