START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good

Mountain Climber Attempts 7 Summits for Alzheimer’s Research

  • 2 of 3

His Experience

Mr. Arnette says “climbing Mt. Everest was easy compared to caring for my mom during her years with Alzheimer’s. She was our family’s memory keeper. She was one everyone depended upon. She was the glue that held the family together.”

And then one day, everything changed. He and his siblings knew their mother’s memory was lapsing, but like most families, they chalked it up to normal aging. “And then over breakfast, Mom dropped the most unmistakable piece of evidence thus far. She said to me, her son, ‘now who are you?’” His mom lost the rest of her memory and her identity, struggled to take care of herself and lived her final days in a nursing home before succumbing to the disease. (When a Loved One with Alzheimer’s Doesn’t Recognize You)

How Alzheimer’s Caregiving is Similar to Mountain Climbing

Mr. Arnette says every step he takes climbing mountains is a step for Alzheimer’s individuals and their families. “For me, there are so many similarities between mountain climbing and Alzheimer’s. The mental and physical demands of scaling seemingly insurmountable peaks are not unlike the everyday trials that those living with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers face. Understanding personal limitations, reaching out for support, not giving up, taking steps day-by-day are all challenges both climbers and Alzheimer’s caregivers experience.”

A Profound Moment in His Journey

Thanks to modern technology – satellite uplinks, hand-held devices and notebook computers, Mr. Arnette is able to transmit from the mountaintops. Followers can visit his blog to listen to audio recordings he makes from the peaks. One of his most profound moments, captured in audio, came when he reached the summit of Mount Everest, at sunrise on May 21, 2011. He took the final steps to the summit and saw a collection of prayer flags. At that moment, his emotional wall collapsed. He could barely get the words out: ‘I want to dedicate this summit to my mom and to all the Alzheimer’s moms. We love you, and we miss you. Climb on. This is Alan. Memories are everything.’ ”

Read more:
When a Senior Can’t Remember the Story, Let Them Make It Up
A Kids-Eye View of Alzheimer’s
“My Mom Has Dementia and Is Telling Lies About Me”

Mountain Climber Attempts 7 Summits for Alzheimer’s Research originally appeared on

  • 2 of 3

Read more: Nature, Alzheimer's, Caregiving, Outdoor Activities, , , , , ,

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love connects family caregivers and provides support, resources, expert advice and senior housing options for people caring for their elderly parents. is a trusted resource that visitors rely on every day to find inspiration, make informed decisions, and ease the stress of caregiving.


+ add your own
8:41PM PDT on Jun 12, 2012


7:18PM PST on Nov 22, 2011


3:04AM PDT on Aug 8, 2011

if everybody care to champion the causes close to their heart, we have a better chance of surviving as a Human race.

8:46AM PDT on Jul 28, 2011

my dad died from muti organ failure due to alhz.. this man is awesome

5:44AM PDT on Jul 20, 2011

What a fabulous man!

3:12PM PDT on Jul 17, 2011

We have three things to give in this life: time money and influence. This is collecting all three. Bravo!

5:42AM PDT on Jul 17, 2011

Great article, thank s so much...

10:15AM PDT on Jul 16, 2011

His funding is coming from big corporations, and much of money raised will fund research on more drugs. OK, but when will we get more research on the causes and prevention of Alzheimers? Should research really be done by those who have a financial interest in having an endless stream of patients they can sell their products to?

9:54AM PDT on Jul 16, 2011


8:13AM PDT on Jul 16, 2011

the studies show that fruit will slow down the disease . I wondered why a lady at the bank said her friend was good at Christmas and 6 months later did not know her.. and my Mom who is 94 has had it for over two years and is doing much better. I thought to myself what is going on,, it should be racing though my Mom in her advanced age as the other lady was only 60.. so I checked.. Fruit slows it down.. and I have been putting two pieces of fruit by my Moms bed every night for 2 year.. one is always a banana. I also every week make two dozen of my own fruit and berry muffins and she has one of those almost every day. So in my mind this is the thing that works. It does not stop it but it sure makes it slower.
That is what the studies say and I have to say it the only thing I can think of that makes such a difference.
She has a mood enhancer but that lost its steam a long time ago.

add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

No meat for me, thank you, and I don't eat at any of these anyway.


thanks, my wife might appreciate a few of these, too

Elaine A. Calm down and quit wishing bad stuff on the child. I certainly do not approve of allowin…


Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

site feedback


Problem on this page? Briefly let us know what isn't working for you and we'll try to make it right!