Alzheimer's Awareness Month: One couple proves love is unforgettable love
It's a disease with no cure and only symptoms can identify it. It's Alzheimer's Awareness Month and a couple is making it through the disease. These two show how love can be tested but remains forever.
Imagine speaking to your wife or husband who you've been married to for more than half a century and they have no idea who you are. Harold and Nancy Kircher have been married for 57 years.
"He's my big boy," Nancy said.
"Your friend?," Harold responded. "How about your husband?"
"I don't have a husband," she said.
"Okay," he said.
About four years ago Nancy was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia, a form of Alzheimer's.
"I knew that it was coming but I wasn't sure when," Harold said.
He knew something was wrong when Nancy started to forget things
"She had a hard time remembering her grandchildren and also maybe her cooking was deteriorating quite a bit," he explained.
They tried to keep living as normal of a life as they could.
"We would go out and do a lot of driving," he said.
But when he couldn't take care of her alone anymore, he had to move her to the Legacy Memory Center.
"It's so important to try to encourage everyday life for them, just like a normal routine," explained Sarah Coulter, director of the center.
Part of Nancy's routine has been jigsaw puzzles and drawing.
"She came into the facility here and started drawing again and all her skills came back," Nancy's husband said.
Nancy hadn't picked up a pencil for 25 years before moving to the center.
"We encourage her artwork because that brings calming to Nancy and that is something she can relate to," Coulter said. "With Alzheimer's, we can't bring them to our world, we go to their world."
And even though sometimes in Nancy's world Harold may be a friend, the two will always share an unforgettable love.
Coulter added that activities are really important to keep those with Alzheimer's engaged and less agitated. Symptoms can start before or after the age of 65. If people start to see signs, take that person to be examined. Medications can help but they cannot cure the disease.