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Sacramento son shares message as he helps his father battle Alzheimer's

Sacramento son helps father who's living with Alzheimer's
Sacramento son helps father who's living with Alzheimer's 02:29

SACRAMENTO – Nearly seven million Americans are living with Alzheimer's. It's a disease that's not only tough on the patient but also on their family. June is Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month. 

CBS13 has one family's story and the message they have for others going through the same thing.  

"It's been a rollercoaster ride for a lot of emotions," said Carlos Olivas.

The artist is Carlos Olivas and his son, also named Carlos, has been taking care of him since he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's nine years ago. Since then, he's even had to move in with his father.  

"There's short and long-term memory gaps. There's executive function. There's body temp regulation. There's different types of symptoms that are happening with my dad," Olivas' son said.

Their family is one of the millions of families in the U.S. affected by Alzheimer's. He wants to share his story and let others know it's not easy, but there are resources out there.  

"My advice is to educate yourself, build a team, be open-minded to be coached," Olivas said. 

One resource for Olivas has been the Alzheimer's Association. People can talk to experts, get connected to resources, and even see the 10 early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's.

"And really what that workshop goes over is providing a tool kit and explaining the differences between normal and abnormal aging," said Ingrid Villeda, with the Alzheimer's Association. "Prevention is also key, and diet and exercise can play a big role. There's a lot of research right now that states exercise is good for your brain. It can be 15-30 minutes a day, but it doesn't have to be anything strenuous."

 "My dad is teaching me how to care for him through this journey," Olivas said.

Olivas' situation isn't easy, but he wants people to know that it can be done. In fact, his father continues to surprise him with his art.

"I would say he's currently flourishing creatively living with Alzheimer's. We're focusing on the abilities, not the disabilities," Olivas said.

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