A Karlsruhe couple is proving their love can overcome anything — like the diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s Lisa received five years ago.
“She’s the star of the show,” Mel said.
Lisa and Mel Millsap have been married for 40 years. Lisa used to be able to do things on her own, but after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the age of 55, she now requires a little bit of help.
Lisa’s husband, Mel drops her off at Edgewood Vista Memory Care during the day while he goes to work at the Minot Air Force Base.
“It’s like this great love story and he’s so committed and so determined to do what’s best for her. He wants people to remember she is a person. She is still Lisa, even if some pieces of her have been lost. It’s still her,” said Krissy Siebuhr, memory care manager at Edgewood.
Mel wakes up every morning at 3:30 to get Lisa ready for the day.
“The routine is extremely important, every single day. Feed her good, make sure she gets lots of rest, her medicine, and lots of love and lots of fun. That’s it,” said Mel.
He said it’s the simple stuff that’s also very important.
“Paint her nails,” said Mel.
“You paint her nails?”
“I paint her nails. Look at that,” said Mel.
“You painted that?!”
“I do it! Yep!” said Mel.
The best part of his day, is when he picks her up from Edgewood Vista every afternoon at 3:45 — because she’s there, waiting for him, with a big smile and a hug.
“I love it. I can’t wait to walk through that door because I know if she’s having a bad day, I’m going to help make it better, pretty quick,” said Mel.
“Oftentimes, she’s in her own little world or she’s interacting with staff and she’ll hear his voice and she just…she perks up and there have been times that she actually jumps because she’s so excited,” said Siebuhr.
Mel said it can be difficult for her to verbally communicate, but after 40 years, he usually knows what she’s trying to say without saying a word.
“Lisa’s the tough one, really, if you think about it. She’s the tough one because she knows what’s going on. And, she would do the same, guaranteed. She’d be doing the exact same thing. Right, honey?” said Mel.
“Yeah,” Lisa said with a smile.
There still isn’t a cure for people, like Lisa, living with Alzheimer’s. Mel is asking people to donate to the Alzheimer’s Association for Giving Hearts Day, so one day, no one will have to live with it.
The Millsaps have a GoFundMe to cover Lisa’s medical expenses. To donate, click here.