After More Than 50 Years Together, Roseville Couple Stares Down Alzheimer’s Disease

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Data pix.

ROSEVILLE -- Black and white wedding photographs captured a love between Gary and Linda Wright that gave birth to a life enthusiastically lived together in technicolor over the last 53 years.

They spent more than four decades in their Roseville house.

During the past four years, however, making memories has not changed but Gary's ability to remember them has.

"I work hard at them because I know what my problem is," he told FOX40. "I mean it's not like I'm in a cloud someplace but a lot of times I forget or whatever. But I make it a point to try to remember everything and gets to be a chore sometimes."

"They call it MCI and it's before early stage and it's mild cognitive impairment," Linda Wright said.

It is a precursor to Alzheimer's disease marked by short-term memory loss.

"He'd say, 'Yeah, I'll meet you there,' and he might think it was right then," Linda Wright said. "He might not remember the call at all."

FOX40 saw the effects during a visit with the Wrights as Gary shared his role in a recent drug trial.

"They don't discuss with you if you're successful or not but, hopefully, it was good, " he said.

"But it failed, the test failed," Linda said, correcting him.

Stepping in to correct or remind is something new for Linda. It's something she's accepted but can't quite adjust to.

"That's when we always tease and I always tell him, I said, 'He was in charge for the first 50 years of our life together and now I am,'" she said.

The smiles can't always hide the stress of having to rescue a man who rescued people for a living with the CHP.

"The man who could take care of everything and do everything," Linda Wright said. "And that is no more and that's painful."

Day by day, they just try to stay honest about their fears and their uncertain future.

"I'm the luckiest man in the world to have her for a partner," Gary Wright said.

"We just decided that we have to do it together and I know that it's going to be hard," Linda Wright said.

They plan to try another drug trial to help Gary's illness from progressing.

If you are one of the 650,000 Californians who have Alzheimer's disease or one of the people caring for them, the Alzheimer's Association has a 24/7 hotline to offer help. That number is 1-800-272-3900. A list of warning signs that can help couples navigate the onset of this disease can be found by clicking here.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.