Supporting Alzheimer’s: March 20, 2017
Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating diagnosis, but one couple is turning it into an opportunity to bring awareness to the disease and they’re using a 1988 Jaguar to do it.
Daniel and Joan Summers have been married for 60 years. “She made me what I am because life with her, 60 years with her, just makes all the difference in the world,” said Dan.
Like most couples, they had planned on growing old together; they even bought a 1969 Jaguar so they could enjoy their golden years by driving off into the sunset. But that plan changed 16 years ago when Joan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. “When you’re told that it’s definitely Alzheimer’s it’s hard to explain what goes through your mind. You could be stabbed in the heart and it couldn’t hurt any more. But we talked and I said I’ll take care of you. You’ll never have to worry about that,” said Dan.
Daniel spends every day with Joan, feeding her, bathing her, dressing her, and even taking her for a drive in their now purple, Jaguar. “I try to make every day of hers be as good as it can be, be as good as we can,” said Dan.
The couple is now spending their golden years bringing awareness to Alzheimer’s disease. Daniel had the car painted purple with the words Alzheimer’s Awareness painted across the side. He says his goal is to help those whose lives are very similar to his and Joan’s. “The families that Alzheimer’s breaks apart because there’s nothing you can do, you just got to live with it and try to make every day the best and it gets difficult at times.
He hopes the car is a purple symbol of hope for patients like Joan and caregivers like him.