SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Alzheimer's is a skyrocketing epidemic. More than 60,000 San Diegans and their families are living with this disease which takes its toll physically, emotionally and financially.
Here at CBS 8, we're proud to launch Know Alzheimer's 8, a project of the Alzheimer's Association and Torrey Pines Bank to provide resources and help for local families like the Pruntys, a family just beginning their Alzheimer's journey and a family committed to getting all the help and information that they can.
"I couldn't remember the number, the whatever it is," laughed Chuck. "I couldn't remember and they let me stand there for about...off to the side...about 10 minutes trying to figure it out. I said, 'Y'know I can't get it,'" said Chuck.
Forgetting a debit card number may seem like nothing to some, but for an aeronautical engineer like Chuck Prunty it was a sign something was wrong.
"My doctors said you have some, you have some memory loss," continued Chuck. "You've got what looks like Alzheimer's."
The diagnosis wasn't a total surprise to his wife of almost 60 years.
"And to me, he was losing things and couldn't find them. And I thought that's really strange since he's an engineer and everything has its place," said Joanna Prunty.
The next step for them was to tell their six children.
"When I think of my father, I think of an American Hero," said John Prunty.
John is the only one of his siblings in San Diego. He says his father is a fighter.
"He grew up on a farm in South Dakota and I don't think when you grow up on a farm you wake up and say, 'Do I like what I'm doing today?' You do it because that's in front of you," explained John.
In front of them now is a tough journey. So they turned to the Alzheimer's Association for help.
"They covered just about everything, what the different stages are going to be and how you're gonna act through different stages and how tough it is to be a caregiver," said Chuck.
The three took the Alzheimer's Association's early stages forum together.
"We learned a lot about safety and certain signs to look for in terms of disease progression," said John.
"And through the seven-day program we went to we learned about insurance, we learned about caregiving, we learned about places that care for Alzheimer's when it becomes necessary to move out of the home," added Joanna
They all know it will be tough. But they know more now about how this journey will go and how they'll deal with it.
"You give a little more love each day than maybe you'd thought about before," Joanna said. "I think we'll handle this journey pretty well together."
I'd just like to thank the Pruntys for sharing their story with us.