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.
"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.
PEOPLE ARE ALSO READING: