Seekonk Resident David Creamer tells about his experience with Alzheimer’s and his hope for a Cure
Ask elementary school teacher David Creamer, who lives in Seekonk, about his father and you’re sure to get a smile. But sadly, David’s father Edward passed away from Alzheimer’s Disease in 2016, after a 5-year battle.
David shares his story as a caregiver and an Alzheimer’s /dementia care specialist with support groups offered around Rhode Island to help others understand and deal with the responsibilities that come to family and friends who must assist a loved one with Alzheimer’s.
The family first noticed Edward exhibiting strange behaviors, like buying large quantities of cleaning supplies and placing smoke detectors all over the house. The family wondered if these behaviors were at all related to Edward’s loss of hearing. But when they took him to his primary care physician, the doctor indicated that the symptoms appeared to be more than hearing related. Edward was taken to a memory specialist who ran a number of tests and advised the family that the diagnosis was Alzheimer’s Disease.
David and his family worked as a team to put a care plan in place. David’s brother Glenn handled the financial and legal aspects, such as the will and power of attorney. David’s wife Claire had a nursing background, so she dealt with the medical professionals. And David was the one who reached out to the Alzheimer’s Association, Rhode Island Chapter, to find the resources within the Association and the community to support the family.
One aspect of the plan was a move for Edward and his wife Lorraine from their Pawtucket home of over 40 years to an Assisted Living facility. It had become clear that Lorraine needed more support in the role she had as primary caregiver. It was a difficult decision, but as the disease progressed, so did the need for increased care.
Burnout can easily occur with Alzheimer’s caregivers. David found that attending support groups for caregivers and his workouts at the YMCA were helpful in alleviating stress.
David thinks about working in the memory field at some point. For now, he hopes that a cure for Alzheimer’s will be found so that his grandchildren can live in a world without it.
He has become a tireless volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Association Rhode Island Chapter after coming to the organization for support and information. He now acts as a Community Educator and Community Representative for the Alzheimer’s Association as well as joining various committees, including for The Longest Day events in June. He also has done outside presentations and speeches ta events where the Alzheimer’s Association is taking part.
About the Alzheimer’s Association
The Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. Visit www.alz.org or call 800.272.3900.