Walking through this time with my father as he declined, life adjustments had to be made. I knew the time would come to relocate my parents from Oklahoma to Tennessee. In a conversation, I asked him what it would take to get him to move to Nashville. His response was, ” I want my cows to come with me”. Before the transition to Tennessee I spent significant time researching doctors, a place to live, and land to lease for the cows. Part of the lengthy transition was taking on the management of commercial property, selling livestock, being the point person for the auction of the ranch, having garage sales, assisting in the estate sale, the house, and an old red truck. I chose to keep my full-time job and leave my part-time job so that I could make myself available through the transition.

The emotional side impacted my life in various ways. My parents were private which made it difficult to allow health care professionals to come to their home. My sleep patterns were altered. The more educated about the disease I became, the better I was able to adjust. I tried to focus on the positive changes. Each declining stage became a “new normal”. I learned to celebrate the little things. My father, a pharmacist and friend to many, showed me in order to make a difference in life you have to be kind and serve others.

I am recognizing the importance of building public awareness of this complex disease. I am determined to make a difference. I know my dad would be proud of the choice I made to serve. This is why I am asking Congress to approve an additional $425 million increase in the government’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget. Please join me in asking Representatives to support an additional $425 million in Alzheimer’s and dementia research funding at the NIH.