Living with Alzheimer’s Chapter One

At the age of 55, my husband had managed a busy recreation complex for 26 years, had 80+ staff and a budget of millions, so when he started exhibiting some memory problems I thought the stress of coping with constant staff issues, the public, and annual budgets that were becoming tighter and tighter, was getting to him. A good rest should solve it.

At the same time, his boss told him the management of an identical facility in the city where the Regional District office and his boss were headquartered was going to be combined with the management of Bill’s facility. They chatted about it a great deal and Bill talked about us maybe having to move to the other city. I thought the additional weight on his shoulders might be the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, because his problems increased.

Then his boss suddenly announced he was leaving. A new Administrator was hired, and several weeks after the new Administrator arrived, Bill reported that boss had no interest in meeting with him at all— hadn’t contacted him, and didn’t respond to calls Bill made to him, just to say hello. Bill had no inkling a younger man, who had taken over the sister facility a year before and whom Bill had mentored, had lobbied to take over Bill’s facility as well, and the new Administrator had decided to give that person the position of manager of both facilities. When the new Administrator finally did invite Bill to headquarters for a meeting, it was to offer him a position as ‘Special Projects Manager’. If he accepted the job, he would have to travel to headquarters daily and work out of that office.

Bill thought it was a promotion, and was flattered. But when he began doing the job, he began to wonder just what kind of promotion this was. Some days when he appeared at work, they had no office space at all for him to work out of and his boss told him he might as well just go home. Within six months, Bill was offered early retirement. He was stunned. But after thinking about it for a while, he decided maybe retirement wasn’t a bad option.

He did retire, and promptly applied for a job as Administrator of the Recreation Facilities Association of B.C.—and got it. It was a one-person, part-time job, he told me, and he could do it out of the house. And that’s when the (deleted expletive in the interest of sensitivity to language) really did hit the fan.