For years, Joan Garrett told her husband George that if he could read, he could cook.
"I never paid much attention to that," George said. "And now I pretty much cook all the meals. I'm learning a lot as I go along here."
In 2010, Joan was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, meaning a world of change for both her and her husband of nearly six decades.
George was an award-winning reporter at radio station CKNW prior to his retirement in 1999.
"This is my toughest assignment, and I've had a few of those over the years," he said. "This is a long-term one. I have such great love for my wife, and sometimes her personality is so different that it's barely the same person, but that's the reality with Alzheimer's."
In Surrey on Jan. 27, the 2013 edition of Investors Group Walk for Memories honours Joan, one of 70,000 British Columbians living with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.
The event is hosted by Alzheimer Society of B.C., which offers programs and support groups to help people like the Garretts cope with different aspects of the disease.
Joan is now in the middle stages of Alzheimer's, marked by mood swings, increased memory loss and delusional thoughts.
George attends caregiver meetings as a way to cope with the radical changes happening in Joan.
"I was vaguely aware of Alzheimer's until Joan got it, and then I learned very quickly how devastating it can be," George said.
"All along, I was told some things I could expect, and sure enough, they've all happened - things like changes in mood, in attitude, personality. We've been married 56 years and I'd never imagined the personality changes that have taken place."
Together, the Garretts attend a Shaping the Journey course to help them plan their days, reduce stress and generally carry on with life.
"We're going into our third year with this," George said, "and the whole process has been difficult, no question."
The Garretts frequently walk around a pond near their home in the Boundary Park area of Surrey - good practise for the Walk for Memories on Jan. 27, at Eaglesquest golf course.
"We tell people they can do five steps or five kilometres, it's up to them," said Avalon Tournier, the Alzheimer society's support and education co-ordinator.
"We have a few hundred people who walk it every year, and we'd love to double that this year."
The event happens in 23 communities around B.C.
"As an event, it's the society's main fund development," Tourner added.
To register or donate, visit www.walkformemories.com.