NEW YORK, Nov. 9, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The successful careers of sisters Yassmin and Karmine Alers on Broadway mirror the show they currently perform in: ON YOUR FEET! the true story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan—two people who believed in the power of their music, their love, and the American Dream. Karmine is a swing member of the cast, and Yassmin is part of the singing and dancing ensemble.
The demands of a Broadway career are something the sisters thrive on, but Yassmin and Karmine, along with their sister and two brothers also took on the role of caregivers for their mother Carmina, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2011, one year after the death of her husband of 60 years. "At first, we thought it was just grief she was suffering from, after the loss of our father," said Karmine. "But gradually the symptoms became something different. And then, one day the moment came when Mom went to the corner store and couldn't find her way back home. Then we knew this was more than depression and we needed more information and better answers. That's when we found the Alzheimer's Association on the internet." After rehearsals and 8 performances per week, the sisters would travel to the Bronx to check on Mom. Yassmin would focus on medication management and doctor appointments; Karmine specialized in keeping her Mom's hair and clothes organized and looking good. Eventually, a home attendant was also needed for a few hours a day, eventually escalating to 24/7. All five siblings took turns visiting on weekends. "Mom was frustrated by her memory lapses, and was becoming increasingly more anxious, paranoid and confused. She was becoming reclusive" said Yassmin. "We had a family discussion to decide whether to tell her she had Alzheimer's disease, and we all thought if we were in her position, we would want to know." Once her condition had a name, the family got more organized, writing down routines and schedules, and more able to focus on the future.