Meet John and Evelyn

John compares caregiving to learning a new job skill.

After more than 15 years in care, he still visited his wife every day.

At first, they thought it was job stress. After all, being a teacher of special-needs kids is hard work. But taking time off and being prescribed medication for her depression didn’t help. At age 55, Evelyn Shyluk learned she had dementia. “It was a total shock to us,” says her husband, John. “We were hoping for something curable.” The first reaction was anger. “Why is this happening? We had all these travel plans.” 

John compares learning to care for a loved one with dementia to learning a new job skill. “You need training, and the Alzheimer Society of Calgary offered me training to be a caregiver,” he says. “They are my lifeline.”

Sadly, Evelyn passed away on Christmas Eve of 2019. Despite living with a diagnosis, John is grateful to the Alzheimer Society of Calgary for their support throughout the years. The Society helped John and his family find ways to maintain qualities of life. 

“What I’ve learned is not to be afraid of it, and how to cope. I would strongly recommend people get in touch with the Alzheimer Society of Calgary. Take advantage of the Adult Day Program and support groups for caregivers.”

If you or your family have been impacted by Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias, rest assured you are not alone. Evelyn is one of more than 17,000 local people living with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias in Calgary and surrounding areas.  

Thank you to John for sharing their story.

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