Chuck Gaidica opens up about mother's battle with Alzheimer's disease

Detroit Zoo hosting Walk to End Alzheimer's

DETROIT – Former Local 4 meteorologist Chuck Gaidica spoke to Devin Scillian and opened up about his mother's long battle with Alzheimer's disease.

Chuck has enjoyed some of life's better moments, such as his daughter's wedding, but he's also battled some of the toughest ordeals. He lost both of his parents this year, including his mother after a long journey through the jungle of Alzheimer's disease.

"It was a little over six years ago that my dad started noticing things about Mom," Chuck said.

Many families know the story, from noticing signs to being told what nobody wants to hear: "Your loved one has Alzheimer's."

That's what happened with Chuck's mother, Geri Gaidica.

It's difficult for families to watch the disease slowly drain loved ones of the memories they spent years cherishing.

"It's an interesting disease," Chuck said. "You get those periods of lucidity where they're not really in that Alzheimer's state. They're right there with you and they'll say something even funny, and they'll laugh. Then they just go away again."

Alzheimer's can linger, and it did so long enough for Chuck's father to pass away -- in January from a brain tumor -- before his mother.

His mother couldn't really be at her husband's funeral. He said they couldn't even tell her.

"A person with Alzheimer's -- when you tell them about the death of a loved one and they forget about that death and they say tomorrow, 'Where's daddy?' -- and you have to tell them again and again and again, and it just becomes -- I guess it could almost be looked at like abuse, if you will, if you have to keep having to tell someone, 'Well, they're dead,'" Chuck said.

His mother passed away in May, and his family joined the large number of people who have lost loved ones to Alzheimer's. The disease is largely undefeated, which is why Chuck will be at the Detroit Zoo for the Walk to End Alzheimer's.

"You can just come," he said. "You can give 25 bucks. You can give $25,000. It's up to you. It doesn't have to be something you've been planning for a year to attend. It's a walk around the Detroit Zoo. There is an opening ceremony, which I'll be a part of, which is an honor because for me, this is a real personal issue for me now."

About the Authors: