Alzheimer’s Love Story: “Today is the First Day of the Rest of My Life”
Learning that a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease can leave families feeling uncertain about the future and fearful that the person they love is slipping away. At Silverado, we believe in the power of love and the importance of cherishing each moment, because moments matter.
John and Kerry McNeely’s story is a poignant snapshot of defining moments in a love story spanning many years. Kerry was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2014, shortly after the well traveled duo had taken a trip to Europe. It was difficult news for the couple of nearly 50 years.
For a while John cared for his wife at home, but all too soon her disease progressed and John decided that she needed a different level of care. He felt that a memory care community setting would benefit Kerry, and he chose the Silverado Community in Naperville, Illinois as her new home.
At the community, John joined a family support group where he was able to share his experiences and also hear from other families going through their own journey with dementia, love and loss. During one of those meetings, he put his thoughts down on paper — bringing his journey and emotions to life through beautifully written words.
In it, he shared the significance of each moment, an important message to all families affected by the disease. John writes, “I have memories of the past and hopes for the future, but Alzheimer’s has taught me the importance of the moment. Nothing else really matters.” He continues, "Each day is complete with its victories and setbacks and I rejoice or feel sorrow as each occurs.”
Although John’s personal message was originally intended to be just that — personal — he chose to share it with others in what has become a powerful message of inspiration. Soon after he wrote those words, Silverado helped bring them to life in a short video documentary.
The video features precious moments John and Kerry allowed us to be a part of, and is a glimpse into their great love story and how Alzheimer’s disease has changed them forever.
He hopes that other families facing similar circumstances can cherish each moment with their loved one and take comfort in the power of love.