ACTO (Alzheimer's Caregiver Time Out)

My wife, a retired United States Air Force veteran, was diagnosed with dementia caused by onset Alzheimer's disease approximately five years ago at the age of 54. The disease advanced rapidly. Within 6 months she could no longer drive, read, write or cook.

I am her primary caregiver. Our grown daughter helps as much as possible but she has to work. In October 2013, my father-in-law was diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy.  In January of 2014, I retired from my job to take care of both my wife and my father-in-law who is widowed. Since then my wife' s illness has increased rapidly. She can no longer bath or dress herself. She needs help dressing, eating and taking her medication. I am the primary care giver for both of them. My wife's sister assists with their dad.

I was aware of ACTO because my wife use to work there a number of years ago. In September 2014, I was able to convince her that if she'd like to go, she may enjoy attending. I think she feels she is helping others, when actually she is helping herself. She enjoys interacting with the other people and loves the staff. She asks me every day "Are we going to ACTO today?"

Her attendance has allowed me to do ordinary things like housework, yard work and shopping. I have time to dedicate to my father-in-law, but more importantly, I have time for myself. I am less stressed and feel I'm able to provide better support for my family and myself.

I appreciate the United Way Support to this outstanding organization and all the angels who work and volunteer there.