Kazuko has been coming to Alzheimer’s Family Center (AFC) for over a year and a half. Known to most people here as "Kako", her constant cheerful mood and great talent for art never goes unnoticed.
Sidney George was born in Wichita Falls, Texas, a town located close to the Oklahoma border, in 1936. He grew up in a typical neighborhood with his older sister Della, and younger sister Sarah Jane. Their parents were working a lot; mom was a professional seamstress, dad a carpenter, so George and his sisters grew up with their grandmother. George also has a stepbrother named Willie.
Even as a kid, George was always enamored by the military.
He loved the military so much that at the age of 13, he went to a military school in Mississippi. In 1953, at 17 years old, he joined the Navy reserve for two years. Because he wanted to fly, he left the U.S. Navy and joined the U.S. Air Force as a loadmaster, where he stayed for 20 years. As a loadmaster, he was tasked with the safe loading, transport and unloading of aerial cargoes, making sure that all troops and supplies where accounted for, weighed and scoured properly.
George served in the Vietnam War for four years, during which he accumulated 4,000 hours of combat mission and was awarded several medals. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross, one of the highest military decorations, for a mission during which he flew for 72 hours straight, delivering goods and supplies to the troops.
Now George has a beautiful family: his wife, four children, four grandchildren, and one great grandchild. He has been married to his wife Joan for 25 years. His son Luis explains: “It has been really challenging for the whole family since dad was diagnosed with memory loss. We have had a lot of ups and downs. He is not the same dad I used to know, we can’t have normal conversations anymore.”
George lives at a Board and Care home and attends Adult Day Health Care at Alzheimer’s Family Center (AFC) five days a week. The Department of Veterans Affairs, a contracted partner of AFC, facilitated the enrollment in the center. “We are very happy with the care that he receives at the center,” says Luis. “He is very well taken care of and is so much healthier than when he was living on his own. He absolutely loves going to the center, which he calls his ‘school’. It is terrific for his cognitive and physical skills: he likes to socialize and walks around a lot.”