Beaton walks for her father

Published 9:44 pm Saturday, August 4, 2018

The day her father, Richard Forrester, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Alice Beaton’s world was turned upside down.

Beaton and her family spent a decade taking care of him after his diagnosis, and they realized the toll it took on everyone.

“The diagnosis didn’t just affect him,” Beaton said. “His whole family was affected, and it’s a family disease. It’s terrible.”

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In the decade before his passing, he spent seven years in his own home before having to move to an assisted-living facility for the final three.

Beaton found herself spending more and more time with her father, not only because she had always been a “daddy’s girl” but also because she wanted to take some of the burdens off of her mother.

“They say they are the meanest to the people they love the most, and I wanted to give her a break,” Beaton said. “I spent a lot of time with him, and I tried to let him be independent.”

Occasionally, when they would run errands, Beaton was prepared with a slip of paper that said he had Alzheimer’s, and she would hold it behind her father’s back to let people know that he wasn’t being difficult on purpose.

He was diagnosed in 2006 and died Aug. 21, 2016.

Right after her father’s diagnosis, Beaton and her family participated in the Western Tidewater Walk to End Alzheimer’s, and now that her father has passed, she still continues to participate with her family. They even push her mother, who is in her 90s, in a wheelchair.

She encourages the community to participate with her.

“Right now, there is no cure, and something has to be done to conquer this family disease,” Beaton said. “I put signs by the cemetery, and hopefully a lot of people see it so that it jogs their memory to walk.”

Beaton is also on the planning committee for the event.

“This disease affects everybody, not just the person that has it. It affects the family, neighbors, friends and church members,” Beaton said. “It’s really something that everybody needs to get involved with, because it’s a horrible disease.”

The participants are working to raise a total of $85,800 before the walk on Sept. 15. They have reached 19 percent of their fundraising goal with $16,412 raised with 134 participants and 43 teams.

The walk will be held at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 15 at Constant’s Wharf, 110 E. Constance Road. For more information, visit