95°F
weather icon Clear

Lesson of lifetime: Former teacher shares experiences with Alzheimer’s

Amy Moore Peterson likes to joke that she has a Ph.D. in “been there, done that.” The truth, however, is a more serious matter and she wants to share her experiences so she can help others.

Moore Peterson, a retired teacher, devotes most of her time to helping families who have a relative with Alzheimer’s disease and advocating for more resources and research for them.

She said she doesn’t want others to go through what she did and is eager to help.

She and her late husband, Drew Peterson, were living an idyllic life. She was teaching and he was a commercial pilot. Then, when he was in his 40s, he began having memory and cognitive issues.

By the age of 47, he had to quit flying and was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. He died May 1, 2014, two weeks after his 58th birthday.

The Boulder City resident had to quit teaching to take care of him and found herself dealing with many situations where she had nowhere to turn for answers.

Since her husband died, Moore Peterson said that she has devoted her life to helping others deal with the diagnosis and raise awareness of the disease. She is a full-time volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Association, Desert Southwest Chapter, as well as an advocate.

She facilitates a support group for Alzheimer’s caregivers and another for those who are grieving. Both meet at the Senior Center of Boulder City at 1 p.m. and 10:30 a.m., respectively, on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month. She also facilitates a virtual caregiver support group at 1 p.m. on the second and fourth Saturday of the month.

She shares what Alzheimer’s disease looks like, how it impacts families and communities, and what resources are available.

Moore Peterson said she also wants those diagnosed with the disease and their caregivers to know they are not alone.

The support groups are a “safe place to discuss issues,” she said, adding that until you have gone through the experience of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s you don’t fully understand the disease.

According to Moore Peterson, being diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease is completely different than getting Alzheimer’s disease in your 80s.

Moore Peterson said memory issues often start with people having difficulties at work, which can lead to them getting fired and losing their insurance, which complicates getting care.

Recently, she traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with members of the House of Representatives and Senate hoping to obtain additional funding for research programs.

“Basically, I was telling my story and why it was needed and how it would have helped,” she said.

She said the proposed Comprehensive Care for Alzheimer’s Act, which was introduced to Congress in April 2021, would streamline the process after a person gets an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. The program would coordinate care and services while restructuring the payment process through Medicare and Medicaid.

Moore Peterson said the act would make getting the necessary medical assistance easier for the caregiver and those who don’t have a caregiver.

She was also advocating for the Equality in Clinical Trials Act. While Hispanics and Blacks are 1 ½ and two times, respectively, more likely to get Alzheimer’s, they are underrepresented in clinical trials, she said.

In addition to raising awareness, Moore Peterson is hosting a fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association on Sunday at Beer Zombies, 567 Nevada Way. “You Bet Your Ice: Boulder City” will begin at 10 a.m. and continue until the ice is melted.

During the event, people will be invited to guess what time the ice will be melted and make a donation. Dangle and Dot, two women who are, according to Moore Peterson, “daring to do dementia differently,” will attend the fundraiser, as will Nancy Nelson, author of “Blue, River, Apple: An Exploration of Alzheimer’s Through Poetry.”

Moore Peterson also will be able to answer questions and provide information about resources in the community during the event. She encourages those attending to wear purple to show their support.

Additional information about the fundraiser is available at http://act.alz.org/goto/youbetyouricebc.

Not only does the Alzheimer’s Association help patients and their caregivers, it offers continuing education units for medical professionals. For more information, visit www.alz.org.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Davidson celebrates 100th birthday at senior center

With childlike incredulity, Gwen Davidson was surprised over and over Friday afternoon as friends at the Senior Center of Boulder City stopped by to wish her a happy 100th birthday.

Water safety focus of worldwide swimming lesson

If there is one thing that Cheree Brennan is passionate about, it’s making sure everyone is safe “in, around and on the water.”

Toddler helps raise cultural awareness

With his dancing blue eyes and impish grin, it’s easy to see why Braxton Ott caught the attention of others.

Meals on wheels: More food trucks hitting streets as entrepreneurs see new chances

The school bus parked outside of some Henderson breweries four days a week is no ordinary bus. Walk a bit closer, and onlookers will find an open window, with arms reaching out to hand slices of Detroit-style pizza to eager customers.

Free training bolsters microbusinesses

The Boulder City Chamber of Commerce has been invited by Workforce Connections to be involved in its latest partnership in bringing Venture Forward by GoDaddy to Southern Nevada to implement world-class training for local microbusinesses at no cost to them. This will be just one more addition to the no-cost resources that are already offered here in Southern Nevada by Workforce Connections and their partners. Microbusinesses have a proven positive economic impact in a community and need this type of assistance to be an asset to the business environment.

Fishers angle for best spot

Anglers covered the shorelines at Veterans’ Memorial Park on Saturday, June 11, as Boulder City hosted the Southern Nevada free fishing day event.

Nevada’s Yesteryear: Rabbit hunt captured Fremont’s attention

Capt. John C. Fremont, U.S. Army, traversed Nevada at various times in his explorations of the West in 1844-1845. He and his party were prepared for surprises and had seen many strange sights.