To The Haldimand Press
CALEDONIA—January is Alzheimer Awareness Month. As part of the 2019 campaign “Yes, I live with dementia. Let me help you understand,” Ambassadors, Don and Arlene Ainsworth of Caledonia would like to share their story in hopes of eliminating the stigma that they – and others, living with dementia – may experience daily. They want us all to know that life continues after a diagnosis of dementia.
Don and Arlene have been married for 55 years. They met at Firestone in Hamilton, where they were both employed at the time. Through the years they have lived all over southern Ontario, moving to accommodate Don’s employment. Arlene was a stay at home mom, choosing to be home with their children when they were young. When employed, Arlene always held positions working with numbers; figures and formulas have always been of interest to her. Twenty years ago, they moved to Caledonia where they grew a community of friends, family, and neighbours.
Shortly after knee surgery in 2013, Arlene started exhibiting signs of dementia. Doctors ran testing to rule out temporary issues, but follow-up testing, including an MRI, determined that Arlene had definite memory issues as a result of damage to the left frontal lobe of her brain. Dementia was not new to Arlene. Years earlier her father had been diagnosed with Lewy Body disease.
“Dementia is different for me. It is not the same journey for everyone,” Arlene noted.