Few can really understand the pain and isolation of Alzheimer's disease except those who are living with it and their close loved ones. But to make the memory-robbing disease more understandable, one woman decided to put her husband on the spot to talk candidly about his battle.
Mary Beth Beamer, of Big Rapids, Michigan, posted a video of her husband, Alan Beamer, who has Alzheimer's, to give him a chance to tell his family and friends what he needs from them to fight the disease.
"What do you want people to know about Alzheimer's?" Mary asks Alan in the video.
"It's one of the meanest things I've ever seen in my life," Alan solemnly responds.
"What do you want from your family and friends? What would you ask of them?" Mary says.
"They need to know that I'm the same old person and I wish some people, my friends, would come up to talk to me just like you did before. You know, play and joke around," Alan says, breaking into tears.
"I know they're afraid of me," he tearfully says, adding that people seem to talk around him, not at him, keeping conversations short.
It's an important reminder of the staggering emotional effects of the disease, which an estimated 5.3 million Americans suffer from. That's besides the millions that feel the pain of the disease, as caregivers and loved ones.
The video has clearly struck a chord, already receiving over 100,000 views since it was posted on Sunday. It has been shared over 1,700 times with many viewers applauding the couple for their bravery while realizing it's time to visit Alan or another loved one with dementia.
"We are proud people but there are a lot of us out there that are living with Alzheimer's and we all need understanding," Mary Beth wrote.
As for Alan, he has one very powerful message for any friends watching.
"I love them. I wish they'd come over ... and they'd only have to stay for 5 minutes, or 10 minutes ... we could talk about what's really happening behind the scenes."
Just a heartbreaking reminder for all of us not to forget about our friends, family, and neighbors with dementia.
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