Lindsey was eight years old when her father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. “I didn’t know what Alzheimer’s was exactly, but I knew it was bad,” the 14-year-old said. Her father’s onset of Alzheimer’s at the age of 50 changed her family forever.
Lindsey was eight years old when her father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. “I didn’t know what Alzheimer’s was exactly, but I knew it was bad,” the 14-year-old said. Her father’s onset of Alzheimer’s at the age of 50 changed her family forever. Lindsay adapted and assisted her mother, Darlene, in all aspects of caregiving for Charles, which included feeding him, cooking his meals and ensuring his safety at home. For the most part, the care landed on Darlene and Lindsey’s shoulders as other relatives were in denial about his disease.
After her father’s diagnosis, Lindsey became a passionate volunteer and advocate for Alzheimer awareness and education. She has testified before the California State Assembly and has participated in two Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walks. For her efforts, she has been recognized by the California State Assembly and the County of Los Angeles and has received a commendation from the mayor of Palmdale. Although Charles moved to a residential care facility in 2007, Lindsey and her mother continue to visit him regularly, and both are still very involved with his care. She says her dad still lights up when he sees her. Lindsey sometimes talks about the milestones her father will miss in her life because of this disease, like not seeing her graduate from college and not walking alongside her on her wedding day. Because of Alzheimer’s, Lindsey’s childhood experience has been quite different from those of her peers – but she doesn’t regret any of it. She says she’s proud to have been there for both of her parents. Lindsey is one of a quarter million children aged 8 to 18 who share family caregiving responsibilities for a person with Alzheimer’s, according to the Alzheimer's Association’s 2009 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures. The report estimates that nearly 10 million Americans provide unpaid care for loved ones with Alzheimer’s.