Monterey, CA Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease Hits A Basketball Industry Legend : View From A Private Duty Caregiverby Richard Kuehn on 05/07/12
There was a touching story in USA Today about a man graduating from the University of Tennessee next week who made it through his studies with a lot of emotional stress. His mother Pat Summitt, at age 59, has come forth to tell the world about her story of struggling with early onset Alzheimer's disease. Most people think the disease just hits the very elderly. Unfortunately, this is not true. Summitt resigned her position last month after serving as the coach of the Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team for nearly four decades. She has the most wins of any coach in NCAA history of either a men's or women's team in any division. Her record is second only to the 10 titles won by UCLA men's coach John Wooden with 1,000 victories. But after travelling to the Mayo Clinic with her son last spring to find out what was going on with her mind, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Her son told USA Today, "This disease can be devastating, but you have to take it one day at a time. My mom always told me to focus on the present, she says, left foot, right foot, breathe." His advice to those dealing with a family member with the disease? "Don't be worried if they're going to remember everything. You will remember, and can always have that." I agree. I took care of my grandmother for five years. She had Alzheimer's disease. And although it was heartbreaking to see her not remember things, we built a number of wonderful memories together which I still cherish. Regular readers of my blog know that I am a big supporter of the Alzheimer's Association, which has a 24-hour help line at 800-272-3900. They are also the largest private supporter of Alzheimer's research in the United States. Please help them with their important mission if you can by clicking on this link for Family inHome Caregiving fundraising site for Alzheimer's Association. Thank you Pat for sharing your story, this must be extremely difficult. Despite the difficulties ahead, Pat ends her career on a high note, being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama on April 20. Her son will carry on with the family name, starting his career in coaching.