Michael and Nicole – In 2012, at the age of 48, my husband Michael was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s disease. We have been married for 20 years and have 5 children aged 15, 13, 12, 8 and 6. Not knowing what was going on, we lived in hell for 5 years before he was diagnosed. Mike had Issues with his job, relationships, coping, reasoning & memory. It took 9 months to get into see a neurologist and 10 months for a firm diagnosis. Looking back on that time, I still try to remember even a bit of what he was like ….as a husband and father. My biggest struggle right now is the fact that there are some supports for Mike, but there are no supports for me. When Mike and I decided to have 5 kids it was with the intent that there would be 2 adults to share the load, but now EVERYTHING falls to me and I’m drowning. I need a meal prepared, the laundry done, floor & bathrooms cleaned, someone to grab milk or few groceries, what about a taxi service to drive one of my children somewhere …Mike can’t drive anymore. I could use a Mr. Fix It once a month, just all the things I lost when he was diagnosed. I work full time to support this family which adds to the already large amount of stress I am feeling. I’m tired, no let me rephrase that, I’m exhausted and my mom and mother in law are already burnt out too.
UPDATE (March 2016): Michael moved into a care facility (age 52) last fall. Nicole is still working full time, and the family is attending counselling.