Back in 2014, Norm’s life changed forever. He was 89-years-old when his doctor took him aside and gave the devastating news. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. At this point, Norm and his family had a choice. They could either panic and freak out, or they could take a deep breath and try to deal with the diagnosis one step at a time.
Norm and his family took the second, and more trying path, and have tried their best to support him as his mind continues to become unraveled. It was important for Norm and his family to come together on their plan of attack. Because the disease would not only affect Norm but the entire family, they had to be on board with what they were going to do to respond to his worsening condition.
After a few years of dealing with the illness, Norm’s beloved daughter and primary caretaker Elaine Rusk decided to sit down with her father and share a video update with him. Together they looked at the camera, as Elaine began asking her father some questions. But the big question, the one she really wanted to share with the world, was actually quite simple. She asked Norm if he knew that he had Alzheimer’s disease. His response broke the internet.
Every day is a challenge for Norm and for his family. His mind continues to get worse, and he forgets things all the time. However, he still retains a lot of his mental capacity, and that was what Elaine was hoping to show people through the video. She wanted people to know that just because an aging family member gets hit with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, it does not mean they will not be the same person they always were.
Elaine abandoned her job when she became the caretaker for her father full time. She loves it. When they spend their time together, they enjoy activities like painting and other things that Elaine remembered her father loved to do when she was just a child. Although Norm is now confined to a wheelchair, he still has his painting ability. That’s why Elaine is focusing on that in his golden years and while they have time together throughout the day.
Before long, Elaine stocked up on paintbrushes and other tools and supplies so Norm could rediscover his love for painting. They love painting together, and Elaine loves Norm’s creations.
In an interview with The Sun Chronicle after the video below went viral, Elaine admits that there are some bad days for Norm.
“To me, it’s like a sacred time. We’re in the moment together.”
Elaine loves spending time with her father. It is sad to see that he is dealing with such a debilitating disease, but at least she’s got the chance to spend her days with dad.
When she asks him if he has the disease, he answered bluntly: “Yes! I know I got it!”
Although he knows what he has, Elaine is glad he still has the mental faculty to know it.
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