Breaking News
More () »

'I felt like I was losing him.' Austin woman says she believes visits with her husband saved his life

Her husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in January. She was still able to visit throughout the pandemic and thinks the interactions saved his life.

AUSTIN, Texas — Gloria Cisneros Lenoir called her husband "a total brain". She recalled meeting Walter in 1969 when she needed help with calculus. They got married in 1975 and have been together since. 

In January, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

"Alzheimer's is something you'd never want for anybody," said Cisneros Lenoir. "But for the person and the family and friends, it's very tough also to see what a loved one is going through."

By the end of January, she decided to move her husband into a personal care home. 

"I cried for weeks because I felt like I was losing him," she said. 

Even after the pandemic hit, Cisneros Lenoir was still able to visit her husband. It's something she believes saved his life.  


Defenders: Families shut out despite new visitation rules for nursing facilities

'That is a huge blessing.' Gov. Abbott expands visitation options for nursing home facilities

"Certainly patients with Alzheimer's dementia or any type of dementia, frankly, are going to be much more susceptible, much more vulnerable to developing, you know, repercussions from having limited access to limited socialization," said Dr. Blake Freeman, a neurologist with Baylor Scott and White. "We know prior to the COVID epidemic that social interaction is key to maintaining someone's mood and staving off more rapid cognitive decline."

Cisneros Lenoir said she can't imagine what other families are feeling like who haven't been able to visit their loved ones. 

"I don't think my husband would have survived," she said. "I think he would have already died." 

She said she hopes people will find support groups to talk with if they have any loved ones who are diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Cisneros Lenoir said she connected with the Austin Capital of Texas Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association. 

The Walk to End Alzheimer's is on Saturday in Austin. If you'd like to register, click here


You can now register to vote online, but there’s a catch

Holding on to summer this weekend, then feeling like fall by Monday

Austin Public Health echoes CDC guidance to discourage Halloween trick-or-treating

Before You Leave, Check This Out