Powell looks forward to a cure

Published 10:25 pm Friday, August 24, 2018

Alzheimer’s was never at the top of Mary Powell’s mind as she went through life, but after six and a half years at Home Sweet Home Care, it’s become her mission to help find a cure.

Powell is the director of operations and she handles every new case that walks through the door, and during her time she has seen and heard heartbreaking stories of what Alzheimer’s does to patients and their families.

“It is devastating to see the effects of Alzheimer’s on the families, and I just really realized it was an epidemic,” Powell said. “I’ve been doing everything I can to learn about it and try and help alleviate the pain.”

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Powell, thankfully, hasn’t had to deal with Alzheimer’s in her own family. But while she might not deal with Alzheimer’s under her own roof, she is very close to those who do through her job.

“I meet on a personal level when I’m gathering information about the patient and the family, and I have to find out what they need so I can do what I can to help them,” Powell said.

Sometimes that help is just one night of in-home care, but in more severe cases, the patients need 24-hour care.

The hardest part that Powell has experienced is from a financial standpoint.

“I see it on a personal level where families have to do the math in their head and see if there is going to be enough money to help,” Powell said. “Seeing the devastation they go through affects them on every level. Their lives stop when they are dealing with this.

“Financially, it’s a hardship, and it is heartbreaking.”

That’s why she participates in the Western Tidewater Walk to End Alzheimer’s. For Powell, the closer the Alzheimer’s Association gets to a cure, the fewer heartbreak families have to go through when obtaining care for their loved ones.

The devastating stories that cross her desk every day aren’t easy for her heart, but her kindness makes the job just a little bit easier.

“There is no way you can be in this field and stay in this field if you don’t have compassion for what they are going through,” Powell said. “The days you are able to actually help someone are the days that keep you from quitting.”

While not personally affected by the disease, being more knowledgeable has made her more conscious of her health and of her children’s health.

“I just want them to be aware,” Powell said.

Seeing the need for fundraising and volunteerism with the Alzheimer’s Association was a no-brainer for Powell, and she thinks that should be the mentality of everyone.

“If someone had any involvement with the Alzheimer’s Association and they didn’t think it was absolutely necessary to find a cure, I wouldn’t believe them,” Powell said. “There is no way to see what they go through and not do whatever you can do to fix it.”

The participants are working to raise a total of $85,800 before the walk on Sept. 15. They have reached 30 percent of their fundraising goal with $26,004 raised with 136 participants and 45 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 alz.org.