While I do not have any experience in nurse research, I would suggest find work on a gero or gero-psych unit preferably in a teaching hospital/hospital affiliated with a university. Stay there for at least 2 years. Maybe even work part-time/per diem on a Alzheimer's unit to get the LTC experience with such patients. Once you have a few years, try applying to research jobs. Most of these jobs require at least 2 years bedside experience. Subscribe to nursing publications and get any sort of certification in Alzheimer's, if there is such a thing. Maybe just geriatrics. Try volunteering at research places to network. Scour the nursing publications for any leads to research. It may take a while but that's really the only way I can see getting there. As for graduate school, I really have no idea what area you would pursue. Psychology? Sociology? MSW? For researching Alzheimers, what exactly do you want to research? Nursing care? Causes? Medications? Prevention? Determine that aspect which should put you in right the direction for graduate school. Who knows, maybe a PharmD, Research Science, or MD is in order.