We’re now in the middle of Alzheimer’s awareness month.
A diagnoses can have a profound effect on people who are diagnosed, as well as their families.
This month, an effort is being made to spread awareness and help families that are dealing with the disease.
Emily and Kathleen Fraschetti are now in their 20s and, already, the sisters have spent nearly a decade taking care of their mom.
“At the time, I was 15 so I was in grade 10 and I kind of didn’t know what dementia was and how much this would really impact our lives,” said young caregiver Emily Fraschetti.
“Prioritizing friendships and family and work and school and all of those things culminate into a very, at times, stressful environment,” added Kathleen Fraschetti.
The Fraschettis were also part of a documentary called Much Too Young, which shines a light on what it’s like to be a young caregiver and aims to debunk some misconceptions.
“She really wanted to affect people’s lives and show this side of the disease and how devastating (it is) but also how many funny and amazing moments and how much love there is when you are caregiving,” said Kathleen Fraschetti.
“The ability to help someone, just even one family is the reason why we do this and why we share our story,” said Emily Fraschetti.
The film has been shown to a full house at Ontario Tech University.
That’s where 18-year-old Karson Kane and his mom took in the screening.
He wants to help care for his dad, who was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in August.
“Say something happens when it’s just the two of us, kind of know what to do in a scenario,” said Kane.
“It’s a very difficult diagnosis when you first receive it, there’s a lot of information to learn but you gain things like perspective and what you need to do in your life right now,” said Tania Markle, Karson’s mom.
The Durham Alzheimer’s Society says there are 10,000 people living with dementia in the region, and more than half a million across the country.
Those numbers are expected to double in the next decade and so too are the number of young caregivers.
“Young caregivers are often the forgotten few,” said Denyse Newton, Alzheimer Society of Durham chief executive officer. “We have in Canada 16,000 people and growing that are diagnosed with dementia under the age of 65.”
As for Emily and Kathleen, their mom Moira is almost 60. She was recently moved to a long term care facility.
“With Alzheimer’s, it varies so much that you can’t really plan too far into the future,” said Kathleen Fraschetti.
Yet another adjustment for the pair as they try to do what’s best for their family.