CA couple deals with Alzheimer's, inspires life of advocacy: 'I redirect that missing into helping'

This weekend brings the Alzheimer's Association of Northern California and Northern Nevada's 'A Bright Night Gala' to San Jose

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Saturday, April 29, 2023
CA couple's path with Alzheimer's inspires life of advocacy
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This weekend brings the Alzheimer's Association of Northern California and Northern Nevada's "A Bright Night Gala" to San Jose.

STOCKTON, Calif. (KGO) -- Teresa and Frank Mandella's love story started in Fresno, when the two were working in finance. After some time, they soon built a life in Stockton.

After decades together, their life took a drastic turn. In 2010, at 61-years-old, Frank received an Alzheimer's diagnosis.

Teresa quickly noticed a difference in his behavior. She described, "His hobbies and activities he enjoyed, like working on his car, gardening, being involved in the community, those just disappeared. So I needed to know, are there other activities that could give him a sense of purpose and still keep his dignity?"

She was Frank's caregiver for the next seven years. He transitioned into assisted living in 2017.

Frank is now 74, and continues to live with the disease.

"I miss that helpfulness and loving partnership that we had," she said. "But I redirect that missing into helping, and that's made a big difference."

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Teresa said she was initially introduced to the Alzheimer's Association as a resource, for support groups and guidance with caregiving.

Today, she's helping out families who are finding themselves in similar situations. She's calling this the era of treatment.

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Teresa is now on the Board of Directors at the Alzheimer's Association - Northern California and Northern Nevada. She's also gala committee chair for Saturday's A Bright Night Gala being held in San Jose.

Driven by a personal connection, Teresa said she has such passion for the cause.

"There is no cure, and treatment has been so minimal," she told ABC7 News. "But as I had mentioned earlier, we're entering the era of treatment and that can provide a lot of hope for people that are at the beginning of this journey."

This weekend's A Bright Night Gala will be held at The GlassHouse in San Jose at 6:30 p.m. For more information click here.

To learn more about, and to support, the Alzheimer's Association Northern California and Northern Nevada chapter, click here.

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