Alzheimer’s is a scary disease that steals the memory of whoever is unlucky enough to be diagnosed with it. The cause of this horrible condition is not known, though scientists are still studying it. Sufferers do tend to share some genes, but none of them is recognized as the definite cause of Alzheimer's. The brain cells and their connections actually begin to degrade and die off, not only affecting the memory, but also producing the most noticeable symptom of the disease.
True Love knows no bounds and when people are lucky enough to find the love of their life, nothing can come between them. Betsy and David Winkler from Kuna, Idaho, have been happily married for over 30 years, and have a loving family. Their marriage is one for the ages, full of love, hope, and laughter. Sadly, David is one of the two percent of people who will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in their lifetime. As his disease progressed, Betsy was having a harder and harder time meeting all of his needs herself.
One week before Betsy and David’s 31st wedding anniversary, Betsy was forced to place her husband in a home where he could receive the medical care he requires. David was moved into the Ashley Manor home in Boise, where they specialize in memory care. Despite the thirty-minute drive from the home they had shared, Betsy spends as much time as she can with her husband. She doesn’t let the distance keep them apart.
The cost of David’s medical care puts an enormous strain on their budget, leaving Betsy only $30 to survive off of each month. Of their $51,000 annual income, it costs her $48,000 to get her husband the care he needs. After her bills, she has $740 left. Of that amount, she puts away $710 each month in a savings account, for the day when her husband reaches stage seven of Alzheimer’s. When that day comes, the cost for his care will go from $4,000 a month to $5,300 a month and she wants to be prepared for that day.
It’s been over three years since David moved to Ashley Manor, and Betsy has learned a few tricks to make her money stretch enough that she can, on occasion, splurge on a dollar soda and dollar burger from McDonald's. Betsy has made an agreement with a local grocery store where she is able to collect their recently discarded food items they’d pulled from the shelf for hitting their expiration dates.
Betsy doesn’t keep all of the food for herself, donating a majority of it to a food bank near where she lives. With Betsy’s donations, she is able to help the food bank support the 215 families who rely on them for help.
Betsy and David’s love is like a greek myth, full of love and joy, yet forced apart by some cruel twist of fate. However, Betsy has never allowed that to stop her from loving and caring for her husband. "In sickness and in health" are the vows she took, and you can be sure that she will never break those vows to the light of her life.
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