BRAZIL, Ind. (WTHI) - It not only changes but eats away at lives every day.
Every 66 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's Disease.
It's a condition that progressively destroys the memory, it's one many don't understand until it happens to them or someone they love.
All of Mona Keiser's life, the bond between her and her mother has been a different kind of relationship. "She's always played and had fun and all that, and I've always been the responsible grown up," Mona said.
As the oldest daughter, she says it's stressful to have to make the decisions that nobody else wants to make. Mona is now her mother's caregiver. "She just kind of started forgetting things, started not being able to walk very good, and not being able to take care of the bills or cook."
It was four years ago when doctors gave the diagnosis. "It's like it's a taboo word or something, you know, they don't want to say Alzheimer's...but that's what it is," Mona said.
Already living with kidney failure and diabetes, the weight of Alzheimer's was too much to bear. "It got to where we couldn't take care of her at home anymore."
Home is now Exceptional Living Centers in Brazil. Every day, Mona takes the trip from Center Point. "She'll go the whole day without really knowing anybody, and then it's like a light comes on and she says 'Oh Mona!"
Laughs and patty cake are a part of the good days. "The patty cake thing is the most fun because it makes her laugh," Mona told us.
Laughter is the same medicine that gets them through the bad.
A terrible disease, but it's also part of life. That's how Mona sees it. Though every day with her mom is different, there's always one thing that's stayed the same. "She still has compassion," Mona told us. "Respect your parents and let them know you love them every day because you never know when you're not going to be able to."
It's a bond no disease could every break.
More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's.
Health officials say that number could reach 16 million by the year 2050.
Article and aired on WTHI-TV
on Nov. 13, 2017. Watch the video