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What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

My paternal grandmother was diagnosed at age 80. My father was her caregiver until the summer of 2001.

One week after September 11, 2001, I realized during a phone conversation that my 63-year-old father was suffering from Alzheimer's disease, too. He was diagnosed in October. In the midst of a midlife crisis I tried to balance my life as a wife, mother and struggling stand up comedian. That phone call added the role of caregiver for my father and his 89-year-old mother to my already over-loaded plate.

In 2003 my maternal grandfather was also diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, as was a cousin on my dad's side. Another cousin on my dad's side was diagnosed in 2009.

Who has been there for you? How?

I was pretty much on my own. I have tried to be there (via phone) for each of my other family members who have had to deal with this situation.

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

My grandmother was ultimately taken away from my dad by the state and placed in a nursing home. My dad came to live with my family and me. He stayed with us until he got too volatile and I had to put him in a nursing home.

My cousin Joe stayed at home until he became too much for his wife May to handle and was placed in a nursing home. My aunt gave up her home and went to live with my grandfather. My other cousin moved in with each of her sons for a while but became too much for both of them to handle and ultimately moved back home. They got her periodic in-home help.

Take care of yourself. You cannot help others if you allow yourself to fall apart.

[I'm proud of] being there and living through it.

[I'm proud of] being there and living through it.

What's your advice to someone else living with Alzheimer's?

Take care of yourself. You cannot help others if you allow yourself to fall apart.

Is there anything else we should know?

Forgotten Tomorrows, Crazy Todays, written by Leslie (Martin) BreslinI have written a book about my five-year experience. It is called Forgotten Tomorrows Crazy Todays. It is available on Amazon in both paperback and e-book. I am giving 50% of all royalties to different charities mentioned in the book.

You can contact me directly via email.

'Forgotten Tomorrows, Crazy Todays' chronicles my journey as an Alzheimer’s caregiver.


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