Dean Evans, a marine veteran, is fully acquainted with the hardship and sorrow of caring for an aging parent with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
His father, Ricky Evans, started experiencing symptoms of the disease in 2011. At just 66 years old, Ricky Evans struggles with mobility, needs help from family and caregivers, and also suffers from Parkinson’s disease.
On Feb. 23, Evans posted a video of his 3-year-old daughter, Paisley Evans, dancing with her grandfather.
Paisley wore a princess gown that lit up and changed colors as she sparkled and twirled in her living room. Her grandfather, unable to stand on his own, wore a hospital gown.
“My daughter wanted to dance with my dad,” Evans wrote on the now viral Facebook video.
“She wanted him to go to a ball with her so she grabbed her Disney dress. Melts my heart.”
Evans stood behind his father, supporting him as he danced with Paisley.
Delighted, Paisley clasped her grandfather’s hands and began to twirl to the song “Tale as Old as Time” from Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.”
According to KVUE-TV, Evans left the military in December after serving eight years in order to live with and care for his parents in Waldorf, Maryland.
Most people would agree that serving as a marine is a sacrifice, a career path that is daunting to many. But caring for a loved one with dementia requires a different type of sacrifice — days and nights filled with exhaustion, grief, endless medications and doctor visits, all with the knowledge of how the story will eventually end.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s and 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.
The burden of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s is felt by families, caregivers, health care providers, and of course, the individual living with the disease.
But in the midst of the sadness, life is filled with precious moments like the one Paisley got to share with her grandpa.
The sweet scene will be one that Paisley and her dad can look back on through the years, and remember that even in the midst of the hard, their family shared some beautiful moments.
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