Idaho Sisters cope with father's Alzheimer's

Posted at 6:00 AM, Sep 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-16 18:51:46-04

Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia, causing problems with memory, thinking, and behavior.

Dee Childers and Terri Hagmann are two sisters who are dealing with the disease first hand, hoping for a cure.

"Alzheimer's has completely changed my life and my sister's life," says Dee.

It is the sixth leading cause of death in Idaho.

"We kept seeing signs and symptoms of changes and realizing we needed to do something, and we hadn't done anything at that point until we realized we were at a crisis point," says Dee.

It is also the number one cause of dementia.

"It is a hard thing to see your parents become the children because essentially that's what happens to them," says Terri.

And the disease afflicting the life of Dee and Terri's father for over seven years.

"We believe my fathers started when he fell off a ladder when he was working on a house, and before that, we were seeing some things, but not much," says Terri.

From which began the tumbling effect of the disease.

"He was having his DirectTV turned off and potentially his electricity turned off. And really the cue for us came when the long-term care insurance provider notified me that he hadn't paid his premium," says Terri.

More than 5-million Americans are living with this detrimental disease.

"Regardless of whether or not you currently have a connection to Alzheimer's, your future is marred by it," says Lindsay Meloy, Interim Executive Director for the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Idaho Chapter.

Because in the next 30 years, that number could triple.

"If we don't find a cure for this disease by 2050, it will bankrupt our healthcare system," says Meloy.

Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in our country and the only one of the top ten killers with an increasing mortality rate and 100% fatality.

"We really need to put money up front to find a cure for this disease," says Dee.

Not only for Dee and Terri, but also for every other person who will eventually deal with this disease in the United States.

"He used to walk miles to get a cup of coffee; he doesn't get out of his chair. He doesn't do any of the activities and that's hard because we used to do that together," says Terri.

The Alzheimer’s Association encourages everyone to support funding for research of the disease until ultimately we find a cure.