Barb and Neil moved from La Porte to Greater Lafayette 10 years ago. Neil was self-employed, and he loved sports and being active. He was an energetic father to his daughter, Kathleen, who was in sixth grade at the time, but one day, it all changed.

Barb noticed that Neil had trouble with driving, and he would become confused about directions. Barb knew something was not right.

After visiting the doctor, it was determined that Neil had fluid on his brain. A shunt was placed, and things seemed to improve. When the shunt was adjusted, Neil’s health declined. He was in the hospital for several weeks, and he was sent home with a dementia diagnosis at the age of 54.

Barb found herself caring for their daughter and home while working full-time, and now, she was also Neil’s caregiver.  He needed help with daily tasks like showering, and though he was always home with Barb or at an adult day program, Neil often asked to return to his childhood home in Beverly Shores.

“My goal for Neil is that he is at peace, pain free, and loved,” Barb explains. Today, Neil is wheelchair bound, and he hasn’t conversed in years. Barb continues to be grateful for many things. Neil eats regular food, and he responds to their 4 and a half month old granddaughter. Barb knows his expressions are meaningful. 

“A good day is when his smile reaches his eyes,” she said. “Treasure what your loved one can do right now. You never know when that might change.”

Barb hopes people will join the Walk to End Alzheimer’s so others suffering from the disease like Neil can be treated and families like hers can be helped. “I hope someday, there will be a cure. Something good has to come out of this disease,” she says.

Join Barb and her family at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Saturday, September 30, 2017 or consider a donation to support Mulberry Health’s team.

“Treasure what your loved one can do right now. You never know when that might change.”

Barb