CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - While many will celebrate Valentine's Day with gifts, chocolate and flowers – there are tens of thousands of South Carolinians who hope their loved one remember who they are.
84,000 people in the Palmetto State are living with Alzheimer's Disease.
Leon Amos lives in Summerville and cares for his wife, Cynthia, who has dementia.
Leon began noticing something was different several years ago, and in 2015, Cynthia was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease.
"It's about the same. It's like I don't even have it. I know that sometimes I forget things, but who doesn't?" said Cynthia.
After her diagnosis, they both enrolled in a brain study to try to further research for a cure.
That's when doctors found Leon had a problem of his own – a brain aneurysm that had not ruptured yet.
Thankfully, doctors were able to catch it in time.
"I had the procedure done – and I know I'm blessed because those things take people out," Leon said.
While Cynthia's memory is slowly declining – Leon is thankful he's still here to take care of her.
"I love my husband very much! I didn't give him any valentines but I did give him my heart," said Cynthia.
Many risk factors for dementia, stroke, and heart disease are similar. Research shows that as we lower our stroke risk, the risk of cognitive decline can be lessened as well. There are steps you can take for better brain health including eating healthy, getting exercise and quality sleep.
Alzheimer's is still one of the top leading causes of death that does not have a cure – something Leon is hoping changes for the sake of his wife.
For more information on keeping your brain healthy: http://brainhealth.strokeassociation.org/
For more information on Alzheimer's Association TrialMatch: http://www.alz.org/research/clinical_trials/find_clinical_trials_trialmatch.asp