By Matthew Spenny
Just a few years ago the words “Alzheimer’s” and “dementia” had not crossed Matthew Spenny’s mind. Now, they encompass his entire life. As a caregiver for his mother, Matthew often thinks about others living through similar challenges. That’s why this year he decided to find a way to give back.
“I thought Mom was depressed,” said Matthew. “I took her to the doctor, they ran lots of tests and then took me aside and told me she had Alzheimer’s.” Matthew was stunned. He walked out of the office with his mom not knowing how to tell her the bad news. Mother and son sat in his black SUV. “Mom, you have Alzheimer’s,” blurted Matthew. His mom vacantly stared out the window. Matthew didn’t know if she understood or even heard him. They drove home.
Matthew felt lost and helpless. “I sat down at the computer and googled Alzheimer’s,” said Matthew. “The first thing that came up was the Alzheimer’s Association. I found the in-depth information that I needed and even resources like support groups and care consultation.” With the help of a care consultant, Matthew applied for financial assistance and created a care plan for his mother. He began attending a support group that two years later he still attends. “I don’t need the level of support now that I did then, but I continue so that I can help new people,” said Matthew. “I love seeing my friends every month. We’ve built trust. We share challenges and successes.”
This year Matthew wants to make an even greater impact in the fight against Alzheimer’s. A Broker for Windermere Real Estate, Matthew is donating a percentage of his commission back to the Alzheimer’s Association when buyers or sellers mention their shared passion for achieving a world without Alzheimer’s.
“People need to know that partnering with the Alzheimer’s Association is the cool thing to do,” said Matthew. “I want to encourage more people to support the organization either through donated time, skills or money – there’s a lot of talent in Washington.”