"My mother, Pam White, has had a full life. In her 67 years, she has raised three happy children, enjoyed a rewarding career as a social worker and been a devoted partner to my father, Ed. But, as she puts it, “There’s just one little glitch.” In 2009, at age 61, she was told she had early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
After my mother’s diagnosis, I moved back into my parents’ house near Boston to help care for her. As my mother started to share her nascent experience with Alzheimer’s with me, I began filming our intimate conversations. For the next four years, we recorded both the big events and the small details of my family’s changing reality.
One of the most striking things that Alzheimer’s has revealed is the strength of my parents’ marriage, even as it alters their relationship forever. This process has been both painful and beautiful to watch. With this Op-Doc video, I wanted to share that complexity.
After retiring from his career in finance this January, my father is now my mother’s primary caregiver, with help five days a week from a wonderful home aide, Eva. My father is a loyal husband with a strong sense of duty. These extraordinary qualities now make us worry for his own welfare as he devotes himself to his wife in this new and impossible situation.
The experience of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can be incredibly isolating, at a time when you need support the most. We are grateful that this process has helped us to come together as a family and as a community to celebrate that most precious gift of all: our memories.