Watch: An Unforgettable Midlands’ Love Story
Columbia, S.C. (WOLO) — There are 81,000 individuals in South Carolina living with Alzheimer’s disease.
Caring for loved ones with the disease presents unique challenges for family members.
When Mary Revels first met her husband James, it wasn’t exactly love at first sight.
Mrs. Revels recalls the their second meeting, “Later on we got together at an office party and danced the night away.”
The couple would spend the next four decades facing life’s ups and downs, side by side.
She says, “Its been a wonderful life.”
According to Mrs. Revels that hasn’t change since James was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 7 years ago.
She tells ABC Columbia, “I remember the first night when we went to bed we kind of hugged each other and I said, please don’t forget me.”
The diagnosis was later changed to Frontotemporal Degeneration or FTD, a form of dementia a form of the disease that causes gradual deterioration of language, behavior and movement.
“Every time there is another there is another thing that is going away, it’s hard to have to admit it… you know? Well now we’ve lost this aspect, we’ve lost that one.”
For four years Mary served as James primary caretaker, “You know I had to take care of everything,” she remembers.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, this is the reality for most of South Carolina’s 295,000 caregivers.
Taylor Wilson, who works with the association explains, “When you are dedicating your life to taking care of someone else 24/7 there are times that you neglect you.”
This is just on of the reasons why the association offers respite care vouchers.
“These vouchers actually pay for you to have someone who is trained come into your home and sit with your loved one while you’re able to go out and do things to help you,” says Wilson.
To get the vouchers and learn more about resources available for caretakers visit the Alzheimer’s Association’s website: http://www.alz.org/sc/
With James now happily settled at full time care facility, Rice Estates, Mary is starting her own support group.
The group focuses specifically on caring for loved ones suffering with FTD and meets on the third Tuesday of every month.