HEALTH & FITNESS - Time comes for a change in advocate's life

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You have been walking with me over the last year, as I have written about my journey with the disease of Alzheimer's, the loss of my beloved husband and the resources that are available to everyone dealing with Alzheimer's disease or one of the varying forms of dementia.

That journey has included many different avenues, but I feel the main road remains education, education, education.

The avenues we have gone down include advocacy, grief (expected and unexpected), safety, taking care of yourself, support systems, my personal foundation and the resources that the Alzheimer's Association - Inland Northwest Chapter provides. I have barely cracked the surface in many of these areas.

My journey has taken another turn and I am walking down a new avenue. My passion to help others continues and I am excited to see what the future holds. My journey with family and friends provides an increased richness as I have been walking through my grief.

My daughters had often asked me to consider moving closer to them when their dad passed on, but I had learned from being a Realtor and walking through the "long goodbye" that you don't make such decisions during the first year of loss.

My foundation continues to be strengthening in my personal relationship with Jesus Christ and I stand on Jeremiah 29:11, "for I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace ...;" Psalm 62:8, "Trust in, lean on, rely on and have confidence in Him at all times ...;" and Proverbs 3:4-6, "Lean on, trust in and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understand. In all your ways know, recognized and acknowledge Him and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths."

This is the ninth month since Ray's passing and I have found myself experiencing life in a way similar to giving birth. In seeking the Lord and his direction, I have realized it is time to relocate and move on with my life. My home will officially be on the market this Monday.

I missed several years of my Ohio grandchildren's ball games and piano recitals when Ray and I could no longer travel. My Seattle grandsons are young and the opportunity to move there presented itself. I have decided to take that opportunity, which will open doors for travel to Ohio and being closer to family. Even as you read this, I am blessed to be with family.

My passion increases daily as I see the needs and I am stopped downtown by people who share how much these articles have meant to them and their families. I will continue to be available to share my personal walk and point you in the direction of the professional help I never knew was available.

I had told you I would write about TrialMatch, a new program developed through the Alzheimer's Association. TrialMatch provides easy access to various trials that are available for families who are on their individual journey with Alzheimer's disease or one of the various forms of dementia.

To simplify the process of learning if there is a trial available that your loved one might qualify for is extremely helpful when dealing with all the emotions and changes a diagnosis brings into your life. To learn more, go to www.alz.org/trialmatch or call 800-272-3900. Trained personnel are available to take your information and match you with possible trials that might be right for you or your loved one.

Remember, you are not alone on your journey. There is a 24/7 helpline available at 800-272-3900.

Debbi Pierce can be reached at 520-3077.

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