Amir and Shah Gilani have been married for 42 years.
The couple has one son and they used to run their own business in restaurant design and construction, so to say they had an active live – would be an understatement. But in 2015, everything changed.
“We went through a number of tests and at that time we figured out that it’s middle stage Alzheimer’s,” Amir said. “And once we knew, I cried. I don’t cry but I cried.”
“I have spent a lot of time with Amir and Shah, and they’re actually a symbol of what we do at the Alzheimer Society,” said Cathy Barrick, CEO, Alzheimer Society of Ontario.
They’re a normal family who have experienced something really difficult and we’re there to support them.”
Shah is 67 years old and because she’s in the middle stages of the disease, she requires round the clock care.
“We’re together most of the time,” Amir said. “Life continues, except now Shah needs more care. So I have to be with Shah almost every moment.”
Their son Karim lives at home with them and is a big help to his mom – not to mention the comfort, support, and strength he brings to his dad.
“Oh, I’ve learned quite a bit of patience, yes,” Karim said. “It’s changed me quite a bit. I understand my mom needs that love and care right now. Just like my mom helped me my whole life, I’m helping her now.”
“This is an amazing family,” Barrick said.
“They’ve stuck together and they’re so dedicated to Shah.”
“I think something that’s very important in anybody with Shah’s situation is they need attention. Give them attention,” Amir said. “Stay with them as much as you can. If you leave alone, they drain fast. And give them lots of love because they deserve that.”
“Researchers say they’re getting close and they’re getting closer all the time,” Barrick said. “They feel like a breakthrough is within reach, but we still don’t know what causes it.”
“There is no cure and we’re desperate for one.”