Bud Quinn smiles as he talks about his wife, Barbara. He speaks with pride of their large and growing brood of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Bud Quinn smiles as he talks about his wife, Barbara. He speaks with pride of their large and growing brood of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

 “She was a knock out,” he said of his wife of 60-plus years. In his eyes, she hasn’t changed a bit in the decades they have spent together, building a family and a life together, planning for their retirement until a diagnoses of Alzheimer’s changed both their lives. Barbara became a patient, a victim of the cruel disease and Bud, he became a caregiver. 

Barbara Quinn was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 14 years ago. The disease progressed over time. About 7 years ago, she started having trouble talking and has not been able to form sentences since. When she started having problems with balance and mobility, after taking several falls and watching the progression of the disease, Bud had to make the difficult decision to place her in a facility that could provide the 24-hour care she needed. 

“I knew I couldn’t take care of her any longer,” he said. Once he made the decision, Bud found a facility in Osage Beach where he felt Barbara would receive the care and attention she needed. In January of 2017, Barbara was moved to a nursing home and, once again, Bud’s life changed. 

Seldom does a day go by that Bud doesn’t visit. Short of a medical problem, he is there spending time with Barbara every day. Although Barbara is currently on hospice, she recognizes Bud when he visits. 

Bud and Barbara have three children, eight grandchildren and many great grandchildren. Bud said the children have a hard time visiting their mother. It’s difficult for them, he said. Watching a parent change is hard. The oldest always leaves crying, he said. 

Despite being 82, Bud stays busy and active. He attends a support group on a regular basis. The support group has helped him. It’s a place to share and learn from others. 

Alzheimer’s is a difficult disease to understand and cope with because it’s different from patient to patient. 

He said it’s weird how the Alzheimer’s symptoms vary from one wife to another. 

Through it all Bud said he has kept his faith and sense of humor. Despite the challenge of the disease, he remains optimistic and devoted.  

Who knows, he said, “Barbara may outlive me but I know I will see her again. I know that,” he said. “I wish everyone had the life that we have shared.” 

“[Alzheimer’s] is a very strange disease. The mind is a strange thing,” he said. But he finds comfort and friendship of others facing similar circumstances through the support group. 

Many supporters and caretakers like Bud participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s and a Walk is coming to the Lake area. The event will take place in Osage Beach. The Walk will be Sun., Sept. 30. Registration will start at 11 a.m. The ceremony will start at noon. The Walk will start at 12:30 p.m. The goal is $30,000. The Walk will be at Osage High School, Osage Beach.

The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is held annually in more than 600 communities nationwide. The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s® is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. This inspiring event calls on participants of all ages and abilities to join the fight against the disease.

In the United States, someone develops Alzheimer’s every 65 seconds. Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. More than 5 million Americans are living with the disease. There are an estimated 16 million caregivers of people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias in the United States.”

The 16 million caregivers provided approximately 18.4 billion hours of unpaid care in 2017, according to the website.