NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Loretta Brank came to Nashville hoping to make it in the music industry. She did just that performing at the Grand Ole Opry and touring the country with singer Deana Carter in the 90s.
Her audience is much different now. No longer performing on a national stage, instead she plays for just one person: her father.
Ken Brank is suffering from the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
“Conversation is really difficult,” Loretta said. “I can have a conversation with him because I can fill in the missing pieces. Most people can’t.”
She is her father’s only child and now his primary caregiver.
Inside her Nashville apartment are signs on the doors to direct him to the bedroom, the kitchen, and the bathroom.
“Emotionally, if I didn’t have the faith in God, I’ve learned this would have been a whole lot harder,” she told News 2.
While she’s involved in support groups and a faith community, it’s a part of her past that continues to provide the most meaningful connection between Loretta and her father.
“There will be times in there when I’ll play ‘Faded Love’ or ‘Tennessee Waltz’ or ‘Amazing Grace’ and he’ll get emotional,” Loretta said.
It’s emotional for Loretta, too, because it was her father who taught her how to play the fiddle and took her to competitions when she was young.
Now they play together, the music bringing back memories and feelings that at this point are beyond words.
To learn more about Alzhaimer’s visit Alz.org or call their helpline at 1-800-272-3900.