Couple Explains Alzheimer’s Diagnosis Can’t Stop Them

ROGERS (KFSM) -- Ann and Mark Linkous went on their first date on Valentine's Day in 1954 and 60 years later on the exact same day, Ann was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

This is something they have been living with for about four years and they are not letting it keep them down.

“It’s tough and there is no way anyone, I don’t care who they are or how many MDs or all these other letters they may have after their name, you can’t relate to it like someone who is actually dealing with it," Mark said. "It’s a tough walk but we’ve elected to take the higher ground.”

Ann is vocal about her condition and the two are involved in support groups and work with the Alzheimer's Association.

Since that Valentine's Day in 2014 things have changed for the Linkouses.

Mark said he has had to learn to cook more even though he said he knows he will never be as good of a cook as Ann.

“He’s worried about me during the time but realizing that, okay we can do it and it’s been good," Ann said.

The couple explained they have had to prioritize things around the house since there simply is not enough time in the day to get to everything.

Shevawn Dillingham with the Alzheimer's Association explained this role reversal is typical with couples like the Linkouses.

“What sort of is the love story in that is it has made Mark appreciate Ann even more for all that she has done over the years that he maybe didn’t even realize how much she did," Dillingham said. "So I think it’s a chance to deepen your love for one another.”

Mark called Valentine's Day bittersweet for them because of all the memories attached to that day.

They plan to do what they always do this, which is to go out and eat with the kids and grandkids.

No matter what day it is, both Mark and Ann want to keep staying active.

They said they will continue to help the Alzheimer's Association raise awareness for the disease with events like The Longest Day.

The Broyles Foundation is another local group that helps caregivers of Alzheimer's patients.

They advised other couples living with the disease that if they want to do something for Valentine's Day to keep it simple.

They said even some candles at dinner can go a long way.