Nothing could prepare Jessica Arauz APN-C to receive the shattering news that her beloved mother, Ida Hernandez, was suffering from early onset dementia at the young age of 53. It was 2008. “I had assumed she was experiencing some anxiety; maybe even suffering from depression,” said Jessica. “I was so worried and terrified after receiving the dreadful news that she had dementia. At around the same time she also received a cancer diagnosis. She beat cancer, but it has been devastating to watch her deteriorate slowly from Alzheimer’s.”
Ida just celebrated her 61st birthday. “At this point, she does not recognize anyone – she cannot converse, and must be fed, dressed and changed. I miss her every day and I wish she had been able to share with me the happiest moments of my life – like my graduate school graduation and most importantly the birth of my son.”
Jessica works as a nurse in the Emergency Department/Observation Unit at Jersey City Medical Center. “Working in the healthcare field has been a blessing and has taught me many things,” said Jessica. “I have developed a strong bond with patients that have dementia and their families; sharing my own experience to help those that are struggling with this disease.”
Jessica has also helped others who are impacted by Alzheimer’s disease by getting involved with the Walk to Fight Alzheimer’s. She has rallied fellow employees to join her team, Memory Keepers/Jersey City Medical Center to raise awareness at the medical center and in the community as well as funds to support the work of Alzheimer’s New Jersey®. The team’s most popular fundraiser is a bake sale.
Jessica strongly believes in the mission of Alzheimer’s New Jersey and the Walk to Fight Alzheimer’s. “I thank my mom for her unconditional love and words of encouragement, for making me the mother I am today,” Jessica continues. “If I had just one wish, it would be to have one last conversation with her. I’d let her know how much I love her. I’d assure her that my siblings would be taken care of.”
Join Jessica and Team Memory Keepers/JCMC at Walk to Fight Alzheimer’s and help support New Jersey families who struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. “I walk, we walk for my beautiful mother- Ida Hernandez and for all those families affected by this disease.”