A devoted husband and caregiver - Steve and Patty's story

My wife Patty and I used to have conversations. She loved children and loved to cook, and talked about both. I also remember her homemade spaghetti sauce—she was quite the cook.

We’ve enjoyed a good life together.

Now we find ourselves in a new season of life. Patty was diagnosed with Frontal Temporal Lobe Dementia and Alzheimer’s in 2007. Many caregivers who understand this neurological disease know how hard it is to watch the rapid personality changes that go with it.

While I knew that would happen, I didn’t expect it to happen so quickly.

The truth is—we have no control over these situations. So I learned to adapt to the changes and accept them—as hard as it was.

Let me tell you—it’s not easy preparing for the day when your partner no longer communicates with you the way they used to. All I can do now is hang onto the clutch of cherished memories we created together.

As Patty’s decline grew more evident, she stopped walking and eventually stopped feeding herself. Now she eats like a bird—one tablespoon at a time. Sometimes she forgets to swallow, so I remind her.

Breakfast starts around 7:15 a.m. Patty enjoys blended apples and pears. Or chocolate soy milk with blended bananas.

Thankfully two caregivers help out because I still work and travel. They provide care when I’m away, but also on a limited basis when I’m home.

My wife has a special connection with Teresa, her primary caregiver. No doubt, the two share a bond. People who visit the house notice it right away. When Teresa arrives, Patty can’t take her eyes off Teresa; tracking her every move.

To stand there and observe Patty’s eyes following Teresa around the room is quite a sight to see. It’s as if Patty couldn’t bear to lose sight of Teresa—not for one second.

Teresa is very special to us because she’s made personal sacrifices that have allowed her to care for Patty.

Talking to nurses over the years, I eventually discovered Sage products. Since hospitals use the product. My favorite product is the soft foam toothbrush—known as the Toothette Plus Swabs.

I like how these foam swabs are so gentle on Patty’s mouth. I don’t worry about damaging her gums. Using the Toothette Plus Swabs helps keep my wife comfortable.

I figured Sage must be a trusted brand. Once we started using the swabs, it became clear why hospitals use them too.


No individuals or organizations were compensated by Sage or Stryker for contributing to this article.