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Dementia caregiver to be honoured at 2023 Tri-Cities Alzheimer's walk

Kathy Costello and her late husband Allan spent every day together for nearly 50 years, even after dementia took a toll on his mind and body.
kathycostellotricitiescoquitlamalzheimerswalkmay2023
Kathy Costello, who was the caregiver to her late husband Allan that lived with Lewy body dementia, is being honoured at this year’s Tri-Cities and Ridge Meadows Walk for Alzheimer’s.

The Walk for Alzheimer's in the Tri-Cities this year is on May 28.

And hundreds of local residents that support or have a connection to someone who lives with the disease will descend on Lafarge Lake in Coquitlam to raise awareness and funds for the Alzheimer Society of BC.

Kathy Costello is one of those participants, but she'll also be an honouree by the non-profit organization in recognizing her selfless dedication to providing care for her own husband.

Allan Costello passed away in late 2022, losing his battle with Lewy body dementia — a form of dementia that causes more hallucinations as opposed to memory loss.

Up until his death, Kathy and her husband spent every day together for nearly five decades, even when she knew their lives had changed with Allan's diagnosis.

Alzheimer Society of BC's profile description stated, as Allan's hallucinations intensified, he was admitted to the hospital where he received a working diagnosis of Lewy body dementia.

When Allan was ultimately moved into a long-term care homed, Kathy said she was able to "be his wife again."

"I could just be there because I have help from others, which took the stress off of me," said Costello in a statement, noting she could also be an advocate for her husband while he received the proper care.

"You do the best that you can. Don't expect to be perfect. If something doesn't work, try again. You care about the person and that’s why you're doing it."

According to the society's website, two out of three British Columbians have a connection to dementia.

The symptoms of the disease include:

  • loss of memory
  • impaired judgment
  • changes in behaviour and personality

Costello was one of thousands of caregivers that totalled, on average, 1.3 million hours of unpaid support for those living with dementia per week last year.

Alzheimer Society of BC said there could be 150,000 caregivers across the province by 2050 providing nearly 200 million hours of service, if the trend continues.

But, in addition to providing care, Costello was also able to join caregiver groups for mental and emotional support.

Her passion, advocacy and contributions to the community is set to be honoured at the 2023 Tri-Cities Walk for Alzheimer's, which will be one of 21 across B.C. taking place May 28.

The local walk is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. on the west lawn in Town Centre Park (1299 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam).

For more information or to register for the Walk for Alzheimer's, you can visit the event's website or send an email to ndunn@alzheimerbc.org.

While there's no current fundraising goal for this year, more than $59 million has been raised and invested since 1989 for biomeducal and quality-of-life research through the Alzheimer Society Research Program.