Friday, July 8, 2011

Alzheimer's Brought Dad and Daughter Together

So often when we hear of relationships being strained by dementia that we fail to realize sometimes they actually are strengthened.

This week's selection for National Public Radio's Story Corps that aired today is about a daughter who never got along well with her straight-as-a-pin father until he developed Alzheimer's Disease. Dad was a former Marine who ran a very tight ship, and daughter wanted life on somewhat looser terms. So she left home at 18 but  later in life became close to her father, maybe because now his life was a bit more messy too.

Charles Brooks was 78 when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. And his condition brought a change to his relationship with his daughter.

"All of a sudden, he turned to me — because he knew that if he had every single drawer out from the dresser on the floor, I really couldn't care less," Betsy says. "So he didn't really hide from me."

In fact, the pair spent more time together, Betsy recalls.

"We would sit on the back porch and eat pistachio nuts and share a beer," she says. And I could tell him my secrets. And I got to enjoy all the good that was in him."
It's a beautiful story. Give it a listen.

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