WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker III has released a statement saying that this wife, Christa Beverly, "lives with a mental health condition commonly known as early-onset Alzheimer's or dementia."
Baker opened up about the experience and his role as a caregiver in The Washington Post on Wednesday morning. Read that article here (http://on.wusa9.com/NauGGj )
Rushern Baker also released the following statement:
All of us can recall a moment when we might have been confused, a little disoriented, challenged by an unfamiliar situation or felt frustrated because we could not place a face or recall something we should remember.
For thousands of people in Prince George's and over 100,000 people the metropolitan region, this is not a temporary condition but a permanent part of life that is not likely to ever improve.
One of those people is my wife Christa who lives with a mental health condition commonly known as early-onset Alzheimer's or dementia.
My three children, Rushern IV, Aja, and Quinci, and I have struggled to adjust and manage, as the rock of our household began to need our patience, presence, and support in ways none of us could have anticipated. It has been difficult, but we are managing, as do many families in our county and beyond.
We are blessed to have family and friends whom have helped despite their busy lives and our wonderful neighbors in Cheverly whom have made a huge difference. My staff at the Prince George's County Executive's office has also been great. So many people have extended themselves on our behalf. I wish I could thank you all by name.
We've decided to take this step of sharing our story, in hopes that other families in Prince George's County and the D.C. metro area, can learn what we've learned: mental health disease is not the end, nor do you need to be embarrassed or ashamed.
We hope you will open your heart and give of your time. Chances remain high that someone you know is an unpaid caregiver and needs your help.
I plan to continue serving as Prince George's County Executive and my children will continue their studies and work. For most caregivers, life doesn't stop. We, like thousands of other families must continue, but also be caregivers.
There will be times when my wife, Christa, may feel up to her ceremonial responsibilities as first lady and times when she'll prefer to stay in more familiar surroundings.
My kids and I thank you in advance for your understanding, patience, and prayers and for respecting our family's privacy. Most importantly, we thank you for helping remove the stigma associated with mental illness by taking time to ask "how can i help?"
There's an associate, friend or family member of yours that is also a caregiver. They need you.
Rushern L. Baker, III