Woman credits Alzheimer’s Association, community for helping her through journey as caretaker

More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s.

The disease is a leading cause of death in the United States.

In addition to that extreme number, more than 11 million family members and friends provide care to those living with the Alzheimer’s and other dementias, which is something one Capital Region woman tells us isn’t easy.

Steffi Silon was married to her husband, Bruce, for 42 years before losing him. She was his caretaker for more than a decade.

Bruce was a happy-go-lucky person, with a kind heart. Steffi said when Bruce was on his bike, he was the happiest.

“Aside from his family, I’d like to think,” Steffi said. “I have two daughters, he was just a really, really compassionate person.”

When he started losing his memory, Bruce didn’t want to believe it, let alone talk about it.

“We’d go to a movie and he wouldn’t remember we went to a movie, and then he would cover it up, “oh yeah, yeah, we just saw that,” Steffi explained.

Steffi described how lonely she felt, as her husband was able to cover up his early signs of Alzheimer’s for years. Until finally, Steffi was able to convince Bruce to go to the doctor.

“It took me about 2 years to persuade him to go to a neurologist,” Steffi added.

After Bruce’s visit to the neurologist, he was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s, which is when the disease affects a person under 65 years old

Bruce died last January, nearly 12 years after his diagnosis.

This year during Albany’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s, Steffi held a different color flower. From caretaker, to widow, Steffi credited the Alzheimer’s Association and community for helping her through her journey.

“It sounds sort of cliché, but I think…I think Bruce would want myself and our kids to go on to find happiness.”

Next week on NewsChannel 13 Live at Noon, Faith King will sit down with others who have been affected by Alzheimer’s as they share their story, along with a few people who can talk with us about some exciting, major developments for a new treatment for Alzheimer’s.

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