According to research from Alzheimer Society of Canada, the risk of developing the cognitive disease doubles every five years once someone reaches 65. It is estimated that up to 5% of people will be impacted by the disease before that age.
Earl was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s at only 53 – an age in which many of us are just hitting our stride professionally, planning on spending more time with loved ones.
Just four months later, he and his wife, Jori, received more worrisome health news. Earl had a heart blockage and required a dual wire pacemaker.
Jori admits that she didn’t give MedicAlert ID service a second thought prior to the discovery of her husband’s medical conditions.
“It never meant anything to me until Earl’s diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. My first concern is Earl’s safety and quality of life. [MedicAlert] allows him to do something on his own and he is always protected.”
In spite of Earl’s health issues, he maintains an active lifestyle. He loves to walk a path located near one of Canada’s most renowned engineering feats, the Welland Canal in Ontario, connecting Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.
Jori: “It is his escape to a safe place... Walking keeps him physically active and social.”
Earl first signed up for the MedicAlert Safely Home® program in 2016, which was created in partnership with Alzheimer Society of Canada to protect individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementias. Earl was also a big supporter of MedicAlert when MedicAlert Connect Protect was launched in the Niagara Regional Police earlier this year. The MedicAlert ID now accompanies Earl with every step he takes.
MedicAlert Connect Protect is a one-of-a-kind service that gives emergency responders and healthcare providers quick and secure, 24/7 access to a MedicAlert subscriber’s electronic medical profile.
“I can let him go walking on the canal path on his own, knowing anyone who has contact with him is aware of a medical issue. If something does happen, first responders know immediately they are dealing with someone with cognitive decline and he has an implanted device.”
(L to R): Earl and Jori
Jori and Earl are celebrating 28 years of marriage this year. They love travelling, going to sporting events, being outside and everything to do with the beach. But one activity takes precedence over all others.
“Our favorite time is spent with our families, our 3 children, spouses and 2 grandsons. They make our hearts smile”, say Jori.
Earl’s medical conditions are daunting, but both he and his wife believe that being positive in the face of life’s challenges is important. As Jori puts it, “We choose happy”. Thank, Jori and Earl, wiser words were never spoken!
For more information on MedicAlert Safely Home, visit www.medicalert.ca/safely-home or call 1-855-581-3794.
Thank you Earl and Jori for sharing your family’s story! Do you have a personal story that will inspire and inform others? Share your story at medicalert.ca/community.