Bibb Co. man who lost HS sweetheart to Alzheimer's now helps others
MACON, Ga. -- When it comes to the good times, Bibb County native Jimmy Hall has a lifetime to look back on with his wife, who he met in high school.
The Hall's married young, had three children, five grandchildren -- a beautiful life.
Then, Hall says his organized, bookkeeper wife started forgetting things -- things that were normally no problem for her. And later, it got worse.
“She went to see a friend of hers that lived about a mile and a half from us," Hall said. "She was only going to be gone just a few minutes -- and two and a half hours later, she came in the house crying. I asked her what was wrong and she said, 'I got lost coming back.'”
Hall's wife was eventually diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Hall says at the end, he was guiding her through a totally unfamiliar world.
“Even if I went to the bathroom, she was pounding on the door, wanting to know where I was at,” he said.
And the stress was almost too much to bear.
“There were a lot of days that I felt like just going out and screaming, ‘Does anybody care? Does anybody know what I’m going through on a day to day basis?’” Hall said.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 527,000 Georgians were taking care of loved ones with Alzheimer’s in 2017.
“Sometimes we lose our caregivers before we do our patients," Hall said. "Because of that very reason -- because the caregivers are so busy taking care of their loved ones -- they don’t take care of themselves.”
Now, Hall leads a support group for other family members.
“People say, 'Oh I know what you’re going through,'" he said. "No you don’t. Not unless you have taken care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s.”
Hall says not a day goes by that he doesn’t miss his high school sweetheart.
“She was my wife -- the love of my life, the mother of my children,” he says.
But Hall's hoping his experience will help others who need it.
The Alzheimer’s Association in Macon offers free resources to people with Alzheimer’s and family members. Hall says if you’re dealing with the disease in any way -- find a support group.
You can contact the Alzheimer's Association at 478-746-7050. Visit their website here.