ADAP Story

     Hi, I am Josephine de Asis, CPA and my sister Jacqueline de Asis, an Architect and we are active members of the Alzheimer’s Disease Association of the Philippines (ADAP). You may ask, isn’t this type or organization only for doctors and nurses or medical professionals? What is a CPA and an Architect doing in ADAP. Well, that is the main difference of ADAP, it is open for family members, caregivers and anyone who loves an Alzheimers’ patient. ADAP operates from the heart, with a common objective of accelerating awareness and improving the quality of life and patient care of someone afflicted with AD.

     We became member of ADAP from the start not only because our mommy was diagnosed with AD by Dra Socorro Martinez (ADAP’s President) back in Y2000 at the then newly opened memory center of St Lukes Medical Center in QC. We decided to join and be active in ADAP because we were happy that we already have this kind of organization in the Philippines, because we knew the difficulty of not knowing what AD is all about, and because we love our mother and we want to give the best of care for her.

     Ms. Felicisma de Grano de Asis or Mommy Fely is the best mom to all of us in our ever growing de asis family, our source of strength and inspiration, the person who binds us all. A caring daughter-sister to her parents and siblings, a loving wife to our dad, and a teacher by profession who served our government schools for over 40 years until she had her early retirement in 1991. Mom needed to retire then because my dad and her co teachers noticed that she was becoming forgetful. In 1992, my dad passed away, and that was the trigger! Mom deteriorated and became very forgetful, to the point we cannot leave her alone at home. We think that was when she was first afflicted by early stage of dementia. Fast forward, in Y2000, 8 years of struggle and trying to understand her condition just through reading international publications on dementia from bookstore and learning about AD from stories from our sisters and friends in the USA, we finally confirmed mom had AD after she was officially diagnosed by Dra Martinez. In God’s grace and mercy, happy to share with you the attached picture which was taken only last Aug 6, 2018 with me, mom and my sister Jacqueline, when my mom celebrated her 85th birthday. Mom has been bedridden since 2009 and afflicted with AD for 26 years now. We are thankful to God, to our Team Fely (nurses, caregivers, driver), to the support and understanding of our entire family and to our dear doctors – Dra Socorro Martinez, Dr Cecil Tady, Dr Demetrio Flores, Dra Maricel Santos for the love and care for our mom.

     Mom is the reason why we would like to support ADAP in whatever way we can. Our respect for our Mommy’s doctors and the medical professionals helping dementia patients is the other reason why we are active in ADAP. We would like to help the doctors & other medical professionals in increasing awareness and improving the quality of life and care of AD patients, from sharing our experiences and what we have learned over the years.

     Be part of ADAP and be the VOICE of someone who has AD in your family, relatives and friends.

      I was invited to my first ADAP activity in September 2005 after I returned from dementia fellowship abroad. The activity was in Cebu and it was a well-attended event as the ADAP was promoting their first book on the Recommendations for the Diagnosis, Management, Treatment and Prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. There was something for everyone: lecturers, workshops, a memory walk, and lay forum.

      I was amazed that compared to other organizations, ADAP’s member were not only Doctors, but it included nurses, psychologists, therapists, carers and families and families of patients with dementia! I vowed to be part of this organization not only as a professional who deals with dementia on a daily basis but also as a relative of a person with dementia.

      I was a 4th year medical student when I suspected my aunt of having Alzheimer’s dementia. I brought her to the smartest neurology professor I knew and she was properly diagnosed. Sadly, no medication were available then and she rapidly deteriorated. Family education and caregiver support were non-existent and I patiently had to explain her illness to every family member and friend who asked.

      We have come a long way since, in patient and family education, in prevention, in toll to diagnose at the earliest possible time and the medication that alleviate their confusion and prolong their dignified independence. But we need to further our advocacy so that every Filipino in every island of our country, is aware of what dementia is; the warning signs that call for a consultation and how best to deal with it. With a heightened awareness in the community for the disease, persons with dementia can live fulfilling lives among us.

     After mom was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2016, her world became increasingly smaller. She started losing her ability to comprehend things. She’s unable to answer her daily crossword puzzles. She forgets an event or a conversation that transpired a minute ago. What she remembers most of the time, were those moments being a “DAUGHTER” to her Tatay & Nanay, an “ATE” to her siblings, a “WIFE” to Daddy Ven, and a “MAM” to her pupils. Eventually, mommy was unable to stand up or walk on her own. No matter who was there to help her, it was no longer safe or reasonable for her to go anywhere. She became a prisoner in her house, and needs transported to and from in her wheelchair and her world was limited to her bed in the living room and dining table. She totally lost her sense of time, being awake for 3-4 consecutive days and nights! At times, she wants to go home to her Nanay, or questions why Dad isn’t home from work yet, or is bothered that she cannot attend her classes… and the story goes on and on, all of which were just memories.

     We are taking one day at a time. Enjoying each and every moment with her. Loving her even more. Living in her world at the moment. It wasn’t easy to cope with the emotions of loving someone with Alzheimer’s. Our Alzheimer’s journey with Mom goes on but we never forget to celebrate each and every milestone of her life and this 90th birthday celebration is one of those special moments of joy.

     She is still the same person you knew from before. It’s just now that she whistles to a different tune. She may respond slower than she used to and she may not be able to clearly understand what is going on around her – but she is still very aware that she is loved and connected to you even when she struggles to communicate cleaerly – she can still feel your love for her!

     There is little or nothing we can do to control of this devastating disease. We cannot control the progression or its outcome, and we cannot control the timeline or how things will play out. But we can change the journey for her by simply SHOWING UP WITH LOVE. When only love remains, love is all that matters…
                                     -Mommy Citas’ family

     Mommy Citas just celebrated her 90th birthday last April 28. ADAP is truly grateful for choosing us as the recipient of your donations as part of your birthday celebration. Rest assured that these donations will go a long way toward continuing our mission and advocacy. Once again, extending our heartfelt appreciation to Mommy Citas’ family and friends!