Cedar Rapids man shares experience of wife with Alzheimer’s while encouraging caregivers to seek support

Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 11:53 AM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -Being a caregiver for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s can be especially challenging over the holidays. Sam McCord of Cedar Rapids is sharing his experience and encouraging other caregivers to seek support.

”We were married 26 years and she was diagnosed with the dementia in about 2015,” McCord explained.

He noticed his wife Mary was having trouble with her memory.

“Just little forgetfulness which led to her frustration because like I know this but this isn’t quite working very well,” McCord said.

Mary developed Alzheimer’s, and three years in had trouble recognizing her husband who stayed home as her primary caregiver. The holidays became especially difficult.

“I made the decision in the last year not to put up all the decorations. Because she was like, why are you doing this? It was upsetting. And that was always her big thing because she was the one that you know the house was full,” said McCord.

Mary died in 2020. The Alzheimer’s Association is reminding caregivers they’re not alone.

”Sometimes you don’t hear much about Alzheimer’s and dementia it’s more of a quiet disease and unfortunately it’s not. Pretty soon one in three people will be impacted in some way,” said Marc Hall, Walk Manager for Walk to End Alzheimer’s

Those seeking support can contact a 24/7 helpline at 1-800-272-3900. They can also find resources on the Alzheimer’s Association website.

“It’s really important to realize that you need to show grace, you need to show a lot of patience. But you also need to be there for support,” said Hall.

McCord says caring for his wife was the hardest thing he’s ever done both financially and emotionally. He wants others walking in his shoes to know there is training and help out there, and to go after it.

“Reach out. Don’t feel like you’re the lone ranger. Don’t feel like you need to handle this yourself,” he said.