ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Jessie Carlisle’s grandmother lost her battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. Carlisle, who’s from Anchorage, said her family spent a year taking care of her as she battled the disease. The choice to look after her was Carlisle’s way of giving back to the woman who she had admired her whole life, but she said it wasn’t easy.
“It’s just a different dynamic because I so used to her before, being independent and telling me what to do and teaching me, but once Alzheimer’s entered her body it kind of flipped all of a sudden and she was still the same person, she just wasn’t making decisions like she used to," said Carlisle.
It was that experience that Carlisle shared in a heartfelt essay to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. She talked about how the disease impacted them both and gave a word of advice for other families that might be going through the same thing.
“I think people get afraid because they don’t know how to handle it and they back away and don’t want to be apart of their life anymore, I would say just not to be afraid and to go ahead and put yourself out there and try to help them any way you can to the best of your ability and be apart of their life," she said.
Carlisle’s submission was chosen from nearly 2,000 entries nationwide. She was named a runner up and received $1,000 in scholarship money. Since the program’s inception, AFA has awarded nearly $300,000 in college scholarships to students impacted by Alzheimer’s disease.
Jessie’s time with her grandmother taught her to cherish the moments with loved ones and inspired her to want to raise awareness in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.
“If I could go back in time, I would ask her advice about everything and I would ask her to tell me stories," Carlisle wrote in her essay. “I would record it all and save it so that I could have it forever."
Copyright 2020 KTUU. All rights reserved.