On Top of Stealing Memories, Dementia Takes a Person’s Dignity: Cindy Macfarland’s Story

Memory loss. Disorientation. Impaired speech. Inability to reason. Inappropriate behavior. Any one of the symptoms associated with dementia would be difficult to live with. The experience of watching a person lose his or her ability to think and relate to others as dementia symptoms stack up and intensify is devastating. Watching family and friends give up on that person is excruciating.

Cindy Macfarland described her father as a classic people person, a man who loved spending time with his family and many circles of friends, and interacting with his clients. But then memory problems set in and all that changed. 

Cherish people you care for, no matter what. 

Little by little, Cindy’s father was less and less able to be himself. In large groups of people he would withdraw and not engage—something that was so unlike his typical enthusiasm for people. This led to fewer social interactions. 

The gift of time. 

“At dinners and parties,” Cindy recalled, “My mom and I would always sit myself next to my dad and take whatever time he needed in a conversation. When someone has dementia or memory loss, you need to be patient and wait for him.” Sadly, Cindy, like so many others, has had an opportunity to not only help her father through his dementia, but also other family members and friends. Moreover, she feels confident that more and more people will share her experience as we continue to live longer. 

What we can do…now. 

More than advice, Cindy has two urgent invitations. One, stay connected to people who have dementia to help them through the journey. Two, support neuroscience research through the BRF. 

“I give every year because we have to find our way to a cure, or at least something that stalls the process,” she said. “I understand that the BRF was one of the first organizations to believe in the potential for neurological research. I know they’ve convinced me through their progress and determination.” 

“We need to ensure that the BRF can continue to deliver on the promise it made 60 years ago to fund leading-edge neuroscience research.”

Other Stories

The Vandermel Family’s Story
By supporting the BRF Julia, Justine, and Kelly are able to honor their father’s memory and also honor other family members and friends affected by neurological disorders, including Kelly’s mother.
Matt Rahn’s Story
True innovation doesn’t come from thinking linearly, innovation comes from very smart, passionate people thinking creatively. I tell my friends, ad nausea, that the BRF is going after innovative ideas.
The Anderson Family’s Story
The opportunity to shed light on more than one brain disorder played a large part in our choosing the BRF. Everybody knows somebody who can benefit from future discoveries.
Andrew Swigart
My Passion for the Foundation
I am grateful for the BRF for the opportunity to help support the advancement of research that will one day prevent other families from experiencing the trauma that affected mine.