No politician ever gained votes for championing people who suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease and now that so many of us worldwide are living longer, I would like to see more money directed toward research in this field.
Imagine a person suffering from Alzheimer’s disease who is standing in a desert during a mild sandstorm. He might look like a sand sculpture, yet, some sand will be worn away by the weather and as time goes by, it will gradually lose its original form. That is more or less what happens to the brain of an Alzheimer’s patient.
A woman of 70 that I once knew was unable to recognize her children and suspected that people were trying to rob her. Minutes after she’d eaten, she’d forgotten that she’d ever put anything into her mouth and asked for something to eat.
It was important to me that my husband always be called by his name rather than the man with Alzheimer’s. Even today there are those who are reluctant to talk about this illness as it carries with it the stigma of mental illness. Stigma and prejudice against a person with Alzheimer’s disease is a significant obstacle to the well-being and quality of the lives of those with dementia as well as their families. Stigma is very real, very cruel and widespread.
My husband once said; “I feel as if I am disappearing, yet I still know what love is about.” Then he continued; “Young love is about striving to be happy. The kind of love between two seniors is about wanting someone else to be happy.”
He found writing difficult and once I watched him painstakingly scratch the following onto a scrap of paper, using a pencil so small that to me, it resembled a toothpick in his hand.
- I am the same person I always was.
- The more people that talk about this illness, the faster there might be a cure.
- I only tell good friends that I have Alzheimer’s because there are others who make me feel as if I have to be on my guard all the time.
- I don’t want to be categorized because I am afraid I might get lost in the stereotype.