As my dad has entered the final stages of dementia my family has had more “I remember when…” conversations. As his memory and abilities fade, we are looking back on this Alzheimer’s journey and remembering both the struggles and the silver linings…

I remember the tears and the tender moments. How this journey has brought my family closer even though we didn’t always agree.

Our hope is that we reach others who feel alone in their journey. That others share their memories – both hard and heartwarming.

I Remember When… my dad was healthy – in both body and mind.

I Remember When… his behavior began to change and we began to wonder what was going on.

I Remember When… we would try to rationalize things he was forgetting or saying, chalking it up to the aging process.

I Remember When… it got harder to ignore. When my dad forgot a favorite car. A special event. A period of time.

I Remember When… I was sure there was a problem. I remember asking my mom if she noticed anything wrong and she burst into tears. I remember my dad figuring out that my visit had been the catalyst for doctor appointments.  I remember him being angry with me for questioning him.  I remember this anger lasting for years.

I remember when my dad was diagnosed with vascular dementia – & then Alzheimer’s.

I remember when he was angry – all. the. time.  Especially at my mom.

I remember when things got so bad he needed to go into a memory care home – and he thought he was a volunteer.  I remember how he wore a suit, tie and name tag everyday. (A name tag from a job he had left over 15 years before…)

I Remember When… he remembered my name.

I Remember When… he could stand up, sit down and get in and out of bed on his own.

I Remember When… he knew that flowers, dominoes and iPhones weren’t food.

I could go on and on but the tears are flowing and you get the idea… I would love to hear what comes to mind when you think “I Remember When…” – post in the comments, post on social media with the hashtag #IRememberWhen

Our memories will help raise awareness and understanding for those who haven’t been personally affected by dementia or Alzheimer’s or who may have this journey in their future.

While no one can change the outcome of dementia or Alzheimer’s, with the right support you can change the journey.

– Tara Reed

This video is a result of over 4 hours of video condensed to just under 3 minutes.  It is the result of my entire family stepping up and getting in front of the camera when asked – tears and all. A huge thank you to my son who created the idea, the outline and who spent over 15 hours editing.