Cover Story - Alzheimer's Awareness

By: Scott Saxton
By: Scott Saxton

Dale Parsons spends much of his time these days at his computer. He is an accomplished author. But his latest book may be his most important.

Dale Parsons said, "I watched and keep movies on it and it seemed so artificial. I thought, could I tell a different story?"

It's a story about the struggles with his wife of 63 years, Rhoda Gae.

Momma, as he called her, died in 2005 after a nine year battle with Alzheimers.

Dale Parsons said, "I’d like to draw attention to Alzheimer's and get some more help for it."

Help because Parsons doesn't believe people realize the challenge -- something he vigilantly monitored daily.

Dale Parsons said, "We built a house for the grandkids behind us. She could see it from the kitchen window. What is that? A school building or a church? No mamma, it's your grandson's new house. She walked across the room and go back and say what is that. That quick."

The book has been an eye-opening experience even for family.

Granddaughter In-Law Tammy Parsons, her husband and family moved in with Dale near the end.

Tammy Parsons says, "I've read things that I didn't know happened before we moved in and before we knew how bad it was."

Dale Parsons explains, "I got so I could hardly cry. There were no tears left."

Parsons says one of the more difficult times was when his wife was first diagnosed.

She went up to another person in her doctor's office and said, "I don't think I’m crazy. Do you believe I’m crazy?"

Rhoda Gae parsons died last year but her memory will live on through Dale Parsons’ book.

Parsons hopes it helps others coping with the same struggle.

Parsons paid for a private printing of this book through his publisher.

He donated 400 copies to the local Alzheimer's Association Chapter and another 100 to the Kanawha Valley Senior Services.

He is printing more books and he hopes to get them in local bookstores too.

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