Ms CJ McCaffrey - Alzheimer Society of Canada
Ms CJ McCaffrey watched her mother die of Alzheimer’s disease but was reluctant to admit that she could also be suffering from the same disease—until she ended up sitting at a red light on her way to teach her ballroom dance class confused and unsure of what she was doing or where she was going. From that point on, Ms McCaffrey knew she needed answers. Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging. It is a progressive degenerative disease that destroys vital brain cells and can strike adults at any age.
“I was 58 years old when I was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease (EOAD). My family physician still has a hard time believing that I have it,” says Ms McCaffrey.
After being diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease, Ms McCaffrey connected with a monthly support group, through the Alzheimer Society of Ottawa’s ‘First Link Program’; something she found gave her tremendous support. Now she is giving something back to those that helped her. She is an Advisory Board member with the Alzheimer’s Society of Ottawa and was the Society’s local Honorary Chair for this year’s National Alzheimer Awareness Month Campaign. She is also participating in a clinical trial research program funded in part by Healthpartners, which is testing new Alzheimer medications.
“I believe it is important to get involved and educate Canadians about Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. I can’t stress enough how important it is to pay attention to any symptoms you feel are just not right. Do not dismiss memory loss or confusion as normal just because your life is busy. Pay attention to your body and ask questions. Early diagnosis is very important to maintaining your quality of life,” says Ms McCaffrey.
Alzheimer Society of Canada