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The Voice of the Black Community

Health

Sisters band together to share in father's Alzheimer's care
Daughters move in to help retired firefighter
 
Published Saturday, May 27, 2017 5:25 am
by Kareem Wilson, The Charlotte Post

PHOTO/KAREEM WILSON
Sisters Dianne Archie Harris (from left) Diane Archie Bramlett and Deborah Archie with their father Fred Archie (sitting) at The Ivey Memory Wellness Day Center. The sisters are full-time caretakers for Archie, a retired Charlotte Fire Department captain who has Alzheimer's Disease.

Fred Archie always helped people in need. Now his daughters are returning the favor.


Archie, 73, was the third African American hired by the Charlotte Fire Department in 1972 and retired as captain. Four years ago, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, a disease that causes problems with memory and cognitive abilities. As the disease progressed, with no spouse or partner to depend upon, three of his daughters took it upon themselves to care for him.

Dianne Archie Harris, Deborah Archie, and Diane Archie Bramlett care for their father. Harris and Bramlett live with him at his Charlotte home. Deborah Archie lives next door.

Dianne, the oldest sister, said they began noticing signs of dementia years before Fred was diagnosed. She felt disbelief when she heard about his illness.

“The initial reaction was I’m not sure that’s what he has until I actually saw it for myself,” she said.

Alzheimer’s hits Africa Americans especially hard. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, studies have found age-specific dementia is 14 percent to 100 percent higher in blacks than whites. The cumulative risk of dementia among immediate blood relatives of African-Americans who have Alzheimer’s disease is 43.7 percent.

More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, but that figure is expected to rise as high as 16 million by 2050. African-Americans are about twice as likely to have Alzheimer’s or other dementia as older whites.

Archie’s daughters found help at The Ivey Memory Wellness Day Center, a nonprofit that cares for individuals with memory and cognitive problems. The Ivey includes rehabilitation therapies and personal care services such as social time and exercise.

Deborah said taking Fred to The Ivey was a good choice.

“Once we engaged and met all the people, it was like home away from home,” she said. “He literally loves the staff, the Ivey, everything because they really make us feel safe with dad. Dad is safe, he loves it there, and it is consistently engaging.”

For all their support and love, Fred said he appreciates all his daughters have done for him.

“They are so collectively available for me,” he said. “For whatever I may need, they are there to get it for me.”

Bramlett said The Ivey has helped bring meaning and life back into his life.

“Dad appreciates that he is still very much respected at The Ivey,” she said. “He was always driven by the fact that he could make a difference in someone’s life each day he put on his uniform. Being at The Ivey still gives him that sense of purpose. He still believes he is there to help people and inspire others.”

On the Net:

www.theivey.org

Comments

Such an inspirational story! You are an amazing trio of sisters. Your father is obviously much loved and well taken care of. God bless you all.
Posted on June 15, 2017
 
You show the true meaning of what family is, love and strength. May God continue to bless you all!
Posted on May 29, 2017
 
Great article Kareem, thank you for taking the time to speak with us and sharing our daddy's story.
Posted on May 28, 2017
 
Admiration and love for the gift of family.
Posted on May 28, 2017
 
You guys are awesome. I am happy that God allowed our paths to cross. Hugs and Love to you all. E-mail me your number when you have a chance.
Posted on May 28, 2017
 

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