Co-Founder of National Alzheimer’s Buddies, Social Worker in Neurology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Teaching Associate in Neurology at Harvard Medical School.
Why I serve National Alzheimer's Buddies:
When my mother developed Alzheimer's, my father retired to take care of her full-time. When her needs for care exceeded his capacity, we placed in a nursing home with a locked memory care disorder unit, and my father visited her daily. This singular act of loyalty and kindness left my father physically and emotionally exhausted. Our family relationships remained strong but worn. The tide shifted the day a rare student volunteer decided to befriend my mother, visiting one hour each week. She had been trained in the art of communicating effectively with a person suffering with Alzheimer’s and living in a residence. The student was not only a young new face for my mother, but she also had an outsider’s perspective to see what was still present in Mom rather than what was lost. It was as if the student had a jet-pack that allowed her to fly out to space and meet my mother with a cup of tea and a smile. Not only did my father find a weekly hour of rest, but he also returned to find his wife rekindled. Since Mom passed, I have helped other Alzheimer's patients and their families find a more manageable, perhaps even re-energized, reality by pairing them with a student visitor through National Alzheimer's Buddies.