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Poston named honorary chair for Alzheimer's walk

"Mom and Dad" was the response John Poston gave when asked why he is so supportive of the Brainerd lakes area Walk to End Alzheimer's. Poston is the honorary chair of this year's walk, taking place on Sept. 26 at the Northland Arboretum.

John Poston
John Poston

"Mom and Dad" was the response John Poston gave when asked why he is so supportive of the Brainerd lakes area Walk to End Alzheimer's. Poston is the honorary chair of this year's walk, taking place on Sept. 26 at the Northland Arboretum.

Poston is no stranger to the signs and symptoms of dementia; his mom was a victim of Lewy body dementia. The second most common type of progressive dementia after Alzheimer's disease, LBD causes a progressive decline in mental abilities. Other symptoms may include visual hallucinations, Parkinson's-like muscle rigidity, slowed movement, tremors, and fluctuations in alertness and attention, such as daytime drowsiness or periods of staring into space. Poston's mom died in 2009. She and Poston's dad were married for 60 years.

Poston was suspicious when his dad began to show similar symptoms. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease two years ago. He was able to be fairly independent until early June of this year, when a brain hemorrhage caused him to go from assisted living to total care in a skilled-nursing facility.

According to Poston, his dad has always been an "in-control" kind of guy. He lied about his age in order to join the Marines at 17 and fight in the Korean War. Even now, whenever the Marines are mentioned, he gives his serial number. Driven and determined, he spent his career as a general manager for Northwestern Bell/AT&T, at one time moving his family to Iran to install a system there. Poston is the eldest son in the family and primary caregiver and conservator for his dad.

Poston's dad is working with physical and occupational therapy. Though both he and Poston take comfort in his progress, he is plagued by hallucinations and paranoia caused by his disease. In addition, Poston believes that when his dad is lucid, he knows what disease he has and that it is sad and frightening for him. It bothers Poston that his 85-year-old, "take-charge" kind of dad might be sad and scared.

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Poston has joined the Alzheimer's Association and the lakes area community in the fight against this debilitating disease. This is the seventh year for the lakes area Walk to End Alzheimer's. The event raises awareness and funds for local Alzheimer's resources and research. To find out more, visit www.alz.org or call 218-733-2560.

The Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research. Their mission is to eliminate this disease through the advancement of research, to provide and enhance support for all affected and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Their vision is a world without Alzheimer's.

John Poston’s parents, Jere and Patti Poston, pose together before either were diagnosed with an Alzheimer’s-related disease. Submitted photo
John Poston’s parents, Jere and Patti Poston, pose together before either were diagnosed with an Alzheimer’s-related disease. Submitted photo

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