Transcript for 'Wouldn't trade the experience' says husband caring for wife with dementia
Finally, the Alzheimer's association today honoring the families keeping memories alive. Carl and Mary Jane have been married nearly seven decades. They met when Mary Jane was just a sophomore in high school. They would later marry. Six children, 12 grandchildren, six great-grandchildren. Hello, sweetie pie. Reporter: And for the last eight years now, Mary has been living with dementia. Mary will say to me, there's a picture -- I don't know. Who is that -- who is that? And it's one of our children. Reporter: Her memory slowly fading. And on this day, she needed help from her daughter, Becky, putting the pieces of the fading puzzle back together, on how she and her husband first met. Mom? What? Do you remember how dad met you? What was he throwing, do you remember? No. Throwing a snowball? Oh, yeah, oh, yes. Reporter: Mary Jane and her family are certainly not alone. The Alzheimer's association now saying 5.7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's, and that number, with the aging baby boomers, is expected, they say, to increase every year. But doctors say there are steps that help reinforce those slipping memories. And at 88, Carl, every day, taking those steps. Creating a routine for Mary Jane, setting out her clothes, her shoes, every night. I put this in the back. Reporter: Even lining up her jewelry for the next morning. A ritual his own children were unaware of. She has two earrings, two necklaces and a watch and a separate bracelet on there. So, you have two, two and two. Reporter: Those numbers he often repeoples the next day. Tomorrow, she might say, where's my third necklace, and I would say to her, it's two, two, two. Remember? Oh, okay. Reporter: Only learning how much her father is doing when she stopped by the house during that daily routine. And another secret weapon she's discovered? Laughter. We just noiced that if we were happy, she was happier. She doesn't know us by name anymore, and that's okay, but she does know that we're people she loves, and that's enough. Reporter: And Carl will set out those clothes again tonight. I wouldn't trade the experience I've had taking care of my wife. I would like to think she wouldn't trade the experience of taking care of me. We've been married for 67 years. I've been blessed. ????????????
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