Alzheimer’s Disease Strengthens Family Bonds

 

 CALAIS, ME – While both of their fathers battle Alzheimer’s disease, husband and wife Maria and Andrew Tickle find strength in holding onto cherished family memories, while also spending time creating new ones. Now they are speaking out about their experience in the hopes of helping other Maine families.

“My dad was an aeronautical engineer,” said Andrew. “He traveled a lot for business but he’d always bring home some kind of souvenir for us. When I was older, we’d work on cars together and then we’d each have a beer and talk – it was a real bonding experience for us. Now he can no longer speak.”

“My father was a master plumber and electrician who specialized in heating systems. He was always building houses and camps,” said Maria, who is a retired U.S. Navy officer. “We’d build sheds together, work on cars.”

Both Andrew and Maria have strong bonds with their fathers and are finding strength in these cherished memories. “Just like they did, we always focus on strengthening the relationships that we have with our own children,” said Andrew. “Family is so important and you should make the most of each and every moment.”

While they are just one of thousands of Maine families facing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, taking the time to share their story with others can have a tremendous impact.

“Some 37,000 people in Maine are living with Alzheimer’s disease,” states Laurie Trenholm, director of the Alzheimer’s Association, Maine Chapter. “By choosing to share their story, Maria and Andrew are helping raise awareness of the multi-generational impact dementia can have on Maine families.”

Early in her father Lloyd’s diagnosis, Maria set out to reclaim a vintage motorcycle that he had given away to a cousin in Alaska. “I realized the importance of making new memories with my father. I knew how much he loved that bike and how much he missed riding it,” she recalled. “I wanted to give him at least one more ride.”

With the motorcycle soon in her possession, she chose a picture perfect spring day. As Lloyd sat behind Maria on the motorcycle and held tight, both father and daughter spent the afternoon cruising the scenic highways and back roads of Mid-coast Maine near Lloyd’s Brunswick home.

“When we were finished, he gave me a hug and said, ‘I love you,’” remembered Maria. “I said, ‘I love you, too, dad.’”

The Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. For more information, visit  www.alz.org/maine