World Alzheimer's Day: A Local Resident Shares Her Story - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

World Alzheimer's Day: A Local Resident Shares Her Story

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© Courtesy: Jaqueta Hytche Simms © Courtesy: Jaqueta Hytche Simms

SALISBURY, Md. - It is World Alzheimer's Day - a day where families share their stories about loved ones affected with the illness.  The disease affects 35 million worldwide and 8,000 families on the Eastern Shore are affected daily.  One local woman shared her story, the ups and downs of dealing with Alzheimer's disease.

Jaqueta Hytche-Simms is a teacher, a family person, a proud Oklahoman and daughter of a man who suffered from Alzheimer's.

"I became involved with Alzheimer's because of my father Dr. William P. Hytche who had Alzheimer's," said Hytche Simms.

Dr. Hytche, a former president of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, was diagnosed with the disease in 2000. His family caught on early.

"Being that my dad knew that his father had Alzheimer's, he had planned.  It never entered our mind to put him in a nursing home."    

Jaqueta took care of her father and helped her mother, his caretaker.  Not everyday was easy.

"He would wake up in the middle of the night and he wants to leave and you're already home. [He would say]  'I have to go I have to go home.'"    

She said it was tough for the grandchildren.  When Alzheimer's started setting in during his later years, he wouldn't recognize them.  

"If they came into the house a different way he'd think they were trying to steal from him and kick them out of the house."    

Jaqueta said there were times he did remember.  One time, her niece, then in college, stayed with Dr. Hytche to make sure he didn't leave the house. 

She feel asleep and was woken up by Dr. Hytche who said "aren't you supposed to be watching me?"  

Those are the memories they now hold on to.   

After a long battle, Dr. Hytche passed away in 2007.    

Now, in an effort to raise awareness, Jaqueta is on the committee in the annual Eastern Shore Walk To End Alzheimer's.  The event is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 27th and will start at the Salisbury-Wicomico Senior Center in the Holly Center Campus.  Walkers will follow a route for three miles.  If someone isn't able to walk the whole route, they can walk the separate route set up at the campus.

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