Alzheimer Family Stays Close Through Illness

Olivia Cameron makes rounds at nursing homes in East Texas. She's a Geriatric Nurse Practitioner for Mother Frances. About half of her patients, like Willa Holly, suffer from Alzheimer's.

"Sometimes they've been treated for depression, or hallucinations. They have no idea that it's Alzheimer's disease until it's actually diagnosed."

Willa's daughter, Wynona Callier says she first heard her mother's diagnosis three years ago. "We just thought it was age. Nothing about Alzheimer's or anything like that. I was even trying to make my mother remember. I was trying to make her react the way that she always had."

But, it soon became apparent the Alzheimer's was advancing, and Willa needed constant care. "We wanted her to be able to see a family member every day. She was at another facility before she came here. So, we moved her over here to be with me."

Wynona's at Colonial Manor Nursing Home everyday, anyway. She works in the purchasing office, only a few doors down from her mother's room. "I used to work with her at a nursing home at Melrose. And, she was my boss there. She was very quick with numbers. We would be in the grocery store. She could out do a cash register."

Thursday, Willa is in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's. The disease has taken away her independence. But it hasn't taken away her daughter.