The annual Alzheimer’s Impact Movement Advocacy Forum was held last weekend in Washington D.C. and included advocate training, seminars, and special speakers.
Jackie Miller, one of the Georgia chapter’s volunteers, attended the Forum along with volunteer Donna Camacho.
Jackie is a care coordinator for Care Guide, Inc. that helps families find communities for loved ones looking for assisted living, independent living, and memory care.
Besides this, she is an active volunteer and advocate for the Association as well as a supporter of finding a cure.
“I am Congressional Team Member to Ambassador Pippy Rogers in our district,” Jackie said.
Jackie has been involved in various Alzheimer’s Association events such as the Advocacy Forum, the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, and Alzheimer’s Awareness Day at the state capitol.
“I have participated in 12 Alzheimer’s Walks,” she said.
Jackie was born in Wilmington, Ohio until she moved to Georgia when she was 12. She currently resides in Peachtree City, GA.
Jackie first got involved through her work at Heritage Bank, at the same time her husband, Rod, first started showing signs of Alzheimer’s.
“My husband was diagnosed with EOAD [Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease] at age 56 and died at age 63.”
Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease can affect those younger than age 65 and is an uncommon form of dementia. It is definitely something that Jackie nor her family expected to affect their family.
“I have lost the person that I thought that I would spend the rest of my life with,” she said.
The loss of her husband has affected Jackie greatly.
“I now have fear and really find it hard to make decisions. I am 9 years older than my husband and never thought that I would be a widow at such a young age.”
She said the best memories of him were everything about him.
“He was a loving husband and father and grandfather,” Jackie said. “I would say when I met him I knew that I was going to marry him after our first date.”
She said her passion comes from her husband and for her children.
“[I want] to find a cure and keep my children from having this awful disease and other families from going through what ours did,” Jackie said.
Jackie hopes to see better training for people who take care of those with Alzheimer’s disease.
She also wants others to know that those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease are people.
“It is not just memory that they lose,” she said. “They lose who they are and we lose who they were.”