This is a guest post by Caitlin Johnston, the founder and CEO of Memory Mats, a product that aims to help recollection in Alzheimer's patients. Caitlin and FFAB became connected through their passion of helping people with Alzheimer's disease and their families - as well as saving memories. Caitlin also founded the Purple Elephant Campaign to raise awareness of Alzheimer's - at the younge age of 25! We wanted to share her story with you to give a different perspective on the disease to the ones we've been posting recently. We hope you enjoy her story!
At 21 years old and I had entered into what seemed at the time to be a hidden world. I was hired as Program Manager and Volunteer Coordinator of a Long Term Care Home. Myself, and 8 others managed and supervised 250 staff that all cared for 204 seniors. My world had shifted in a big way, as everyone I was spending most of my time with was 70-104 years of age. I quickly learned that you couldn’t become attached to these beautiful people since their life span was now 6 months – 5 years. They all shared wonderful stories with me, gave me life lessons and tons of laughs. What really hit home with me was that each time I had a conversation with most of them their memory was declining. They had started to forget their children, nieces, nephews and significant others. Their loved ones would walk through the door and they would be more excited to say hello to me than their life partner that they had spent 50 years growing old with. This tore my heart to shreds.