Alzheimer’s, Heartbreak & A Godsend

My mom turns 90 this month – a major milestone certainly worthy of celebration. So, my wife and I will throw a nice party for her with many of her relatives in attendance including grandkids, nieces, nephews, etc. Unfortunately, my mom won’t be there. Her trusty vessel of a body that has served her well and continues to be in amazing shape will be there, but the wonderful woman who we have all known as Nana is no longer with us.

Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease five years ago, my mom has experienced a rapid decline in her mental acuity and is now fully in the throes of advanced Alzheimer’s. Anyone who has any familiarity with Alzheimer’s knows it is a hideous disease. I’m no expert, but I happen to have worked in the biotech industry over thirty years ago specifically for a company whose primary mission was to find a cure for Alzheimer’s. Sadly, it remains elusive with no cure in sight and no effective treatments.

My dad died twelve years ago and about five years later, my mom, in her loneliness, met a widower who she ended up marrying. Nana’s mind was still sharp and her new husband provided much-needed companionship. As her dementia began to progress, it became more and more evident that she was going to need additional help. When I asked her new husband if Nana should forget to eat breakfast, would he make sure that she was fed? He replied that that was not his job and furthermore he said he really didn’t sign up for a wife with dementia. With that, my lovely sister-in-law and I worked to find a suitable live-in caregiver.

In a family meeting in which we introduced Malia, an amazing caregiver, my mom’s husband declared that “if she’s moving in, I’m moving out!” And so he did, and none of us were that saddened by his departure. Malia has proven to be a Godsend. She happens to be Fijian and is simply incredible with my mom. That, in itself, is a whole, beautiful story for another time. I send a HUGE thank you to all the caregivers and especially to our beloved Malia. Thank you for your 24/7 love.

-Paulo in California

World Alzheimer’s Month is September and the 21st is World Alzheimer’s Day. Check out these resources to learn more about the disease and how it affects individuals, their families, their communities.


  • Todd

    Thanks for sharing all of this, Paulo. Alzheimer’s is truly an awful disease. In honor of your mom, millions of other people afflicted, and all of the loved ones (like you) that are affected, I’ve added educational links to your post so everyone can learn more about Alzheimer’s.

    May you, your family, your mom, and her godsend Malia find peace along this journey.

    • Paulo

      Thank you for your nice note, Todd. And I would especially like to thank you for creating this amazing forum for caregivers and patient advocates. With gratitude and peace, Paulo in CA.